Majority of billion-dollar software companies actually founded outside Silicon Valley

atomico-reportThe share of the non-Silicon Valley software companies among those with over $1 billion valuation has increased from 61% to 63% last year. According to the sectoral report prepared by Atomico global technology investment firm, the companies who chose to continue with their founders as the CEO even after majority shares changed hands, have recorded faster growth.

Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström‘s investment company has published today the first quarterly update to its billion-dollar data research project. It included figures on the distribution of software companies founded within the last decade and reached a $1 billion valuation.

“Contrary to popular perception, the majority of the 156 billion-dollar companies were actually founded outside Silicon Valley” said the report, with their share rising from 61% to 63% in October. Another interesting finding in the report is that 133 (85%) of these $1B companies have grown through the billion-dollar threshold with their founder holding the CEO chair. Of the 27 companies founded since 2010 that have reached billion-dollar status, only one does not have a founder CEO.

Niklas Zennström, CEO of Atomico, said: “This data shows that great entrepreneurs are truly global, and that the very best are able to lead their companies to extraordinary success no matter where they come from.”


Here are some other figures from the report:

  • 144 out of 156 (92%) companies started out with a tech- or product-driven founding team, signalling the overwhelming likelihood of success in technology with engineers at the top. Very few companies (12 in all) managed to surpass the $1B mark without such leadership,
  • 13 companies have hit the billion dollar milestone since October 2014, including the first from Malaysia (Lazada) and the Netherlands (Adyen),
  • 63 out of 156 billion-dollar companies founded in the last decade hit the milestone in 2014 – a record-breaking year compared to 46 in 2013.

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