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13 European VC funds launched in 2021 tо channel regional innovation

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Reports and analysis show that in 2021 the venture capital money flow to Europe reached $28B which is a steep increase compared to the $20B in 2020. The continent has also increased its proportion of global funding to 19% in 2021, moving up from 13% in 2020.

At the end of the year, The Recursive makes an overview of the funds that were launched in 2021 to support SEE and CEE founders from various stages. Explore which European venture capital firms will have fresh capital to channel into regional innovations in 2022. 

New European venture capital and corporate funds

BlackPeak Capital is a Sofia-based private equity investment firm with a focus on SEE startups that made the first closing of its new €120M BlackPeak Southeast Europe Growth Equity Fund in June 2021. The BlackPeak Fund I has invested in Bulpros, Software Group, and Excitel. The fund targets companies with established business models and a history of double-digit growth. It is generally industry-agnostic but has a preference for startups in IT, niche manufacturing, consumer goods, business services, and healthcare. 

Earlybird Venture Capital is a European VC consisting of a family of funds that support tech startups from early days through growth and development phases. In February 2020, Earlybird Digital East launched a new €200M fund in support of companies from Central and Eastern Europe in Seed or Series A stages. Previously Earlybird Digital East has invested in FintechOSPayhawkUiPath. October 2021 saw the launch of a €75M Earlybird UNI-X fund to support pre-seed and very early-seed university spin-off startups.

 

Eleven Ventures is a Sofia-based venture capital firm that focuses on early-stage SEE tech startups. In October 2021, the firm made the first closing of its Eleven III fund that will manage capital of €60M. With an investment term of 4-5 years and a lifecycle of 10 years, the fund will target five technology verticals –Fintech, Healthcare, Future of Food, Future of Work, and Ecomtech. 

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Flashpoint Venture Capital  is a London-based VC firm that focuses on software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies, launched by Eastern European and Israeli teams. In February 2021 the firm made the first closing of its secondary $200M fund. The Secondary Fund will invest in later-stage SaaS companies that are gaining revenue from international markets and are keeping their presence in the local markets of origin. The SEE tech companies in the portfolio of Flashpoint Venture Capital include Welcome Pickups, OfficeRnD, and Chili Piper

Force Over Mass Capital is a UK venture capital firm that targets early-stage tech companies across Europe. In February 2021, the firm launched its Fund IV at €103M. It focuses on Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence, and Fintech seed-stage startups. Force Over Masses participated in the seed round in the Bulgarian search platform for clinical trials FindMeCure back in 2017.

Kaya VC is an early-stage VC fund with roots in CEE that in March 2021 started a new €72M fund focused on startups in Prague, Warsaw and the wider CEE region. Previously the firm has invested in the CEE-based Twisto and Rohlik

LAUNCHub Ventures is a Sofia-based venture capital firm which made the final closing of its third fund at €74M in December 2021 to become the largest seed to Series A early-stage fund in the SEE region. In the next 3-4 years, Fund II is expected to invest in around 20 seed to Series A startups from South-Eastern Europe. The target verticals are SaaS, Fintech, Proptech, Big Data, AI, Marketplaces, Digital Health, Web 3.0, and Blockchain, while the ticket size will range between €300K and €2M. 

Singular is a new VC firm based in France that was founded by Raffi Kamber and Jeremy Uzan. At the end of March 2021, the firm announced its launch with €225 million under management. The firm is industry agnostic and focuses on Series A and Series B companies founded by European entrepreneurs. Previously, Singular has backed the Bulgarian Gtmhub

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Speedinvest is an early-stage European VC firm that invests in Fintech, Industrial Tech, Deep Tech, Digital Health, Network Effects and SaaS startups. In July 2021, Speedinvest made the final close of its second specialist marketplaces and consumer fund at €60M. The Vienna-based firm invests in pre-seed and seed rounds of European startups. 

The Hellenic Development Bank of Investments (HDBI) started a new €60M public equity and quasi-equity fund AccelerateTT in the form of fund-of-funds in March 2021. Accelerate TT targets newly founded startups with no market track that are not listed in any kind of stock exchange, as well as companies that have been on the market for less than 7 years after their first commercial sale, and maintain their establishment in Greece at the time of investment.

UNIQA Ventures is the Vienna-based venture capital fund of the UNIQA Insurance Group with core markets in Austria and Central and Eastern Europe CEE. In September 2021, the fund increased its growth capital from €75M to €150M with half of the capital planned to be invested in CEE startups. The fund backs late seed and early-growth stage startups from the Fintech, Insurtech, and Healthtech verticals coming from all over Europe. UNIQAVentures has invested in Bitpanda and Twisto.

VentureFriends is an early-stage venture capital firm with Greek roots that backs seed and Series A startups with proptech, fintech, traveltech, and consumer solutions, as well as marketplaces and SaaS companies. In December 2021, the firm made the first closing of its third fund at €90M, aiming to reach its final target of €100M. So far, VentureFriends has backed Plum, the AI real estate platform Proportunity, and the proptech company Blueground. 

World Fund is a €350M climate tech venture fund that launched in October 2021 to become the biggest climate tech VC in Europe. The initiator of the fund is the German tech startup Ecosia, the world’s largest not-for-profit search engine that plants trees for every search on its engine. Тhere is one main prerequisite for all tech startups that aim to receive funding – their solutions should save at least 100M tons of CO2 emissions per year.

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Lists are never complete, if you think of another fund that should be on the list, reach out to [email protected]

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Elena is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive, an online media dedicated to the emerging tech and startup ecosystems in Southeast Europe. She is keen on sharing the innovation stories that shape the regional ecosystem and has a great interest in fintech, IoT, and biotech startups. Elena is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Political Science at the American University in Bulgaria.
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