Today’s European technology ecosystem — by the numbers

Since 2014, Europe has seen more tech IPOs than the US -- and twice as many in both 2016 and 2017. At Balderton, we believe the next giant company from Europe will be a tech company.

How is the European tech ecosystem changing?

In the past ten years, six key things have matured the European ecosystem:

  1. Innovation is distributed;
    Success is being distributed all over Europe, whether it’s FarFetch, which was founded in Lisbon, or Spotify (Stockholm), or Unity Technologies (Copenhagen), or Adyen (Amsterdam), or BioNTech (Mainz), or Skyscanner (Edinburgh), or Avast (Prague), or Taxify (Tallinn).
  2. Great startups are getting funded;
    2017 was a record year for Europe’s VC ecosystem with €16.9bn ($19.5bn) in capital invested - the highest number PitchBook has recorded.
  3. Governments are now ‘walking the walk’; 
    All over Europe, politicians are leaning in and listening to the needs of the startup community, knowing that tech entrepreneurship is now a key growth engine for the wider economy.
  4. A second generation of technology entrepreneurs is spinning out new companies;
    The surge in billion-dollar companies, and the exits that have followed, has precipitated the emergence of a second generation of entrepreneurs, who are spinning out new companies and angel investing in other startups.
  5. A Valley-style growth playbook has emerged in Europe;
    This playbook is showing how companies can go global from day one— another sign of the maturity of the European ecosystem.
  6. Europe is now outpacing the US for tech IPOs;
    According to the London Stock Exchange, since 2014, Europe has seen more tech IPOs than the US – and twice as many as in both 2016 and 2017.

We covered these six points in more detail in the article Bringing it all back home: How Silicon Valley veterans are transforming European tech published earlier this year.

Articles in this series

Why we're welcoming the ex-Silicon Valley Community in Europe

Today's European technology ecosystem —by the numbers (this article)

Our research into European founders' Silicon Valley experience

Ex-Silicon Valley tech leaders in Europe — the stories

What's next? Connect with us.

Since 2014, Europe has seen more tech IPOs than the US – and twice as many as in both 2016 and 2017

European tech exits

According to, there are at least 154 tech companies valued at over $1Bn across the continent (including those privately held and publicly listed).

76 of those tech companies are publicly traded, some of them never having gone through any institutional venture capital funding stages.

Spotify was the biggest IPO of any VC-backed company anywhere, since Jan-2017, raising $9.24Bn. Overall European based VC-backed tech startups are having a better exit year IPO-wise than the US. There were 24 exits in Europe, compared to 22 in the US, with higher amounts raised at IPO and higher aggregate market cap.

See the data on Unicorns and Big Exits in Europe.

IPO Data

 IPO DateRaised at IPOMarket Cap 17th October 2018
Adyen13 June 2018$991.33M$17.15Bn
Farfetch 21 Sep 2018$884.87M$7.41Bn
Spotify3 Apr 2018$9.24Bn$29.20Bn

See more data: GP Bullhound Titans of Tech — Europe Comes of Age

European startup capital funding

It’s a commonly held belief that there simply isn’t the quantity of funding available in Europe as in the Valley. Today, this is true.

However, let’s look at the journey Europe is on.

  • In 2008 there was $1.9Bn of venture capital invested in tech companies in Europe; in 2017 this had risen to $17.1Bn.
  • In 2008 there were only 4 companies who had raised more than $20m in venture funding; in 2017 this number had risen to 89.
  • We estimate that there are a total of 813 tech companies in Europe that have raised >$20m in the last 10 years.

There is simply much more capital available today, with more startups benefitting from that capital.

However, while the availability of funding has increased dramatically in Europe, the region still has a long way to go to catch up to the United States and Asia. Where companies in Asia and the United States are regularly valued at over $50Bn, and raise an average of $7.5Bn to realise their vision, European startups at five times less at their disposal.

European talent landscape

Europe has many excellent university producing hundreds of bright new graduates every year. Many more talented individuals immigrate to Europe from other regions. Our research confirmed that talent is widely considered by founders to be Europe's most valuable asset.

The challenge European startups face is not talent scarcity but shortage of scale up experience. As our Head of Talent, Kiana Sharifi, writes here, "It is knowing how to attract talent and scale teams quickly while maintaining a high bar. A kind of hypergrowth muscle memory that comes from having hired and managed teams under pressure."

We believe that an infusion of scale up experience could be a powerful growth catalyst for European startups. Read more about why here.

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