Analysis finds that the European continent is home to a total of 37 decacorns, tech companies valued above $10bn. This means Europe has doubled its number of decacorns in 2021 compared to last year. In comparison, the US is home to 140, and China is home to 36. Europe’s 37 decacorns have a combined valuation of $991bn and have raised $29.1bn in venture capital funding. In total, they employ approximately 200,000 people across the continent.
In a bid to leverage technological advances for economic growth, competition is heating up as governments strive to build the most successful tech ecosystems and tech scaleups. Decacorns can now be found in 10 European countries: the UK, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, Finland, Switzerland, Ireland, and Belgium.
The rate at which $10bn companies have been created has sped up. The UK more than doubled its Decacorns – rising from a total of 8 by 2020 to 15 in 2021. Germany went from a total of 4 to 7 decacorns, and Sweden from 1 to 5 decacorns in 2021.
Through 2020 and 2021, the growth of Europe’s tech companies accelerated because of digitalisation brought on by the pandemic. Consumers began to rely on tech for food deliveries, access to healthcare and solutions to social challenges.
The UK ranks third globally for its number of $10bn tech businesses, with 15 in total. This recently includes Revolut, Deliveroo, Wise, Arrival, eToro, Checkout.com, Farfetch, and Ocado.
The UK’s new decacorns hail from a variety of tech sub-sectors, including cleantech, fintech, insurtech and e-commerce. The growth of these UK tech companies was expedited by changing national priorities, such as the UK’s push toward becoming net zero by 2050, combined with the growing popularity of fintech, DeFi and cryptocurrencies. Looking forward, the UK government’s new fund to back R&D intensive companies will continue to support the growth of the UK’s tech businesses.
Germany is now home to 7 decacorns: Celonis, CureVac, AUTO-1 Group, Delivery Hero, BioNTech, HelloFresh and Zalando. The majority of Germany’s decacorns hail from Berlin, however, they are split across a number of tech sub-sectors including: healthtech, food delivery, and e-commerce.
Germany’s most valuable tech company is Munich-based Celonis. Founded in 2011, Celonis is a world-leading “process mining” company. Their software (described as an ‘X-ray for business processes) allows companies like Siemens and Vodafone to understand how efficiently their operations are working, down to tiny details such as where employees are skipping unnecessary protocol. Celonis raised $1 billion in their latest funding round, taking the company’s valuation to $11 billion.
Sweden is home to 5 decacorns, ranking third in Europe by number of decacorns: Klarna, Northvolt, Sinch, Oatly, and Spotify. Klarna, the buy now, pay later startup, raised $1 billion in 2021, taking its valuation up to $31 billion – making it one of the most valuable fintechs in Europe.
Companies like Oatly and Northvolt show how European tech is leading the way in creating impact tech scaleups. The oat-milk manufacturer, Oatly, which spun-out of Lund University in the 1990s went public on the New York stock exchange in 2021, with a valuation of $10 billion. Battery maker Northvolt raised $2.75 billion in 2021, its largest funding round to date to expand its operations, leading the European charge to create batteries for EVs.
What’s next – Future Decacorns
There are 41 future decacorns in Europe, companies with valuations between $5bn and $9.99bn. While the UK, Germany and Sweden currently lead Europe by decacorn creation, in the near future, this could change, as countries like the Netherlands vie for third place.
The UK leads with 15 companies at this stage of growth, including companies like Hopin, ASOS, and The Hut Group. However, the Netherlands comes in second with 5 companies at this stage of growth, BE Semiconductor Industries, Mollie, OLX. Germany follows with 4 at this stage of growth, including Rocket Internet, TeamViewer, and Scout24.