‘Europe leader’ UK could be home to first $50bn tech start-up, industry report finds

The UK is currently home to 22 billion-dollar firms, adding four in the past 12 months to reach a collective value of $49.9bn

The UK could be home to the first ever $50bn European tech start-up, according to a new report from GP Bullhound.

It’s Titans of Tech: Europe’s Flagship Companies report, which offers a detailed analysis of the strength, growth, and future prospects of the European digital economy, has revealed that the UK is Europe’s ‘digital leader’ and the most likely nation to crack the $50bn mark.

Currently, Europe is home to 57 tech firms worth a billion dollars or more, including three businesses valued over $10bn – Supercell, Zalando and Spotify.

22 of these tech businesses are UK-founded, with Britain adding four to that number in the past 12 months alone to reach a collective value of $49.9bn.

A sign of how these ‘tech titans’ are scaling faster than ever, in the first six months of 2017, five companies raised over $350m – with 12 new businesses joining the billion dollar club.

In contrast, there was not a single funding round above $350m in 2013.

With 36 unicorns (businesses valued at $1bn or more), the UK (22), Germany (7) and Sweden (7) remain Europe’s leading hubs for scaling digital businesses.

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In its research, GP Bullhound also canvassed the opinion of “Europe’s most influential investors”, who voted for the ten firms they believed could reach a billion-dollar valuation in the next two years.

Two UK-founded businesses made the list, cyber security start-up Darktrace and e-commerce services providers The Hut Group.

Founded in 2013 by a combination of mathematicians from the University of Cambridge and cyber operations experts, Cambridge-based start-up Darktrace raised $75m in Series D to hit $825m valuation back in July.

The Hut Group, which is headquartered in Northwich, Cheshire, was founded in 2004 by Matthew Moulding and John Gallemore.

Manish Madhvani, managing partner at GP Bullhound, said:

“Ambition defines successful entrepreneurs. It sets apart the handful of pioneers that confront fundamental problems in the world’s largest industries and create innovations that transform business and society.

“While we have made great strides in recent times, our European tech leaders have on average received only one fifth of the capital raised by the titans such as Facebook, Tesla and Baidu.

“This report shows that Europe’s leading entrepreneurs now have the collective vision, ambition and execution capabilities to build titanic businesses.”