Active investors in European startups remained very engaged in H1 2022 then slowed down significantly for the rest of the year, a primer to a slow 2023.
For context, the European funding environment grew 159% year over year in 2021, more dramatically than the U.S. and Asia. The slowdown in 2022 for Europe was less drastic than other regions, down 25% while North America was down 36% by year end.
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So who were the most active investors in European startups in 2022 based on an analysis of Crunchbase data? We look at this by funding stage.
Seed funding in Europe showed the least decline year over year compared to other funding stages in 2022, down 11%.
The most active seed investors backed on average 43 deals per year in 2022. Of the 18 most active seed investors in 2022, two-thirds were more active or on par with 2021, while one-third were below 2021 counts. Some of the more active seed investors are global seed shops, often with a base in Europe.
Crowdcube, an equity crowdfunding platform, leads the list, but has a much lower investment count in 2022 vs. 2021, a signal of a cooling market.
Bpifrance, SpeedInvest, Kima Ventures, Plug and Play and Cherry Ventures were over 40% more active in 2022 at seed vs. 2021. Meanwhile, Antler and SOSV have been close to flat year over year.
If you view the same data by half-year in 2022, only four of the most active seed investors were more active in investing in European startups in H2 2022 compared to H1, an indicator of a more cautious seed funding environment as we head into 2023. Firms more active at seed in the second half of 2022 were Bpifrance, High-Tech Gründerfonds, FJ Labs and Cherry Ventures.
Early stage leads
The 18 most active lead investors at Series A and B fundings listed here averaged eight investments led per year. The more active investors in 2022, on average, led more rounds in 2022 than in 2021 or 2020.
Leading early-stage Series A and B fundings are a mix of European-based venture firms, U.S.-based venture firms that have set up shop in Europe, and late-stage growth capital based largely out of New York.
The most active lead investor at Series A and B rounds is Octopus, a firm that led more than twice the average number of fundings for this cohort.
Tiger is the sole investor on this list that is down by rounds led at Series A or B in 2022.
Some investors who were more active in 2021 and cut back in led rounds in 2022 include EQT Ventures and Accel.
If you view the same data by half year, all funds listed here were down or flat except Valar Ventures and Temasek, which did more deals in the second half of 2022 compared to the first half.
Down by amounts led
Some of the largest investors have cut back significantly on the size of deals they led or co-led. Softbank Vision Fund and Coatue were the investors down the most year over year on the list of firms that participated in leading the largest funding amounts.
However Eurazeo, Lightspeed and Highland Europe were up, leading or co-leading fundings at larger amounts than they did in 2021. This total deal amount does not take into account the amount each investor invested in a deal it led.
The freeze is coming
Funding in 2022 showed remarkably distinct trends for the first half compared to the second. In a cooling market, industry experts expect Europe will fall further in the first half of 2023 compared to other regions, as Europe trails the U.S. funding markets.
The data contained in this report comes directly from Crunchbase, and is based on disclosed fundings. Data reported is as of Jan. 24, 2023.
Crunchbase, like all databases of private-market transactions, has a documented pattern of reporting delays. It can sometimes take between weeks and months for some rounds to be announced publicly and subsequently get added to Crunchbase. This is especially the case for the most recent year, and for seed and early-stage deals, which are often raised by a companybefore it launches a product or otherwise gets much outside media coverage surfacing information about its funding history. As data is added to Crunchbase over time, some of the numbers in this report may shift.
Please note that all funding values are given in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted. Crunchbase converts foreign currencies to U.S. dollars at the prevailing spot rate from the date funding rounds, acquisitions, IPOs and other financial events are reported. Even if those events were added to Crunchbase long after the event was announced, foreign currency transactions are converted at the historic spot price.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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