Unicorn herd in Europe multiplies as VC investments more than doubled in 2021 – Crunchbase News

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Funding for European startups showed unprecedented growth in 2021, Crunchbase numbers show, with $ 116 billion invested. That’s a 159% increase from the $ 45 billion invested in 2020.

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

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

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According to data from Crunchbase, two-thirds, or $ 76 billion, of last year’s funding was invested late, up more than 230 percent year-on-year.

Last year 84 new unicorn startups from Europe joined the Crunchbase unicorn board, compared to 11 in 2020. The board currently counts 150 euros private unicorn companies.


Volume of the European venture capital dollar until 2021

The deal matters

In 2021, more European startups raised early and late stage funding than in 2020.

Nearly 600 companies in Europe have raised Series C or later funding. According to Crunchbase data, more than 1,600 companies raised early-stage funding and more than 4,700 companies raised seed-stage funds. 1

Volume of European venture capital agreements until 2021

Advanced phase and technological growth

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

The share of late stage funding has also grown from 51% of funding in 2020 to 66% in 2021, correspond to global trends.

European investments of technological and advanced growth from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the fourth quarter of 2021

Early stage financing

Early-stage European funding in 2021 was $ 31.4 billion, up from $ 17.1 billion in 2020, marking an 84% year-over-year growth.

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

European investments in the initial phase from Q4 2020 to Q4 2021


The seed ecosystem grew 74% year-over-year in 2021, with $ 8.4 billion invested. The fourth quarter surpassed all prior quarters with $ 2.8 billion raised in over 1,000 funding rounds.

European Seed and Angel Investment from 4th quarter 2020 to 4th quarter 2021

Leading countries

Of the top six countries in Europe, both Germany and the Netherlands each grew by more than 200% year-over-year and Spain grew by more than 400%. In addition to the growth in funding, a larger share was invested outside the main UK markets.

Leading European countries, by volume of risk dollars, from 2018 to 2021

The herd of unicorns grows

The Crunchbase Unicorn Table now it’s home to 150 euros private unicorn companies, with more than half of these, 84, joining in just the last year.

They include:

  • E-commerce company Trendyol and delivery service Bring from Turkey;
  • Cryptocurrency exchange platform Bockchain.com, by connecting the banking data service TrueLayer and peer-to-peer lending platform Soup From United Kingdom;
  • Commission-free broker Commercial Republic, food delivery company Gorillaand content distribution platform Happy from Germany;
  • Electric scooter company Butter from Sweden;
  • Staff market for concerts Work and talent and online real estate platform idealist from Spain;
  • Global fantasy football company So rare and blockchain security companies Ledger from France;
  • Cryptocurrency Exchange bitpanda from Austria; And
  • Blockchain developer Consensys from Switzerland.

The Crunchbase Unicorn Board currently hosts five European companies worth more than $ 10 billion, an unprecedented number. Across Europe, 17 countries raised more than $ 1 billion in funding in 2021 compared to eight in 2020.

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Europe matures

Among the leading startups funded globally in financial services in 2021, five of them were from Europe. They include the Stockholm-based Buy Now platform, Pay Later Klarna, a London-based mobile banking platform Revol, payment integrator based in Amsterdam Mollie and mobile bank based in Berlin N26 and commission-free trading broker Commercial Republic.

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

Silicon Valley companies are actively opening stores in Europe itself as well, as major European companies no longer see the need to cross the pond to be successful.

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Further reading


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

Note that data delays are more pronounced in the early stages of business activity, with initial funding amounts increasing significantly after the end of a quarter / year.

The most recent quarter / year will increase over time from previous quarters. Regarding the loan counts, we notice a strong delay in the data, especially in the early and early stages, from 30% to 40% per year.

Please note that all funding values ​​are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. Crunchbase converts foreign currencies into US dollars at the prevailing spot rate from the date on which funding rounds, acquisitions, IPOs and other financial events are reported. Even if these events were added to Crunchbase long after the event was announced, foreign currency transactions are converted to the historic spot price.

For the analysis of M&A transactions, we include venture capital firms and exclude companies that were previously publicly traded.

Financing terms glossary

The seed and the angel are made up of seeds, pre-seeds and round angel. Crunchbase also includes unknown series venture rounds, equity crowdfunding, and convertible bonds at $ 3 million (USD or USD equivalent converted) or less.

The initial phase consists of Series A and Series B rounds, as well as other types of rounds. Crunchbase includes venture capital rounds of unknown series, corporate ventures and other rounds above $ 3 million and those below or equal to $ 15 million.

The final round consists of series C, series D, series E and risk rounds with subsequent letters after the “Series [Letter]”Naming convention. Also included are venture capital rounds of unknown series, corporate ventures and other rounds in excess of $ 15 million.

Technological growth is a private equity round raised by a company that previously launched a “venture” round. (So ​​basically any round from the previously defined phases.)

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions and more with Crunchbase Daily.

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