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Europe’s most active VCs investing at Series A in 2022 (so far)

With plenty of dry powder to deploy who are the Series A VCs making their mark in Europe so far in 2022?

By Sophie Zhang

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Point Nine

European tech is staring down the barrel of a downturn, with deal count down significantly and quarterly total funding dipping to its lowest level since Q1 2021. But there’s still plenty of dry powder to deploy — VCs will just be extra diligent when sourcing deals.

Using data from Dealroom, Sifted has collated a list of Europe’s most active investors investing at Series A so far in 2022. Do note that some listed investors are seed investors investing in follow-on rounds at Series A.

So who are they?

The VCs investing most at Series A in 2022 (so far)

1. Bpifrance

Latest fund: Bpifrance last announced a generalist fund of €140m in 2016, according to Dealroom.

Focus: Bpifrance’s mission is to help grow the French economy by supporting entrepreneurs. The vast majority of the team’s investments are concentrated in France, with a few investments in other parts of Europe and beyond, like the US. Most of their investments are in early-stage companies at seed and Series A, but the team has also made investments at later stages.

Series A deal count in Europe in 2022 (so far): 20 

Gender split of investment team: N/A

Notable investments: 

  • Emergence Therapeutics, a biotech creating cancer treatments headquartered in Duisburg, Germany.
  • Pasqal, a French company building a 1,000-qubit quantum processor.
  • Sencrop, a French startup that provides a hyperlocal weather app for farmers so they can prepare for more extreme weather conditions.

Advice for your portfolio founders in the current market: N/A

Sifted approached Bpifrance for comment but didn’t receive a response.

2. LocalGlobe

A collection of portrait photographs of various members of the LocalGlobe team

Latest fund: In June LocalGlobe announced it had raised $500m for its four funds, including a new scaleup fund that it’ll use to back startups up to and beyond IPO. 

Focus: The UK-based firm typically writes cheques between $1m and 4m for pre-seed and seed-stage startups.

Deal count in Europe in 2022 (so far): 14

Gender split of investment team: There are 13 investment partners: 10 men and three women, plus three non-investment female partners. 

Notable investments: 

  • Yapily, a London-based open banking fintech.
  • Zego, a unicorn insurtech headquartered in London.
  • Otta, a UK-based jobs platform.

Advice for your portfolio founders in the current market: 

Rising inflation, interest rates and rapidly falling public tech valuations will not leave the private tech world unaffected.

The following effects can be expected or at a minimum should be planned for.

  • It may take longer to raise capital. VCs will become more cautious and, although flush with cash, will take longer to make decisions.
  • Valuations may come under pressure.
  • Due diligence may focus a little more on unit economics and payback periods and perhaps a little less on growth for its own sake.
  • High cash consumption plans may be especially more difficult.
  • Opportunities for M&A will increase for those well capitalised. There may be significant consolidation in certain sectors.

Startups should:

  • Preserve and build cash. Raise capital when it’s offered from good sources — potentially sacrificing some dilution for strengthening the balance sheet. Sleep soundly knowing you have 18 to 24 months of cash to ride out whatever storm is on the way. Making payroll on December 23 should be the goal.
  • Don’t market heavily until product, demand and channels are validated.
  • Fight to obtain and retain the best team possible — a high-performance team costs a lot less even if paid a lot more.
  • Consider judicious use of venture debt or other non-dilutive capital such as grants or R&D credits.
  • If you are well capitalised, look for M&A opportunities that can add significant scale, valuable teams or technology to your business.
  • Seek an early exit if it appears that growth may slow — or runway is looking too short.

If really well capitalised and growing, then look out for:

  • Talented people who may be in a struggling company and therefore looking for better roles.
  • Acqui-hires (or acquisition) of failing companies.
  • Competitors who are cash-strapped may start to cut back on paid social. This provides an opportunity to re-test or upspend in those channels.

👉 Read more: Top Series A investors in the UK

3. Btov Partners

A collage of headshots from the btov team — one of the most active Series A investors in Europe

Latest fund: In 2021, btov Partners announced the final closing of a $135m fund focused on early-stage investments in European digital technology startups.

Focus: The firm is sector agnostic, and focused on investing in early-stage startups. The team typically writes tickets of €1.5m for seed investments, and tickets between €1.5m and 3m for Series A investments.

Deal count in Europe in 2022 (so far): 12

Gender split of investment team: The partner team consists of 10 men, and the wider investment team consists of six women and four men.  

Notable investments: 

  • SumUp, a payments fintech headquartered in London (unicorn).
  • 1KOMMA°, a Hamburg-based startup focused on building the infrastructure for carbon-neutral homes.
  • Ledgy, a B2B equity management startup based in Zürich.

Advice for your portfolio founders in the current market:

  • Remain optimistic and determined during tough times, but it’s also important to plan for survival, even if you’re able to fundraise in the next two years.
  • A well-planned budget is key, and try to think through multiple scenarios when budgeting.

4. Speedinvest

Latest fund:  A sustainability-focused €80m fund announced in 2021. 

Focus: The firm consists of six sector-focused investment teams that invest in: deeptech, fintech, healthtech, industrial tech, marketplaces and consumer and lastly SaaS and infra companies. Additionally, the team is also interested in climate tech, crypto and emerging markets. On average, the team writes first cheques of between €700k and €1.5m. For pre-seed companies, the team invests up to €1m, and up to €3m for seed teams.

Deal count in Europe in 2022 (so far): 11

Gender split of investment team: The investment team consists of 40 full-time investors, including 13 women and 27 men. The fund has 17 partners, consisting of four women and 13 men.

Notable investments: 

  • TWAICE, a Munich-headquartered company, which provides predictive analytics software that extends the lifetime and efficiency of batteries.
  • Adverity, a marketing intelligence and analytics platform headquartered in Vienna.
  • TourRadar, an online marketplace for travellers to compare and book tours, also based in Vienna.

Advice for your portfolio founders in the current market: Oliver Holle, Speedinvest CEO & managing partner, says: Don’t freak out. Take this time to carefully assess your product-market fit and your pathway to scalable revenues, and make sure you have 24 to 36 months of runway before you need to raise again.”

5. Point Nine

Point Nine team, one of the top seed investors in Germany

Latest fund: Point Nine’s latest fund was announced in September 2020, with the rather specific number of €99,999,999.

Focus: The team invests in early-stage B2B SaaS and B2B marketplace startups. Initial cheque sizes range from €500k to 5m and most investments are between €1.5m and 3m. The firm predominantly invests in European startups, but has also struck deals in the US and Canada. 

Deal count in Europe in 2022 (so far): 13

Gender split of investment team: The investment team consists of four male partners.

Notable investments: 

  • PlayPlay, a video creation platform headquartered in Paris.
  • Rooser, a seafood marketplace platform based in Edinburgh.
  • TIER, an app for renting escooters and ebikes headquartered in Berlin.

Advice for your portfolio founders in the current market:

  • Investors care much more about efficient growth this year compared with last year.
  • Founders need to consider how to balance growth and efficiency, especially when they think about what milestones they need to achieve at their current stage.

The best of the rest

6. Global Founders Capital — A Berlin-based VC that invests in startups worldwide. It’s sector-agnostic and invests in companies from seed to IPO stage.

Deal count in Europe so far in 2022: Nine

7. Verve Ventures — A Zürich-based VC with a focus on investing in companies from seed to Series B in Europe.

Deal count in Europe so far in 2022: Nine

8. Insight Partners — A New York-based VC that invests internationally, with a particular interest in software companies.

Deal count in Europe so far in 2022: Nine

9. Octopus Ventures — A London-based VC investing in fintech, health, deeptech, consumer and B2B companies in Europe and the US.

Deal count in Europe so far in 2022: Eight

10. Eurazeo — A multistage fund based in Paris that invests in companies from seed to pre-IPO rounds.

Deal count in Europe so far in 2022: Eight

Sophie Zhang is an editorial assistant at Sifted.

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Really love what Point Nine and LocalGlobe are doing. But quite surprised they’re listed (versus Atomico, Northzone etc) when their thesis clearly states that they’re focused on pre-seed and seed deals.