Europe: The New Breeding Ground For Unicorns

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Europe is no longer the startup valley of the dead. In the last decade 35 Startups have surpassed the $B mark and have risen to be Unicorns - here's why:

There was a time, just a decade ago, that Europe was considered to be the Startup Valley of the Dead, at least relative to the exploding scene in Silicon Valley. The United States was the place to be, with Europe, proving slow and plodding by comparison, strangled by ossified business practices and infinite reams of red tape. No more. Since 2005, 35 Startups have surpassed the $B mark. On the surface, this is impressive enough, but the yearly growth rate tells the real story:

In 2005, Skype became the first European Startup initiative to reach the $B+ mark, becoming the first European so-called “Unicorn”. It took another 5 years for another company, Markit, to join it. But from 2010 onwards, the rate of $B+ Startup companies has practically doubled yearly. 2011 doubled the number to 4. 2012 doubled it to 8. 2013 added another 5, with 2014 yielding another 12 $B+ companies. 2015 has added another 10 so far, topping off the figure at 35. At current rates of growth, Europe should be counting around 50 $B+ Startup “Eurocorns” by the end of next year.

The story that is being told here is, in part, that Silicon Valley will not dominate the global market forever. But just as importantly, the story is also that Europe is awakening from its long slumber, with Startup initiatives as its engine of rebirth. The exploding success rate of Startup companies will force changes to regulation, increase European competitiveness on the global stage, and, most importantly, change normal attitudes to business. In a sentence: everyone has an opportunity to benefit from this trend of welcoming and rewarding the contribution of bright ideas. It is also evidence of successful democratization throughout Europe more broadly. The United States may have taught the skills, but now Europe is inventing its own. As StartUs Founder David R. Prasser remarks, “The European Startup Community is on the rise. The 400% increase in Incubators and Accelerators since 2007 is starting to show in the figures and this will be increasingly evident in the years to come.” Europe, November 2015: The Eurocorns step up their trot to a gallop.



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