Startups can thrive in an already crowded market

Contrary to popular belief, the data indicates that more than 65 percent of billion-dollar companies started in markets with well-established demand. In the group of random startups, this was true for only 47 percent of companies, suggesting some advantages to companies that tried to compete in already-established large markets. The companies that succeed in these larger markets did so by creating superior products that took market share from others, or by expanding the market by reducing costs or providing access to new parts of the population.

A myth persists that startups that go the market-creation route end up building larger companies, but it is actually not correct. In fact, companies competing for share created slightly more value. Companies competing for share were valued on average at $4.9 billion, and companies creating new markets were valued on average at $4.5 billion.