GP Bullhound: UK tops ranking for European tech unicorns

gp bullhound

The UK is the European country home to most tech unicorns, having added four billion dollar businesses in the past 12 months.

According to GP Bullhound’s ‘Titans of Tech: Europe’s Flagship Companies’ report, the UK technology industry now boasts 22 billion dollar firms, cumulatively valued at $49.9bn.

In fact, the research shows that the UK, Germany and Sweden remain Europe’s leading hubs for scaling digital businesses, with 36 companies valued at $1bn or more.

However, 10 other countries are now home to billion-dollar businesses. Germany, in particular, has demonstrated strong growth in recent years.

As well as being home to Zalando – one of Europe’s three $10bn firms – Germany has added six billion-dollar companies since 2014. Sweden is tied with Germany as the country with the second highest number of billion-dollar tech companies (7). Israel follows with five and France and Russia are close behind with three each.

Looking at Europe

Resilient growth has enabled Europe’s most influential tech companies to reach a cumulative valuation of $169bn, up from $130bn in 2016, the report adds.

There are now 57 billion dollar businesses across Europe, with three – Supercell, Zalando and Spotify – valued at over $10bn.

The data suggests that technology investment activity signals that Europe has the potential to soon build its first $50bn titan – in the realm of companies such as Facebook, Uber and Tesla.

Furthermore, the report illustrates that movement of talent has been – and is – critical in the growing success of Europe’s billion-dollar businesses. It finds that over a third of European founders are based in the UK, 60% of expatriates started their companies in the UK, and London’s draw as a hub for tech talent is undiminished.

Manish Madhvani, managing partner at GP Bullhound, commented: “Ambition defines successful entrepreneurs. It sets apart the handful of pioneers that confront fundamental problems in the world’s largest industries and create innovations that transform business and society. While we have made great strides in recent times, our European tech leaders have on average received only one fifth of the capital raised by the titans such as Facebook, Tesla and Baidu. This report shows that Europe’s leading entrepreneurs now have the collective vision, ambition and execution capabilities to build titanic businesses.”

The report also finds that, from a sample of Europe’s billion-dollar companies, revenues nearly tripled between 2013 and 2015, rising from $163m to $454m, over 60 % of Europe’s billion-dollar firms now generate over $150m in revenue and over 26% of these businesses produce revenues over $1bn.

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