The organisation Startup Europe Partnership (SEP), in collaboration with PEDAL Consulting and other partners, today published a report (PDF) dedicated to tech ‘scale-ups’, ‘scalers’ and exits in Europe.

According to SEP, it’s the first cross-country research of its kind and scale – covering the five largest economies in the EU by GDP (UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy) in a five-year period.

SEP, which was established by the European Commission in 2014 and is run by the Mind The Bridge foundation in collaboration with Nesta and others, says it has identified and analysed 990 ‘scale-ups’ and almost 40 ‘scalers’ in these five countries who have raised a total of $23 billion in funding (including IPOs) from 2010 to 2015.

Also read: 13 European tech companies became ‘unicorns’ in the last year

Here are some of the main take-aways from the fresh report:

Relevant scale-ups europe

SEP defines ‘scale-ups’ as tech companies who’ve raised between $1 million and $100 million, and ‘scalers’ as companies who’ve raised even more (and as I’m sure you know, those who’ve reached a valuation of $1 billion or more are generally referred to as ‘unicorns’).

The UK is in the lead for the former category, SEP claims based on the data it’s collected: its 399 scale-ups amount to almost double those in Germany or France, and quadruple the scale-ups in Spain and
Italy. With $11.1 billion, UK scale-ups alone raised nearly half of the total amount of $23 billion from 2010 to 2015. UK scale-ups also raised $4 billion of capital via IPO, more than double of what the other four countries were able to collect.

And even though France and Germany host almost the same number of scale-ups, German scale-ups raised twice the amount of capital than their French neighbours (likely skewed by whoppers such as Delivery Hero and Zalando).

According to SEP’s report, the vast majority of funding via VC is in the range of $1 million to $10 million injections. Out of 981 venture-backed scale-ups, 67% received less than $10 million in funding.

In terms of EU tech exits, SEP identified 374 transactions in the five European countries for the period 2010-2015. Over 90% of the exits (350) were M&A transactions, with only 24 IPOs.

This is in line with our own research. To wit, we tracked a total of 358 European technology company exits in 2014 alone – we include Russia, Israel etc. as part of the European tech industry – and only 4.75% of the exits we tracked last year were IPOs. Seems like this is a missing piece of the puzzle indeed.

SEP’s data suggests that only one third of the scale-ups were acquired by domestic companies, while 14% was acquired by a company from another EU member state. In general, approximately 1 out of 2 remains in Europe after the acquisition. Unsurprisingly, US companies are the most active buyers.

More in the full report, available for free here (PDF).

Also read:

Tech.eu releases report on European tech M&A and IPOs in 2014

European tech company exits in 2014: 358 deals in total, worth €80.14 billion in total

European startup accelerators: current state and future trends

Featured image credit: Gualberto Becerra / Shutterstock

  • ivospigel

    Why only these 5 countries in the analysis? Things are dynamic all over Europe …

    • A question for SEP, but I imagine they’d need a lot more manpower and time for more extensive reports.