Startups and scaleups are key to Europe’s future economy and society. They are essential players to make the European Green Deal and the European Digital Strategy a reality. They are key in creating new jobs and sustainable European prosperity.

Currently, EU27 boasts more than 80.000 startups of which 51 are unicorns. The investments raised by European startups were 41 billion US dollars in 2020, up from 36,6 billion US dollars in 2019. During Q1 2021 27 innovative companies got a valuation of more than 1 billion US dollar in Europe. At first glance, this is very positive news. However, only 13 of these companies were located in EU27 before the funding round, and only 7 of them will stay in EU27 after the funding round, which paints a much bleaker picture. In the same period, the US produced 67 new unicorns.

Estonia, meanwhile, has given birth to more unicorns per capita than any other country in the world. With 7 such companies for a 1,3 million population, this represents 1 case per 185.000 inhabitants. To put this in perspective: to achieve a similar feat, Germany would have to produce more than 400 innovative companies valued at 1 billion US dollars and France more than 300.

We believe that Europe should considerably step up its ambitions. A desirable “moonshot” project would be to create an environment that produces 10x more unicorns in 10 years time!

To achieve these ambitious goals, we recommend a series of concrete actions, grouped in 4 main themes:

  1. Definitions & Data
  2. Talent
  3. Ecosystems
  4. Policy Advising to Member States

You can access the action plan with the complete list of recommendations here. In case of questions, please reach out to us at md[at]austrianstartups.com.

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