Are you on track to be running a $1bn unicorn business?

Have you got what it takes to be running a fabled $1bn unicorn business? A study by recruitment firm Pareto Law finds they have some surprising things in common

Growing into a $1 billion unicorn business is the north star for many entrepreneurs.

But how do you know if you’re on the right track to becoming a fabled unicorn?

Well, it helps if you’re a 41-year-old fintech entrepreneur based in London who went to Oxbridge, and whose company was founded eight years ago and has grown to nearly 1,000 employees. As Prime Minister Theresa May might say, simples.

Recruitment company Pareto Law has studied the UK’s 14 unicorn businesses and discovered the following common factors:

  • Average age of company when it turns unicorn: 8
  • Industry/sector: fintech (29%)
  • Owner’s age when launched: 34
  • University educated: 90% of unicorn founders went to university
  • Owner’s age when it reached unicorn status: 41
  • Number of employees: 989

In fact, almost half (42 per cent) of British unicorn founders were under the age of 30 when they launched their business.

And, even if you went to university, over a quarter (27.2 per cent) obtained their degrees from either Oxford or Cambridge.

London is home and founding city for most unicorn companies, with almost half (46 per cent) starting out in the Big Smoke. Manchester is the second-most unicorn-populated city and home to the UK’s largest unicorn, The Hut Group.

The UK has just 14 unicorn companies:

Jonathan Fitchew, CEO of Pareto Law, said: “With the UK proving to be a powerhouse for unicorns, we wanted to know exactly what it takes to become a billion-dollar business.

“It’s interesting to look at the growth in the UK and what’s attributed to the growth of these firms. There are many similar characteristics of unicorn founders. As technology continues to become more sophisticated it will be interesting to see what the future holds and if fintech will continue to lead the way in the industry.”

Related: Learning lessons from the unicorns: the tech phenomena