Global start-up report finds huge boom in tech unicorns

A new report on start-up ecosystems around the world has found that a record 540 companies achieved unicorn status last year. This was up from only 150 in 2020, with 113 ecosystems producing at least one company valued at more than $1bn.

The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2022 launched at London Tech Week provides a comprehensive study of more than 280 start-up ecosystems globally and more than 3m companies.

Now in its 10th year, the report by Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network found that the average value of Series A funding rounds globally has tripled to more than $18m since 2012.

Unsurprisingly, tech companies have been leading the way with 2.3 times more growth on average than non-tech start-ups since the pandemic.

London leads in Europe

North America continues to dominate the rankings in 2022, with almost half of the top 30 global ecosystems and where exits of more than $50m reached a total of $698bn in 2021. In Asia, home to 30pc of the top 30 ecosystems, they made up $531bn.

Silicon Valley remains the world’s most active and valuable start-up ecosystem, with New York and London tying for second place. Beijing, which was in fourth place last year, has now slipped down to fifth place and been replaced by Boston.

While London is the leading start-up ecosystem in Europe, Berlin has moved up six places to number 16 and is the third-highest ranked city in the EU, coming just behind Amsterdam and Paris. With five exits valued at more than $1bn in 2021, Berlin has now produced 14 unicorns.

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Helsinki was a star performer among the smaller European ecosystems, shooting up more than 20 places to take its spot in the runners-up list at joint 31.

While Ireland was not in the top 40, Dublin ranked third in the top 100 emerging ecosystems list and first under regional challengers.

The mid-east region of Ireland was highlighted by the report as a fast-growing ecosystem particularly for agritech and food-related start-ups. The report cited a highly educated talent pool, strong research and development capabilities, and abundant government support as reasons for its success.

A separate report, the Global Startup Ecosystem Index by StartupBlink, recently ranked Ireland at 15 in its list of top performing global ecosystems for start-up companies, jumping three spots since last year. The country also ranked ninth in Europe, breaking into the top 10 after placing 12th last year.

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