It was a comparatively slow start to the year for Europe’s early-stage investors.
VCs disbursed €418m among 265 pre-seed and seed rounds last month, up slightly from the €403m raised by young startups in December, according to Dealroom data.
But last month’s funding is 38% down on January 2023, when investors dished out €673m to 548 seed-stage startups. Worth noting that, because of a reporting lag, this year’s numbers will surely climb a bit.
Where are the early 2024 deals being cut? Germany was the most active country in Europe for early-stage raises last month and the UK followed in second. Spain surprised some by coming in third — the country normally finishes outside the top three or four spots for monthly seed rounds.
German seed-stage startups pulled in €87m from VCs in January, up from the €50m raised in December, while UK startups saw an inflow of €77m, slightly down on December’s €94m. Spanish startups raised €40m, more than double December’s €18m.
Sector-wise, healthtech came out on top for funding with €76m raised, while energy startups followed in second with €68m worth of deals. Third spot went to enterprise software startups, which pulled in €53m.
Here are 12 seed rounds that caught Sifted’s eye.
Cologne-based DISCO Pharmaceuticals, a startup developing tech to map cancer cells, bagged January’s bumper deal: €20m from investors Sofinnova Partners, AbbVie, Panakès Partners and M Ventures.
Another cancer-focused startup, Scotland’s Nodus Oncology, raised £1.8m from Khanu Management and Cumulus Oncology for its range of cancer therapeutics which aim to prevent DNA damage.
Biotech wasn’t the only winner of the month; there was also money for digital health ideas and hardware. Swedish startup Acorai, which has developed a medical device to monitor heart pressure, raised €4.5m from KHP Ventures, CARMA FUND and Solardis Health Ventures. UK startup Evaro received $1.5m for its AI-powered drug prescription services, in a deal led by Cornerstone VC and Exceptional Ventures.
Investors got behind startups developing digital tools to monitor renewable energy in January.
Reel, a Copenhagen-based renewable energy procurement platform, raised $5m from VCs Transition, The Footprint Firm and UVC Partners. The startup, which offers fixed pricing on renewable energy, says it can reduce your company's electricity bill and protect it against future price volatility. Its algorithm will also suggest the optimal mix of wind and solar energy for your business.
Barcelona-based Delfos Energy meanwhile bagged a €6.3m round from Headline, Contrarian Ventures, DOMO Invest and EDP Ventures. The startup provides software for solar, wind and hydro power plant monitoring.
Another startup helping to monitor renewable energy is Eindhoven-based Tibo Energy, which is developing software to manage energy assets like heat pumps and solar panels. It raised €3m in a round led by SET Ventures and joined by Speedinvest.
We also saw London’s Metris Energy get £2m from investors Octopus Ventures and AENU for a tool that reveals commercial properties' solar potential for energy and revenue.
Real estate and construction
Efforts to speed up construction and property management were also a hit with investors in January.
There was a €4m deal for Munich-based einwert, which speeds up the process of getting property valuations from qualified professionals. Investors were Ventech, Wecken & Cie, Auxxo Female Catalyst Fund, 468 Capital and Infinitas Capital.
London-based KOPE AI, which helps construction companies integrate prefabricated products into their projects, bagged £5.5m in a round which was led by Socii Capital and saw participation from Autodesk, Saint-Gobain, Barton Malow Ventures, Halkin Private Capital and Luck Investment.
In 2024, expect to see chips fully on the menu, with European governments piling money into factories and frontier research to build domestic capacity. Young chipmaker and Dresden-based SEMRON raised €7.3m last month from Join Capital, Wolfram Drescher and OTB Ventures, among others, for its “3D-scaled” chips to run AI models on smartphones, VR headsets and other mobile devices.
It’s going to be a big year for face computers, with Apple recently releasing its $3,500 Vision Pro, a VR headset that resembles ski goggles.
Hoping to become a player in the industry is Brussels-based VoxelSensors, which develops “3D perception sensors” for extended reality tech. It collected €3m in an extended seed round from investors SFPIM Relaunch, Qbic fund and Finance&invest.brussels.