I have always thought there should be a European equivalent to the Breakout List that Sam Altman started a few years ago. It began when a friend of his was seeking advice on which startup to join. It’s morphed into a list created with the help of angels and VC’s. Their stated goal is to “help folks choose a company where they will be exposed to the best people and the best opportunities.” They have also quoted Marc Andreessen:
“Apply this rule when selecting which company to go to. Go to the company where all the action is happening.”
Frankly, in the U.S. it is very difficult to wade through the best companies given all of the noise if you don’t have access to the data.
Given the growth in the number of interesting startups founded in Europe that have rocket ship like traction, it can be difficult for people to know which startups they should be targeting. To make this list, there had to be something exceptional about the team (repeat founders, domain expertise, etc.), the product, their traction and the market – and in many cases they would need to have several of these factors to make the list. Hopefully, the majority of these companies will be around in 10+ years as standalone businesses because of the problems they are solving and the teams working on them.
So for anybody here in Europe (I say Europe given the immigration laws within the EU) seeking to learn in three years what the average employee learns in 10, then this list will help you start your journey of landing in a great position.
How to use this list: If you’re not starting your own company but want to work alongside some of the smartest and most technical people in Europe, then first read the Breakout List – Career Advice at the bottom of that page. There are great insights into how to interview the founders or your direct report, how to make a decision on which companies to focus on, and how to get in front of the right people. Then look through the European Breakout List below. If you have competing offers from several of the companies below, feel free to reach out to anyone who helped create this list for advice.
A further note on the methodology; we haven’t included companies founded in Europe that moved very early in their life to the US (SketchDeck, ClassDojo and FrontApp come to mind). We have included companies that have kept a core part of their business here like TalkDesk in Portugal and Elastic in the Netherlands. We have also not included Israeli companies, I’m sure such list already exists. I’m sorry if we have missed any obvious high trajectory companies. We will publish and updated version later this year.
This is an experiment to help thicken the fragmented European startup ecosystem. Please let me know if you end up getting a job at one of the companies on the list.
Thanks to Chrys Chrysanthou, Matt Clifford, Rob Kniaz, Martin Mignot and Krishna Visvanathan who helped curate this list.