Investment in European tech sector set to exceed $100bn this year, major new report reveals

·2-min read
The latest annual “State of European Tech” report said hitting the milestone is a sign the continent is “solidifying its place as a global tech power” (AFP via Getty Images)
The latest annual “State of European Tech” report said hitting the milestone is a sign the continent is “solidifying its place as a global tech power” (AFP via Getty Images)

Investment in tech across Europe is set to exceed $100 billion in 2021 as the industry's ecosystem evolves further, a major new report has revealed.

The latest annual “State of European Tech” report said hitting the milestone is a sign the continent is "solidifying its place as a global tech power".

The report, produced by venture capital firm Atomico, found Europe accounted for 33% of all capital invested around the world in early-stage startups this year - putting it on a par with the US for the first time ever.

The industry added $1 trillion of value in the first eight months of 2021 alone, the report found. A total of 100 new unicorns - startups valued at over $1 billion - were minted in 2021, up from 223 in 2020.

The in-depth report, addressing the industry across 45 countries, argued that the continent's tech ecosystem is now set up to prosper even if macro conditions - such as inflation and stock market performance - change.

Russ Shaw, founder of London Tech Week organiser Tech London Advocates, said: "2021 has been a phenomenal year for the British tech industry - of the 321 unicorns in Europe, Britain is home to over 100 of them and the UK now stands firmly alongside the US and China as the world’s third global tech ecosystem."

Atomico's Sarah Guermouri said that "even in a conservative scenario, we expect European tech to at least double in the coming decade and add trillions of dollars worth of value".

The State of European Tech report's findings were not all positive, however, as it concluded the sector still has a long way to go in terms of investing in female and minority-led companies. The research found mixed gender and diverse teams captured just 9% of all capital raised by tech firms in Europe this year.

Of participants surveyed, 49% of women and 39% of non-white founders said they found it harder to raise funds.

Shaw said: "We cannot allow record investment figures to paper over the pertinent lack of progress to improve the lack of diversity in the industry.

"Diversity in tech is inexcusably poor. Just over 1% of overall VC funding in Europe went to founding teams solely made up of ethnic minorities - diversity should not be an afterthought."

The report also highlighted how European pension funds are still giving less than 0.03% of their allocations to venture capital - and argued that a shift to just 1% would be “seismic”.

Many point out that if British pension funds invested more into VC, as large Canadian pension funds already do, the huge long-term returns generated by successful tech firms would be shared by working people as well as wealthy investors.

The report also found that although the crypto and blockchain deal count was up 5x in Europe over past 5 years, the continent still lags behind the US in this area.

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