Shazam, headquartered in Hammersmith, London, became the latest tech company to join the elite billion dollar valuation club today, but where are the other tech unicorns?
Data visualisation firm Silk teamed up with venture capital firm Atomico to create a series of interactive graphs and charts that depict the global spread of billion-dollar software companies.
“The spread of the Internet, open source software and cloud computing over the past decade has removed many of the traditional barriers to starting a technology business,” states Atomico.
“That said, there are still many who believe that the majority of truly successful companies come from Silicon Valley alone, and that the other emerging ecosystems are still reaching maturity."
Atomico analysed the 134 companies that have reached the billion-dollar mark in the last 10 years. It found that 52 came from Silicon Valley, while 34 came from Asia and 21 came from Europe. There were none from Latin America, Africa or the Middle East.
In Europe, five unicorns came from Scandinavia (Spotify, Skype, King, Klarna and Mojang), three came from the UK (Wonga, Monitise and Zoopla) and Germany (Zalando, Rocket Internet and DeliveryHero), and two came from France (Criteo and BlaBlaCar). The remainder came from other countries such as Russia and Israel.
The UK government has publicly said it is on a mission to create its own Apple or Google in the next decade, both of which hail from Silicon Valley and are worth hundreds of billions.
However, sceptics argue this will be difficult without the same level of venture capital backing that tech companies in Silicon Valley have available to them. Further, many of the UK's most promising tech startups are snapped up by the US heavyweights before they can become billion dollar companies. For example, Google acquired London artificial intelligence startup DeepMind for a reported $400 million (£232 million) earlier this year, while Twitter acquired London's TweetDeck for £25 million in 2011.
Number of $1bn tech firms by continent
Number of $1bn tech firms by city
Number of $1bn tech firms by sector
Number of $1bn tech firms by primary customer type
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