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European Venture Capital Enjoys Strong 2020 Despite Pandemic-Related Challenges

European venture capital activity totalled €24.0bn invested across 1,697 rounds in 2020. While this marked a 2% decline in values and a 7% decline in volumes from 2019 it remained the second strongest year ever from a value perspective, according to Refinitiv, an LSEG business. The fourth quarter alone was the strongest individual quarter on record with €7.0bn invested across 422 rounds, for year-over-year increases of 45% in values and 2% in volumes.

Forty-five venture capital rounds worth over €100mn were completed throughout the entirety of 2020. Included in the list of top deals newly added during the fourth quarter was the extension of France-based insect farming startup Ÿnsect’s Series C, bringing total funding for the round to €317mn. Investors in the extension included round lead Astanor Ventures along with Upfront Ventures, Footprint Coalition, Happiness Capital, Supernova Invest, and Armat Group. UK-based digital mortgage lender Molo also raised €293mn in a round led by Macquarie Group, Patron Capital, and Yabeo, and joined by previous backers Andenes Investments and GPS Ventures. Rounding out the top three for the quarter was the €263mn investment into Cazoo, a UK-based used car sales platform. The round was led by General Catalyst, D1 Capital Partners, BlackRock, and Fidelity Investments, and was joined by L Catterton, Durable Capital Partners, The Spruce House Partnership, Novator, Mubadala Capital, and dmg ventures.

A total of 98 European venture funds recorded closes between January and December, raising a combined €12.0bn in commitments, an increase of 15% when compared to 2019 and the third strongest year on record following the €29.4bn and €14.5bn raises in 2000 and 2001. Two of the top three closings for the period were from funds managed by Index Ventures, with the first place spot held by the €1.1bn Growth V fund and the third by the €737mn raised for its tenth early-stage venture capital fund, Index Ventures X. The second largest spot was captured by the February closing for Atomico V, with €760mn in commitments. Top closings in the fourth quarter were the €535mn raise for HV Capital’s Fund VIII, and the €460mn raise for Forbion’s Fund V.

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