Have you ever encountered a minotaur? Well, a minotaur company, that is? Just as the name “unicorn” has become a popular term for private companies valued at more than a billion dollars, Axios has coined the term “minotaur” to describe startups who have raised upwards of one billion in funding. In all the site found 55 such companies around the world with three of them coming from the FinTech space.
By far the largest FinTech minotaur found by Axios is China’s Ant Financial, which owns Alipay along with the world’s largest money-market fund. Incidentally Ant Financial also ranked top among all the minotaurs, raising a whopping $20.4 billion in funding. Second to Ant was India’s Paytm — a wallet and payments company that has $3.6 billion since its 2010 founding. Stateside, SoFi has also earned minotaur status, raising $1.9 billion. SoFi is currently valued at $4.4 billion and has been steadily expanding its offerings. Most recently the company introduced SoFo Invest, which offers commission-free stock and ETF trading.
Meanwhile another American startup is also nearing minotaur certification. The payments company Stripe has actually “only” raised $800 million in equity financing, 20% shy of hitting $1 billion. Nevertheless there seems to be plenty of time for Stripe to become a full-fledged minotaur as the company’s founders have previously stated they have no plans to go public. For the record, even if it’s not yet a minotaur, Stripe is definitely a unicorn, recently being valued at $22.5 billion.
Stepping outside of the world of FinTech, the second largest minotaur may be a bit of a surprise: Juul. The makers of vaping products and accessories have raised $14.1 billion in funding, although $12.8 billion of that came from Altria. Other major minotaurs are a bit more predictable, including Uber ($13.7 billion), WeWork ($8.4 billion), Lyft ($4.9 billion), and others. And, while many Americans might not be familiar with the name ByteDance, the Chinese company that’s raised $6.1 billion owns the increasingly popular social app TikTok.
It’s interesting to note that the 55 so-called minotaurs Axios found tops the number of unicorns that existed when that term was coined in 2013. Since then, the number of unicorns has increased nearly 10 fold, with more than 300 startups now meeting the criteria. We’ll have to see if a similar level of growth in minotaurs occurs — especially in the FinTech field. Regardless, something tells us this won’t be the last we hear about mythical creature companies proving a lot more common than their titles would have you believe.