European startups have raised 2.1 billion euros from VC investors in the second quarter of 2014, the highest quarterly total since 2001, according to recently published data from Dow Jones VentureSource.
While the number of deals actually fell 10 percent to 365 in Q2 2014, from 406 in the same period last year, the median deal size rose to 2.2 million euros, up from 1.5 million euros in Q2 2013. Outliers mentioned by the Wall Street Journal in its coverage of the report were Russia's Ozon and the UK’s Kobalt Music Group.
Those were inarguably large deals, but there were many more. We researched the data we've collected from the beginning of this year, and came up with this list of the 12 biggest funding rounds of 2014 so far.
Also check out our EU tech M&A report for the second quarter of 2014!
Why? Founded in May 2011, Delivery Hero is eager to dominate the booming online food ordering space and has raised a total of $285 million to date in order to plant its flag all across the globe.
Expanding rapidly worldwide takes money, of course, and marketing costs are high in light of intense - and increasing - competition in the global online food ordering space. Hence the cash infusions.
Investors: Phenomen Ventures, Team Europe, Kite Ventures, Ru-net, Tengelmann Ventures, Holtzbrinck Ventures and Point Nine Capital
Why? When we asked CEO Maëlle Gavet that very question, she said the capital will be used to accelerate growth. And how does an online retailer the size of Ozon do that?
By investing in logistic infrastructure (warehouses, pick-up points etc.), growing the assortment and striving for faster delivery and lower prices. It's safe to say that requires liquidity.
Investors: Sistema and its mobile carrier subsidiary MTS
Why? Kobalt collects royalties on behalf of some 2,000 high-profile names like Paul McCartney, Disney, Dr. Luke, Max Martin, Dave Grohl, Maroon 5 and Skrillex.
But, in addition, Kobalt has also made moves to acquire IP of its own, on which Kobalt also collects royalties. All together, today Kobalt oversees rights for some 600,000 songs. To grow that number even further, hefty investments are needed.
Investors: Balderton Capital and Michael Dell’s private investment firm, MSD Capital
Why? Stockholm-based Klarna enables thousands of online merchants to accept payments from millions of consumers across Europe.
Cutting out banks as the middlemen is an expensive endeavour, but Klarna also needed the extra cash to finance its acquisition of Germany's SOFORT and the relocation to new offices in Stockholm.
Investors: Sequoia Capital, General Atlantic and Atomico
Why? Borro operates an online platform that lets people borrow cash and put up luxury watches, art and other fine goods as collateral.
CEO Paul Aitken told TechCrunch that the money will be used to continue to grow out its business in the markets where it is active — the UK and the US — and to expand the pool of money that Borro has available to offer for financing.
Investors: Victory Park Capital, Canaan Partners, Eden Ventures, European Founders Fund, Augmentum and Ribbit Capital
Why? Much like Delivery Hero (see above), Takeaway.com wants to grow its online food ordering foot stamp around the world, and that takes investments in people, offices and advertising.
Another reason Takeaway.com raised such a large round was to finance its acquisition of Germany's Lieferando.de, one of the largest food delivery websites in the country.
Investors: Macquarie Capital and Prime Ventures
Why? BlaBlaCar lets travelers find drivers heading where they need to go and connects them by mobile phone or email to arrange to share the ride.
But the ride booking and carpooling markets are heating up quickly in Europe and beyond, with heavily-funded competitors attacking BlaBlaCar's core business. To stay ahead, and to expand to other regions such as Turkey, Brazil and India, BlaBlaCar needed extra money in its coffers.
Investors: Index Ventures, Accel Partners, French fund ISAI and Lead Edge Capital
Why? Westwing sells furniture and home decor items online, and that takes a lot of money for stockage, distribution and marketing (just ask Fab).
Westwing is part of the Rocket Internet family and thus has relatively easy access to capital of the German incubator's deep-pocketed investor partners.
Investors: Odey Asset Management, Fidelity Worldwide Investment and Tengelmann
Why? Tradeshift offers software for business-to-business sales and collaboration and has scaled to connect more than 500,000 companies on its platform to date.
But, to expand in Asia and particularly Japan, Tradeshift needed a helping hand and found one in Singaporean VC firm Scentan Ventures, which not only invested a lot of cash but also partnered with the company to help grow its business in Asia.
Investors: Scentan Ventures, Notion Capital, Ru-net, Kite Ventures, Intuit and PayPal
Why? Elasticsearch offers an advanced open-source distributed search and analytics engine used by big customers like Facebook and The Guardian.
To scale up, it needed additional capital, in particular from investment firms with deep open source and enterprise software experience. The extra cash will be used fuel product development and commercial activities around the world.
Investors: New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Benchmark Capital and Index Ventures
Why? FarFetch is an online marketplace for independent fashion boutiques.
The London-based company told TechCrunch that the investment will be used to fuel the company’s international growth in the United States, Brazil and Asia, as well as its omni-channel strategy.
Investors: Vitruvian Partners, Condé Nast International and Advent Ventures
Why? Funding Circle runs an online marketplace for business lending that has lent more than $500 million to over 5,000 businesses.
That's an evidently cash-heavy business, and the company needed more of it to finance international growth and an expansion of product ranges.
Investors: Index Ventures, Accel Partners, Union Square Ventures and Ribbit Capital
Other notable large funding rounds that were announced this year include SoundCloud (a reported $60 million), Crocus Nano Electronics (also $60 million), iZettle ($53.5 million), NewVoiceMedia ($50 million), HelloFresh (also $50 million) and Scytl ($40 million).
Note: whenever funding rounds were announced in euros, we converted the amount to US dollars using present currency exchange rates.
We'll be back with another report for the full year 2014 in mid-January 2015. Stay tuned!
Featured image credit: Roman Sigaev / Shutterstock