The young founders, leaders and entrepreneurs on our eighth annual Under 30 Europe list have collectively raised more than $3 billion to reshape the future of Europe—and the world.
By Kristin Stoller, Forbes Staff
Even a difficult year marred by the ongoing war in Ukraine, a pressing energy crisis, rocketing inflation and a barrage of natural disasters couldn’t slow down Europe’s youngest visionary leaders. In a historically tough environment, the 300 founders and entrepreneurs featured on our 2023 Forbes Under 30 Europe list raised more than $3 billion in capital—$1 billion more than our 2022 class. Europe’s brightest founders are putting the cash to work, building bold companies that are out to combat climate change, fight fraud, reinvent the banking industry and better treat infections.
To compile our eighth annual list, Forbes writers and editors combed through thousands of online submissions, and tapped industry experts and list alumni for recommendations. Candidates were evaluated by Forbes staff and a panel of independent, expert judges (including beauty entrepreneur and Bliss Spa founder Marcia Kilgore, musician Joy Crookes and Zepz, formerly WorldRemit, founder Ismail Ahmed) on a variety of factors, including (but not limited to) funding, revenue, social impact, scale, inventiveness and potential. All final listers must have been 29 or younger as of March 7, 2023.
Already famous in the 28 countries featured on our list, many of the 2023 listers are already taking the world by storm. When the second season of hit TV series White Lotus premiered in October, actress Simona Tabasco was propelled to international fame for her role as the savvy, sex worker Lucia Grecco. Now, the 28-year-old Under 30 Europe Entertainment lister has signed with talent agency WME for representation, starred in an ad campaign for Kim Kardashian’s clothing company Skims, and is set to co-star with Sydney Sweeney, a fellow White Lotus alumna and 2023 Under 30 lister, in the upcoming horror film Immaculate.
Retail & Ecommerce lister Eric (Kelu) Liu, has scaled his online Asian food and grocery delivery platform HungryPanda to more than 60 cities across Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. Aimed at traveling students and expats, Liu’s app offers a taste of home, delivering ingredients, groceries and traditional-style meals that have been historically hard to find in the western cities. “It’s been very difficult for users to find authentic Asian restaurants on local platforms,” Liu, 27, tells Forbes. The recipe has attracted more than $220 million from investors including Kinnevik and Felix Capital. Liu says sales topped $200 million in 2022.
Meanwhile Technology lister Tamas Kadar, the cofounder of Budapest-based tech company Seon, is helping banks, online retailers and gaming platforms weed out fake accounts. Along with cofounder Bence Jendruszak, Kadar, 27, uses software to comb through hundreds of data points across social media and IP address activity to flag suspicious email and phone numbers tied to a user. His digital detective software has raised more than $100 million to date, including a $94 million Series B round led by IVP last April. Kadar says that Seon has 5,000 business customers, has investigated more than 1 billion transactions and had more than $12 million in revenue in 2022.
In 2023, roughly 40% of the some 240 companies on the Under 30 List had a woman lister in a top leadership role. Still, like the rest of the world, the European investing scene has a long way to go on gender parity. Only 11% of founders in the European Union are women—compared to 23% in the U.S. and 20% in the U.K.—according to a recent study by the European Union.
And despite the surge of investment cash going to Under 30 listers, the amount of funding going to European women founders has decreased. A December study from VC firm Atomico found that total capital allocated to women-only founder groups has dropped from 3% to 1% since 2018. Conversely, 87% of all European VC funding goes to men-only founding teams.
Still, the women on our list have persevered. Take Alisha Fredriksson, 28, who is working to slash greenhouse gas emissions by pollutant-heavy ships. She cofounded Seabound in September 2021 and has since built a carbon capture device that traps up to 95% of ships’ CO2 emissions. She’s secured $4.5 million in funding from investors including Y Combinator.
Her fellow Brit Isabella Weatherby, 28, is taking the fashion world by storm with her direct-to-consumer startup Peachy Den. The four-year-old brand—known for its limited clothing drops—has earned cult status with around 50,000 customers across 60 countries, including celebrities like Bella Hadid, Addison Rae and Olivia Rodrigo, and revenue in the seven figures.
Over in the Netherlands, Rochelle Niemeijer, 28, cofounded medtech startup Nostics to help fight the misuse and overuse of antibiotics. She’s raised $7.5 million to build new diagnostic tools (think a portable miniature chemistry lab combined with AI-powered software) that can quickly identify the bacteria or virus that is causing an infection and help doctors make better, faster treatment decisions.
For a deeper dive into the continent’s brightest young talent, check out these facts about the Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe class of 2023—and don’t forget to view the entire 2023 list here.
30 UNDER 30 2023 BY THE NUMBERS
SELF-IDENTIFY AS PERSON OF COLOR
33% women, 66% men and 1% non-binary.
U.K., Germany, France and Belgium
30 UNDER 30 RELATED ARTICLES
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