A unicorn is a startup that gets valued at over $1B. But dragons are far more value.
A lot of investors get excited about unicorns, even if their funds are not early investors in those companies. Who cares if your investment in a unicorn was when it was not an early one for you as an investor? Just marketing has no value, only the returns count.
On the other hand, a dragon is a startup that returns the whole fund. A dragon is a fund-maker, so to speak.
This means, from a pure returns perspective, smaller funds are easier to hit out of the park, and it also means that earlier stage investments are better for returns, albeit with higher risk.
What if you can engineer dragons, just like you can use CRISPR to manipulate DNA and get the designer baby you want? Dragoneering is just that same process applied to super early-stage startups. Dragoneering is the process of manufacturing fund-beating returns using technology and strategy and a collective approach to investing and value co-creation.
This is often an inorganic process involving M&A and is therefore an active management process, not something that just happens. It needs focused resources and priority, and is the role of a corp dev or strategy lead on every executive team. Make sure you have at least one or two dragoneers on your board!