The probability of building a European $1bn+ tech company is 0.27%

That's higher than the US, where the likelihood of creating a 'unicorn' is 0.07%.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 24 Nov 2015

‘Europe CAN create HOMERUNS!’ That is the rather effervescent message of new research into $1bn+ (£589m) tech companies, which found 30 had been created since the turn of the millennium.

That actually companies pretty favourably with the 39 ‘unicorns’ created in the US between 2003 and 2013, despite the untold number of naysayers bemoaning the old world’s supposed lack of innovation compared with Sillicon Valley.

Europe’s billion dollar babies encompass Scandinavian success stories Spotify and Skype, six Russian businesses, such as ‘Russia’s Google’ Yandex, and eleven British companies, including Skyscanner, Zoopla, Wonga and Asos. Dan Wagner’s Powa can also be added to the list, after he revealed last week his company was worth $2.7bn.

The continent’s ‘unicorns’ have an average value of $3bn, compared to $3.6bn in the US, according to the research by boutique tech investment bank GP Bullhound, which was a direct response to the American data gathered by Cowboy Ventures last year. Consumer-focused companies account for 80%, compared to 62% in the US.

The probability of founding a billion dollar tech company in Europe is around 0.27%, the research estimated. That is considerably higher than the 0.07% for ‘venture-backed consumer and enterprise software startups’ in the US (in large part a factor of the far higher number of companies founded there).

However, European big-money innovation has, perhaps unsurprisingly given the state of economies, tailed off recently. Half the billion dollar tech companies were founded between 2000 and 2003, whereas eight were set up in 2007 alone in the US.

The two were almost identical in one aspect though: the average age of founders was 33 in Europe and 34 across the pond.

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