9 Dec 2021

Launching the 7th annual State of European Tech Report

Over the past seven years of creating our annual State of European Tech report, it’s been amazing to see it grow from a humble slideshare deck to one of the most anticipated events and resources in European tech. 

But while the scale has changed, our goal has remained the same: to capture a macro snapshot of our ecosystem. Not to answer every question, but to chart progress and spark new ideas on how we can realise European tech’s full potential. 

To celebrate, we sat down with some incredible people for the report launch on Dec 7th to explore the stories behind this year’s data: 

One Report, One Groundbreaking Year

Since the report's inception we’ve become accustomed to breaking records, but 2021 was something different altogether. With a record $100B of capital invested, 100 new unicorns, and funding for the early stage startup pipeline now on par with the US - it’s been a watershed year.

Kicking off the event, co-authors Tom Wehmeier and Sarah Guemouri took us through this amazing year for European tech investment and launched the State of European tech NFTs!  (You can download their slides HERE)

With a deeper and more experienced talent pool, the strongest ever pipeline of startups, better and bolder ideas, and world class investors, we’ve created a strong flywheel in Europe. And the result is outcomes that exceed expectations in both the private and public markets.
Tom Wehmeier, Partner at Atomico and co-author of the State of European Tech Report

Finland’s Flywheel delivers the goods with €7 billion Wolt partnership, powered by Slush 

European tech success is powered by two important tailwinds. First, the relentless march of technology, transforming every aspect of our economy and society. Second, the virtuous cycle we call the “European tech flywheel,” systematically recycling talent, capital and know-how back into the ecosystem, ensuring success breeds more success. Wolt is a perfect embodiment of the flywheel in action.

Ilkka Paananen, co-founder of Supercell, sat down with Wolt’s founding team (who also all happen to be ex-Slush CEOs): founder Miki Kuusi; COO Riku Mäkelä; and VP of New Markets Marianne Vikkula. They reflected on the lessons learned from leading Slush, the challenges of scaling across Europe, and their own experiences of  the flywheel effect.

Today, we hope our employees will continue to build Wolt - but in the future scale other companies or found their own companies." – "I'd be pretty bummed if the employees of Wolt didn't found hundreds of new companies in the future.
Riku Mäkelä, COO of Wolt

Turning Pain into Progress: How Black Seed is Closing the Funding Gap for Black Founders

In this year’s State of European Tech report, diversity and inclusion was front of mind. With the help of Extend Ventures, we were able to cover diversity beyond gender for the first time at a European level. The data is sobering. Just 11% of capital invested in the companies in the sample to date went to founding teams and executives from ethnic minority groups. And only 1.8% of the total capital raised to date by these companies was captured by Black founders.

Out to address this challenge head on is Karl Lokko, the co-founder of Black Seed. He sat down with Atomico Partner Hiro Tamura in Brixton, to share his vision of how tech investment can change lives by empowering black entrepreneurs.

We’re finding so many resilient founders who have been ticking along with almost nothing. No allies. The Black tech ecosystem is one that has been so underdeveloped and underserved essentially.
Karl Lokko, co-founder and Chairman of Black Seed

Europe's First Female Unicorn Founder on Perseverance and Paying it Forward

Corinne Vigreux is the co-founder of TomTom and founder of CODAM, the first female founder  of a European unicorn, and one of the most impressive people in tech, period. She sat down with Janneke Niessen - a serial entrepreneur, founding partner at Capital T, and inspirational figure in her own right - to talk about the amazing trajectory of the Dutch tech ecosystem. 

The Netherlands is truly one of the stars of this year's report. It has 2.6X as many startups per 1M population as the European average (ahead of the UK, Germany and France), and is the home of European big tech, taking fourth place globally by total market cap of public tech companies (ahead of South Korea and Japan). 

Twenty years ago, I wouldn’t have said that I was a tech founder. Nowadays, it is very cool to say that you are a founder.
Corinne Vigreaux, co-founder and CMO of TomTom

Fly Now, Play Later: How Klarna Went Global and became Europe's Most Valuable Private Tech Company

Another highlight in this year’s report is the continued triumph of European fintech, which has seen the biggest increase in investment, growing from $9.4B in 2020 to $21.7B in the first nine months of 2021. In fact, 1 in 5 European unicorns is a fintech company (and that number rises to 1 in 3 for private unicorns). 

To unpack the mechanics behind this success, our own Founding Partner and CEO Niklas Zennström sat down with Sebastian Siemiatkowski, co-founder and CEO of Europe’s most valuable private tech company Klarna. They talked about Klarna’s journey to global category leader, and why their ambitions for the future are even greater. 

It’s not always about the highest valuation. It’s about having people you trust, who have integrity, who will support you through the ups and downs. [...] That’s the advice I give to other founders today.
Sebastian Siemiatkowski, co-founder and CEO of Klarna

Tony Blair - Tech, Brussels & Beyond - An Insider’s View for European Founders

Every year since we launched this report, we’ve heard the same thing: policy, regulatory fragmentation and geopolitics are some of the most pressing concerns in the minds of entrepreneurs. This year, a fifth of founders feel policy is the biggest challenge European tech will face in the next 12 months. 

To unpack Tech, Brussels & Beyond, we were joined by two incredible experts: 

Tony Blair, former UK Prime Minister and Executive Chairman of the Institute for Global Change, sat down with Linda Griffin, VP of Global Policy for European healthcare unicorn Kry / Livi. They discussed why tech policy remains such a challenge, which direction it should take in the future, and how entrepreneurs can have their voices heard. 

This relationship between public policy and technology is vital. The problem for many policymakers is that it's about regulation. The Institute is trying to have a conversation to tell them it's about much more than regulation - it's about harnessing it for public good.
Tony Blair, Executive Chairman of the Global Institute for Change and former UK Prime Minister

We Couldn’t Do This Without You

We owe the success of this year’s launch to all the people who helped make it happen: Our partners Slush, Orrick, Silicon Valley Bank and Baillie Gifford; our data partners; the 5,000+ members of the community who took our survey; the 60+ leaders who contributed their insights in the report and of course, the incredible people who joined us to share their perspectives for the launch.

There’s So Much More To Explore

We couldn’t be more thrilled with the nuanced, well-rounded and unique perspectives we were able to get on this groundbreaking year for European tech. But of course, we only scratched the surface. To see all the other headline findings, have a scroll through this year’s executive summary, and dive into the report itself. 

Want to hear more about the 2021 State of European Tech? Take a look on 


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