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Unicorns

2 of top 10 most valuable startups in Europe known to be profitable

At a time when investors are focusing on startup profitability, just two of the top 10 most valuable European VC-backed companies have confirmed profits.

Fintech specialists Revolut and SumUp are the only companies among Europe’s 10 most valuable startups known to turn a profit, as investors put more focus on the bottom line.

Europe’s unicorn herd—defined as VC-backed companies worth over €1 billion—continues to grow, with the current count sitting at roughly 140 startups, according to PitchBook’s 2023 Annual European VC Valuations Report. But the vast majority of these companies operate at a loss despite increasing investor pressure to shift away from a hypergrowth mindset.

One of the two confirmed to be profitable, UK-based challenger bank Revolut, reported adjusted EBITDA of £43 million (around $54 million) in Q4 2022, up from £500,000 the previous quarter. Gross profit also increased 33% over the same period to £236 million. The company recorded its first-ever annual profit in a delayed report for 2021 due in part to a record year for crypto trading.

Mobile payments company SumUp confirmed that it has been operating on a positive EBITDA basis since Q4 2022 in December following a €285 million (roughly $307 million) round led by Sixth Street Growth. In a Companies House filing for 2022, London-based SumUp reported a pre-tax profit of £1.2 million.

Europe’s most valuable unicorn, Checkout.com, has reportedly been profitable for several years, according to CEO Guillaume Pousaz, but has not published its global accounts. In a filing for its UK business, the company reported a pre-tax loss of roughly $126 million in 2022.

Some European unicorns are making progress toward profitability. Swedish buy now, pay later company Klarna reported a 130 million Swedish kronor (around $13 million) profit in Q3 2023 but a loss for the 2022 financial year as a whole.

Estonian mobility company Bolt significantly reduced its pre-tax loss in 2022 to €64.8 million from €543.9 million the year before. The company is aiming to turn a profit this year ahead of a planned IPO in 2025, Reuters reported.

Featured image by NurPhoto/Getty Images

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