European dealmaking is showing no signs of slowing down
There were hints that the European venture capital ecosystem was booming, but we now have cold, hard data to support them.
The value of venture capital deals in Europe topped €30 billion ($33 billion) last year for the first time, according to PitchBook’s 2019 European venture report. This represents a 33% increase in deal value on a year-over-year basis, the largest annual leap since 2015.
In 2019, the total value of deals that corporate venture capital participated in grew for the eighth consecutive year, landing at €14.7 billion, a year-over-year increase of 52.6%. (Corporate venture capital refers to the type of funding in which corporations buy into startups through an investment arm.)
Corporate investors appear to be investing more heavily in startups. The United States underwent a flurry of CVC activity the year prior, with 2018 reaching historic highs for corporate venture investments. Investing in internal R&D and creating new divisions, on the other hand, could potentially affect existing core strategies and balance sheet performance, according to the PitchBook report.
Although dealmaking may be heating up, a very important element is still missing: exit events. No European exits sized €1 billion or above closed in the first nine months of the year. The fourth quarter had only two exits over the €1 billion threshold — BioNTech’s initial public offering which had been valued at €2.9 billion in the private markets, and Intel’s €1.8 billion acquisition of Habana Labs.
But there are numerous unicorns in the European tech ecosystem that could boost exit value in 2020. Swedish payment provider Klarna might be eyeing an initial public offering this year. Klarna is currently the highest-valued private fintech in Europe, following a $460 million investment that pegged the company’s valuation at $5.5 billion in August.
Private wealth, accumulated over the past decade from tech entrepreneurs with ultra-high net worth, is funneling back into the VC ecosystem — and it looks like this is only the beginning.
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- Policygenius, a New York-based online marketplace for comparing and purchasing insurance, raised $100 million in Series D funding. KKR led the round, and was joined by investors including Norwest Venture Partners, Revolution Ventures, Susa Ventures, AXA Venture Partners, MassMutual Ventures and Transamerica Ventures.
- Verkada, a San Mateo, Calif.-based cloud-based enterprise video security company, raised $80 million in Series C funding at a $1.6 billion valuation. Investors include Next47, Sequoia Capital, Meritech Capital and Felicis Ventures.
- Attentive, a personalized mobile messaging SaaS platform for brands, raised $70 million in Series C funding. Sequoia and IVP co-led the round, and was joined by investors including Eniac Ventures and NextView Ventures.
- Whip Media Group, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based parent company to the TV and movie tracking app TV Time, raised $50 million in Series D funding. Eminence Capital and Raine Ventures led the round.
- Gabi, a San Francisco-based startup that monitors insurance rates from various carriers and provides users with pricing information on home and auto insurance, raised $27 million in Series B funding. Mubadala Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Canvas.
- Codility, a London-based platform that enables companies to build better engineering teams, raised $22 million in Series A funding. Oxx and Kennet Partners co-led the round.
- Yumpingo, a London-based restaurant intelligence platform, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Investors include Smedvig Capital.
- Forma, a San Francisco-based computer vision company enabling the creation of photorealistic digital avatars from regular photos, raised $7 million in seed funding. Founders Fund led the round, and was joined by GSR Ventures.
- Kloud.io, a San Jose, Calif.-based data integration tool, raised $4 million in seed funding. Unusual Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Jason Calacanis and Firebolt Ventures.
- HeyMama, a New York-based social network for working moms, raised $2 million in seed funding. Investors include Rebecca Minkoff, Kori Estrada, Kathryn Moos, Janna Meyrowitz Turner, Divya Gugnani, Alison Wyatt, Sari Azout, Kymberly Marciano and Karen Cahn.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
- Five Elms Capital made an investment in LaborChart, an Overland Park, Kansas-based workforce management platform for the construction industry. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- RoadSafe Traffic Systems acquired A Cone Zone Inc, a Corona, Calif.-based provider of consulting services for traffic control. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
FIRMS + FUNDS
- Intermediate Capital Group, a London-based private equity firm, raised $2.4 billion for its fund ICG Strategic Equity Fund III.
- Long Ridge Equity Partners promoted Angad Singh and Donna Little to partner.