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The Rarest Beast of All: Crowdfunding Unicorns

  • November 5, 2021
  • 3 min read

Uber, AirBnB, SpaceX, Pinterest and Snapchat are all household names—but did you know that they’re all also Unicorns? No, not the magical horned horses of legend. Unicorns of the investing world: private companies with a valuation of over $1 billion.

To date, there have been over 800 unicorns total across a variety of industries. Of those, many have crowdfunded as a way to gain capital on their rise to dominance. 

Ten years ago, giant raises on crowdfunding platforms were all but unheard of.  In fact, crowdfunding used to be a last resort for companies who needed an influx of capital. Startups could tarnish their reputation by resorting to crowdfunding, because it made them seem uninvestable to VCs and angel investors.

Today, companies with high valuation potential crowdfund millions of dollars each month. With the meteoric rise of crowdfunding around the world, crowdfunding attracts serious investors—and breeds unicorns. Here are a few of the most magical:

Cruise Control

Cruise Control develops self-driving systems for new and existing vehicles. Founded in 2013 in San Francisco, it was originally funded through several rounds of venture capital totaling $18 million. Next, they launched equity campaigns on AngelList for their Series A and Series B funding. Eventually, big names like Y Combinator and Spark Capital also got involved.

In March of 2016, Cruise Control was bought by General Motors in a deal valued over $1 billion, making it the very first unicorn of crowdfunding.


In 2016, BrewDog USA launched its first of many crowdfunding raises in the U.S., under Regulation A guidelines which closed on July 28, 2017.  This campaign raised more than $7 million from more than 8,000 investors. They followed their first successful raise with a second Regulation A round in 2018 that raised $2.2 million from 6,200 investors.

In April 2017, TSG Consumer Partners invested $217 million for 22% of BrewDog, taking it over the mythical $1 billion valuation.


Peloton began its journey to success via Kickstarter in 2013. Raising $307,000 on the platform, it became one of the most sought after brands by investors in the huge at-home fitness industry thanks to its proprietary blend of hardware and software.

After closing their Kickstarter campaign, Peloton went on to raise $550 million in venture capital and reached a $4.1 billion valuation in 2018 before going public in 2019.

To date, Peloton is the only venture-backed fitness tech company to garner a unicorn valuation.


Zenefits offers cloud-based software for the human resources industry. After launching in 2013, the Zenefits team bootstrapped their way to a $372K oversubscribed seed campaign on Wefunder. In 2014, they raised $17 million in its Series A round of funding, immediately followed by a $61 million Series B round.  

Within a year of their Wefunder seed campaign, the valuation of Zenefits increased 40x and the company gained 4,000% unrealized returns within a year.

Zenefits is currently valued north of $2B, which is a 206X increase on the Wefunder round valuation. They’re also the first unicorn to gain their seed capital on Wefunder.

Could Your Startup Be the Next Unicorn?

Here at Arora Project, we are well-versed in using equity crowdfunding to raise capital. We boast a 100% success rate in equity crowdfunding campaigns, and we’re looking for our next unicorn opportunity as well. Could it be you? Let’s connect.

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