November 15, 2021

Six Domestic Startups Exceeding ¥100 billion

Companies with strong ability to create new businesses are advancing

According to Nikkei's 2021 NEXT Unicorn Survey, the number of enterprises with a value of over ¥100 billion doubled from the previous year to six.

Enterprises with high business creation capabilities backed by technology, such as data analysis utilizing artificial intelligence and new materials with low environmental impact, made a leap forward.

Corporate Value Ranking (1st to 10th)
Company name (business description)Estimated corporate value
1Preferred Networks (AI Development)¥356.1 billion
2SmartNews (Information gathering app)¥201.7 billion
3SmartHR (Cloud-based personnel and labor software)¥173.1 billion
4TBM (Plastics and paper substitutes)¥133.6 billion
5Spiber (Next-generation materials)¥131.2 billion
6HIROTSU Bio Science (Early detection tests for cancer)¥102.6 billion
7Astroscale Holdings (Space refuse removal service)¥81.8 billion
8ispace (Development of lunar landing vessels and probes)¥75.3 billion
9Bitkey (Development of SmartRock)¥57.5 billion
10atama plus (Education system utilizing AI)¥51 billion

Note: Estimated by Nikkei based on registry information etc. as of September 2021

Unicorn, which has a corporate value of $1 billion (about 113 billion yen) or more, increased by two companies from last year to five companies. Instead of FinTech, which has been common until now, the R&D type is conspicuous. There is a growing expectation that new fields of business will be created due to the effect of new Corona viruses and decarbonization.

While incorporating external funds from investors, an increasing number of companies are hoping to conduct an IPO. 91 companies are currently aiming at IPO in the next two years and numbers have increased by nearly fifty percent compared with the previous year (60 companies). There is a growing appetite for listing even under the Covid-19 crisis.

In fact, the number of unicorns in Japan is lower than overseas. According to CB Insights, there are 470 companies in the U.S. and 169 in China. India (48 companies) and the United Kingdom (34 companies) also overwhelm Japan by numbers.