VC firm Atomico together with Slush and Orrick have released The State of European Tech, a free yearly report covering the venture tech activity across the continent. According to the report, a total of $23 billion has been invested in the industry in 2018, up from just $5 billion in 2013.
Generally speaking, the report paints an optimistic picture of the European tech ecosystem. For example, the software industry alone is growing five times faster than the rest of the European economy, according to Dealroom.co and Eurostat.
“This report has become a bit of a broken record about breaking records but the facts speak for themselves,” said the report’s author Tom Wehmeier, partner and head of research at Atomico. “Today, European founders have access to sophisticated investors, can hire the best talent, go the full distance, stave off ferocious competition, go public and win on the global stage. Europe is now reaping the early rewards from the transformation of its tech ecosystem. The fact is the seeds of success this year were planted a decade ago. That is why we should expect even greater success in the years to come.”
However, there are still a few improvement points to keep in mind. The first one is the lack of funding coming to the industry from institutional investor: according to Invest Europe, over the last five years, pension funds have invested just $1.7 billion in European VC funds — 45 times less than in European buyout funds.
“[W]e need to close the institutional investor funding gap,” Wehmeier added. “Family offices and high net worth individuals have spent the last five years investing $5 billion in venture capital but pension funds are much slower. If pension funds rebalance their allocations away from legacy industries towards game changing technology instead, they can democratise access to the spoils of European tech.”
The industry also appears to have a discrimination problem. According to the results of the 2018 State of European Tech Survey, 46 percent of women reported that they have experienced discrimination in the European tech sector. At the same time, 75 percent of the respondents stated that, in their opinion, the culture at their European startup is inclusive.
To fight the issue, Atomico and Diversity VC have launched a hands-on guide for tech entrepreneurs that aims at helping them to keep diversity and inclusion at the core of their ventures.