Billion Dollar Start-ups - Investment and Exit Trends in the US and Europe

Event Details


London | March 14, 2019

The phenomenon of start-ups with billion dollar valuations has become an established feature of the global technology landscape. We invite you to join our seminar in which we consider the rise of the so-called unicorns.

It is estimated that there are several hundred unicorns worldwide. There are a range of reasons for their emergence. Start-ups are staying private for longer allowing them to continue growing well beyond the point that they would have gone public in the past. They have been able to do this in part because their potential market reach is global and they have been growing so fast. They have also benefitted from the fact that there is a huge amount of capital available in the market. Mega financing rounds of over $100 million are increasingly common.

The last few years have also seen an increasing number of unicorn exits. A record number of venture-backed companies valued over $1 billion launched public offerings last year. Unicorn M&A volumes have increased as well. M&A transactions in 2018 included Walmart's $16 billion acquisition of Flipkart and Microsoft's $7.5 billion purchase of GitHub. Even larger exits are anticipated in the next few years.

In this seminar we will explore the factors that have led to the proliferation of start-ups with billion dollar valuations and will discuss whether the phenomenon can persist in the face of global political, regulatory and economic headwinds. We will also consider what the latest financing trends are in North America and Europe and what the IPO and M&A prospects are for unicorns this years.


  • Introduction
    Sean Murphy – Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright (London)
  • Start-up financing and exit trends in Silicon Valley
    Lior Nuchi – Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright (San Francisco)
  • European unicorns: a growing herd?
    Sophie O’Connor – Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright (London)
    Frank Henkel - Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright (Munich)
  • Panel discussion: Are unicorns an endangered species? Or will they survive and thrive?
    Paddy Evans, MD  - Citi
    Christian Janson-Euterneck , Managing Partner- NeueCapital
    Hussain Kanji, Partner – Hoxton Ventures
    Zeev Rozov, COO – Minute Media
    Peter Spofforth, VP – Qataylst Partners