We’ve been hard at work making sense of the data we’ve collected on European investment and exit activity in the first half of 2015, and will be bringing you plenty of analyses over the next couple of weeks and months in order to give you the most accurate snapshot of what’s currently happening in the European technology scene.
First up, we take a look at those companies who’ve stolen the headlines so far in 2015, with their giant funding rounds and the ambitions to match them.
Incredibly, two Europe-based technology companies have gone on to raise $500 million+ rounds in the first six months of the year, with Spotify’s $526 million round sitting at the top of the pile.
Twelve companies have already raised $100 million+ rounds in 2015, which is significant you realise that’s as many as we saw in the whole of 2014, a clear demonstration that funding is on the increase in Europe this year. This is further enhanced by the fact that these twenty deals added up to $3.4 billion ($170 million average), compared to the $2.76 billion ($138 million average) total of 2014’s twenty largest funding rounds.
Unsurprisingly though, companies operating in the Fintech space represented five of the largest rounds, Fashion and Music also had more than company present in the largest rounds.
The UK and Germany battled it out for the majority of the largest rounds in the first half of 2015, with the UK (8) just edging out Germany (7). Israeli companies took 2 spots, while Sweden, France and Iceland all had one company represented in the 20 largest rounds.
Here’s a look at each of the rounds in a little more detail:
Why? Spotify are facing increased competition with the launch of Apple Music and rumours that Facebook are now looking at getting into this market too.
The streaming business is an expensive area to be in, with a mountain of costs to be paid, Spotify are yet to turn a profit so need to rely on investment to continue to fund and grow the company. And let’s not forget the cost of lobbying the US government on competition, licensing and ‘platform neutrality’.
Investors: Asset Management Partners, Baillie Gifford, D.E. Shaw & Co, Discovery Capital, Goldman Sachs, GSV Capital, Halcyon Asset Management, Landsdowne Partners, Northzone, Rinkelberg Capital, Senvest Capital, Technology Crossover Ventures, TeliaSonera.
Why? UK based OneWeb are deploying a micro-satellite constellation in order to provide global high-speed internet access across the whole world.
It’s easy to see why they needed to raise $500 million in what was essentially a seed round, as getting 648 satellites circling the Earth doesn’t come cheap, and we can expect them to be near the top of these charts for the next couple of years as they gear up to their launch in 2018.
Investors: Airbus Group, Bharti Enterprises, Coca-Cola, Hughes Network Systems, Intelsat, Qualcomm, Totalplay, Virgin Group.
Why? Delivery Hero is an online food-ordering service that’s currently present in 29 countries around the world.
In February, Rocket Internet invested $568 million into the company in return for a 30% share with $318 million of this purchasing new shares. They went on to increase their share to 39%, by buying out more existing investors. On top of that, Delivery Hero raised a further $110 million in June from two leading public market investors from the United States, as they gear up to IPO soon.
Investors: Rocket Internet, Texas Atlantic Capital
Why? Foodpanda, the online food delivery marketplace is now active in 40 countries across five continents and has already acquired key competitors in India, Mexico, Russia, Brazil, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia in 2015 alone.
Following these acquisitions, FoodPanda will use the investment raised in the consecutive $100 million+ rounds to focus on improving their product and technology, with a focus on customer service.
Investors: Rocket Internet, Goldman Sachs
Why? Kreditech lends money to consumers with little or poor credit rating.
They took a $200 million credit line from Victory Park Capital as their business continues to expand at a rapid rate. Their CFO Rene Griemens told TechCrunch at the time that they are growing at a rate of 500% in the last 12 months and 60-80% per quarter.
They are currently looking to close out a $110 million Series C, with Peter Thiel already confirmed as one of the investors in the $44 million already closed.
Investors: Victory Park Capital
Why? Another lending platform, this one between investors and small business, Funding Circle raised $150 million back in April led by DST Global.
DST Global’s involvement points at an expansion to Asia (and elsewhere) as the firm looks to expand out of the UK and U.S markets.
Investors: BlackRock, DST Global, Temasek Holdings, Baillie Gifford, Sands Capital Ventures
Why? Infinidat are a fairly new Israeli data storage company who raised $150 million from TPG growth to take their total funding to $230 million, and providing them with a $1.2 billion valuation.
They are looking to expand both their staff and the markets they operate in, and intend to go public in the next couple of years, with their Head of Marketing indicating to the Wall Street Journal that this latest raise could see them through until then.
Investors: TPG Growth
Why? Home24 is Europe’s leading online furniture retailer and raised a big round of $134 million led by Baillie Gifford in June, in addition to the $18.8 million they raised right at the end of last year.
Although expansion is on the cards, the majority of the investment will be focused on aiding the growth in the eight existing markets they are already present in.
Investors: Baillie Gifford
Why? HelloFresh delivers food along with accompanying recipes directly to your home.
They currently deliver 1 million meals every month, but have ambitions to deliver to 420 million people around the world. The latest investment will go towards helping them move towards that goal by allowing them to hire new staff, improve their supply chain and expand their service into new countries.
Investors: Rocket Internet
Why? Still run independently, Europe’s largest hair and beauty marketplace secured a $46 million investment in May, in addition to Recruit Holdings buying a majority stake in the company.
Recruit Holdings financed Wahanda with a further $73M a month later to help them acquire ZenSoon to assist with their expansion into France. Two weeks earlier they’d bought Dutch competitor Treatwell for $38 million, so are clearly using the investments for acquisitions, in fact they’ve already stated they are on the lookout for another acquisition to enable them to get a foothold in the U.S market.
Investors: Recruit Holdings, Davor Hebel
Why? SIGFOX’s $115 million round was not only significant for being one of France’s biggest ever rounds but also for being one of Europe’s biggest funding rounds in IoT so far.
The investment will be needed to build out their cellular networks across Europe, the U.S. and Asia and establish themselves as the global leader in IoT communications.
Investors: Air Liquide, Bpifrance, Elliott Management, Engie, Eutelsat, Intel Capital, NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom Ventures, Telfonica
Why? FinancialForce raised a further $110 million, in addition to the $50 million they raised in 2014 to further their growth as a main player in the enterprise resource planning sector.
After a 80% growth in headcount in 2014, the company is growing fast, and the investment will be used to support this growth and will go towards expanding all areas of the business.
Investors: Technology Crossover Ventures, Salesforce Ventures
Why? In February, WorldRemit the money transfer service announced they had raised a $100M round led by Technology Crossover Ventures, with existing investors Accel Partners also participating.
There are big (and more traditional) players in this market such as Western Union, and this money will go someway to enabling them to compete with these established companies, with a focus on furthering their presence in the U.S.
Investors:Accel Partners, Technology Crossover Ventures
Why? Verne Global are the developer and operator of energy-efficient data centre campuses, based in Iceland and the UK.
Verne Global became the first big round of the year in Europe back in January and said it would use the $98 million to expand its wholesale and co-location service offerings, as well as to design and develop flexible resiliency data centre space.
Investors: Stefnir, General Catalyst Partners, Novator, Wellcome Trust
Why? Farfetch, the global community of fashion boutiques became a ‘Unicorn’ with the $86 million investment led by DST Global back in March.
International expansion is on the cards with new local offices and local language sites opening up in Spain, Germany and Korea, as well as focusing on adding additional services such as one-day delivery.
Investors: DST Global, Condé Nast, e.ventures, Fabrice Grinda, Felix Capital, Jose Marin, Vitruvian Partners
Why? Checkmarx specialise in software application security and were the beneficiaries of an $84 million investment from Insight Venture Partners in June.
There was originally some confusion as to whether this was actually an investment or an acquisition, but their CEO confirmed to Geektime that although some of the money will be going towards buying a stake in the company, with some of the early investors taking liquidity, most of the money will go into growing the company.
Investors: Insight Venture Partners
Why? Glispa, who focus on digital marketing and mobile ads picked up a $77 million investment from Market Tech Holdings.
This was more akin to an acquisition in truth, with Market Tech Holdings acquiring 75% of the company at a valuation of $103 million. Gary Lin, the CEO, told TechCrunch that they would be using the money for acquisitions, particularly in the area of mobile commerce.
Investors: Market Tech Holdings
Why? Trustpilot is the leading review community for global online shoppers, with their $73.5 million Series D investment led by Vitruvian Partners coming after a year of 80% growth for the Danish company.
The investment will be used primarily to further its growth in the North American market and to consolidate its position as the market leader for brands to be able to establish trust online and with their customers.
Investors: Vitruvian Partners, Draper Esprit, Index Ventures, Northzone, Seed Capital.
Why? Google Ventures led a $60 million funding round in Kobalt, the music publishing firm which helps artists get paid their royalties.
Their CEO told The Guardian that they would use the investment to expand beyond the U.S and Europe, with a particular focus on Latin America and Asia
Investors: Google Ventures, Michael Dell.
Why? Andreessen Horowitz led an impressive cast of investors in TransferWise’s $58 million Series C round.
The money comes as TransferWise face increased competition in the P2P money transfer space (think PayPal, Azimo, peerTransfer etc). They are also looking to double the amount of currency routes they currently offer, up to 600 different currencies, as well as opening new offices in the U.S, Germany and Austria.
Investors: Andreessen Horowitz, Firestartr, IA Ventures, Index Ventures, Richard Branson, Seedcamp, Valar Ventures
Other notable funding rounds in the first half of 2015 included Windeln ($49.5 million), Auctionata ($45.7 million) Helpling ($45 million), Blippar ($45 million), and Fundbox, Saltside Technologies, OneFineStay, Lyst, Mister Spex (all $40 million). It’s also worth noting that Global Fashion Group announced a €150 million round on July 1st, so missed being included in this analysis by one day.
Please note: Whenever funding rounds were announced only in euros, we converted the amount to US dollars using present currency exchange rates.
Investors listed are only those who were announced as participating in the rounds in 2015.
What surprised you most about the biggest rounds of 2015 so far? Let us know in the comments.
Featured image credit: Danko Mykola / Shutterstock