As expected, the holiday season meant a slowdown in funding.
There were 273 pre-seed and seed deals announced in December, compared with the 292 we saw in November, according to data from Dealroom.
Those 273 rounds drummed up €403m in total, down from €504m in November. And funding fell short of last December’s total — €576m — by 30%, while the number of deals fell sharply from 499 in December 2022. It’s worth noting that there is often a lag in reporting early-stage deals so the number of deals and capital invested is likely higher and preliminary data can be skewed.
So where were the deals being cut?
The UK held onto top spot and France remained in second place, with Germany coming in third. Seed-stage startups in the UK brought in €94m in December, lower than the €133m raised in November, while French startups witnessed an inflow of €78m, and German startups raised €50m, both on par with November activity.
Energy came out on top with €61m, meaning healthtech lost its lead, coming in second — €59m vs November’s €107m. Third place went to fintech, with €55m.
Here are 12 seed rounds that caught Sifted’s eye.
Swiss startup Metafuels secured a $8m seed round from Contrarian Ventures and Energy Impact Partners (EIP) to set up a pilot facility for its sustainable aviation fuel. The company’s proprietary “aerobrew” technology converts green methanol — a chemical produced from green hydrogen and CO2 — into fuel without requiring any redesign of aircraft or aviation infrastructure.
London-based Sunsave, which sells solar subscriptions to UK consumers, raised a £5.4m round from Norrsken VC, Plug and Play, IPGL and angels.
Berlin’s NeoCarbon, which helps capture CO2 from ambient air, secured €3.2m from investors including Speedinvest, Antler, Raise Ventures and PropTech1 Ventures. The company’s novel reactor utilises excess heat from industrial sites to drastically bring down the cost of direct air capture and its first paid customer pilot is expected to go live this quarter.
France hogged the limelight for health startups last month, in particular Paris. Drug discovery startup Okomera, which has developed a medical device to test the impact of cancer therapies on cells from a tumour biopsy, bagged €10.2m in a round led by Resonance that Polytechnique-Ventures and Berkeley SkyDeck Fund also participated in. Spore.bio, developers of the world’s first device for detecting pathogens in consumer goods factories raised €8m. LocalGlobe led the investment and was joined by investors including EmergingTech Ventures, No Label Ventures and Famille C.
Lithuanian startup Sentante raised €6m in funding led by Practica Capital, alongside the EIC Fund, to develop its teleoperated robotic system for remote endovascular procedures.
After staging a mini-comeback in October and November, fintech lost its momentum in December but managed to stay on the podium thanks to a few meaty fundraises.
Fiat Republic swiped $7m in a round it has called the extension of its seed round from two years prior, from investors including Seedcamp, Speedinvest, Credo Ventures, Inovo VC, Fabric Ventures, Pretiosum Ventures, Arca and Kraken Ventures. The British startup helps crypto platforms access crypto-friendly banks via its API. It also secured an EMI licence from De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), which will allow the banking-as-a-service startup to provide regulated financial services to the rest of Europe.
London-based fintech Triple, which enriches data for financial institutions using AI, bagged $7.5m in a round which was led by TX Ventures and saw participation from Form Ventures, Portfolio Ventures, Neosfer and COREangels Barcelona.
Over in Portugal, Lisbon’s Paynest netted €2m for its employee financial wellbeing platform, in a round led by Lince Capital alongside BlueCrow Capital, TechTree CTT and M4 Ventures. The startup enables employers to offer access to financial coaching and future pay to staff. It has already found traction in Portugal, Greece and France and plans to expand further in Europe this year.
German startup Kipu Quantum netted €10.5m last month in a round led by HV Capital and DTCF. Quantonation, First Momentum Ventures and Entrada Ventures also participated. The company offers software-based products that allow customers in the financial, chemical, logistics and pharmaceutical industries to run complex processes on quantum hardware while significantly reducing the physical qubit numbers.
Amsterdam-based Farmless raised €4.8m from lead investors World Fund and Vorwerk Ventures, as well as Revent. The company creates proteins using a biomass fermentation technique by harvesting naturally occurring microorganisms.
London-based HomeCooks connects people to independent local chefs who provide ready-to-eat meals. The company raised $3.1m last month, in a round led by Speedinvest, with participation from Dutch Founders Fund (DFF), Love Ventures, Rianta Capital and angels.