Despite recent reports about mutual funds and other late-stage investors writing down the value of their start-up investments — as well as warnings of a tech bubble deflating — the valuation of the companies on CNBC's Disruptor 50 list is surging.
It's been nearly seven months since CNBC launched its third annual Disruptor 50 list, highlighting companies that are shaking up a wide range of industries. And while the public markets have been rocky, these private companies have been on fire.
Excluding the two companies that went public — Square and Pure Storage — the value of the companies on the list has risen 26 percent since May to $201 billion, according to PitchBook. The Disruptor list today includes 27 unicorns — private companies worth more than $1 billion — three more than in May. There are still 10 companies worth more than $10 billion, and some of those have also grown in value.
Some notable increases: The value of LISNR has more than tripled since May. The start-up, which uses sound waves to send data, raised $10 million in a November funding round led by Intel Capital, bringing it into unicorn territory.
The value of Intarcia Therapeutics, which makes a diabetes drug delivery system, has surged from $1.6 billion when named to the list in May, to $5.5 billion today. And even DraftKings, with its recent regulatory battles, has nearly quintupled in value, now a unicorn at $1.2 billion.
Many of the other CNBC Disruptor 50 companies have also been on a fundraising tear. The 48 companies that remained private have raised $10 billion in the past seven months, bringing the total raised to $32 billion, according to PitchBook.
Airbnb raised $1.5 billion, which it will use to fuel its international expansion, in Asia in particular. Uber raised another billion, as it continues its global expansion, waging regulatory battles in regions around the world, as did SoFi, which takes a new approach to student loans. Palantir, which crunches big data for the government and Wall Street, raised more than $550 million. Snapchat raised $538 million in a sale of common stock, from Alibaba Group, as well as Fidelity and York Capital.
As for the two companies that braved the public markets — Pure Storage and Square — they're seen by many as a litmus test for other companies weighing whether or not to go public. Pure Storage struggled out of the gate, falling more than 5 percent in its first day of trading. But just last week the company did a total about-face and rebounded on better-than-expected quarterly results as well as stronger guidance for the next quarter.
"We feel like the business is kicking on all cylinders," said Scott Dietzen, Pure Storage's CEO. "I think the reason is we've got these disruptors right: Flash memory and cloud are fundamentally changing the storage industry and the decisions we made six years ago to optimize our solution for those disruptors are paying off."
In contrast, Square surged in its first day of trading on Nov. 19, but since then has not fared so well, down nearly 8 percent, drawing interest from short-sellers.
So will other companies follow in their stead and go public? Uber has been going on what's described as a private roadshow, working to raise billions more at a valuation north of $60 billion, as it opts to stay private. So who's next? Airbnb could go public in the next year, as could Snapchat, which is working on different revenue streams. All eyes are watching Dropbox, which is facing concerns about its ability to go public at its $10 billion-plus valuation, after Fidelity marked down its value.