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Want to Start a Billion-Dollar Business? Look to These Two Industries, Which Have the Most Unicorn Growth During a tough fundraising year overall last year, the value of cybersecurity and AI unicorns saw double-digit growth.

By Sherin Shibu

Key Takeaways

  • 2023 was a tough fundraising year, with many unicorn startups seeing declines in funding.
  • Cybersecurity and AI unicorns grew, though.
  • Of all the new unicorns that came onto the scene in 2023, 44% focused on AI and machine learning.
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Cybersecurity and artificial intelligence stood out last year as the best-performing industries for unicorns or billion-dollar startups.

The Morningstar PitchBook Global Unicorn Vertical Indexes estimated that the value of cybersecurity unicorns grew by 24.3% in 2023, while AI unicorns rose by 22.9%.

The growth in cybersecurity could be due to notable startups hitting startlingly high valuations, such as Wiz reaching $10 billion in valuation in February. The indexes determine valuation growth or decline by using a model based on comparable public companies and prices for private startups.

On the AI front, the rise of generative AI saw a corresponding interest in funding. OpenAI raised $10 billion from Microsoft, for example, and Anthropic received $4 billion from Amazon. Of all the new unicorns that came onto the scene last year, 44% focused on AI and machine learning.

RELATED: He Started a Side Hustle in His Parents' Basement and Won Big on Richard Branson's TV Show. The Business Saw Over $650 Million in Annual Revenue Last Year.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Adam Selipsky speaks with Anthropic CEO and co-founder Dario Amodei. Photo by Noah Berger/Getty Images for Amazon Web Services

Overall, 2023 was a tough fundraising year, and unicorns in other industries dropped in valuation. Agriculture technology, for example, was the worst-performing sector for unicorns, with indoor farming startup Bowery and crop protection company Indigo feeling the effects of the fundraising downturn.

RELATED: A Former Disney Star Just Launched a Space Startup With $6.3 Million in Seed Funding. Here's Why She Did It.

In addition to AI and cybersecurity, industries such as health tech, e-commerce, and fintech also saw unicorn growth.

Sherin Shibu

Entrepreneur Staff

News Reporter

Sherin Shibu is a business news reporter at She previously worked for PCMag, Business Insider, The Messenger, and ZDNET as a reporter and copyeditor. Her areas of coverage encompass tech, business, strategy, finance, and even space. She is a Columbia University graduate.

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