9 Nov 2015

The State Of European Tech: Achievement Unlocked, But Not Mission Accomplished.

Like successful companies, successful ecosystems go through distinct stages. Having conducted one of the most comprehensive studies ever undertaken into European tech, it is clear to us that 2015 has been a breakthrough year in which our major hubs have gone to a new level.

View our report in full on SlideShare

Five years ago, legitimate questions were being asked about whether Europe’s tech industries could live up to our dreams. Could Europe give birth to significant numbers of companies with real scale? Could it produce enough qualified graduates, and overcome the cultural barriers to entrepreneurship? Could it attract significant levels of VC funding — and would the IPOs ever come?

With thanks to our data partners — CrunchBase, Meetup, Stack Overflow and Glassdoor — we are able to demonstrate that Europe has conclusively answered these questions. And 2015 is on track to blow past a series of remarkable milestones:

  • 10 European software companies reaching billion-dollar valuations (making a total of 35 since 2003)
  • $10B invested by VCs
  • Over 5000 active angel investors
  • 1.6m developers * 25,000 tech meetups across Europe
  • …and over 100 tech IPOs in the last five years

Achievement unlocked. But not mission accomplished.

The next stage will bring its own challenges for a European tech ecosystem now in its prime. Having proven our ability to create a series of billion-dollar companies, how do we produce companies in the tens or hundreds of billions? How do we bridge what remains a significant late stage funding gap? How do we ensure investors are keeping pace with the scale of ambition and technical expertise in frontier technologies like AI, as well as backing proven business models? How do we unlock more of our potential by building closer links between our disparate hubs, and overcoming an alarming gender imbalance by attracting more women to become the engineers, entrepreneurs and investors of tomorrow? And, by addressing these challenges, can Europe create an ecosystem self-sustaining and robust enough to weather any future economic shocks?

As the data demonstrates, 2015 is a significant tipping point for a European ecosystem that feels very different to that of 2010. Our collective challenge is to ensure that we are saying the same about 2020 in another five years’ time. By setting out where we are today in an unprecedented level of detail, we hope this study also helps to show the way to what’s next.

- Niklas Zennström (CEO, Atomico) and Riku Mäkelä (CEO, Slush)

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