European-Venture-Capitalistss_refine

Investable entrepreneurs are visionaries, and visionaries don’t have boundaries. They think outside the box; they stay flexible and adaptable, and they aren’t constrained by geographical borders. Successful investors – Venture Capitalists, Angels, Family Offices etc. – share very similar traits. They don’t limit themselves to a small pool of potential. They cast their net as wide as possible to find the very best opportunities available.

That’s no doubt the reason why the European venture capital ecosystem continues to grow from strength to strength, with investors and startups closing substantial rounds and many early-stage startups carrying valuations that are on a par with late-stage startups several years ago.

For an investable entrepreneur, the financial and strategic opportunities offered by European Venture Capitalists are tremendously exciting, but who are the leading VCs in this highly competitive and lucrative playing field?

About this List of European Venture Capitalists

For the most part, the European Venture Capitalists on this list are ranked by AuM (Assets under Management; i.e., the total market value of the assets that a mutual fund manages at a given point in time.)

The first fifteen entries on the list are the top European Venture Capitalists (in AuM order), and the final five entries are other VCs we’ve identified that are making a growing impact on the European investment market.

Related: The Top UK Venture Capitalist Firms in the United Kingdom

When we set out to compile the list, we originally intended to break it down into pre-seed, seed, and series A stage. It quickly became apparent that would be problematic because the terminology favoured by most of these VCs is very different. Instead of pre-seed, seed, and series A, Europe’s leading VCs most often describe their preferred investment phases in terms of Early and Growth.

As an investable entrepreneur, you’ll find a lot of alternative labels thrown around the VC eco-system, and every VC has their own take on what those terms mean. In our experience, the simplest way to compare pre-seed, seed, and series A to Early and Growth is:

  • ‘Early’ is before series A (i.e., pre-seed and seed) when an investor asks themselves whether this is a company that could scale, and what the various risks will be along the way. Think of ‘Early’ as an umbrella term that covers all the sub-stages of a startup’s life (pre-seed, seed and post-seed) when it’s still building up all the evidence and traction it needs to reach series A: building the product, proving concept, putting a team in place, deploying the product to early customers, confirming the product’s worth to the market via sales and feedback.
  • ‘Growth’ is after series A, when the startup has proved its product, marketing, and sales are working and they’re ready for expansion into series B,C,D, and even beyond.
  • Between these is the series A stage, when a startup transitions from being a company with a great offering that has the potential to scale to being a company with a great offering that is ready to scale.

In other words, it’s reasonable to assume that the VCs who say they are looking for both ‘Early’ and ‘Growth’ will likely invest in the series A stage too.

With that in mind, there’s no reason any of the VCs on this list wouldn’t welcome an approach by a founder at any stage of the life cycle, so long as the product or service matches the sector(s) they invest in.

After all, most VCs will spend a lot of their energy identifying and de-risking companies at the Early stage because a significant proportion of a VCs wealth is wrapped up in recognising potentially great companies that haven’t yet, but soon will, achieve growth.

Don’t let the change in labels discourage you. Do a deep research dive and then reach out directly to them to find out more. After all, you never know what any of these VCs have got planned that they haven’t released information about yet.

This is quite possibly the most exciting time for a UK startup to seek VC investment in Europe and, when it comes to raising any investment, fortune favours the brave…

…so long as the brave do their homework, due diligence, and are extremely well prepared before the pitch meeting!

The List

1. Balderton Capital

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Balderton Capital is headquartered in London, and their focus is on supporting startups in the UK. They are one of Europe’s leading VC early-stage investment funds, currently managing around $2.2bn in committed venture capital.

Their preferred investment phases are both ‘Early’ (primarily ‘seed’ and ‘series A’) and ‘Growth’.

Their preferred industries are IT, Media, and Telecommunications.

Balderton made 42 new + follow-on European investments in 2020.

Websitehttps://www.balderton.com/

LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/company/balderton-capital_2

Crunchbasehttps://www.crunchbase.com/organization/balderton-capital

2. Atomico

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Atomico has headquarters in London, and their focus is primarily the UK. Atomico was built by founders for founders, and their key interest are gamechangers who are “using technology to rewire the world in favour of something better.”

Their preferred investment phases are ‘Early’ and ‘Growth’.

Their preferred industries are: Future Mobility, Fintech & Insurtech, eCommerce & Retail, Energy & Sustainability, Life Sciences & Healthtech, IT, Media & Telecommunications Lifestyle, Leisure & Entertainment, Industrie 4.0, AI & Big Data, SaaS, Consumer, and B2B.

Websitehttps://www.atomico.com/

LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/company/atomico

Crunchbasehttps://www.crunchbase.com/organization/atomico

3. BGF

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BGF is headquartered in London, and their focus is the UK and Ireland. Since it was first established in 2011 (under the name ‘Business Growth Fund’) BGF has invested approximately £2.5bn in more than 300 early-stage companies.

Their preferred investment phases are ‘Early’ and ‘Growth’.

Their preferred industries are: Future Mobility, Manufacturing, Construction & Proptech, eCommerce & Retail, Education & HR, Energy & Sustainability, Life Sciences & Healthtech, IT, Media & Telecommunications, Lifestyle, Leisure & Entertainment, Consumer, and B2B.

Website: https://www.bgf.co.uk/

LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/company/bgfinvestments

Crunchbasehttps://www.crunchbase.com/organization/business-growth-fund

4. Sofinnova Partners

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Sofinnova Partners has headquarters in Paris, and their locations of interest are France, Italy, and the UK. Founded in 1972, Sofinnova Partners is one of Europe’s most deeply entrenched VC firms with, currently, over €2.5 billion under management.

Their preferred investment phases are ‘Early’ and ‘Growth’.

Their preferred industries are Life Sciences and Healthtech.

Websitehttps://www.sofinnovapartners.com/

LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/company/sofinnova-partners

Crunchbasehttps://www.crunchbase.com/organization/sofinnova-partners

5. Highland Europe

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Highland Europe is headquartered in London, and their primary focus is on the UK and Switzerland, although they have clients worldwide.

Their preferred investment phase is ‘Growth’.

Their preferred industries are: Future Mobility, IT, Media & Telecommunications, Industrie 4.0, Consumer, and B2B.

Websitehttps://www.highlandeurope.com/

LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/company/highland-europe

Crunchbasehttps://www.crunchbase.com/organization/highland-capital-partners-europe

6. HV Capital

HV Capital’s HQ is in Munich, and their focus is Germany. They “back entrepreneurs with daring visions from seed stage to exist” and they invest funds early, leading investment rounds with initial tickets between €500k and €5m.

Their preferred investment phase is ‘Early’.

Their preferred industries are: Future Mobility, Fintech & Insurtech, eCommerce & Retail, Education & HR, IT, Media & Telecommunications, Consumer, B2B, and General (i.e., no specific industry vertical.)

HV Capital made 100 new + follow-on European investments in 2020.

Websitehttps://www.hvventures.com/

LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/company/hvcapital/

Crunchbasehttps://www.crunchbase.com/organization/holtzbrinck-ventures

7. Earlybird

Earlybird’s headquarters are in Berlin. Since 1997, Earlybird has grown into four dedicated teams focused on different geographies and sectors across the world including Germany, UK, France, and Southern Europe, Eastern Europe and Turkey. With €2bn under management, eight IPOs and 30 trade sales, Earlybird is one of the most active venture capital firms in Europe.

Earlybird’s preferred investment phase is both ‘Early’ and ‘Growth’.

Earlybird’s preferred industries are: Future Mobility, Fintech & Insurtech, Manufacturing, Construction & Proptech, eCommerce & Retail, Supply Chain & Logistics, Life Sciences & Healthtech, Space Technology, IT, Media & Telecommunications, Lifestyle, Leisure & Entertainment, Industrie 4.0, AI & Big Data, Consumer, and B2B.

Websitehttps://earlybird.com/

LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/company/earlybird-venture-capital/

Crunchbasehttps://www.crunchbase.com/organization/earlybird-venture-capital

8. Global Founders Capital

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Global Founders Capital is headquartered in Berlin, and their focus is primarily on the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Sweden. They are a stage agnostic venture capital firm dedicated to empowering gifted entrepreneurs.

Being stage agnostic, Global Founders Capital seeks to invest at all points of the investment phase.

Global Founders Capital’s preferred industries are the Internet, Retail, Fintech, Media, Communication, and IT sectors.

Websitehttps://www.globalfounderscapital.com/

LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/company/global-founders-capital

Crunchbasehttps://www.crunchbase.com/organization/global-founders-capital

9. Northzone

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Northzone has headquarters in two cities – London, and Stockholm. Their focus is on the UK and Sweden. Northzone manages eight funds and has approximately €1 billion in assets. To date, they have made more than 120 investments since they were founded in 1996.

Northzone’s preferred investment phase is ‘Early’.

Its preferred industries are: Future Mobility, Fintech & Insurtech, Manufacturing, Construction & Proptech, eCommerce & Retail, Supply Chain & Logistics, Education & HR, Life Sciences & Healthtech, IT, Media & Telecommunications, Lifestyle, Leisure & Entertainment, Blockchain, Consumer, and B2B.

Northzone made 12 new + follow-on European investments in 2020.

Websitehttps://northzone.com/

LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/company/northzone

Crunchbasehttps://www.crunchbase.com/organization/northzone-ventures

10. Forbion

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Forbion’s headquarters are in Naarden, The Netherlands. Their primary focus is on The Netherlands and Germany. Forbion currently manages over €1.8bn across nine closed-end funds and, as of April 2021, holds 31 active portfolio companies with total investments in more than 80 companies to date.

Forbion’s preferred investment phase is both ‘Early’ and ‘Growth’.

Forbion’s preferred industries are Life Sciences, and Healthtech, especially in the fields of oncology, respiratory, cardiovascular/metabolic, and orphan/rare disease.

Websitehttps://forbion.com/en/

LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/company/forbion-capital-partners

Crunchbasehttps://www.crunchbase.com/organization/forbion-capital-partners

11. Octopus Ventures

Octopus Ventures is headquartered in London, with a primary focus on serving clients in the United Kingdom. They are one of Europe’s largest and most active venture capital firms.

Its preferred investment phase is both ‘Early’ and ‘Growth’.

Its preferred industries are: Life Sciences & Healthtech, Blockchain, Industrie 4.0, AI & Big Data, AR & VR, and SaaS.

Octopus Ventures made 33 new + follow-on European investments in 2020.

Websitehttps://octopusventures.com/

LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/company/octopus-ventures

Crunchbasehttps://www.crunchbase.com/organization/octopus-ventures

12. Partech Ventures

Partech Ventures have headquarters in Paris with offices in Berlin and San Francisco. Their primary focus is on Europe and the USA, and they will help their portfolio companies present on both sides of the Atlantic if there is a clear opportunity for growth. Partech Ventures manages a seed, venture, and growth fund that allows it to invest from $250k to $20m in the early and later institutional rounds of high-growth companies.

Partech Ventures’ preferred investment phases are both ‘Early’ and ‘Growth’.

Partech Ventures’ preferred industries are: Future Mobility, Fintech & Insurtech, Manufacturing, Construction & Proptech, eCommerce & Retail, Supply Chain & Logistics, Education & HR, Energy & Sustainability, Life Sciences & Healthtech, Agritech & Foodtech, IT, Media & Telecommunications, Lifestyle, Leisure & Entertainment, Cybersecurity & Defence, AI & Big Data, Consumer, and B2B.

Websitehttps://partechpartners.com/

LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/company/partech

Crunchbasehttps://www.crunchbase.com/organization/partech

13. EQT Ventures

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EQT Ventures is headquartered in Stockholm, and their focus is primarily on Sweden, Germany, and the UK. Having said that, EQT Ventures also makes minority equity investments in startups with growth potential in both Europe and the US, with investments ranging from €3m to €75m.

EQT Ventures’ preferred investment phase is both ‘Early’ and ‘Growth’.

EQT Ventures has no preferred industry verticals. Their portfolio includes everything from Food delivery to Automotive, Mobile gaming to Quantum computing.

Websitehttps://eqtventures.com/

LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/company/eqt-ventures

Crunchbasehttps://www.crunchbase.com/organization/eqtventures

14. JME Ventures

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JME Ventures’ headquarters is in Madrid. Their focus is investing in Spanish founders everywhere. Although primarily early-stage investors, JME Ventures are also comfortable participating in larger series A venture financing rounds. The have particular expertise in the corporate finance and technology sectors.

JME Ventures’ preferred investment phase is both ‘Early’ and ‘Growth’.

JME Verticals preferred industries are IT, Media, and Telecommunications.

They made 17 new + follow-on European investments in 2020.

Websitehttps://www.jme.vc/

LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/company/jme-venture-capital

Crunchbasehttps://www.crunchbase.com/organization/fundacin-jos-manuel-entrecanales

15. Scottish Equity Partners

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Scottish Equity Partners has headquarters in Glasgow and also in Ireland. They are focused on supporting startups in Ireland and the UK. Scottish Equity Partners provides tailored investment to a wide range of high growth technology companies with a funding requirement of up to £40m. Although profitability is not essential, Scottish Equity Partners seek founders who have strong unit economics and can show a differentiated and sustainable business plan with ambitions to scale internationally or dominate their local market.

Scottish Equity Partners’ preferred investment phases are both ‘Early’ and ‘Growth’.

Scottish Equity Partners preferred industries are: Agritech & Foodtech, Fintech & Insurtech, Life Sciences & Healthtech, Manufacturing, Construction & Proptech, IT, Media & Telecommunications, SaaS, AI & Big Data, AR & VR, and Industrie 4.0.

Websitehttps://www.sep.co.uk/

LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/company/scottish-equity-partners/

Crunchbasehttps://www.crunchbase.com/organization/scottish-equity-partners

European Venture Capitalists with Growing Impact

1. Winton Ventures

Winton Ventures has their headquarters in London. They have a worldwide focus, but their interests are primarily London, UK, and Southern Europe.

Winton Ventures preferred investment phases are seed, series A, and series B.

Winton Ventures preferred industries are Information Security, Energy, Data Science, and Healthcare/Biotech.

Websitehttps://www.winton.com/ventures

2. Seedcamp

Seedcamp is headquartered in London, and their focus is Europe. Many of their startups have achieved the largest raises in Europe, received $1bn valuations, and been acquired by major companies. They typically invest between £250k and £4m and have several unicorn companies in their portfolio.

Seedcamp’s preferred investment phase is early-stage.

Seedcamp’s preferred industries are mainly FinTech and SaaS, although they are open to other approaches.

Websitehttps://seedcamp.com/

3. SHIFT Invest

SHIFT Invest has headquarters in Amsterdam, and their primary interests are The Netherlands and Europe. SHIFT Invest is a technology-focused VC fund that aims to generate positive environmental and health impacts alongside financial returns.

SHIFT Invest’s preferred investment phases are seed, series A, and series B.

Shift Invest’s preferred industries are Agriculture, Food, Health, Cleantech, and Biotech.

Websitehttp://www.shiftinvest.com/

4. Project A

Project A is headquartered in Berlin, and their focus is mainly within Europe. So far, Project A has backed 100 digital companies across 15 industries and 12 countries. They have a unique company-building approach that combines capital investment with hands-on operational involvement.

Project A’s preferred investment phases are seed and series A.

Project A’s preferred industries are: Business Software, Commerce, Cybersecurity, Digital Health, Education, Fintech, Food & Agriculture, Gaming, HR, Insurtech, Manufacturing & Industry 4.0, Marketing, Media, Mobility, Mobility & Logistics, Real Estate & Construction, Travel & Hospitality.

Websitehttps://www.project-a.com/

5. Lakestar

Lakestar has headquarters in Zurich, and has a presence in Berlin, London, New York, and Hong Kong. Their focus is primarily on internet and technology companies within Europe and the US that have the potential to rapidly achieve global scale. Some of the companies Lakestar has invested in include Facebook, Skype, Blockchain, Opendoor, and Spotify.

Lakestar’s preferred investment phases are seed, series A, and series B.

Lakestar’s preferred industries are Technology, Digital, and Internet.

Websitehttps://www.lakestar.com/

Ready to wow VCs?

If you’re a founder with a product or service capable of wowing any of these top VCs, or any other investor you’ve targeted to approach, it’s vital to be as prepared as possible before you step inside their dragon’s den. Fortunately, the best and most effective way to make sure you’re prepared is by reading Robot Mascot COO James Church’s bestselling book, Investable Entrepreneur.

You can download a free copy here.

James Church

James Church

Author of Investable Entrepreneur. #1 Amazon Best Seller. | International Speaker | Co-founder of Robot Mascot

Original article published on Robot Mascot