We Asked The Experts: Where Are Europe’s Most Exciting Startup Economies?

Europe has long-been home to some of the world’s most exciting startup economies. From London’s high-tech centre, to Berlin’s creativity, the continent has been the birthplace of around 150 Unicorns, including household names like Monzo, Klarna and eToro.


Who Are Europe’s Top Startup Unicorns?


Europe is home to a number of startup unicorns. Unicorns are privately owned startups (those that have not IPOed) that are valued at over $1 billion.

These companies have disrupted their fields and innovated sectors, here are some of the top ones:

Klarna – Based in Sweden, Klarna is one of Europe’s largest FinTech companies, offering online buy now pay later services for consumers.

Revolut – Another giant in the fintech sector, UK-based Revolut is an online bank that includes foreign currency exchange, debit cards and easy payments between family and friends, making it a popular choice for young people.

Bolt – Originally from Estonia, Bolt has a number of transport options, from ride-hailing to e-scooters and e-bikes. Having expanded massively across Europe, the company is now a staple in many large cities.

Vinted – Hailing from Lithuania, Vinted is a platform for people to sell their clothes second hand. The company has become synonymous with the vintage market, and is a staple for anyone looking to clear out their wardrobe.


Looking Around The Continent


But where exactly are the most exciting up and coming startup economies across the continent? To find out, we spoke to a range of experts to see which countries and cities they are keeping an eye on.



From established global hotspots to emerging powerhouses, join us as we explore which regions are leading the charge in the European startup revolution.

Here’s what the experts had to say:


Phillip Thurn und Taxis, Founder and Head of CNB Capital



“While Europe does not have the best capital markets in the world, we have some of the best universities and research institutions. As early-stage technology investors, those are our hunting ground. Besides maybe the very well-known ecosystems, we believe that places like Lausanne with the EPFL or the RWTH in Aachen will produce outstanding companies in the coming decades.

“CNB Capital is based in Vienna, where we have a world class research institution with ISTA. In addition to the engineering talent, we look for a vibrant startup culture often driven by former founders having successfully excited and now being active angel investors.”


Hélène Falchier, Partner at Portage


Hélène Falchier - Portage


“The two main EU countries, France and Germany, have ecosystems of similar maturity, but they are structurally organized differently: France is highly centralized, while Germany features multiple hubs (Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, etc.).

“In terms of ecosystem maturity, the Nordic countries and the Balkans are also notable. At Portage, we have made an investment in Estonia. It’s an astonishing country that boasts the most unicorns per capita (Wise, Pipedrive, Veriff, etc.), which indicates that tech is very well-established there. Given the country’s size, and that of the region in general, entrepreneurs there often aim from day one to build products that target at least Europe, if not the global market.

“The countries of Eastern and Southern Europe are less mature in terms of the digitalization of their economies (see The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI)). However, they are on our radar because there is less competition from digital players, allowing us to identify emerging regional leaders. Viva Wallet and Hellas in Greece are good examples.

“Personally, I discovered the Balkans and have found these countries fascinating because they are very digital with very dynamic entrepreneurs. I have a weakness for them!”


Fady Saad, Founder & General Partner at Cybernetix Ventures


Cybernetix Ventures | Investing in robotics, automation and AI startups


“We believe robotics is the most promising startup economy, and we’re seeing a massive influx of interest in climate, construction, and agricultural markets. Innovators have been trying to build robotics solutions in this space for decades, but we’re at an inflection point where the business models and robots are mature enough to scale and solve these complex issues.

“This development couldn’t have come at a more crucial time, as it’s becoming increasingly clear that software alone cannot tackle the pressing climate, construction and agriculture challenges. Consider the issues with uptime and repairs in alternative power sources like solar and wind or the serious labor shortages that farmers and builders are grappling with, which lead to significant downstream food production and housing challenges.

“The range of robotic applications that can address these challenges and many others is genuinely fascinating. From indoor farming to solar panel installation and wind turbine maintenance. Use cases for agriculture, construction and climate robotics extend to other areas, too, including debris cleanup, trash sortation, and even de-manufacturing of electronic products. Robotics can even automate heavy machinery farmers and builders rely on daily.

“VCs and entrepreneurs are flocking to these markets. In fact, some experts expect nearly 36 billion agricultural robots to be deployed worldwide by 2030. It will be interesting to see what’s in store for this up-and-coming market.”


Den Dmytrenko, Co-Founder and General Partner of Roosh


Meet Den Dmytrenko from Kyiv


“Ukraine’s startup scene has been steadily advancing – and still manages to consistently surpass projected expectations. Ukraine’s tech landscape in particular has seen rapid growth over the past decade – from 2016 to 2021, the country’s IT exports tripled to nearly $7 billion annually according to the IT Ukraine Association, and Ukraine’s tech industry is projected to generate $10B in revenue by 2025. The rapid growth of Ukraine’s skilled workforce has also meant the country’s AI scene has flourished. Last year, the number of tech specialists in Ukraine increased by over 7%, and 36% of CEOs leading Ukrainian tech companies say they plan to open new offices in 2024.

“Edtech, defence, and cybersecurity have also seen substantial expansion – building off the educated workforce, and the high-quality STEM education that has always been a priority in Ukraine. 

“The full-scale invasion has meant we’ve seen rapid developments in the military technology sector for both Ukrainian and international VCs. The advent of artificial intelligence, drones, and robotics is transforming the nature of warfare, driving an expansion in the military technology market. With its specialized expertise and the battlefield testing opportunities provided by the ongoing war, Ukraine is well-positioned to capitalize on this growth.”