Europe’s unicorn herd is now bigger than China’s, after seeing more venture capital than ever this year. Since 1990, Europe has created 296 companies valued at more than $1 billion, whereas China has created 276.
New data from Dealroom shows that the region has produced 72 new unicorns in 2021, more than three times what China achieved (22).
Europe is also the fastest-growing region for venture capital investment globally. So far in 2021, the bloc has attracted €49bn in investment, exceeding China, the US, and Asia at large. This is the first time since 2016 that Europe is ahead of China in the number of unicorns created.
The EU’s tech momentum
The new data shows that the EU is experiencing significant momentum in the tech and entrepreneurial sectors.
Yoram Wijngaarde, founder and CEO of Dealroom, says that European tech has hit a ‘purple patch in 2021.’ The records for venture capital investments are breaking everywhere but no region is growing as fast as Europe, which hits an important milestone by producing more unicorns than China.
The tech boom is also being led by European cities. Of the 170 unicorn cities (cities with one or more unicorns,) 65 are in the EU. Some of the new unicorns created this year include Bitpanda, Starling, Saltpay, and Lendable.
Across the pond from the EU, the US maintains its lead, having created 1000+ unicorns since 1990. In 2021 alone, it created 275 unicorns, nearly as many as Europe has in the past thirty years.
The venture capital investment in the US is not slowing down, with $140 billion in investments committed this year. 2021, it seems, will be another record VC investment year.
While Europe last exceeded China in 2016, it is surging back and could capitalize on the 5G infrastructure to shoot even higher.