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Funding for European startups saw unprecedented growth in 2021, according to figures from Crunchbase, with $116 billion invested. That’s a 159% increase from the $45 billion invested in 2020.

Consider that ten years ago less than $8 billion was invested in European startups. In 2012, venture capital funding on the continent accounted for 13% of all global funding; in 2021, this figure was 18%.

In Europe, $40 billion, or a third, of all venture capital funding last year went to startups and start-ups. This is not much less than the total funding raised for each year in 2020 and 2019.

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Two-thirds, or $76 billion, of last year’s funding was late-stage investment, up more than 230% year-over-year, according to Crunchbase data.

Last year, 84 new unicorn startups from Europe joined Unicorn Crunchbase board, up from 11 in 2020. The board currently has 150 european private unicorn companies.

Contents

The case counts

In 2021, more European startups raised early and late stage funding compared to 2020.

Nearly 600 companies in Europe have raised funds in Series C or later. More than 1,600 companies have raised early-stage funds and more than 4,700 seed-stage companies, according to figures from Crunchbase. 1

Volume of European venture capital transactions until 2021

Advanced stage and technological growth

Growth-stage investors have increased their appetite for European startups with more investors leading or co-leading $1 billion+ rounds in 2021 compared to previous years. Funding for late-stage and technology growth grew more than 200% year-over-year to $76 billion, up from $23 billion in 2020.

The proportion of late-stage funding also increased from 51% of funding in 2020 to 66% in 2021, match global trends.

Late-stage European investment and technology growth from Q4 2020 to Q4 2021

Seed funding

European seed funding in 2021 totaled $31.4 billion, up from $17.1 billion in 2020, an 84% year-over-year growth.

In 2021, 46 companies raised Series A or B rounds of $100 million or more, according to data from Crunchbase. In 2020, 13 companies raised these large amounts.

European early-stage investment from Q4 2020 to Q4 2021

Plant

The seed ecosystem grew in 2021 by 74% year-over-year, with $8.4 billion invested. The fourth quarter topped all previous quarters with $2.8 billion raised across more than 1,000 funding rounds.

European seed and angel investment from Q4 2020 to Q4 2021

Leading countries

Among the top six countries in Europe, Germany and the Netherlands each recorded year-on-year growth of more than 200% and Spain more than 400%. Along with the growth in funding, a greater proportion was invested outside the main UK markets.

Top European countries, by volume of venture capital, from 2018 to 2021

The herd of unicorns grows

the Crunchbase Unicorn Board now houses 150 european private unicorn companies, more than half of which (84) joined in the last year alone.

They include:

  • e-commerce company Tendency and delivery service Getir from Turkey;
  • Crypto exchange platform Bockchain.com, bank data service connection TrueLayer and peer-to-peer lending platform Zopa from Great Britain;
  • Broker without commission commercial republic, grocery delivery company Gorillas, and content delivery platform happy of Germany;
  • electric scooter company here from Sweden;
  • Staffing Market JobandTalent and online real estate platform idealistic from Spain;
  • Global Fantasy Football Company So rare and blockchain security company register of France;
  • Crypto exchange Bitpanda form Austria; and
  • blockchain developer Consensys from Switzerland.

The Crunchbase Unicorn Board is currently home to five European companies valued at over $10 billion, an unprecedented number. Across Europe, 17 countries raised more than $1 billion in 2021, up from eight in 2020.

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Europe is coming of age

Among the world’s most funded startups in financial services in 2021, five of them were from Europe. They include the Stockholm-based platform, buy now, pay later Klarna, a London-based mobile banking platform Revolution, Amsterdam-based payments integrator Mollie and mobile banking based in Berlin N26 and commission-free broker commercial republic.

The European ecosystem is maturing and demonstrating trends similar to those observed in the North American market since 2018, with larger financings at all stages and an increase in late-stage financings led by global growth equity investors.

Silicon Valley companies are also actively moving into Europe itself, as large European companies no longer see the need to cross the pond to succeed.

Crunchbase Pro queries relevant to this article

Further reading

Methodology

The data in this report comes directly from Crunchbase and is based on reported data. Data reported is as of January 9, 2022.

Note that data lags are more pronounced in the early stages of venture capital activity, with seed funding amounts increasing significantly after the end of a quarter/year.

The most recent quarter/year will increase over time compared to previous quarters. In terms of funding, we see a strong data lag, especially at the seed and start-up stages, up to 30% to 40% per year.

Please note that all funding values ​​are given in US dollars unless otherwise stated. Crunchbase converts foreign currency to US dollars at the spot rate in effect as of the date funding rounds, acquisitions, IPOs, and other financial events are reported. Even though these events were added to Crunchbase long after the event was announced, foreign currency transactions are converted at the historical spot price.

For the analysis of M&A transactions, we include venture-backed companies and exclude companies that have previously gone public.

Glossary of Funding Terms

Seed and angel consists of seed, pre-seed and angel rounds. Crunchbase also includes VC rounds of unknown series, equity crowdfunding, and convertible notes at $3 million (USD or converted USD equivalent) or less.

The early stage includes Series A and Series B rounds, as well as other types of rounds. Crunchbase includes VC rounds of unknown rounds, venture capital and other rounds greater than $3 million, and those less than or equal to $15 million.

Late Stage includes Series C, Series D, Series E and later venture rounds after the “Series [Letter]” naming convention. Also included are VC rounds of unknown series, VC and other rounds above $15 million.

Tech growth is a private equity round raised by a company that previously raised a “venture” round. (So ​​basically any round of the previously defined stages.)

Drawing: Dom Guzman

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