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Three Unicorns to Bet On

Updated: Jan 21, 2016 3:57 PM UTC

Which unicorns have the business fundamentals to back their hype? Here are three likely to stumble—and three worth wagering on.


Pinterest (The Unicorn List, No. 10)

IPOsidebar_headshot1 Photograph by Kim Kulish—Corbis

The San Francisco photo-sharing startup took years to focus on revenue. It finally has—and advertisers are spending. Pinterest
has escaped share-price markdowns from its mutual fund investors by handily beating its ambitious revenue targets as it lays the groundwork for an IPO.

Adyen (No. 54)

The Amsterdam-based payments startup processed $50 billion in online and mobile sales last year, with (shock!) actual profits on its $350 million in revenue. Valued at $2.3 billion, Adyen is a steal compared with Stripe, which is worth twice as much but reportedly processed less than half as much in sales.

DocuSign (No. 38)

Electronic documentation, or “e-signing,” isn’t the most exciting business—but it’s growing fast. DocuSign, based in San Francisco, is the category leader and serves several Fortune 500 clients.


Instacart (The Unicorn List, No. 61)

IPOsidebar_headshot2Photograph by Benjamin Rasmussen

The other shoe is expected to drop for on-demand delivery services this year, and San Francisco grocery-delivery service Instacart is the category’s poster child. Venture capitalist Bill Gurley compared Instacart’s challenging unit economics to “handing out dollars for 85¢.”

WeWork (No. 13)

Investors value WeWork, a wildly ambitious office-subletting business, like a software company. For WeWork to live up to its $10 billion valuation, it faces the daunting task of scaling like a software company—but with people, long-term leases, and office furniture.

Dropbox (No. 11)

There are numerous reports of revenue-growth pains at this Redwood City, Calif., cloud-computing startup. But if that’s not convincing, just look at the stock performance of its competitor Box: It went public at a 29% discount to its last private valuation, and today its shares are down a further 54%.

MORE: Silicon Valley’s $585 Billion Problem

To see the full Unicorn List, visit

A version of this article appears in the February 1, 2016 issue of Fortune.