"Prior decades have also given birth to tech super-unicorns [companies over 100B]. The 1990s gave birth to Google, currently worth nearly 3x Facebook; and Amazon, worth ~ $160 billion. The 1980’s: Cisco. The 1970s: Apple (currently the most valuable company in the world), Oracle, and Microsoft; and Intel was founded in the 1960s.
What do super-unicorns have in common? The 1960s marked the era of the semiconductor; the 1970s, the birth of the personal computer; the 1980s, a new networked world; the 1990s, the dawn of the modern Internet; and in the 2000s, new social networks were built."

 -from Billion-Dollar Startups on TechCrunch 

Makes you wonder what the Super-Unicorns of the 2010s will be. More  interesting facts on billion dollar companies - called "unicorns."

  • The average founding age is 34.
  • 80% of founders have started a company before.
  • The billion+ startups are pretty evenly split into free, freemium, paid, and enterprise only pay structures.
  • Four Unicorns are born a year.
  • 7 years to liquidity on average.  
  • 27 of 39 Unicorns are based in the Bay Area.

There are many lessons to be learned from this article, but 39 unicorns is a small sample size. I wonder if I'd learn more from looking at companies acquired for between 100M and 500M. These are huge acquisitions, but less "freak-like" in nature than billion dollar acquisitions.