Tech & Science dictionary



What does hectocorn mean?

It is the most elusive, and expensive, creature of them all: the hectocorn, a financial term for a company valued at over $100 billion.

Related words

FAANG, DJIA, 🦄 Unicorn Face emoji, google it, iWatch, side hustle, ICO, decacorn

Where does hectocorn come from?


A unicorn is a mythical horse with a single horn protruding form its head. In 2013, venture capitalist Aileen Lee wrote an article for TechCrunch where she likened new companies (startups) valued at over $1 billion to unicorns—famously rare in legend, just like such companies.

In 2015, as unicorn companies became more common, a Business Insider article referred to companies valued at over $10 billion decacorns, with deca– a Greek-based prefix meaning “ten.” Around the same time we see the next power of ten occur: hectocorn, with hecto– a Greek-based prefix meaning “one hundred.”

Hectocorn made news in 2018–19 when Uber was seeking valuations of over $100 billion ahead of its IPO, or “initial public offering” of its stock to the public.

Examples of hectocorn

In an era of “unicorns”–startups valued at $1 billion–Uber was the decacorn. Until it looked liked it was on the way to becoming the first hectocorn, valued at $100 billion.
Katy Steinmetz & Matt Vella, Time, June, 2017
In the age of unicorns (and decahorns [sic] and even hectocorns), it’s easy to focus on what other successful companies are doing. But fast growth and high valuations aren’t always a ticket to success -- just ask some of the former unicorns that are now worried about becoming plow horses.
Mark McClain, Forbes, December, 2017
Startup Nedir

Who uses hectocorn?

The term hectocorn is principally found in tech and business media and discussions. While some apply the criterion that a hectocorn (as with a unicorn and decacorn) must be privately owned and relatively new (i.e., a not (yet) publicly traded startup), hectocorn can be more generally applied to any company that is worth over $100 billion.

This includes Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple, which at one point in 2018 was technically the world’s first kilocorn kilo (kilo-, “thousand”), valued at over $1 trillion.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of hectocorn like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of hectocorn that will help our users expand their word mastery.