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Bigger is better: The most active investors in European late-stage rounds

Leah Hodgson

When looking at the European venture capital industry today, it appears that the phrase 'bigger is better' has been taken to heart. 

With more than a quarter left to go, 2019 has already broken records. Fundraising for startups on the continent is up nearly €1.2 billion (around $1.3 billion) from 2018 to stand at €21.1 billion raised so far this year, per the PitchBook Platform. Bar a slight dip in 2016, startup fundraising has been continuously rising over the past decade, while deal counts are at their lowest in eight years—indicating that venture capitalists may be shying away from investing in early-stage European startups in favor of placing fewer, larger bets.

Despite early-stage transactions accounting for the majority of the past decade's deal volume, late-stage deals represent 63.6% of the total capital invested in European businesses so far this year, per PitchBook data, and in turn take up more market share. 

Deals of this nature have resulted in several new additions to Europe's unicorn herd. German fintech startup N26 kicked off the year with a $300 million fundraise led by Insight Partners, becoming one of the first companies to reach the ranks of $1 billion-plus businesses in 2019. It was soon joined by online medical appointment service provider Doctolib, which crossed the threshold with a €150 million round. The following months saw companies like low-cost coach operator FlixMobility and AI photography platform Meero enter the club. 

So, which venture capital firms are frequently pouring money into mature startups? Below is a list of the most active VCs investing in European late-stage rounds since 2014 (excluding government entities) with their deal counts in parentheses.  

1. Mercia Asset Management (79)
2. Almi Invest (77)
3. Idinvest Partners (65)
4. Finnvera (63)
5. Octopus Ventures (58)
6. Balderton Capital (50)
7. IP Group (47)

Featured image via wenmei Zhou/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images 
 

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