JUUL just beat Facebook, becoming the fastest decacorn in history, and it wasn't even close. That's right, I said "decacorn." If that looks like a silly word, that's because it is. Decacorn is a made-up word used to describe a company that has been valued at over $10 billion. Until recently, Facebook was the fastest company ever to reach decacorn status with only two and a half years between their first VC round and their $10 billion valuation.
JUUL just did it in 7 months, making it the fastest in history. That's 4 times faster than Facebook, 7 times faster than Twitter and 11 times faster than Dropbox.
There are currently 281 unicorns in the world. "Unicorn" is financial-speak for a company valued at over 1 billion dollars. The name comes from back in 2013 when there were only a small handful— Uber, Airbnb and a few others— so these companies with eight figure valuations were rare and exotic. You know, like unicorns. Here in 2018 they're not quite as rare, so a new mythical beast is needed to differentiate the heavy hitters from the measly unicorn.
Enter the DECACORN!— a startup valued at over 10 billion dollars.
(By the way, a company valued at over $1 million is called a narwhal.)
Let's have a look at the top ten US-based decacorns. This list of valuations should help us get our finger on the pulse of the free market;
- Uber $72
- Airbnb $29.3
- SpaceX $21.5
- Palantir Technologies $20
- WeWork $20
- Stripe $20
- JUUL Labs $15
- Pinterest $12.3
- Lyft $11.5
- Infor $10
It's no surprise to see Uber and Airbnb still at the top. On-demand transportation and accommodation are useful and important.
SpaceX is launching rockets and satellites, and talking about terraforming Mars.
Palantir is spying on the entire world and mining data about everything and everyone so our A.I. overlords will have plenty to work with in the near future.
WeWork basically charges a thousand bucks a month to use their couches and coffee makers.
Stripe does mobile payment processing so break-dancers on the train can hit you up for cash even though you don't carry any.
And then we see JUUL at number 7 on the list, valued at $15 billion.
Before I get off on a tangent, let me briefly interrupt myself to mention that we sell JUUL products on our lovely website, along with a fantastic variety of e-juice. 🙂
Most of the companies on this list have faced significant pushback from regulations as well as the major players in the industry they've uprooted. But for every hotel owner and cabdriver losing sleep over new disruptive technology forcing them to compete or fall into obscurity, there are ten thousand or so who think it's just fine by them.
While not without controversy, these companies manage to enjoy a positive public image. But I challenge you to find a single charitable article about JUUL.
JUUL says its mission is to eliminate combustible cigarettes– the number one cause of preventable death in all of humanity. How hard do you think it would be to argue that an alternative to cigarettes that allows hundreds of thousands of people to finally quit smoking is a good thing?
You'd think it would be an easy argument to win. In fact, it almost seems perfectly self-evident that it's a good thing and hardly needs to be defended. You'd think anything that successfully moves people away from cigarettes would be more or less applauded. You would think...
Instead, the government's attitude and the media's coverage more closely resembles a moral panic.
It's practically an unwritten law that you can't write about vaping without a tone of condescension and snark, or mention JUUL without scaremongering, finger-wagging and focusing entirely on the tiniest segment of its consumers- the minors who got their older siblings to buy their JUUL pods for them. Unfortunately, they happen to be the loudest on social media. Keep in mind that JUUL turns away a quarter of all attempted online sales.
Despite the government all but tying their hands behind their back and the media demonizing them, a vaping company just became the fastest decacorn in history.
Money talks and the people have spoken. They want an alternative to cigarettes. Vaping is clearly an important and much-needed technological advancement that is making the world a better place and should be treated with respect.