The European tech scaleup scene: the facts!

A new study to map the European startup ecosystem and the most promising scaleups

Policy-makers, journalists, researchers but also actors of various startup communities including business accelerators and investors often operate with only fragmented datasets from the European startup domain. A new study, conducted in the framework of the Startup Europe Partnership (SEP) addresses this issue by gathering comparable data at European level.

During the past three years, the global venture capital arena has witnessed significant uptake of European startups securing their deals in the hope to become the next tech giants in their respective fields worldwide. The statistical evidence about the phenomena is still rather scarce and scattered across various sources presenting the subject in an unstructured and incomplete manner.

The Preliminary Study , conducted by PEDAL Consulting and Ud’Anet in the framework of the “Startup Europe Partnership”, aims to address this issue by mapping startup ecosystem in Europe and specifically the most relevant scaleups, i.e. the European startups that have been able to break the “early-stage barrier” and are a candidate to become large global companies and real job creators.

In particular, the report provides answers, among the others, to the following questions:

• How many VC-backed scaleups are there in Europe?
• What is the geography of the European scaleups?
• Which are the next generation global players?
• Which business sectors are they involved in?
• How many exits and M&A occurred in Europe during the past years?
• What is the geography of investors & acquirers?
• What is the total volume raised and revenue generated by European startups?
• What are the country specifics?

And here are some of the most relevant findings of the Preliminary Study:

• UK and Germany confirm their status of “mecca and cradle”: the two European English-speaking countries host 1/3 of the top Scaleups
• Almost 1500 different investors have been identified. 341 invested in more than 1 company. The biggest contributor is Index Ventures, followed by High-Tech Grunderfonds
• Confirmed trend: US growth investors are back in Europe: nearly half of deals >$15m (47%) were led by US investors
• Exits: in the first 6 months of 2014 the Study identified in Europe the same number of exits of the entire 2013. The majority of the exited companies are from the European country generating most of the popular startups: the United Kingdom.
• Analyzed companies have received the last funding in Seed (33%) or Series A (30%) stage. Around 24% are of Stage B or higher. Only 13% of companies used crowdfunding/loans/debts
• Most startups fall into the Software solutions category (17%), which is closely followed by E-commerce (14%) and Mobile applications (10%).
• The Top players in the three main sectors are: Truephone (Uk), Tradeshift (DK) Delivery Hero (DE) in Software Solutions; Klarna (SE), Zalando (DE), Auctionata (DE) in E-Commerce; Shazam (UK), Monitise (UK) and Hailo Cab (UK) in Mobile Applications.

This analysis partially uncovers the truth behind these questions by providing preliminary insights and observations derived from a representative sample of over 1,000 ICT startups and 200 exits or M&A that have been researched in detail during the first 5 months of the project. A more complete and exhaustive assessment is expected to be published in 2015.

“Startups and scaleups need to be put the the centre of EU policies – commented Alberto Onetti, coordinator of Startup Europe Partnership – But we need comparable data at European level to identify and fine tune concrete actions and strategies. The “mapping” effort Startup Europe Partnership is doing in collaboration with PEDAL Consulting and Ud’Anet aims at contributing in filling this gap. Results are preliminary but hopefully help to shed some light on what is happening in Europe and how many startups are effectively scaling-up and turning into sound business ventures and global players”.

Download the The Preliminary Study .