The Age of Unicorns

from the article ““It does make a difference psychologically. One billion is better than $800 million because it’s the psychological threshold for potential customers, employees, and the press.”

Fortune

Stewart Butterfield had one objective when he set out to raise money for his startup last fall: a billion dollars or nothing. If he couldn’t reach a $1 billion valuation for Slack, his San Francisco business software company, he wouldn’t bother. Slack was hardly starving for cash. It was a rocket ship, with thousands of people signing up for its workplace collaboration tools each week. What Slack needed, Butterfield believed, was the cachet of the billion-dollar mark.

“Yes, it’s arbitrary because it’s a big round number,” says Butterfield, 41. “It does make a difference psychologically. One billion is better than $800 million because it’s the psychological threshold for potential customers, employees, and the press.”

Unicorn cover horizontalIllustration by Jeremy Enecio for Fortune

Sure enough, in October—less than a year after the company released its namesake product—Slack announced the close of a $120 million round of financing. Its valuation? One billion dollars. Butterfield’s…

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