8 European GenZ startups to watch in 2022 and beyond

GenZ is defined as the demographic cohort that is born after 1997, and they are unlike previous generations; they are more online, more socially and sustainability-conscious, and most compelling – more entrepreneurial. 65% of GenZs who are already in the workforce hope to run their own business within the next decade. At around this point in time, GenZs are young adults and entering the workforce.

As GenZ grows up and becomes working professionals, we are starting to see an explosion of the next generation of game-changing startups. Within the European tech ecosystem, there is even a VC that invests in young entrepreneurs – Enzo Ventures, which is based in Madrid and founded by Gen Zs for Gen Z founders. 

Boomers and Millennials, watch out! It certainly looks like Gen Z’s influence will start to define our futures and it could be the most disruptive generation yet.

Here we present to you a list of European startups founded by Gen Zs that you should have your eye on, the companies featured on this list are in a range of sectors including fintech, e-commerce, sustainability, and the creator economy.

everything logoEVERYTHING – EVERYTHING is on a mission to build the next social finance experience for Gen Z and young millennials. Premium bonds are one of the most popular financial products for savings in the UK, but the founders found a gap that incumbent premium bonds don’t meet the needs of younger generations. EVERYTHING is reimagining premium bonds with an integrated social layer. Founded in 2021, they are due to launch in spring 2022 but have a growing waitlist. They recently raised €2 million.

contact logoContact – Contact co-founder and CEO, Reuben Selby has a vision that Contact will become a scalable solution for the creator economy and will enable anyone to access the world’s best creative talent. Contact solves the inconvenience for businesses searching for creative talent; traditional solutions like talent agencies are outdated and clunky. Contact launched in October 2020 as a platform to discover and book fashion models has now rolled out into different verticals including photographers and hair & makeup artists, with more verticals to come. They have raised €1.7 million, grown their users by 100% year-on-year, and their clients are brands like Balenciaga, Burberry, and Vogue.

clear logoClearIntegrated social commerce app for skincare where users can review, recommend, and ask questions, Clear recently went through Y Combinator. Before Y Combinator, the first-time founders coded the app themselves (it was also their first time building a mobile app) and bootstrapped to 6,000 users. Clear’s team is based in the UK and was founded in January 2021 by Ahana Banerjee and Ben Richards who are both recent Physics graduates of Imperial College. They recently raised €700k.

codesandboxCodesandbox – Founded in 2017, CodeSandbox is an Amsterdam-based startup that is powering the future of development through collaborative sandboxes for rapid web development – essentially like Google Docs for code. The platform handles setting up the development environment and tooling so that developers can focus on coding. One of the co-founders, Ives Hoorne came up with the idea while he was on holiday and was bombarded with questions from colleagues about his code; he thought that there should be an easier and smarter way to share code. To date, they have raised €13.2 million, with their most recent round being their Series A. Both co-founders, Ives Hoorne and Bas Buursma were only 21 when they raised their seed round.

depict logoDepict.ai – Born in 2019, Depict.ai is a product recommendation engine for ecommerce retailers. Ecommerce retailers lack having years of extensive user data to be able to build optimised product recommendations for their customers themselves. Depict.ai’s technology leverages AI to give retailers a fair chance to compete against juggernauts like Amazon. Depict.ai is based in Stockholm, have raised a total of €3.4 million, and have a breadth of clients across Scandinavia with their sights on entering the US market. One of the co-founders, Oliver Edholm, started programming by the age of 8 and was the youngest AI researcher in the world at the age of 15.

vybeVybe – Vybe is building a digital challenger bank for teenagers (13 – 17-year-olds). When teens open an account with Vybe, they get their own IBAN so they can transfer to and from another bank, a Mastercard payment card, cashback from over 60 retailers, and no fees on foreign purchases. There are also parental features for parents/guardians to help with their teens’ finances. Vybe plans to continue to follow their customers’ lives and expand into products that will also serve them through adulthood. Founded in 2019, based in Paris, they have raised €2.5 million.

wisefoodWisefood – Wisefood is on a mission to prevent plastic contamination of water by creating edible, tasteless cutlery, and straws made from natural ingredients like grains, apple fibre, and stevia. Their products are a sustainable alternative to reusable straws that need to be cleaned after every use. There is immense demand for their products due to plastic bans in countries around the world. They sell their products in more than 20 countries and 5000 retailers like Aldi. Wisefood was founded in 2017 and they are based in Garching (near Munich).

wajveWajve – Wajve is building a financial advisory app for GenZ, which is a generation that is increasingly mindful in planning for their future. They are building a solution that enables financial decisions in seconds and combines banking, financial education, and advice. The co-founders, Bastian Krautwald and David Meyer already have experience founding a fintech with the success of deineStudienfinanzierung, an app that enables students to find the best loans and scholarships to finance their studies that has over 100k users. Wajve was founded in 2021, based in Berlin, and raised a €5 million seed round last year. They have initially rolled out in Germany before expanding into other European markets.

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