Can Europe produce a mega-platform to rival the US giants?

For many the creation of a European “mega-platform” remains unlikely in the extreme (Guardian, December 2015). The stumbling block for some is fundamental cultural differences between Europe and the rest of the world. Others point to the failure of Quaero, and sale of companies like Skype before they reached maturity, to explain why a European “Amazon” will never be a reality (Financial Times, January 2016).

The Tech Tour Growth 50 has a different perspective.

Last year it named 50 future European transformative businesses, including Spotify, that it believed would disrupt industries and have the potential for hyper growth.

This year, Qubit and companies including SoundCloud, WeTransfer, Deliveroo and Made.Com have made the list, and are looking to follow in Spotify’s footsteps.

The streaming service has enjoyed meteoric success, turning Sweden into the “Spotify Nation”, where streaming accounted for over 80% of all physical record sales in 2015 (eMarketer, August 2015). The company described the second half of 2015 globally as the “fastest” period of subscriber growth ever (Tech Insider, January 2016).

Spotify’s breakthrough as the leading streaming service in the world has been powered by its agile approach to constant innovation, enabling it to become a market leader in a short time (Billboard, December 2015).

Beneath the surface, Europe is buzzing with new technology players hungry for the same swift global success across all industries. The Tech Tour Growth 50 celebrates that attitude.

Together with Silverpeak Investment Bank and a committee of international investors, it champions Europe’s next potential “unicorns”, supporting innovation across the continent and the companies that are fighting to put Europe on the technological map.

The committee is placing forward-looking technology companies in the spotlight, recognising their reach, impact and swift success. This year’s companies have raised $3 billion from fundraising, have 2.5 million followers on Twitter and achieved all of this on average in less than six years.

Investment in European tech companies is increasing, and pioneers across the continent are keen to capitalize on the increasing financial support to take the technological fight to the big players (London and Partners, January 2016). These are the companies challenging industry expectations, changing human behavior and shaping the future.

On the brink of unicorn status, their achievement of that status and development into “mega-platforms” beyond, depends upon the agility that is a common thread of innovation for all the companies in the Tech Tour, and the responsiveness that is enabling them to outmaneuvere larger more established industry rivals.