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Like successful companies, successful ecosystems go through distinct stages. Having conducted one of the most comprehensive studies ever undertaken into European tech, it is clear to us that 2015 has been a breakthrough year in which our major hubs have gone to a new level.

View our report in full:

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Healthcare is one of the world’s biggest sectors and makes up around 8% of global GDP. Yet, despite being a multi-trillion dollar industry, large parts of it have yet to be significantly disrupted by innovative technology. Too many of its functions are broken and get in the way of good care. No one suffers from this more than patients, left to navigate through a fragmented and friction-filled system on their own.

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Education is a huge part of the global economy. It accounts for around 6% of global GDP and, more importantly, impacts the lives of almost everyone on Earth. Despite this, it has barely been disrupted by technology.

In some ways this is understandable, the education market is fragmented, heavily-regulated and difficult to crack.

But true entrepreneurs relish these challenges and this was the case when Masa Watanabe, the co-founder of DeNA – the hugely successful Japanese mobile and e-commerce company – founded Quipper in 2010. Quipper produces cross-platform, cross-device software that allows teachers to set and track assignments, answer students’ questions via IM, and monitor individuals’ learning progress.

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Atomico was founded on the belief that great technology companies can come from anywhere, not just Silicon Valley. We have always believed that the greatest opportunity available to investors today is in identifying these companies in tech hubs like Berlin, Helsinki, London and Stockholm, and adding genuine value to them through our experience and expertise.

This week we are extremely proud to see two of our portfolio companies achieve huge milestones that are testament to this belief.

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This is the best time in history to be a technology entrepreneur in Europe, or indeed outside Silicon Valley.

Over the past decade, the start-up world has undergone huge change. As data we published last year showed, the majority of billion-dollar internet companies founded since 2003 were actually built outside the Valley. For me personally, the journey has been eye-opening – from the early days at Skype, when most people dismissed the idea of building a company from Sweden, to today, when Atomico is proud to be an investor in Supercell, Truecaller, Klarna, ZocDoc and other successful companies that started life in places like Helsinki, Stockholm, New York, London and elsewhere.

How has a change this dramatic been possible in such a short time?

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Atomico has always believed that great companies come from anywhere and we continue to be passionate about the ideas and innovation we’re seeing in cities across Europe. Our head office is based in London, and in January we announced that we’d taken space at Factory in Berlin. Today we’re thrilled to announce our third European base at Stockholm’s SUP46 – one of Sweden’s most exciting incubators. We’ve been actively involved in Stockholm’s ecosystem for a number of years investing in Klarna, Wrapp and Truecaller and now we’re excited to double down.

Sweden has always been close to our hearts. It’s home to our founding partners and it’s where Skype – the first billion-dollar technology company outside Silicon Valley – was born. But our commitment to Sweden and the Nordics is rooted in the huge respect we have for the innovation and ambition of its entrepreneurs.

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In order to find the world’s best entrepreneurs and help them scale internationally, we’ve always believed in the importance of a global team with deep experience and world-class insight.

Today, we’re proud to be adding to our presence in London, Beijing, Tokyo, Sao Paolo and Istanbul, by taking space in Berlin too. Berlin has a fast-growing ecosystem that we’ve been actively involved in for many years, including making an investment in 6Wunderkinder, and now we’re excited to double down.

We’ll be taking space in a tech hub we greatly admire – Factory – and our team will be spending plenty of time there. If you’re an entrepreneur there, we look forward to seeing much more of you!

We’re also delighted to welcome Chris Barnes and Yann de Vries to the Atomico team, both of whom will bring decades of experience to our growing network.

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We’ve always believed that great companies can come from anywhere. In October 2014 we launched a first-of-its-kind analysis illustrating the international distribution of software companies that have reached a valuation of $1 billion.

Contrary to popular perception, over the past ten years the majority of billion-dollar software companies were actually founded outside Silicon Valley. In the first update to our research, published today, we see that the rest of the world is continuing to outpace the Valley.

This time, we’ve also looked at the leadership it takes to reach the billion-dollar milestone. New metrics reveal ‘founder CEOs’ are far more likely than ‘professional CEOs’ to lead a business to this level of valuation.

As we studied new entrants to the list and analysed the leadership of all 156 companies meeting the mark, some surprising trends emerged:

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Atomico was founded on the idea that great companies can come from anywhere, and the ambition to find the world's best entrepreneurs and help them scale their companies globally. That means bringing together a team with deep insight, networks, and experience of scaling – from top-tier investment professionals, to our international team across China, Japan, Brazil and Turkey as well as London, to leaders in talent and communications.

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We have always believed that great companies and entrepreneurs can come from anywhere. Like athletes and artists, the qualities needed to be a world-class entrepreneur – vision, courage, technical knowhow, the ability to build a great team, and a deep competitive streak – are not confined to any one country. And the spread of the Internet, open source software and cloud computing over the past decade has removed many of the traditional barriers to starting a technology business.

That said, there are still many who believe that the majority of truly successful companies come from Silicon Valley alone, and that the other emerging ecosystems are still reaching maturity.

Given the speed of technological change and the number of entrepreneurs founding companies around the world, it can be hard to get an accurate picture of what’s going on. So we combined data from multiple sources along with our own research, and for the first time looked at the global distribution of Internet and software companies founded within the last decade that had reached a valuation of over $1 billion. Valuation isn’t everything and is in many senses a crude yardstick, but the billion-dollar mark is generally accepted to represent truly phenomenal success.

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Mobile phones are central to our lives, but despite all of today's tech advances, until recently little has been done to make the phone experience more intelligent, powerful and useful. For millions of people, it can still be hard work to make sure they have the right information to stay connected to businesses and people who matter to them, while avoiding nuisance calls from spammers who don't.

That's why we're delighted today to be investing in Stockholm-based Truecaller in a $60m Series C round, alongside Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital. Truecaller aims to help users connect as easily as possible, with more than 85 million people who use the service to search the right contact numbers and identify incoming calls.

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The $150B+ global news industry has been undergoing a profound transformation for well over a decade. News is more accessible and more widely consumed than ever before, but the means of delivery and the industry’s economic model are still undergoing significant disruption.

If the first wave of change was brought by the explosion of desktop Internet access, the second wave has been fuelled by the spread of smartphones and tablets, enabling entirely new ways to discover and consume news. Against this backdrop of ongoing disruption, there is a huge opportunity for products that are both loved by users and also work economically for news publishers.

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Bebê Store (www.bebestore.com.br), Brazil’s leading online baby goods retailer and a company we've been proud to back since 2011, has just announced the acquisition of its main competitor in the country – Baby (www.baby.com.br).

We’ve believed in founders Leonardo and Juliana Simão and their vision for Bebê Store for a long time, becoming their first outside investors. Since then, we've worked with the team to help scale the business and are delighted that they're consolidating their leadership of the market with this transaction. Baby has undoubtedly been a major player in Bebê Store’s field, having attracted over $50 million in investment prior to its acquisition, and the combination of their operations will help Leonardo, Juliana and the team take the business to a new level of success.

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Last week EVRYTHNG, the Internet of Things software company, made its latest announcement in its mission to connect – well – everything, with a new $7m investment round. The team has won awards and recognition as a pioneer in this fast-growing and global space, and as a previous investor we’re proud to be leading this funding round alongside Cisco Systems, BHLP and Dawn Capital.

EVRYTHNG’S good news capped off a strong start to 2014 for our friends across the world, with many of our portfolio companies continuing their impressive momentum with great news of their own.

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Niklas Zennström, Atomico's CEO and Founding Partner, has been recommended by the Election Committee to become a new member of the Board of H&M, the world's second largest global fashion retailer. We have long admired the way H&M has disrupted the traditional global fashion supply chain to become an amazing business with the largest market cap on the Stockholm stock exchange. An incredible story.

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We love working with high-growth companies who we can help to scale domestically and internationally. In 2012 we invested in the outstanding team at Klarna, who are disrupting the huge and fast-growing online payment market – and we're delighted to say we're now increasing our investment by helping to back Klarna's acquisition of SOFORT in Germany.

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We founded Atomico to help companies scale disruptive products globally. As entrepreneurs ourselves we know the challenges this involves, and we brought together our Value Creation Team, which includes many of the initial global team that scaled Skype, to help our portfolio companies expand into new markets and hire the talent they need.

Effective communication is another key piece of the puzzle. As they scale, our portfolio companies see tremendous value in being able to tell a clear and compelling story about their vision and achievements, and in building a global brand that will resonate with users, customers, partners and employees from Berlin to Beijing.

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Future Fifty recognises the UK’s most innovative and potentially transformative growth companies. It’s a great programme that helps the chosen businesses find support and advice from the UK Government and private sector experts to help them become world-class companies.

So we are delighted that ChemistDirect is one of this year’s very select group of Future Fifty. It’s a brilliant recognition of not only the hard work from CEO Stuart Rowe and everyone in the business – but a sign of the huge potential that the company has.

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Great companies can come from anywhere. Talent, ambition and success know no borders. And no matter where they start out, these days great companies can also scale internationally from anywhere. As we’ve seen recently, the very best are becoming global leaders and doing so faster than ever.

That doesn’t make it easy. Technology has simplified many things, but when it comes to expanding internationally, the business and cultural challenges remain hard – most people underestimate just how hard. But it’s vital to building lasting success at scale.

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