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Europe’s Most Active Startup Investors In 2021 Hail From Across The Globe

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Funding into Europe’s startups in 2021 grew by more than 100 percent year over year with increased funding at every stage, per Crunchbase data. So who were the investors that put the most money to work into European startups?

The firms that led or co-led with the most funding into European startups broadly mirror the trends we see in global venture capital, Crunchbase data shows. Growth equity firms that led or co-led rounds with the largest dollar commitments include London-based SoftBank Vision Fund as well as Tiger Global Management and investment bank Goldman Sachs, both headquartered in New York. Their investments include Trendyol, Revolut, Starling Bank and Contentsquare among many others. 

Of the 13 firms that led or co-led rounds into European startups at more than $1 billion with at least five portfolio investments, three are venture capital firms. These are U.S.-based Sequoia Capital, which established a European HQ in 2020, Berlin-based Target Global, and Index Ventures from Switzerland.  

As recently as 2020, not one of these firms led or co-led fundings $1 billion or above into European companies.

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Investors That Led Or Co-Led Funding Rounds By Total Amounts In European Companies In 2021

Late-stage funding grew the most when compared to other funding stages in Europe, increasing by more than 200 percent year over year. Firms leading the highest round counts at late-stage were headed by the SoftBank Vision Fund—by a wide margin—with 21 investments led, followed by Insight Partners and General Atlantic.

Investors That Led Or Co-Led Late-Stage Rounds In European Companies In 2021

Growth leads early stage

Tiger Global Management leads with the highest count of Series A and B rounds in European companies, per Crunchbase data. This is followed by London-based Octopus Ventures with 12 investments led at Series A and B and New York-based Insight Partners with 11. 

In 2020 Octopus, Index, London-based Balderton and Sweden-based EQT Ventures were the four most active firms leading at Series A and B.  

Investors That Led Or Co-Led Series A Or B Rounds In European Companies In 2021

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The seed funding ecosystem in Europe was two-thirds the size of the U.S. seed ecosystem in 2021, up from half the size in 2020. More than $8 billion was invested at seed in Europe in 2021, as we reported earlier. 

The most active accelerators in Europe are both U.S. based: Y Combinator invested in 86 companies in Europe in 2021, per Crunchbase data, and Techstars, which runs programs in Europe, invested in 54 companies. Bpifrance, Antler, SFC Capital and Seedcamp round out the top six by seed portfolio counts.   

Investors’ Seed Portfolio Counts In European Companies In 2021

Europe secures its place

Europe has a well-established seed and venture ecosystem steered from multiple capitals across the continent. Venture capital funding in Europe in 2021 grew substantially due to increased funds raised by local venture capital firms alongside marked-up investments from growth equity who are investing across the global stage.  

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Further reading


The data contained in this report comes directly from Crunchbase, and is based on reported data. Data reported is as of Jan. 10, 2022. 

Note that data lags are most pronounced at the earliest stages of venture activity, with seed funding amounts increasing significantly after the end of a quarter/year.

The most recent quarter/year will increase over time relative to previous quarters. For funding counts, we notice a strong data lag, especially at the seed and early stages, by as much as 30 percent to 40 percent a year out.

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.

For M&A transaction analysis, we include venture-backed companies and exclude companies that previously went public. 

Glossary of funding terms

Seed and angel consists of seed, pre-seed and angel rounds. Crunchbase also includes venture rounds of unknown series, equity crowdfunding and convertible notes at $3 million (USD or as-converted USD equivalent) or less.

Early-stage consists of Series A and Series B rounds, as well as other round types. Crunchbase includes venture rounds of unknown series, corporate venture and other rounds above $3 million, and those less than or equal to $15 million.

Late-stage consists of Series C, Series D, Series E and later-lettered venture rounds following the “Series [Letter]” naming convention. Also included are venture rounds of unknown series, corporate venture and other rounds above $15 million.

Technology growth is a private-equity round raised by a company that has previously raised a “venture” round. (So basically, any round from the previously defined stages.)

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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