Start-ups receive $60 billion investment, smash 2020 record

By Laura Berrill
Europe’s tech sector start-ups attracted more venture capital investment in 2021 than the whole of 2020 with the UK leading in tech policy

Start-ups on the continent have raised a massive 43.8 billion euros ($60.9 billion) in just the first six months of 2021, according to figures from Dealroom, surpassing the record 38.5 billion euros invested last year..

This is despite the fact that the number of venture deals signed so far is around half the amount agreed in 2020. Only about 2,700 funding rounds have been raised so far this year, compared to 5,200 last year.

Prime examples in times of change

Examples are Swedish buy-now-pay-later firm Klarna which has raised more than $1.6 billion in two financing rounds, the German stock trading app Trade Republic received $900 million in May and British payments provider Checkout.com snapped up $450 million at the start of the year.

The figures suggest that European tech firms are pulling in far larger sums of money per investment than in previous years, which defies the economic uncertainty of the pandemic and boosted online services enormously.

The CEO of Checkout.com, Guillaume Pousaz, said start-ups have often been created in times of crisis, citing the emergence of several new financial technology companies in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis.

He added that big transformational change was often the time when there is the emergence of a lot of new start-ups, sometimes when people are losing their jobs for associated reasons.

UK leading the charge

Scale-Up Europe, a group that includes the founders of UiPath and Wise, proposed 21 recommendations to help the region build “the next generation of tech giants.” Among the suggestions are tax credits to corporates for investing in start-ups and regulatory changes that adapt to new innovations.

Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO of Klarna, said the U.K. leads Europe when it comes to tech policy, and that there were a number of regulatory issues needing to be addressed before the European Union can produce tech giants of its own.

Siemiatkowski highlighted EU regulation of web cookies as an example of “poor regulation.” Yet, as the number of $1 billion start-ups in Europe continues to grow, the number of exits in the continent is also increasing. 

This year has already seen some notable acquisitions, including Etsy’s $1.6 billion purchase of U.K. fashion resale app Depop and JPMorgan’s takeover of London robo-advisor Nutmeg.

As for stock market listings, a number of notable debuts have taken place in London in particular, including food delivery app Deliveroo, cybersecurity firm Darktrace and reviews site Trustpilot. Money transfer giant Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, plans to go public in the U.K. capital soon.

 

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