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Shazam may become Europe’s next billion-dollar tech firm

UPDATED 20/11/12: In 2013 at least one European next-generation technology company will achieve a US$ 1bn value through a sale, IPO or fundraising, according to global M&A advisors Magister.

The consultancy adds that there is a next wave of European tech companies which are rapidly maturing into high-value businesses, despite having access to less funds than their counterparts in the US.

This list includes media discovery specialists Shazam (which has big ambitions for the TV market), entertainment media company Rovio (developer of the Angry Birds franchise), small personal loans provider Wonga, e-payments innovator Klarna, and online food deliveries platform Just-Eat.

Magister Advisors estimates that VC-backed technology exits in Europe reached around US$ 15bn in 2009-10, compared to US$ 30bn in the US, yet achieved this with just a fifth of the resources.

“European investors typically enter at roughly half the valuation that US VC funds do, and exit at similar valuations as in the US,” said Victor Basta, managing director of Magister Advisors.

“The quality of startups in Europe has increased enormously. Part of the reason for that is that we are seeing a wave of repeat entrepreneurs. Back in the late nineties, fewer than one in ten European startups was led by a serial entrepreneur. That figure is now closer to four in ten.”

Among the factors which have catalysed the creation and development of this ‘next wave’ of companies in Europe are a focus on new business models based on ‘Big Data’ analytics, a sharp increase in growth capital available to the best European start-ups and a shift to business models that feed off high levels of social engagement and mobile technology usage.

What’s more, many of these debutante super-companies will remain headquartered in Europe, says Basta, with Berlin and London actually seeing an inflow of talent from Californian technology companies such as Google.

This is expected to create a “virtuous circle” over the next five years whereby European entrepreneurs invest their wealth in other companies, driving even greater company growth in the Old Continent – led by the tech sector.

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