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Here’s where Peter Thiel is investing in Europe

After previously dismissing European tech, Thiel's now backed 43 companies

By Freya Pratty

Back in 2018, Peter Thiel said he thought there were “no successful tech companies in Europe.” Two years before he had called the continent a “slacker with low expectations.”

But today Thiel is investing furiously in European tech startups, pushing money into the continent’s fintech companies in particular. 

Thiel, who cofounded Paypal and analytics firm Palantir, is a partner in four VC firms — Founders Fund, Valar Ventures, Mithril Capital Management and Thiel Capital.

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Together, the firms, combined with several angel investments, mean Thiel has now backed 43 European companies to date, according to data from Dealroom.

And in a further sign that Thiel’s changed his opinion of the European tech scene, it was disclosed in early December that Founders Fund has entered into a partnership with investment firm Elevat3, located in Germany.

It’s Germany and the UK which have received the most investment from Thiel.

In Germany, 13 companies have received backing, including Berlin-based fintech N26 Group, now valued at $3.2bn, which Valar Ventures has backed in three rounds, including its $300m Series D round this year.

Another German unicorn, Deposit Solutions, a fintech specialising in retail deposits, has also been backed by Thiel.

In the UK, Thiel’s also backed 13 companies, including Transferwise, which Valar backed in its Series B, C and D rounds, and which is now worth an estimated $4.5bn.

Companies in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden have also received investment. In Sweden, one of Thiel’s notable investments includes music streaming platform Spotify.

Fintech

As well as Transferwise and N26, other European fintechs continue to attract Thiel’s investment, and it’s steadily become the focus area for his investments in the continent.

Danish fintech and financial media company Samlino has received Thiel’s backing, as have insurance companies like Coya, based in Berlin and Brolly based in the UK. He’s also backed Taxfix, a tax returns service for expats, and French fintech Qonto which provides small businesses with banking services.

Thiel also invested in Monedo, previously known as Kreditech, which was once the largest German fintech in the industry, before it filed for bankruptcy in September this year.

Psychedelic investments

Another emerging trend in Thiel’s portfolio is psychedelics.

In November, he invested in ATAI Life Sciences, a German biotech firm which is developing a range of drugs for mental health treatment, including ketamine, MDMA and psilocybin — the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms.

Earlier in 2020, Thiel also invested in Compass Pathways, one of ATAI’s companies, which has developed a synthetic version of psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) to be used to treat mental health conditions.

The full list*

Austria

  • Bitpanda – a Vienna-based startup that specialises in buying and selling cryptocurrencies
  • Adverity – a marketing analytics and data platform

Belgium

  • Topcompare.be – a tool to compare credit cards and loans

Denmark

  • Samlino – a Copenhagen-based company that provides financial services and news on finance, telecommunications, banking and insurance

France

  • Qonto – a French fintech which provides online banking services to small businesses
  • Luko – a Paris-based startup developing devices that improve home safety and aim to reduce electricity bills
  • Ingenic – an online learning platform that helps teachers give individual feedback to their students

Germany

  • N26 Group – a German fintech, now valued at $3.2bn
  • Taxfix – offering tax return services for expats working abroad
  • Coya – a Berlin-based insurance startup
  • EyeEm – a startup providing curated images and photoshoots
  • Trade Republic – a mobile-only broker
  • ResearchGate – social network for scientists offering tools for collaboration
  • Eating with the chefs – Berlin-based delivery service for meal ingredients to be prepared at home
  • StudiVZ – a social networking service for students
  • ATAI Life Sciences – a German biotech firm which is developing a range of drugs to treat mental health
  • Deposit Solutions – a fintech specialising in retail deposits
  • Cluno – a car subscription service based in Munich
  • Nextmarkets – a Cologne-based data analytics platform for investing
  • MagForce – a company that develops medical devices that generate magnetic hyperthermia

Ireland

  • Manna Drone –  a Dublin-based startup offering drone delivery for dark kitchens and restaurant chains
  • Teckro – a life science tech company which provides software for clinical trials

The Netherlands

  • Terminal – cloud based computing software
  • OLX – an online classifieds platform, based in Hoofddorp in the Netherlands
  • The Ocean Cleanup – a Rotterdam-based company developing solutions to collect plastic from the ocean

Norway

  • Tibber – an app to reduce energy costs and make homes smarter
  • Scrimba – a teaching and learning platform

Spain

  • Belvo – Barcelona-based open banking platform
  • Prose Securities – a cyber security startup based in Madrid

Sweden

  • Spotify – the streaming service, with an HQ in Stockholm, is now worth an estimated $46bn

The UK

  • Daisie – Brighton-based platform where creatives can network and collaborate on projects
  • Brolly – a digital contents insurer that was acquired by Direct Line earlier this year
  • Kalo – a platform for onboarding and paying external workers
  • Transferwise – Valar backed the company in its Series B, C and D rounds, and it’s now worth an estimated $4.5bn
  • DoNotPay – a consumer-focused AI lawyer helping individuals resolve small claims cases. Its founder, Joshua Bowder, is featured in our Gen Z founders list.
  • Compass Pathways – a biotech startup developing a synthetic version of psilocybin to be used to treat mental health conditions
  • Teller – an API for bank accounts
  • Shipamax – shipping software that turns supply chain documents into data
  • ROLI – a startup developing new musical instruments
  • DeepMind – a London-based artificial intelligence company – Thiel’s Founders Fund owns more shares than the startup’s three cofounders
  • Compare Europe Group – a financial comparison platform with an HQ in London
  • Partnerize – online marketing technology startup based in Newcastle
  • SilverRail – a rail travel information company

* According to Dealroom’s data on the investments of Founders Fund, Thiel Capital, Valar Ventures, Mithril Capital Management and Peter Thiel into European companies.

 

Freya Pratty covers news at Sifted. She tweets from @FPratty

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