European startups continue to grow at an unprecedented rate. Over the last 12 months have seen the birth of 11 new “unicorns” — startups with a valuation of $US1 billion or more — according to data from venture capital tracking company CB Insights.
It’s a marked increase from a year prior, when just three new unicorns were created in a similar time period.
In 2013, when the term “unicorn” was first coined, just four unicorns “were born per year in the last decade” worldwide.
Of course, there’s still a long way to go to catch up with the US. Quartz noted in June that Facebook alone is worth twice as much as every single European unicorn put together. In the same timeframe, the US produced 22 unicorns. But nonetheless, in Europe right now, things are looking up.
On methodology: We created our ranking based on CB Insights’ full global list of unicorns. Information on how it collects data is here. Analyst Nikhil Krishnan told Business Insider: “Some companies (e.g. Zocdoc) were raising a billion+ valuation for a long time, but the round ended up closing a year plus later.”
Since unicorn status is normally only measured in dollars, we’ve stuck with one currency throughout.
Farfetch is a London-based fashion startup that raised $US86 million in March 2015 at a $US1 billion valuation. It acts as an online storefront for more than 300 boutiques around the world, able to keep overheads low by not holding any stock itself.
The round was led by DST, a VC firm that has previously invested in Twitter, Facebook, Xiaomi, and more. Condé Nast and Vitruvian Partners, both previous investors, also returned.
Funding Circle is a peer-to-peer lending service based in London. In April 2015, it scored a $US150 million funding round that catapulted the startup into unicorn territory.
TransferWise is a money transfer service that cuts down on fees by using a peer-to-peer system that means money rarely actually has to leave the country. For example, someone in the UK trying to send their French friend money might instead have their funds rerouted to a British person receiving a similar amount from abroad. The French friend, meanwhile, is sent the amount from someone within France -- all automatically.
One of London's more prominent unicorns, TransferWise also has a large office in Tallinn, Estonia, where its founders originate.
In January 2015, it raised $US58 million in a funding round led by respected US VC firm Andreessen Horowitz.
Auto1 Group is a German startup that claims to be 'evolving the way cars are bought and sold.'
Cofounder Christian Bertermann -- who launched the site after struggling to sell his grandmother's cars -- described it to Bloomberg as 'a stock exchange for used cars, using technology to connect buyers with sellers.'
Home24 is a German online furniture store that also attained unicorn status over the last 12 months. According to Tech World, it has taken $US20 million equity funding overall.
Adyen is a payments company from the Netherlands that raised $US250 million in December 2014. Investors include General Atlantic, Index Ventures, and Felicis Ventures, Fortune reported at the time -- at a $US1.5 billion valuation. Its founders, Pieter van der Does and Arnout Schuijff are both Dutch, and it now has more than 3,5000 merchants in 187 countries on the platform, including Spotify, Burberry, and Facebook.
In a recent interview with Tech.eu, van der Does said an IPO or exit isn't on the cards. 'If you look at what we're doing now, at our hyper-growth -- we're doubling in size every year and had about €150 million in revenue in 2014 -- then it wouldn't be a very logical thing for us to do. If you are convinced that the books are going to show this kind of growth in the next few years, then it's something that should be considered in a few years.'
Another German entry on the list, HelloFresh is a food delivery startup. It most recently raised €75 million in September 2015. It is backed by Rocket Internet, which holds a majority stake in the company.
Delivery Hero is going from strength to strength, and closed a fresh $US110 million round of funding in early June -- making up $US1 billion of funding overall, $US600 million of which came this year alone. The company is now worth more than $US3.1 billion.
So what does the German startup do? Well, it has a series of apps and local websites that partner with local restaurants in different countries -- 34 at the last count. In the UK, it operates as Hungry House, for example, while in Korea, it's YoGiYo. It now enjoys $US165 million monthly sales.
CEO Niklas Östberg hails from Switzerland.
Global Fashion Group incorporates a number of Rocket Internet's fashion startups in emerging markets, including Zalora, lamoda, and Namshi. In April 2015, it snagged $US35 million in funding, valuing it at more than $US3 billion.
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