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


Tech ‘dealmaker’ GP Bullhound has today released a research report detailing that Europe has seen thirteen of its tech companies pass a billion-dollar valuation in the last year, meaning that Europe is currently producing a so-called ‘unicorn’ at a rate faster than one a month.

Of the thirteen new companies to join the once-exclusive club that’s seemingly becoming easier to join, 8 were from the UK, 3 were from Germany while France and The Netherlands also had 1 addition each.

The thirteen in full

Adyen (The Netherlands)
BlaBlaCar (France)
Delivery Hero (Germany)
– FanDuel (UK)
Farfetch (UK)
– Funding Circle (UK)
– Home24 (Germany)
– Powa (UK)
Rocket Internet (Germany)
Shazam (UK)
– Skrill (UK)
TransferWise (UK)
Ve (UK)

However, three of Europe’s companies who previously had a valuation of $1 billion+ lost their ‘unicorn’ classification after a difficult year of trading. These were the UK’s Monitise and Boohoo.com, and Spain’s eDreams Odigeo, whose post-IPO troubles have been covered by us before.

This means that Europe is now home to 40 unicorns, compared to 30 at this same point last year.

Other key findings from the report

– Europe’s ‘unicorns’ have a collective value of $120 billion
– Therefore, the average European ‘unicorn’ is valued at $3 billion
– The UK has produced the most ‘unicorns’ since 2000 with 17. Sweden has produced 6, and Germany and Russia are home to 4 each
Fintech is the industry category gaining ‘unicorns’ at the fastest rate
– Less than half of Europe’s ‘unicorns’ have had a liquidity event, with time to liquidity averaging above 8 years
– Building a ‘unicorn’ is expensive, with the median investment $140 million
– Index Ventures is the most successful in investing in Europe’s ‘unicorns’, having backed 9
– 87% of the companies are still managed by at least one member of the founding team

However, although Europe is producing billion-dollar companies at a rate faster than ever before, it still remains behind the US, with America seeing 22 new companies gain a valuation north of $1 billion in the same period. And while European ‘unicorns’ have a collective value of $120 billion, Facebook has a market capitalisation of more than double that on its own ($275 billion).

But while there is still some catching up to do, as the gap in available capital between the US and Europe decreases, it’s likely that the gap between creating ‘unicorns’ will continue to do so too.

You can read the full report from GP Bullhound here (PDF).

Also read:

European tech company exits in 2014: 358 deals in total, €80.14B (disclosed), and other take-aways

An interview with NASDAQ exec Adam Kostyál about Europe’s potential for future tech IPOs

Featured image credit: Shari ONeal / Shutterstock

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