Unicorns Still Roaming Free in European Business World

During the past almost 15 years there has been a burst in the growth of technology companies in Europe, especially in the UK. Since the year 2000 at least 30 technology firms have developed to mega companies now worth over $1 billion each.

Research looking into the issue of whether Europe’s entrepreneurs do not have enough vision and sell out too soon showed that this is definitely not the case. The research was done by the boutique investment bank GP Bullhound, and showed that Europe compares favorably with the US, which created 39 billion-dollar companies in the ten year period between 2003 and 2013.

Researchers refer to these start-ups as ‘unicorns’ because they are rare and very valuable. They are hard to find statistically. The 30 in Europe account for only 0.27 percent of comparable tech firms founded since 2000. These types of companies are even more infrequent in the US. Cowboy Ventures, a startup fund which conducted similar research, found tht only 0.07 percent of venture-backed groups which began since 2003 have reached a $1 billion valuation.

Since 2000 the UK has created 11 unicorns, Russia five, and Sweden with four. France and Finland have two each, and Germany, Spain, Ireland, Israel, Italy and Luxembourg each created one.

“Europe is much more adept at creating billion-dollar tech companies than most experts expected. The fact that it is in touching distance of the US demonstrates how both the ambition levels and ecosystem have progressed to allow entrepreneurs to scale global businesses,” said GP Bullhound co-founder Manish Madhvani.

“The much-voiced criticism of UK tech has been that owners tend to sell out too early to US tech giants. However, this is clearly changing with many companies such as Spotify, Just Eat, Criteo and Zoopla turning down multiple approaches to create true global leaders.”

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