Is your startup a Unicorn or a Zebra

April 06,2017

Is your startup a Unicorn or a Zebra

Last month, amidst high profile cases of misbehaving Unicorns, from Oculus to Uber, Mara Zepeda & Jennifer Brandel wrote a blog “Zebras fix what Unicorns break.”

They said “The current technology and venture capital structure is broken. It rewards quantity over quality, consumption over creation, quick exits over sustainable growth, and shareholder profit over shared prosperity."

"It chases after “unicorn” companies bent on “disruption” rather than supporting businesses that repair, cultivate, and connect.”

They then say “A company’s business model is the first domino in a long chain of consequences. In short: ‘The business model is the message.’"

"From that business model flows company culture and beliefs, strategies for success, end-user experiences, and, ultimately, the very shape of society.

This new movement demands a new symbol, so we’re claiming an animal of our own: the zebra.

Why zebras?

1. To state the obvious: unlike unicorns, zebras are real.

2. Zebra companies are both black and white: they are profitable and improve society. They won’t sacrifice one for the other.

3. Zebras are also mutualistic: by banding together in groups, they protect and preserve one another. Their individual input results in stronger collective output.

4. Zebra companies are built with peerless stamina and capital efficiency, as long as conditions allow them to survive."

If you are striving to grow a Unicorn, you may succeed, although they are beginning to look rarer as VCs slow down their investing.

If, on the other hand, you are striving to rear a Zebra, you are in good company. After all, Zebras like to group together, and they are becoming increasingly common as entrepreneurs seek co-operation and sustainability over competition and monopoly.

When you seek size and scale, you may never reach success. If you seek purpose and profit, you can succeed the moment you start.

“Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.” ~ Minor Myers Jnr

If you like the idea of being a Zebra, you can read Mara & Jennifer’s “Zebra Manifesto” at

You can also visit

And because a gathering of Zebras is a “Dazzle”, you can also join the first Zebra gathering at “Dazzlecon” later this year:

Twitter Feeds

Facebook Feeds

Pinterest Feeds