European tech is heating up: In 2014, 13 startups became “unicorns,” with valuations of $US1 billion or more. It’s a huge jump from just a year before, which saw the birth of only three of the mythical creatures.
Fuelling this growth is an ambitious collection of European venture capital funds, investing capital into the ecosystem in the hopes of getting in on the ground floor of the next Spotify or Skype — as well as looking at other sectors, including health-tech, energy, and more traditional business.
With the help of venture capital tracking company CB Insights, Business Insider has ranked the biggest European funds raised since 2010, by size.
Founded in 2002, Principia is an Italian venture capital firm based in Milan. It focuses on startups and small & medium sized enterprises with turnovers of less than €50 million.
With its HQ in Berlin and additional offices in Munich and Istanbul, Earlybird invests across multiple stages and has invested in 11 companies in the last 12 months. It also invests in health tech.
Past investments include to-do list app Wunderlist, social analytics company SocialBakers, and EyeEm, a photo-sharing app and community.
Glide invests in healthcare tech and services, with offices in Boston and the Netherlands. For its tech investments, it looks to invest up to €15 million at a time.
A 15-year-old fund with its headquarters based in London, it typically invests between €250,000 to €15 million per company, 'focusing primarily (on) seed and growth stage investments,' its CrunchBase profile says. It 'also look(s) to help US companies enter the European market.'
Investments include music recognition service Shazam, dating app Happn, and micro-seed fund Seedcamp.
Launched in 2002 and London-based, Bridge Ventures focuses on 'opportunities where investments can generate investor returns through helping meet pressing social or environmental challenges.' An example of this: It recently backed Unforgettable.org, a soon-to-launch online community and e-commerce platform for those living with dementia and their carers.
TVM Capital Life Science is another health-tech fund. Based in Munich and Montreal, it invests across the West in 'innovative biotech, pharmaceutical, and medtech companies.'
Launched back in 1991, Scottish Equity Partners invests in a mix of energy, healthcare, and technology companies. On the tech side, its portfolio includes language-learning service Babbel, flight finder Sky Scanner, and social analytics company SocialBro.
As well as a London office, it (unsurprisingly) has two offices in Scotland -- Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Partech launched in 1984, and has offices in Paris and Berlin on the continent, as well as San Francisco.
One of its most recent investments is online furniture retailer Made.com, in which it invested $US34 million of a $US60 million round. Previous investments include the German online review site Qype (which was subsequently acquired by competitor Yelp), French video hub Daily Motion, and health insurance provider GetInsured.com.
Rockaway says it is 'building the internet economy in emerging markets.' As well as a European base in Prague, it also has offices in San Francisco and Sao Paulo.
A British fund with a broad portfolio ranging from healthcare to construction and business services, its IT portfolio includes enterprise file-sharing company WorkShare, programmatic media marketplace The Exchange Lab, and public sector cloud software provider Skyscape.
Balderton Capital began life as the European arm of veteran US tech fund Benchmark in 2000, before going independent in 2007. Centred in London, its notable investments include BetFair, Kobalt, Lovefilm, Bebo, Citymapper, and Wonga.
This 19-year-old fund has offices in London, Oslo, New York, Stockholm, and Copenhagen. It has invested in more than 100 companies, including Spotify, LastMinute.com, and iZettle.
German VC fund Holtzbrinck, founded in 2000, describes itself as 'one of the leading independent European early stage funds.' Notable investments include Zalando, Groupon, and Delivery Hero.
Abingworth, founded in 1973, is 'dedicated exclusively to the life sciences and healthcare sectors.' It invests 'across all stages of company development including early and late-stage private deals, VIPEs (Venture Investments in Public Equities) venture growth and public companies.' It has offices in London, Menlo Park, and Boston.
Launched by Skype cofounder Niklas Zennström in 2006, Atomico focuses exclusively on tech. It is headquartered in London, with additional offices in Beijing, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, and Instanbul, and invests globally. Investments include Skype, Rovio, and Last.fm, in Europe -- as well as Fab and Jawbone in the US.
Regional Growth Fund is a British government initiative to help fund UK businesses. 'For every £1 invested through the RGF,' its website explains, 'the private sector has put in £5.50.' It claims to have created 130,000 jobs so far.
Launched in November 2014 by German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom, it aims to be 'an external innovation engine through investments in venture capital, with a special focus on Germany's exciting and growing start-up scene,' it said at launch.
It has one investment listed on Crunchbase so far -- an $US8 million series A round in automotive software company Mojio.
Launched in 1996, Index Ventures has offices in Geneva, Switzerland, London, Jersey, and San Francisco. It invests in both technology and healthcare. Its extensive tech portfolio includes Asos, BetFair, Facebook, Etsy, and Just Eat.
(Note: Since 2010, Index has raised multiple funds, that would have taken up several spaces on the list, so CB Insights rolled them all into one.)