Europe’s top growth investors

Europe’s top growth investors

There has never been a better time to raise a growth round in Europe.

According to Dealroom, investors have written cheques to the tune of €71bn on growth rounds (Series B and above) across the continent this year. That’s more than double what they shelled out across the whole of 2020.

Galvanised by widespread digital acceleration, an abundance of cash in the ecosystem and a promising crop of second-generation founders who have already built and successfully exited businesses, Europe is cultivating a reputation as a place where you can build big companies.

“The barriers to building a global company are lower,” says Jambu Palaniappan, partner at OMERS Ventures. “Historically, European tech has been about whether or not you can succeed in the UK. Now the opportunity from day one is a global audience.”

But, as Europe enters a golden age of growth, which VCs should be at the top of scaleup founders’ pitch list?

Using Dealroom’s “VC Prominence” rankings, Sifted has compiled the top 10.

Dealroom calculates this ranking based on the number of unicorns and future unicorns a firm has backed, and the level of deal activity over the past 12 months.

We also reached out to each firm to find out a little more about them — like their partner gender diversity, portfolio size, typical investment amount and sector focus.

Founders with eyes on a mega-valuation take note. These VCs are the ones who will get you there. 1/ 83North

With offices in London and Tel Aviv, the firm has $1.8bn in capital under management following the launch of its latest fund in May this year — its largest ever, with £550m in the pot. 83North says it will use the funds to invest in sectors such as healthcare and automation, alongside putting additional growth funds into its existing portfolio.

It’s been operating since 2006, initially affiliated with Silicon Valley-based Greylock Partners before rebranding as 83North in 2015. It has 13 unicorns in its portfolio including food delivery scaleup Wolt , data platform Celonis and marketplace SaaS Mirakl.

Size of European portfolio: 29 companies

Gender split of investment partners: 8 men, 1 woman

Deal count in 2020: 10

Deal count so far in 2021: 7

Geographical focus: Europe, Israel and North America

Sectors interested in: The majority of 83North’s investments are in SaaS, fintech, marketing, security and media

Investment size: Series A and above

Size of latest fund: $550m (May 2021) *83North did not respond to our request for company information, so these figures are taken from its website and Dealroom. 2/ Draper Esprit The Draper Esprit team Draper Esprit has participated in deals totalling £1.2bn in the past 12 months, and counts nine unicorns among its portfolio and exits. With offices in London and Dublin, the majority of the firm’s investments are UK-based, although it has also invested in a number of companies in the US and Germany.Draper became the largest tech-only VC on the London Stock Exchange in July as the firm made the leap from London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) to the main market. Since first listing on AIM five years ago, Draper’s market valuation has grown almost 11 times, to £1.4bn.The move that points to the maturing European ecosystem and comes amid a boom in European tech VC, with mega-rounds galore throughout 2021. Size of European portfolio: 72 companies, with a valuation of £1.3bn (as of March 31, 2021) Gender split of investment partners: 4 men, 2 women Deal count in 2020: 7 Deal count in 2021: 14 Geographical focus: Europe Sectors interested in: Consumer, digital health and wellness, AI, deeptech, hardware, cloud, enterprise and Saas Investment size: £4-£6.6m Size of latest fund: £110m (October 2020) 3/ Dawn Capital The Dawn Capital team The London-based firm counts six unicorns in its portfolio, a number it will be looking to grow further via its latest £120m late-stage fund raised in June. The new fund will be used exclusively to invest in growth rounds for Dawn Capital’s best-performing portfolio companies, and is the second of its kind that the VC has raised.Dawn’s late-stage specific funds means it has more scope to back a company along its whole journey from Series A to exit, and it has an impressive track record for scaling European tech companies. The VC has cashed in heavily over the past few years, exiting from portfolio fintechs iZettle and Tink, which have both been acquired in deals totalling €4bn. Size of European portfolio: 30 Gender split of investment partners: 3 men, 2 women Deal count in 2020: 5 […]

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