Recap: €100 billion brought almost 100 new unicorns to Europe in 2021

Europa auf der Landkarte. © Timo Wielink on Unsplash
Europa auf der Landkarte. © Timo Wielink on Unsplash

The message is crystal clear: Europe no longer has to hide. 2021 is a turning point for the “old” continent. Startups, scale-ups, and, above all, the VC industry have ensured that the European tech industry has grown faster than ever before. The latest figures from the “State of European Tech” report that the venture capitalist Atomico publishes every year with a number of partners are impressive – but they continue to show deficits in the European ecosystem.

Here is an overview of the most important results:

  • Europe is firmly positioned as a global tech player in 2021, with a record $100 billion in invested capital, 98 new unicorns, and the strongest startup pipeline of all time, now leveling with the US. The European tech industry creates value in a very short time, namely $1 trillion in just 8 months. There are still geographical differences in the degree of maturity, but the mobility of the talent and the distributed success are what drive the newer centers.


  • A total of around $121 billion (€107 billion) was invested in European tech companies in 2021. That is tripling compared to 2020.

  • There are still more technology IPOs in Europe than in the US, with IPOs of more than $1 billion becoming the norm.
  • Record exit activities reach $275 billion. Still, Europe is only at the beginning of its tech journey, and all indicators suggest that even in a conservative scenario, it will add several trillion in value over the next decade.
  • The number of Decacorns (valued at over US $10 billion) has doubled: 26 European companies now have Decacorn status.
  • In terms of hubs, investment is still very centralized. The five largest hubs by total capital invested (London, Berlin, Stockholm, Munich, and Paris) host companies that together account for 54% of total investments in the region in 2021, up from 49% in 2017.

The biggest deals of 2021:

Company Country Round size ($ M) Deal date
Northvolt Sweden $ 2,750M Jun 2021
Cinch United Kingdom $ 1,276M May 2021
Klarna Sweden $ 1,000M Mar 2021
Celonis Germany $ 1,000M Jun 2021
Gorillas Germany $ 950M Sep 2021
N26 Group Germany $ 900M Oct 2021
MessageBird Netherlands $ 800M Apr 2021
Mollie Netherlands $ 800M Jun 2021
Revolut United Kingdom $ 800M Jul 2021
Trade Republic Germany $ 750M May 2021

The biggest exits of 2021:

Country Exit type EV ($B)     Date
1       AUTO1 Group Germany IPO $12.9B Feb 2021
2 Wise United Kingdom Direct listing $10.6B Jul 2021
3 Deliveroo United Kingdom IPO $10.0B Mar 2021
4 Paysafe United Kingdom SPAC $9.0B Mar 2021
5 Wolt Finland M&A $8.1B Oct 2021
6 Allfunds United Kingdom IPO $7.9B Apr 2021
7 Sportradar AG Norway IPO $7.4B Sep 2021
8 Cazoo United Kingdom SPAC $7.0B Aug 2021
9 Arrival United Kingdom SPAC $5.4B Mar 2021
10 LumiraDx United Kingdom SPAC $5.0B Apr 2021
11 Veoneer Sweden M&A $4.5B Oct 2021
12 Oxford Nanopore Technologies United Kingdom IPO $4.5B Oct 2021
13 Babylon United Kingdom SPAC $4.2B Oct 2021
14 OVHcloud France IPO $3.8B Oct 2021
15 Groupe Circet United Kingdom Buyout $3.6B May 2021
16 Zooplus Germany Buyout $3.5B Aug 2021
17 True Potential United Kingdom Buyout $3.3B Sep 2021
18 Lilium Germany SPAC $3.3B Sep 2021
19 Hensoldt Germany M&A $2.8B Apr 2021
20 Itiviti Sweden M&A $2.3B Mar 2021

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