14 of Europe’s most valuable tech unicorns

14 Mar 2019

Berlin. Image: © Matthias/Stock.adobe.com

Europe’s start-up scene often is overshadowed by Silicon Valley but the region is gaining pace with an interesting coterie of players achieving unicorn status, as outlined by CB Insights.

In 2018, 14 Europe-based start-ups reached a $1bn-plus valuation, making them tech unicorns.

According to CB Insights, these 14 unicorns make up about 11pc of the total number of unicorns around the world.

Future Human

Last year these 14 companies achieved an aggregate valuation of around $24bn.

And so, according to CB Insights’ live Unicorn Tracker, reflecting valuations at the time of writing, these are the 14 European start-ups that shot up to become unicorns last year.

About You (Germany) $1bn

Hamburg-based About You is an e-commerce player that provides customers with personalised recommendations for clothes and other accessories, and is one of the fastest-growing e-commerce players in Europe. Founded in 2014, About You is led by the management team of Sebastian Betz, Tarek Müller and Hannes Wiese. It is valued at an estimated $1bn based on $300m last year in funding from investors that include German Media Pool and SevenVentures.

Atom Bank (UK) $1.25bn

Durham-based mobile-first challenger bank Atom Bank uses face and voice recognition biometrics, and is rumoured to be currently an acquisition target for Spanish bank BBVA. Founded in 2014 by Anthony Thomson and Mark Mullen, Atom Bank has raised $514m, reaching a valuation of $1.25bn last year. Investors include Toscafund Asset Management, Woodford Investment Management and BBVA.

Bolt (Estonia) $1bn

Tallinn-based Bolt, previously known as Taxify, is one of Europe’s answers to Uber and operates in 20 countries across the continent as well as the Middle East and Africa. One of the fastest-growing ride-sharing platforms in Europe, it was founded in 2013 by Markus Villig, Martin Villig and Oliver Leisalu. The company achieved unicorn status in May last year after it closed $175m in a funding round. Investors include Didi Chuxing, Daimler and TMT Investments.

Cabify (Spain) $1.4bn

Cabify is Madrid’s answer to Uber and Mytaxi. The company’s sphere of influence is Spain, Portugal and Latin America. In 2018 it raised $160m in an investment round with previous investors including Rakuten and Endeavor Catalyst. The company is now worth $1.4bn, with total funding close to $500m and other investors including Red Swan Ventures, Seaya Ventures and AngelList.

Celonis (Germany) $1bn

Celonis is a Munich-based SaaS company that aims to help enterprises improve business processes using data analytics. Founded in 2011 by Alexander Rinke, Bastian Nominacher and Martin Klenk, Celonis has raised total funding of close to $80m, giving it a valuation of $1bn. Investors in Celonis include Accel and 83North.

Darktrace (UK) $1.65bn

Cambridge-based Darktrace uses AI techniques and machine-learning algorithms to spot patterns and catch cybercriminals before they can attack. Based on advanced machine learning and mathematics developed at the University of Cambridge, and with customers including BT, Virgin Trains and Drax, Darktrace says it is changing the way cybersecurity is approached. The company has raised more than $230m in total, with the latest investment of $50m arriving in September 2018 from Vitruvian Partners, TenEleven Ventures and KKR & Co.

Deezer (France) $1.16bn

Deezer is a global music streaming platform that owns its own personalisation model called Flow. Launched in 2007 by Daniel Marhely and Jonathan Benassaya, the company is valued at more than $1.1bn, according to CB Insights, with investors that include Access Industries, IDInvest Partners and AGF Private Equity.

Graphcore (UK) $1.7bn

Bristol-based Graphcore has built a completely new kind of processor and software for AI and machine intelligence. In December 2018, the company raised $200m in a Series D funding round, valuing it at $1.7bn. Investors include Skype founder Niklas Zennström’s Atomico as well as BMW, Sofina, Microsoft, Amadeus Capital Partners, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, C4 Ventures, Dell Technologies Capital, Draper Esprit and Sequoia Capital. Total funding is estimated by CB Insights to stand at $310m. Graphcore was founded in 2016 by Nigel Toon and Simon Knowles.

Monzo (UK) $1.27bn

Challenger bank Monzo is a digital and mobile-only bank that claims more than 28,000 people open an account with it every week. Founded in 2015 by Tom Blomfied, Jonas Huckestein, Jason Bates, Paul Rippon and Gary Dolman, investors in the company include Stripe, Accel, General Catalyst, Eileen Burbidge’s Passion Capital, Joshua Kushner’s Thrive Capital, and Orange Digital Ventures. According to CB Insights, the company has a valuation of $1.27bn after raising $272m in funding so far.

NuCom Group (Germany) $2.2bn

Image with data about German tech firm NuCom.

Source: NuCom

Bavaria-based NuCom Group combines content with e-commerce to deliver a stable of consumer and lifestyle brands including eHarmony, Parship, Flaconi and Amorelie. Founded in 2018, NuCom is led by co-CEOs Claas van Delden and Dr Florian Tappeiner, and is understood to have raised $550m, leading to a valuation of $2.2bn. Its main investor is General Atlantic, which acquired a 25.1pc stake in the company last year.

Omio (Germany) $1bn

Previously known as GoEuro, Omio is a travel search platform that allows customers to compare and purchase air, rail and bus transport across Europe. Founded in 2012 by Naren Shaam, Omio has been valued at $1bn after raising $296m from investors that include Battery Ventures, Temasek Holdings and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

OutSystems (Portugal) $1bn

Established in Lisbon in 2001, OutSystems has created a platform that allows organisations to build custom web and mobile apps. The company is active in 52 countries and has more than 210,000 community members. CB Insights values the company at $1bn based on funding of $422m raised from investors that include Goldman Sachs, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and North Bridge Growth Equity.

Revolut (UK) $1.7bn

London-headquartered Revolut is a fast-growing fintech player that was last year granted an official European banking licence. Revolut was founded in London in 2015 by former Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank investment bankers Nikolay Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko. It has to date raised more than $336m in venture capital, and has grown to more than 4m retail customers and more than 80,000 business customers across Europe. Investors include Index Ventures, DST Global and Ribbit Capital.

Roivant Sciences (Switzerland) $7bn

Basel-based Roivant Sciences is a biopharma company focused on late-stage drugs for several diseases including cancer and diabetes. It is the most valuable unicorn in Europe with an estimated value of $7bn, according to CB Insights. Founded in 2014 by Vivek Ramaswamy, Roivant Sciences’ investors include Founders Fund, SoftBank Vision Fund, QVT Financial and Novaquest Capital Management.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years