As you may have noticed, 2014 has come to an end.
We've already published a list of the biggest EU tech stories we picked up on during last year, but we figured it'd also be a good idea to update the list of EU tech's biggest funding rounds we published in the middle of the year, to give you a full overview for 2014.
Berlin-based online food delivery platform Delivery Hero takes the cake by a wide margin, having raised a whopping $523 million in funding from investors during the past year alone. We should note that we deliberately did not include Rocket Internet in the list below, even though it sold off rather huge chunks of equity ahead of its October IPO.
Without further ado, these were the 20 biggest EU tech funding rounds in 2014 (for a total of about $2.76 billion raised), with some analysis and more information below.
What the above chart tells us is that, in 2014, three EU tech companies were responsible for raising over $1 billion in funding (and one was even responsible for more than half of that).
We also learn that there are no less than twelve companies that have raised more than $100 million in financing last year, eleven if you include Westwing (which came close enough with roughly $96.5 million raised); and eighteen companies that raised more than $75 million in total.
Worth noting is that e-commerce and 'marketplaces' remain hot: more than half of the companies in the list can be categorised as such. Three companies in this list are exclusively focused on online food ordering and delivery, including the numero uno (Delivery Hero, Takeaway.com and Foodpanda).
Other hot areas include payments and fintech (Adyen, Klarna and Borro) and software solutions (Scytl, ironSource, Blue Yonder and ElasticSearch).
Geographic spread of the biggest funding rounds in 2014
Of the five biggest funding rounds in 2014, three happened in Germany (of which two, we should note, are Berlin-based Rocket Internet ventures that are actually focused on emerging markets such as Southeast Asia and Africa), one in The Netherlands and one in Russia.
Looking at all 20 major fundraising campaigns in 2014, Germany also takes the cake with a total of six companies in the list, trailed by the UK and The Netherlands where three companies each in this ranking are based. The Nordics did really well, though, considering the list includes two Swedish and two Danish companies (but, curiously, not a single Finnish one).
Spain, Israel, Russia and France each had a single company raising (a) major round(s) in 2014.
Here's the detailed list of the 20 largest EU tech funding rounds in 2014:
Why? Founded in May 2011, Delivery Hero is eager to dominate the booming online food ordering space and has raised a total of $635 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.
Still, raising $635 million in less than 4 years? What do their investors know that we don't?
Investors: Vostok Nafta, Insight Venture Partners, Phenomen Ventures, Team Europe, Kite Ventures, Ru-net, Tengelmann Ventures, Holtzbrinck Ventures and Point Nine Capital
Why? The international payments startup is capitalising on the fast growth it's been seeing: the Amsterdam-based company has doubled the number of payments processed, and its revenues, over the last year.
Adyen has created a platform that allows companies to accept payments from basically anywhere. It has partnerships with all major credit card companies, as well as local payment processors around the world, and wants to expand rapidly across the globe to have an edge over (tons of) emerging competitors.
Investors: General Atlantic, Index Ventures, Felicis Ventures and Temasek Holdings
Why? Despite all the rapid growth, the e-commerce market in Southeast Asia is still in its early days, and online retail giant Lazada needs cash to secure and maintain leadership positions in the key markets (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam).
The company claims that sales, or rather gross merchandise volume (GMV), on its websites and mobile apps have doubled since June 2014.
Investors: Temasek, Rocket Internet, Verlinvest, Kinnevik, Tesco, Tengelmann Ventures, Summit Partners and Access Industries
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? Berlin-headquartered Jumia is an online retailer that delivers a wide range of products, from fashion to electronics, across Africa with 1,500 people employed across 10 countries.
Part of the Africa Internet Group, a leading Internet group in Africa, Jumia boasts its own logistics infrastructure and its own fleet of drivers. Much like Ozon and Lazada, growth costs money when you're an online retailer with lots of moving (offline) parts - hence the big raise.
Investors: Summit Partners, Rocket Internet, Millicom and Africa Internet Group (AIG)
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? Momondo Group, the UK-based but Denmark-born parent of online travel booking sites Cheapflights and Momondo, has been looking for a buyer for a while now.
Last October, the company opted for a $130 million in a private equity investment from Boston-based Great Hill Partners, valuing Momondo at about $210 million. To diversify, Momondo might make a number of acquisitions in the near future as a result of the investment / acquisition.
Investors: Great Hill Partners
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? Headquartered in Barcelona, Scytl is the worldwide leader in secure online voting and election modernization, and is the owner of a treasure trove of patents in this space.
Scytl says its solutions have been successfully used in over 35 countries across the globe over the last 10 years, but there are a lot more nations that can benefit from its modern and secure election modernization technologies. The fresh cash is meant to fuel that expansion.
Investors: Vy Capital, Adams Street Partners , Industry Ventures, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital and SAP Ventures
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? The Tel Aviv-based software company, which essentially helps developers distribute and monetise their desktop and mobile apps, employs approximately 450 people in offices located across the globe, and boasts an annual revenue run rate of about $250 million.
This was the first time it's raised funding, a secondary shares sale with Carmel Ventures notwithstanding, and the money will be used to hire, diversify the product line and expand internationally.
Investors: Undisclosed syndicate of strategic and institutional investors from the US, Europe and China
Why? Because Rocket Internet ventures tend to raise a lot of capital in growing industries, of course. But really, much like Delivery Hero and Takeaway.com (also in this list), Foodpanda wants to grow its online food ordering foot stamp around the world, and that takes investments in people, offices and advertising.
Investors: Rocket Internet, Falcon Edge Management, Phenomen Ventures and Kinnevik
Why? Truecaller essentially enables smartphone users to identify incoming calls and manage their contacts, and has 85 million users across the globe with more than half of those in India alone, while welcoming 200,000 more every single day.
The company picked up $18.8 million, and then another $60 million in financing, to pursue further growth in the US, India and Europe.
Investors: Sequoia Capital, Atomico and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Why? The big data company, founded in 2008 by nuclear physicist Michael Feindt, turned to New York private equity firm Warburg Pincus for a $75 million lifeline to fund its global expansion.
Investors: Warburg Pincus
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.
Note: An SEC filing shows Tradeshift may have raised an additional $30 million, but this has been unconfirmed to date. But, it's possible that the company raised $105 million in 2014.
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
Other notable large funding rounds that were announced this year include SoundCloud (a reported $60 million), Prezi ($57 million), Arago ($55 million), iZettle ($53.5 million), Huddle ($51 million), HelloFresh ($50 million) and Moovit (also $50 million).
Note: whenever funding rounds were announced only in euros, we converted the amount to US dollars using present currency exchange rates.
Let us know if we missed out on any major funding rounds!
Featured image credit: Ossille / Shutterstock