November 1, 2023

These are the top early-stage investors in DACH

Despite economic turbulence, these early-stage VCs have come out on top

The Point Nine team

For the DACH region, 2023 has been a challenging year. Overall funding has dropped from $11.7bn in 2022 to $7.2bn so far this year, while relatively few unicorns have been crowned and late-stage funding has all but disappeared.

But pre-seed and seed stage funding is hotter than ever with many big funds — those that previously wouldn’t have dabbled in early-stage investments — swooping in to get the best deals.

So, who are the top-ranking early-stage investors in DACH this year?

Using data from Dealroom, we’ve selected the DACH region’s top early-stage funds. You can find Dealroom’s full methodology here, but the rankings are based on the following data points:

  • Number of unicorns in portfolio
  • Number of “future” unicorns in portfolio
  • Number of rounds in the last 12 months (including follow-ons)

Dealroom has also weighted the rankings by a “dilution score”, so that funds that invested in unicorns at seed stage are scored higher than those that invested at a later stage.

The rankings are divided into seed and Series A funds.

Seed investors in DACH

1. Point Nine

Point Nine team, one of the most active Series A investors in Germany
Point Nine team

Latest fund: Point Nine closed a €180m seed fund, its sixth, in September 2022. In 2022, Point Nine topped the list of the top seed investors in Germany.

Focus: Point Nine focuses on SasS, enterprise software and B2B marketplaces, and occasionally, consumer. It invests globally.

Deal count in the last 12 months: 25, including 14 follow-on investments

Gender split of investments: Of the 25 investments made in the past 12 months, 4 companies have female founders.

Number of unicorns: 10

Number of soonicorns: 16

Notable investments: 

2. Cherry Ventures

Latest fund: Cherry Ventures raised a €300m seed fund, its fourth, in January 2022.

Focus: The fund is focused on European seed and pre-seed startups and usually writes cheques between €1-4m. It saves a "significant amount" for follow-on investments in the best performing companies. Cherry Ventures is sector agnostic.

Deal count in the last 12 months: 24

Gender split of investments: Of the 14 investments made in the past 13 months, 3 companies have female founders.

Number of unicorns: 7

Number of soonicorns: 14

Notable investments: 

  • Drinks delivery company Flaschenpost (acquired by Dr Oetker for $1bn in 2020)
  • Speedy grocery company Flink (unicorn)
  • Digital freight forwarder Forto (unicorn)
  • Reusable rocket builder The Exploration Company

3. Speedinvest

The Speedinvest team. Credit: Klaus Vyhnalek
The Speedinvest team. Credit: Klaus Vyhnalek

Latest fund: In December 2022, Speedinvest announced €500m in new capital: €300m for its fourth pre-seed and seed stage fund and €200m for further investment in existing portfolio companies. 

Focus: Speedinvest is a pan-European early stage investor focusing on pre-seed and seed tech startups across six investment areas: climate, tech and industrial tech, deep tech, fintech, health and tech bio, marketplaces and consumer, and SaaS and infrastructure. It has over €1bm in AUM (assets under management).

Deal count in the last 12 months: 33 new portfolio companies and 44 follow-on investment rounds in existing portfolio companies.

Gender split of investments: 24% of the 33 new investments made over the past 12 months have at least one female in the founding team.


Number of unicorns: 5 unicorns in EMEA

Number of soonicorns: 20

Notable investments:

  • Digital insurer WeFox (unicorn)
  • Crypto trading platform Bitpanda (unicorn)
  • Online tutoring platform GoStudent (unicorn)
  • Battery analytics startup Twaice

4. Picus Capital

Latest fund: Picus Capital is a privately financed VC firm without a typical fund structure. It is not constrained by fund lifecycles or investment areas, but can invest in any founding team, geography or idea it wishes.

Alongside the privately financed setup, Picus Capital has a structured co-investment fund which enables it to keep investing in existing portfolio companies and in selective, later-stage deals.

Focus: Picus invests globally in pre-seed and seed rounds and focuses on tech companies in financial services,  HR, energy and climate, healthcare, logistics & mobility, real estate and construction, crypto and web3, deeptech and e-commerce.

Deal count in the last 12 months: 68 investments, including follow-ons.

Number of unicorns: 3

Number of soonicorns: 18

Gender split of investments: 9% of the start-ups Picus has invested in so far have at least one female co-founder in the team. Over the past 12 months, nearly a fifth of the teams it backed had one female co-founder. 

Notable investments: 

  • HR tech Personio (unicorn)
  • Solar company Enpal, enabling customers to buy solar panels (unicorn)
  • B2B 'buy now pay later' company Billie
  • Health platform Avi Medical which pairs app-based telehealth with a number of physical clinics

The others:

  • Binance Labs
  • Redalpine
  • Fondation FIT
  • Blue Horizon corporation

Series A investors in DACH

1. HV Capital 

Latest fund: In May this year, HV closed its ninth fund of €710m, split into early and growth stage pots.

Focus: Market leading digital companies across Europe.

Deal count in the last 12 months: 33 deals including follow-on investments in the last 12 months.

Gender split of investments: HV Capital does not track this data, but its aim is to have 33% female representation in portfolio executives.

Number of unicorns: 18 

Number of soonicorns: 22

Notable investments: 

  • Online fashion platform Zalando 
  • Meal kit company HelloFresh 
  • Restaurant delivery company Delivery Hero
  • Secondhand fashion platform Depop

2. Lakestar

Latest fund: Lakestar raised a $735m in early and growth stage funds in February 2020 to invest mainly in Europe.

Focus: The firm invests in early and growth stage technology companies. Most of its investments have historically been in fintech, enterprise software, real estate and health, according to Dealroom data.

Deal count in the last 12 months: 26

Gender split of investments: N/A

Number of unicorns: 23

Number of soonicorns: 16

Notable investments: 

  • Music streaming platform Spotify (exit)
  • Travel experience platform GetYourGuide (unicorn)
  • Digital freight forwarder for land transport Sennder
  • Digital health company Alan

3. Target Global

Latest fund: Target Global raised a €525m fund in July 2021.

Focus:  The fund invests in European technology companies from pre-seed to pre-IPO and has more than €3bn in assets under management.

Deal count in the last 12 months: 20

Gender split of investments: N/A

Number of unicorns: 20

Number of soonicorns: 20

Notable investments: 

  • Restaurant delivery company Delivery Hero (IPO)
  • Consumer tech subscription platform Grover 
  • Secondhand car marketplace Auto1 (IPO)
  • Choco, a foodtech making software to digitise ordering, supply chain and communications for restaurants and suppliers (unicorn)

4. b2venture 

Latest fund: b2venture closed a €135m early-stage fund in 2021 to invest in digital technologies in Europe. It also has a direct investments track staffed by an independent investment team, allowing it to pool individual investments from its angel community and invest in startups directly. 

Focus: b2venture invests primarily at pre-seed and seed, though its most recent early VC deals lean more toward Series A. It focuses on AI-enabled software companies in the fields of climate, horizontal AI, fintech, insurtech, digital health, supply chain and productivity in the DACH region and selected geographies in Europe.

Deal count in the last 12 months: 11, including deals from both its fund and direct investments team and including follow-on rounds and extensions. 

Gender split of investments: Of the 11 transactions, two teams had female founders.

Number of unicorns: 5

Number of soonicorns: 2

Notable investments: 

  • Blacklane, a platform linking customers to professional chaffeurs
  • Translation platform DeepL
  • Solar company 1Komma5° which rents solar panels
  • Edurino, a digital learning app for kids

5. Acton Capital

Latest fund: Acton closed a $215m fund, its fifth, in 2019 to invest in technology startups at the growth stage.

Focus: Founded in 1999 and based in Munich, the fund typically focused on later-stage technology companies in Europe and North America. 

Deal count in the last 12 months: 4

Gender split of investments: N/A

Number of unicorns: 9

Number of soonicorns: 6

Notable investments: 

  • Vacation rental platform HomeToGo (IPO)
  • Ecommerce platform focusing on handmade items and craft supplies, Etsy (IPO)
  • Cybersecurity awareness platform SoSafe
  • Digital staffing marketplace Zenjob

6. Earlybird

Earlybird's Digital West fund

Latest fund: Earlybird closed its €350m Digital West fund in May 2022.

Focus: Earlybird is a pan-European fund with a focus on pre-seed to Series A companies. It typically co-leads its investments and aims for sizable ownership. It invests in enterprise software, fintech, sustainability and deep tech across Western Europe.

Deal count in the last 12 months: 21, including seven follow-on investments.

Gender split of investments: N/A

Number of unicorns: 8

Number of soonicorns: 12

Notable investments: 

And the rest:

  1. UNIQA Ventures
  2. Quadia
  3. TEV Ventures
  4. Bertelsmann Investments