These are the Unicorn companies’ secrets

#### And the 100 most scalable organizations

We’re in an age of unprecedented value creation and its emblem is the Unicorn – a company that quickly hits a multi-billion dollar valuation and beyond. While the experts ask, “Are we in a bubble?” Entrepreneurs are posing a more important question: “What secrets allow new startups to scale so dramatically?” As the chart below shows, some of the founders are increasingly unlocking the secrets, as the time required to reach the billion-dollar market is rapidly shrinking.

Unicorn’s cry comes from one article from venture capitalist Aileen Lee in November 2013, and since then, meme of Unicorns has swept across the startup country. As investors queried new startups, the elephant in the room was replaced with a one-horned horse, as potential sponsors questioned whether the discreet founders before them really create unicorns or not. It is not just a fantasy. Some great products like Slack are exploding out of the gate, adding to the mystique of the label.

But in all this unicorn search fervor, very few people ask analytically, “How do you become unicorns?” or “Why are they doing so well?” In our recent bookMike Malone, Yuri van Geest and I (and our team, led by Michiel Schuurman) explored these issues, as well as created a condensed guide, how to build Unicorns.

Our thesis is that the Unicorns have found a way to expand their organizational structure in a whole new way. Our name for this is Exponential Organization.

Over the past few decades, the tech industry has learned to scale the technology. A startup can have hundreds to millions of users without blinking an eye. What’s less obvious is how to scale the actual organizational structure – it’s always been a painfully linear and incremental process. The book, not surprising Organized exponentially, was released in October 2014 and received the Book of the Year 2014 award Frost & Sullivan GIL. On Friday, the first international language version was released in the Netherlands.

We have been studying this phenomenon for three years and have identified dozens of startups that we consider Exponential Organizations, or ExOs. The basic metric we have established is that the minimum scaling ExOs are 10 times better than their peers in the same space.. For example a typical CPG (Consumer Packaging) company like Johnson & Johnson or Proctor & Gamble It took about 300 days to transition from a new idea to a product on a Walmart shelf. Quirky, a leading ExO, does the same process – a new idea to get products on the Walmart shelf, in just 29 days. And it’s an old industry, not some emerging social-software-free-social-internet game.

Over the course of our research we have categorized a large number of institutions and today, we release list among the top 100 ExOs worldwide. You can find the company name at the end of this post.

Here’s how we got to the point. We have created a diagnosis survey quantify an organization’s core scalability – we call it your Exponential quotient. We worked with our team and a group of 160 people ExO specialist in 45 countries helped in this effort. We looked at the successful startups established after 2005 and some of the major ones and ran them through grading, adding weight to the company-savvy reviewers (wallet). eg I work at Yahoo, so ..). Then we added additional information (location, number of employees, areas covered, etc.).

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