December 29, 2023

European tech’s top VC-backed M&A deals in 2023

The M&A market showed consistent levels of activity, although the volume and value of deals were far from the peaks of 2020 and 2021

When it came to exits in 2023, all eyes in European tech were on M&A given equity markets remain unfriendly to newcomers.

The M&A market showed consistent levels of activity, although the volume and value of deals were far from the peaks of 2020 and 2021, according to Atomico’s State of European Tech report. There were just five billion-dollar acquisitions, but not a single VC-backed company was in that group, the report said.

Using data collected by Sifted covering 2023, we compiled Europe’s top 10 European tech takeovers of the year.


According to Sifted’s analysis, seven of the companies had VC backing at some point in their journey. Those included Kerecis, an Icelandic fish skin wound care startup that was bought by Coloplast in July, and London-based AI developer InstaDeep, acquired by German-based BioNTech.


Japan’s top utility JERA bought all of Parkwind, Belgium’s largest offshore wind platform, for €1.55bn in a bid to expand its renewable power generation. Parkwind was previously owned by Belgium’s Virya Energy. 

As part of the deal, announced in March, JERA will add Parkwind’s four offshore wind farms in Belgium and a new being built in Germany to its renewable portfolio. JERA is a joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings and Chubu Electric Power Co Inc. 


The Oslo startup that built a platform for creating and sharing education-focused games was taken private in July in an all-cash PE deal at NOK 17.2bn, fixing the price at €1.53bn for the day it was announced. The private equity division of Goldman Sachs Assets Management led the bid, which also included existing Kahoot! backers such as General Atlantic, LEGO Group’s KIRBI Invest A/S and Glitrafjord.

Reward Gateway

May saw French employee fintech company Edenred buying Reward Gateway, a global employee engagement startup based in London, for £1.15bn from funds managed by Abry Partners and Castik Capital. Reward Gateway had previously raised from PE investors. The deal will see Reward Gateway’s platform becoming available in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Romania and Spain, where Edenred operates.


The Icelandic manufacturer of implants and repair materials for the human body from Omega 3-rich fish skin was acquired by Danish healthcare giant Coloplast in July, for up to $1.3bn. Kerecis had become the fastest startup in the biologics wound care sector, and continues to operate as a stand-alone business unit with its own brand. Kerecis had been backed by US VC firm Emerson Collective, alongside KIRKBI and Icelandic pension funds. 


The German software startup, based in Bonn, was bought off by SAP last September, with the takeover valued at just under €1.2bn. LeanIX commercialises a cloud platform that gives companies a semi-automated overview of their IT systems, and aims to achieve sales worth €100m this year with almost 600 employees. Insight Partners, DT Capital Partners and Capnamic Ventures were among LeanIX’s early investors.


Swiss startup VectivBIO, which develops treatments for severe rare gastrointestinal diseases from its Basel headquarters, was acquired by the US pharma company Ironwood in May, for $1bn. VecticBIO’s top asset was a substance in phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of Short Bowel Syndrome with Intestinal Failure. Versant Ventures, Tekle Capital Management, Kreos Capital and Forbion Capital Partners were some of its backers before the acquisition.


InstaDeep, now headquartered in London but originally launched in Tunisia, built one of Europe’s highest profile generative AI businesses, which was sold to German-based BioNTech — of Covid vaccine fame — for £562m in January. BioNTech, which had invested in InstaDeep’s Series B round a year earlier, said the goal of the acquisition was to accelerate its AI-driven drug discovery efforts. InstaDeep’s VC investors included Endeavor Catalyst, Alpha Intelligence Capital, CDIB Capital, Google and Synergie. 

T3 Pharma

The clinical-stage Swiss biotech startup was acquired by Boehringer Ingelheim in November for up to CHF 450m (€476m), after developing a proprietary therapy platform that uses live bacteria to deliver immune-modulating proteins to cancer cells and tumours. Founded in 2015, as a spinoff from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, T3 Pharma continues to operate from that region. T3 Pharma had been backed by Falling Walls Venture, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund and Reference Capital, among others.


Orchard Therapeutics

The British gene therapy startup was acquired in October by Kyowa Kirin, in turn owned by beer and beverage company Kirin Holdings, for about $477.6m. Orchard’s portfolio includes Libmeldy, a gene therapy treatment for patients with early-onset metachromatic leukodystrophy, a rare and life-threatening inherited disease of the body’s metabolic system. The treatment had already been approved by the EU and UK regulatory bodies and was being reviewed by the US Food and Drug Administration at the time of the announcement of the deal. Orchard’s VC investors included Albion VC, Eight Roads Ventures, Pavilion Capital Partners, Venrock and Casdin Capital.


The cryptocurrency custody startup based in Switzerland was acquired by US-based currency exchange platform Ripple for $250m in cash and Ripple equity, in a deal announced in May. Joining forces, Ripple can now offer banks a complete vertical stack for tokenization, the process of handling the ownership and transfer of real-world assets on blockchains. Verve Ventures, Standard Chartered and Swiss Post Ventures had backed Metaco.

Cristina Gallardo

Cristina Gallardo is a senior reporter at Sifted based in Madrid and Barcelona. She covers Europe's tech sovereignty, deeptech and Iberia. Follow her on X and LinkedIn