UK is exit capital of Europe for startups

New research from Crunchbase, Mind the Bridge and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe shows that while the US has the most exits the UK comes a close second

UK is exit capital of Europe for startups

Britain has a strong track record when it comes to tech startups. Not only has the country functioned as a successful launch pad for unicorns such as Improbable but it is also the European leader in startup exits. That’s according to new research from Mind the Bridge, the advisory firm, Crunchbase, the startup database, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, the global law firm.

Having tracked over 15,500 startup exits across the world since 2010, the study revealed that the UK has seen 1,234 exits completed in that time, making the country second only to the US, which has seen 8,704. While the volume of British exits was only a seventh of the US’s exits, it was still way above Germany, which came third with 434 deals. Angela Merkel’s stomping grounds was followed by France, which has seen 321 exits since 2010, and the Netherlands with 186.

And while the US is leading the exit league, Europe is closing in. Between July 2016 and June 2017, 4,217 startups around the world secured exits to the tune of £367bn. Of those deals, 52% were American and 27% were European, marking a respective 30% and 61% year-on-year increase in the volume of exits. Overall, the global volume grew by 42%, meaning 2017 saw the highest year-on-year growth of the number of deals since 2011.

The report also noted that Europe and the US seemingly dominate when it comes to acquisitions. US companies were the buyer in 9,176 deals since 2010, while 2,789 acquisitions were performed by European companies in the same period.  Unsurprisingly, the tech giants Facebook, Google and Apple were the three biggest buyers of startups, having acquired more companies in the past seven years than the top 20 European companies combined.

Commenting on the research, Alberto Onetti, chairman of Mind the Bridge, said: “US companies have acquired approximately over three times more startups than [their]European counterparts. Europe is catching up but the gap remains huge and is not going to be closed in the near future.”

But even if Europe is still the runner-up, it’s encouraging to see the number of successful exits grow on the continent.

Eric Johansson
Eric Johansson

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