Five ‘Dare-to-Challenge’ Groundbreakers
“If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind!”
American business magnate and founder of Walmart
In the latest in a series of articles devoted to the constituents of the Morningstar® PitchBook® Unicorn Select 20 Index™, we would like to introduce you to the third quartile of disruptors in terms of the size of their most recent post-money valuations (as per 31 May 2023). As we shall discover, there is considerable diversity among today’s leading groundbreakers, spanning fast-growing industries such as mobile banking, digital collaboration, new-age healthcare, e-commerce, and virtual consumer services.
Four of these companies have a heritage of at least a decade, so they are typical unicorns in that they have firmly established businesses that continue to grow rapidly.
With its mobile-only, no-fees, customer-centric business model, Chime is the biggest challenger in the mobile banking space. Chime combines its “research-first culture” with Momentive insights to understand its customer base, market potential, industry competitors, and opportunities for growth. Momentive weaves together the best of humanity, AI, machine learning, and billions of questions and real responses, for a unique approach that quickly drives better, more confident decision-making. As such, Chime’s mobile banking and finance platform is designed to offer banking services on the go. The company's platform sets aside a pre-determined amount of money in savings after a transaction, and the company earns revenue from transaction fees paid by the merchant aligning company incentives, enabling users to avoid fees, save money and lead healthier financial lives.
Chime has homed in on the consumer distrust and dissatisfaction with traditional banks, offering fee-free banking, early paydays for those with direct deposit, and a feature that lets users go negative in their accounts without overdraft fees. It has found success focusing on US customers who have not traditionally been served well by the standard brick-and-mortar banks, especially millennials.
In May, Chime was named in CNBC’s list of top 50 disruptors for the third time in the last four years.
Miro has developed a visual collaboration platform designed to help cross-functional teams with tools to collaborate. In late May, the company unveiled its own generative AI (GenAI) tool that will bring instant summarization, template building, idea clustering, and image creation to any remote team of co-workers. Many virtual whiteboard vendors, including Stormboard (with Storm AI) and Microsoft Whiteboard (with Copilot), are planning to incorporate GenAI capabilities into their platforms. But, Miro has clearly beaten its rivals to the winning post.
Miro continues pushing the boundaries of what's possible with digital collaboration by adding advanced features for more efficient workflows, better meetings and workshops, and inclusivity among distributed teams. In early June, the company announced that it had added more than 50 new features to the platform and had added 350 new templates to Miroverse in its first quarter of fiscal year 2024 (February - May 2023). The latest series of feature and template releases support both synchronous and asynchronous collaboration among teams, enable more efficient workflows, and maintain industry-leading privacy and security measures.
Unlike traditional ‘medicare’, Village MD’s rationale is not centered around alleviation of symptoms and drug-dependency ‘treatment’ for life. The solution is to dedicate resources where they have historically made the most difference. Instead of devoting 90% of resources to mitigating the effects of chronic conditions, the company invests in primary care to prevent those conditions from occurring, and to lower costs across the board. VillageMD is a healthcare pioneer in the deployment of Big Data which it uses to help doctors unclutter fragmented information. The company's platform provides the tools, technology, operations, and staffing support needed to drive quality clinical results across a population, enabling physicians to improve quality, deliver a first-rate patient experience, and lower costs in the communities they serve through a physician-led model.
Having previously established a strong presence across a number of US states, VillageMD has recently turned to acquisition-based expansion to drive further growth and to rapidly build operations in the Northeast region. In January, the takeover of Summit Health, a leading provider of primary, specialty, and urgent care was completed. This was quickly followed by the acquisition of Starling Health whose value-based care delivery model is also an excellent fit. Collectively, these takeovers provide VillageMD with a presence in 680 locations, caring for 7 million patients across 26 states.
Philadelphia-based goPuff is an American consumer goods and food delivery company operating in over 650 US cities through approximately 500 microfulfillment centers. It also operates in the United Kingdom, following 2021 acquisition of Newcastle upon Tyne-based Fancy. goPuff is considered an innovator for its fast delivery by virtue of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. The company finds cheap warehouses in markets where it wishes to grow and sets up shop there. It then uses an in-house AI-powered system that maps out routes for drivers so that they can deliver the most products to the most locations in the most efficient way possible.
In June, rapid-delivery big hitter Gopuff entered into a partnership with GoRokt, an e-commerce technology company using machine learning to make transactions more relevant to shoppers. This will enable Gopuff to drive additional revenue at checkout by offering customers relevant ads from brands outside the firm’s traditional consumer packaged goods (CPG) category. By delivering relevant offers to Gopuff users, Rokt will help Gopuff’s advertising brand partners, across all categories, create more meaningful customer connections and drive incremental sales.
CloudKitchens is the latest venture for Uber co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick, and, as was the case with Uber, CloudKitchens enjoys the financial backing of tech giant Microsoft. The company provides infrastructure and software that enables food operators to open delivery-only locations with minimal capital expenditure and time, and services focus on the development strategy for non-traditional businesses, such as delivery-only restaurants, enabling investors to participate in a new market.
The concept involves buying or leasing warehouse, storefront, or other space and converting the premises into a massive kitchen for preparing food for multiple restaurants and specific takeaway orders. CloudKitchens closed its most recent USD850 million funding round, in which Microsoft participated, in November 2021, at a total valuation of USD 15 billion. The latest infusion of capital was used to help the company expand across the US, Latin America, the UK, and the Middle East.
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