A nice article by Elizabeth “Beezer” Clarkson of Sapphire Ventures (formally SAP Ventures) on why they are investing in European venture funds. Our view is that a number of really important clusters of activity are forming in Europe, and there are some very exciting companies being created. US corporates are increasing their M&A activity in Europe, recognising that great tech and teams are being built here. Could this be the start of a new golden age for European tech?
In the last 18 months we have invested in 83North, Mosaic and Point Nine — and we are working on three additional funds yet to be announced. There are now some 40 European unicorns*, 24 billion-dollar exits over the last 5 years and some 641 companies have raised more than $6 billion in H1 2015 alone. This is up from 738 deals and $5.1 billion for all of 2011. Like in the U.S., Europe now boasts multiple hot spots for innovation, with London, Berlin and Stockholm leading the pack. In these cities you find a concentration of talent, dollars and lighthouse venture-backed companies. We believe European entrepreneurs today are more experienced, think bigger, have global ambitions and are attracting capital at home and abroad. Leading U.S. funds (Sequoia, Union Square, Andreessen Horowitz and NEA, to name only a few) are investing in European companies, lest they miss out on all the fun.