Slowly, quietly, but increasingly more noisily, startups originally hailing from Europe but going global have been raising larger and larger funding rounds. The linch-pin in the ecosystem has been financing from London (handily, that’s where we’re holding our Disrupt conference there in October). You can be a startup from the most obscure village in Europe, your developers happily hacking away in some austerity-stricken part of town, but raising financing from VCs who like the combination of the UK’s legal jurisdiction, the English language, and the fact that US investors barely need to tick a box to invest when the startup’s founders come calling. The other city attracting VC attention is Berlin. According to Dow Jones VentureSource in the second quarter last year Germany received $375.8m in new VC for 67 deals, mainly in Berlin, while the UK won $290m for 77 deals.
But London is fighting back. A number of funding rounds have came in recently, attest to this trend, and it’s worth us taking time out for a moment to just register that ‘what just happened’ moment in three key stories which happened in the last couple of months.
WorldRemit, a London-based startup aimed at the consumer money wiring/remittance market got $40 million investment from Accel Partners (which has backed Supercell and Facebook. That was the startup’s first VC investment, and one of the largest-ever Series A rounds in Europe to date.
Vinted raised $27 million in its second institutional financing. This is a – ready for this? – Vilnius-based startup, a mobile and web-based marketplace to sell secondhand and consignment clothing. The money was from London’s Accel Partners and Insight Venture Partners (New York).
In February, London’s eCommera, which helps retailers use their customer purchasing data to improve the retail experience, secured $41 million in Series C funding led by Dawn Capital (London) together with other investors.
To date, the largest source of private company information in the UK, DueDil provides company and director data on private companies in over 22 countries. Launched in mid-2011, DueDil has raised a total of $22 million. It’s planning to launch in many more countries over the next year.
London-based travel startup Top10 raised $8 million in a Series B round led by top-tier London VC Balderton Capital. Top10 is a hotel search platform that aggregates review scores, location, popularity, price, and other features, thus creating a shortlist of 10 recommendations for each search. Founded in 2011 with, initially, a focus on music, the startup pivoted in early 2013 to focus on solely hotel search, a key market in Europe, and of course globally, with juicy revenue potentials. Top10 is planning to expanding its reach in Europe. Lyst, a Fashion e-commerce aggregator, raised $14M more, and partnered with PayPal.
And the money in London is not just staying in Europe. San Francisco-based private communications startup Wickr (we’re talking self-destructing And encrypted messages here) raised a Series A round of $9 million led by Alsop Louie Partners with participation from angels including Thor Halvorssen, Gilman Louie, Richard A. Clarke, and Eileen Burbidge.
For those of you unaware, Burbidge is one third of the partners at Passion Capital in London and a key influence in the scene.
And let’s not forget last year’s $42 million, Series C round for DataSift, a social data platform that provides brands and enterprises with access to content from the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and dozens of other social networks. And NewVoiceMedia’s $55m funding in 2013 across two big rounds, with a mix of US and European VCs.
And not to mention, also last year, Yplan, the London-based startup that’s building a platform for selling last-minute event-booking on mobile, closed a $12 million Series A, led by General Catalyst Partners. Then there was Swiftkey, which raised a $17.5M Series B Round Led by Index Ventures.
As a VC said to me just the other day in relation to this news: “VC confidence is at all time high. Those who actually have money are very keen to deploy it. Why? The stock market and the raft of new IPOs are a major reason, plus the proliferation of growth capital.”
You heard it here first people. We’re looking at a new trend: The ‘Euro Megaround’ funding.