This Week in European Tech: More French unicorns, an adopted yet amended Digital Services Act, and Serena Williams on (Sorare's) board

This Week in European Tech: More French unicorns, an adopted yet amended Digital Services Act, and Serena Williams on (Sorare's) board

Happy Friday!

This week, the research team tracked more than 115 tech funding deals worth over €2.4 billion, and over 30 exits, M&A transactions, and rumours, and related news stories across Europe, including Russia and Turkey.

As always, we are putting all of them together for you in a handy list sent in our round-up newsletter (note: the full list is for paying customers only, and now also comes in the form of a handy downloadable spreadsheet).

As a bit of a bonus, we've recently listed the top 20 financing deals for European tech companies in 2021, rounded up the most important news stories of the past year, reviewed the past year in terms of European tech IPOs, SPACs and direct listings, and took even deeper dives to list the biggest fintech, healthtech and deeptech funding rounds in Europe in 2021.

We've also published our latest podcasts - have a listen!

🎧 What’s the best place in Europe to start a business? — with Bo Ilsoe and Atte Honkasalo, NGP Capital

🎧 Building a pan-European operational VC, in depth with Uwe Horstmann, Project A

Below, please find an overview of the biggest European tech news items for the past couple of days (subscribe to our free newsletter to get this round-up in your inbox every Monday morning). We're changing the format to make our curated roundup even more digestible and useful, feedback always welcome!

What happened this week in European Tech?

Notable funding rounds

Exotech, which specialises in order preparation via its fleet of collaborative mobile robots has raised $335 million in a Series D round. With this raise, the company achieves a $2 billion valuation, and becomes France’s fourth unicorn in less than three weeks.

Istanbul’s Dream Games has raised $225 million in a Series C funding round. With this raise, the company’s valuation more than doubles within a six-month period, and now sits at $2.75 billion.

London-based startup Wayve has raised $200 million in a Series B funding round. Aiming to move the needle on autonomous driving, Wayve is using deep learning techniques to train and develop artificial intelligence capable of complex driving situations.

Paris-based all-in-one expense claim management service Spendesk has added another €100 million to an already impressive Series C round, now at €200 million, we reported on back in July. In doing so, the company now obtains unicorn status, valued at over $1 billion.

UK-based insurtech Accelerant has secured $190 million at a $2 billion pre-money valuation in a funding round led by Eldridge, with participation from Deer Park, Marshall Wace, MS&AD Ventures.

Berlin-based Lendis has bagged €80 million to scale up its operating system for hybrid work.

Berlin-based fintech startup Moss is on a roll this year. After the last financing round with Peter Thiel’s VC Valar Ventures just six months back, the startup has now raised a Series B funding round of €75 million ($86 million) from Tiger Global and A-Star.

Quantum-as-a-Service shifts into high gear as Switzerland’s Terra Quantum raises $60 million.

Revolutionising the mobile Internet of Things (IoT), Germany’s IoT connectivity platform EMnify has raised $57 million Series B investment from London-based growth investor One Peak.

Notable exits

Sweden's Stillfront Group has announced its intention to acquire 100% of the shares in 6Waves for $201 million.

Smart home energy startup Tado is set to go public in Europe’s first SPAC deal of the year. The German startup has agreed to merge with Luxembourg-based black check company GFJ ESG Acquisition I and will be listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The deal, which will also involve an additional private investment round, is expected to value Tado at around €450 million.

After snapping up The Netherlands’ Red je Pakketje last May, Swedish last-mile delivery company Instabox has done it again; this time acquiring Norwegian logistics and e-commerce delivery solutions firm Porterbuddy. The acquisition signals Instabox’s further commitment to, and marked high growth rates within the Norwegian market.

Indian IT companies have been looking at spreading their wings in the European subcontinent by expanding their presence here. Joining the spree of European expansion is Tech Mahindra. The Indian IT giant has announced the acquisition of Eastern Europe’s Com Tec Co IT (CTC), an IT solutions and service provider with development centres in Latvia and Belarus, for €310 million.

RegTech giant Marlowe has agreed the £135 million acquisition of Optima. Optima is a provider of technology-enabled occupational health services in the UK. Its digitally connected services assure the health and wellbeing of employees, lowering workplace risk and increasing corporate productivity.

French insurtech startup Luko has announced the acquisition of German insurer Coya.

Interesting moves from investors

Stockholm-based Summa Equity has announced the close of its third fund at a whopping €2.3 billion. Demonstrating incredible investor interest, the oversubscribed fund closed within four months.

Blossom Capital, which makes investments in European startups at the Series A stage, has raised $432 million in its third fund, from a mix of limited partners that span Europe and the US. At $432 million, it’s the largest fund to date focused on European startups’ Series A rounds.

Nearly doubling the size of their previous fund, one of Europe’s most active investors, Cherry Ventures has announced the launch of its fourth iteration, armed and ready to back European founders with a healthy €300 million.

London-based debt fund Atempo Growth has launched its inaugural fund with a first close at €175 million. Spanish multinational financial services provider Santander is anchoring the fund with a 30% stake, with the European Investment Bank also providing support.

With more than 40 new LPs from the Benelux region, including The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), Germany, Switzerland and the United States joining the majority of previous investors that include KPN VenturesCaterpillar Ventures, and the U.S. State of New Mexico, pre-seed and seed-stage deep tech specialty investment house Cottonwood Technology Fund has closed its third fund. The oversubscribed round saw over $75 million flow into the coffers.

French-born venture capital firm Eurazeo has announced the second close of its Smart City fund II, adding €70 million since the first close just shy of a year ago.

Both hailing from Munich, CM-Equity and Quantum Business Network (QBN) have announced the launch of a €100 million fund, aptly named Black Quant to support pre-seed, seed, and Series A and later investments in startups working to commercialise their offers in the quantum technology and quantum enabling technology sectors.

Amsterdam-based DutchFounders has announced the close of their second fund at €62 million, a figure nearly quadruple the first fund which clocked in at €16.7 million. The boutique firm places a specialist emphasis on supporting European marketplace platforms.

Focusing on pre-seed and seed-stage investments, Stockholm-based Luminar Ventures has announced the launch of their second fund at €60 million.

Amsterdam-based new venture capital firm Curiosity has rolled out its early-stage fund. With a community-driven approach, it aims to grow towards a fund size of €50 million to invest in 20 software companies.

Early-stage venture firm Inflection has raised a new fund to invest into the “open economy”, as the firm says in its investment thesis. With that term, the firm means that it plans to cover all things crypto, web3 and blockchain with its new $40.7 million fund.

In other news

A large majority of MEPs voted in favour of the Digital Services Act on Thursday (20 January), after plenary amendments introduced important changes to the text.The DSA is horizontal legislation for the digital single market, with transparency requirements and due diligence obligations proportionate to the size of the service provider.

Dutch scale-up WeTransfer and its backers seek as much as 252 million euros in an Amsterdam initial public offering, in a key test of investor appetite as the rout in tech stocks deepens.

Yandex, one of Europe’s largest internet companies and the leading search and ride-hailing provider in Russia, announced that it has reached a settlement with the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia (FAS) and a consortium of Russian Internet companies in connection with an antitrust claim brought against Yandex.

Technology investment firm GP Bullhound, which has financed some of Europe’s most prominent startups, is planning to list a special purpose acquisition company in Amsterdam, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.

Intel has placed the first order with ASML for a new, advanced chipmaking tool that will cost "significantly" more than $340 million, as semiconductor manufacturers look to get ahead in a booming industry.

Apple will let dating app developers offer alternate payment options in the Netherlands in compliance with the Dutch regulator’s ruling.

If sports are the great equalizer, then sports-focused NFTs have the potential to attract an underserved community to the Web 3 space, argues Serena Williams, tennis star and venture capitalist, who announced Thursday she was joining the board of Sorare, a player-owned fantasy sport game leveraging NFTs.

No exchange, no investment, no mining: Russia’s central bank proposes a triple ban on crypto.

The European Union’s chief privacy and data protection regulator has urged EU policymakers to strengthen proposed ‘transparency’ rules for political ads — calling instead for meaningful limits that would fully ban microtargeting for political purposes.

Great reads

Inside Gopuff’s Ambitious and Costly Bid to Dominate European Instant Delivery

Investors See New Sparkle in Europe’s Tech Scene

Antitrust: EU Commission publishes final report on consumer Internet of Things sector inquiry.

French unicorns: where are the women?

The German government plans to get tough on Telegram — but, even if Berlin gets the firm to cooperate, this alone will not solve the problem, experts warn.

When the chips are down: France sets out to win semiconductors ‘battle’ for Europe

Gig Workers Were Promised a Better Deal. Then They Were Outsourced.

Data points

Europe’s most active startup investors in 2021 hail from across the globe

Do you have an idea of salaries in VC?

Popular payment methods in Europe in 2022

What are Europe’s big tech for good opportunities in 2022?

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