The UK’s Biggest Unicorn Companies In Terms Of Valuation

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Darktrace, The Hut Group, Deliveroo, Oxford Nanopore, Wise…. these are all examples of UK ‘unicorn’ companies that have gone live on the London Stock Exchange in recent years.

By definition, a unicorn company is a privately held company with a valuation of over $1bn (around £880m) by market investors. The term was originally coined in 2013 by venture capitalist Aileen Lee to describe successful US software businesses, although this has since expanded to encompass all industries on a global level.

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Share trading provider CMC Markets (click to learn more) has conducted research into some of the UK’s biggest unicorns by estimated valuation, according to data from Reuters and The Financial Times.

The company has also gathered data to see how many average monthly searches each business earns on Google to see if there is a positive correlation between customer interest and market cap. Search volume data is taken from website analysis tool Ahrefs.

The UK's Biggest Unicorn Companies

So, let’s take a look at the data and analyse it in further detail below.

Company Valuation Average Monthly Searches £35.5bn ($40bn) 2,300
Revolut £29.29bn ($33bn) 107,000
Hopin £6.92bn ($7.8bn) 8,400
OneTrust £4.53bn ($5.1bn) 6,000
Monzo £4bn ($4.5bn) 212,000
CMR Surgical £2.66bn ($3bn) 3,800
Starling Bank £2.5bn ($2.82bn) 151,000
BrewDog £1.88bn ($2.18bn) 34,000
Zilch £1.77bn ($2bn) 244,000
Gymshark £1.2bn ($1.35bn) 611,000

The company with the largest estimated valuation in the UK is digital payments processor with a market cap of £35.5bn. Despite this, it has the lowest number of monthly Google searches, suggesting that the company is relatively under the radar with its services.

It operates an end-to-end platform based on cloud technology, offering global payments services, card and bank payouts, fraud detection and authentication services.


Not far behind is Revolut, a neo-bank that has managed to raise capital from Softbank and Tiger Global Management in recent years, bringing its estimated valuation to over £29bn.

The company has more than 20 million personal users and 950,000 business users across 200 countries around the world, providing currency exchange and transfer services, as well as foreign exchange, cryptocurrency and stock trading.


One of the newest companies on this list, events technology platform Hopin was founded in 2019 and has managed to achieve unicorn status in less than three years. Its success can be somewhat attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic, when businesses were forced to run virtually due to regional lockdowns, leading to a spike in demand for video conferencing software.

Compared to Zoom and Microsoft, Hopin may appear relatively unknown, but the company still has a high valuation of £6.92bn.


With joint headquarters in Atlanta, US and London, UK, this cybersecurity business joined the unicorn list in 2019. Its platform connects privacy, GRC, ethics and ESG data together so that companies of all sizes can collaborate and stay vigilant in the face of cyberthreats.

Before reaching a $1bn valuation, OneTrust made several business acquisitions to expand its customer base and product offering, which is a useful tactic for start-ups.


The company with the fifth highest valuation of £4bn is Monzo, another British neo-bank. The business offers personal and business current accounts, savings accounts, cash ISAs, overdrafts and loans with over 6 million customers in the UK.

Monzo has an average monthly search volume of 212,000 on Google as one of the most popular digital banks across the country.

CMR Surgical

CMR Surgical is one of the biggest MedTech start-ups in the UK with an estimated market cap of £2.66bn. The company operates Versius, a robotic surgery system that blends technology and healthcare together to create high-quality medical devices.

Its headquarters are settled in the tech cluster of Cambridge despite generating publicity across other hubs in the US and China.

Starling Bank

Similar to Revolut and Monzo, Starling Bank is the third online bank on this list of unicorn companies. The digital challenger bank offers personal, business and joint accounts, as well as child and teen options, and a variety of lending products.

Despite having a much lower valuation than Revolut of £2.5bn and only 2.7 million customers in comparison, Starling Bank has a higher volume of 151,000 searches per month on Google.


Based in Aberdeen, this multinational brewery and pub chain is still privately owned with an estimated market cap of £1.88bn, although investors can get involved with BrewDog shares through its ‘Equity for Punks Tomorrow’ scheme.

The company has seen a rather turbulent couple of years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, postponing its IPO originally planned for 2021 and fluctuating in valuation around the billion-pound figure.


Zilch became the fastest ever British unicorn in 2021 after securing investments from Goldman Sachs and DMG Ventures, valuing it at £1.77bn. It reached this status within a record-breaking 14 months after its first Series A funding round.

Zilch acts as a virtual credit card where users can checkout and pay later in thousands of stores worldwide. It faces steep competition within the buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) market from international competitors such as Klarna, Afterpay and Zip.


Interestingly, although Gymshark has the highest average search volume of more than half a million searches on Google for the brand, it has the lowest valuation of the 10 unicorns at £1.2bn, showing there is no clear correlation between the two values.

The company had never raised equity before reaching unicorn status in 2020, showing the contrast between industries on this list, where fintech unicorns appear more actively involved in raising capital for the business.

CMC’s chief market analyst Michael Hewson comments on the results, “given that London is one of the biggest hubs in the world for finance and technology, it’s no surprise to see so many highly valued unicorns on this list. The UK is constantly progressing in the world of start-ups and has created rivals for major US players like Stripe, Databricks and Chime”.

In fact, according to data from Tipalti, the UK currently ranks in 4th position for the number of unicorns worldwide, after the US, China and India.