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Europe’s 20 Biggest Tech Startup Funding Deals in 2021

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Europe’s 20 Biggest Tech Startup Funding Deals in 2021

StrategiNext European tech start-ups

The business magazine presents the 20 largest funding rounds for start-ups in European technology that took place in 2021. The total amount of funding for European startups amounted to about €20 billion.

  • The UK accounted for only 3 of the 20 biggest mega rounds, and France for none at all.
  • Germany is the absolute leader with eight deals, mainly due to its on-demand and fintech industries.
  • More than half of the mega rounds exceeded $1 billion. Only one of them went to a company operating in the field of fintech, despite the fact that in 2021 this vertical dominated the financing as a whole.
  • Neither Germany nor the UK are in the top three, which is occupied by Norway, Turkey and Sweden.

Mega rounds of funding for European tech start-ups for the period 2021

Fintech startup Mollie receives €665 million

Dutch payment service Mollie raised its largest funding round to date in June, bringing the total raised to €780 million. Startup Mollie plans to spend the money to launch a business in the UK.

During the round, Mollie was valued at €5.4 billion, making it one of the largest European fintech companies. It had 480 employees at the time of the round, with plans to hire 300 more by the end of the year.

German online retailer Flink raised $750 million in Series B funding in just a few weeks. After the round, the startup’s market valuation rose to $2.1 billion. It was Flink’s second startup round this year. In total, since the beginning of 2021, it has attracted $1.1 billion in investments.

The funding illustrates the rapidly growing hyperlocal fast food delivery market in Europe. During 2021, the market became very competitive, and the players tried to throw in as many investments as possible for growth.

Neobank Revolut receives $800 million

Russian-founded British fintech startup Revolut received a massive $800 million Series E funding round in July at a steep $33 billion market valuation. SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Tiger Global Management were backers of the deal.

Revolut’s founders said they would use the capital to fund expansion in the US, as well as expand into other international markets such as India. The latter hasn’t happened yet, but the company did expand its US offering in the third quarter.

MessageBird Startup Raises $800M Investment

Another Dutch startup, omnichannel communications platform MessageBird, extended its Series C round by $200 million, which it closed back in October 2020, to $1 billion.

Most of the capital raised was immediately spent on acquisitions of services and companies. In 2021, MessageBird acquired startups Hull and 24sessions for an undisclosed amount, and also paid $600 million for US-based SparkPost.

ONITY raises €700 million

Bavarian high-power charging network IONITY received a €700 million investment in November. BlackRock Global Renewable Power platform was reported to be responsible for most of the funding, investing €500 million. All other existing investors in the company are car manufacturers, these are BMW Group, Ford Motor Company, Hyundai Motor Group with KIA, Mercedes-Benz AG and Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche.

IONITY, which operates a manufacturer-independent network of car chargers in 24 countries, expects to use the capital raised to quadruple the number of charging points to 7,000 by 2024.

Neo-broker Trade Republic raised $900 million

Berlin-based neo-broker Trade Republic raised $900 million in a Series C round led by Sequoia in May. As a result of the transaction, the startup received a market valuation of more than $5 billion.

Trade Republic boasts over 1 million clients in Germany, France and Austria and offers its clients access to capital market investments including equities, ETFs and derivatives. In addition, this year the fintech service has the opportunity to invest in cryptocurrencies.

SumUp receives €750 million in funding

London-based SMB-focused payment provider SumUp announced its latest funding round in March, raising €750 million from the likes of Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital Credit, Temasek, Crestline and funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management.

Provider SumUp said the new round will enable it to accelerate further growth and acquire new customers, organically and through M&A deals, and refinance existing debt. The company, which has over 2,000 employees, is currently present in Europe, the US and Brazil.

Fintech startup N26 attracts investments of $900 million

Another Berlin-based fintech startup, neobank N26, raised $900 million in October at a market valuation of $9 billion. The funding round was led by Third Point Ventures and Coatue Management.

With 7 million customers in 25 countries, neobank N26 said it plans to focus on its home continent, including a planned expansion into Eastern Europe.

Tech startup Celonis receives $1 billion investment

Munich-based process mining software startup Celonis raised $1 billion in Series D funding in June at a market valuation of $11 billion. The company is focused on process automation, which makes it easier and cheaper to map workflows across an organization.

The deal’s predominantly US investors included Durable Capital Partners LP and T. Rowe Price Associates, who jointly led the round, as well as Franklin Templeton, Splunk Ventures and Arena Holdings. Celonis also announced the hiring of former Google CFO Carlos Kirgner as chief financial officer, signaling a possible IPO in the foreseeable future.

Fintech company Klarna receives $1 billion in funding

Klarna, a major European fintech player in the buy-now-pay-later vertical, raised $1 billion in funding back in March at a current market valuation of $31 billion. The deal made Klarna the most valuable private fintech company in Europe at the time and after fintech company Stripe in the world.

The company plans to use the new capital to “accelerate international expansion and further capture global retail growth.” In addition, Klarna has committed 1 percent of the amount raised to a new initiative that addresses key global sustainability issues.

Startup company Grover raises $1 billion

Subscription-based consumer equipment rental platform Grover received “more than $1 billion” in July to “accelerate growth and expand into new markets.” Founded in 2015, the startup company offers customers the opportunity to rent all kinds of consumer electronics for a monthly payment that varies depending on the length of the contract.

At the time of the round, Grover reported that “4,000 metric tons of CO₂ have been saved by recycling devices, and 1,400 tons of e-waste have been removed from landfills.”

Grocery delivery startup Gorillas raises $1bn investment

One of Europe’s biggest fast food delivery startups, Gorillas raised “about $1 billion” in October at a $2.1 billion preliminary valuation. It was the startup company’s second funding round in 2021 after a $290 million capital injection in March, put Gorillas on the list of unicorns.

The megaround was led by another leading German delivery player, Delivery Hero. The company confirmed that it paid $235 million for about 8 percent of Gorillas shares.

Sinch raises $1.1 billion in funding

Stockholm-based communications platform Sinch raised $1.1 billion in additional cash from a new share issue in May. Like its Dutch competitor MessageBird, Sinch has been quite active in M&A. One of his latest purchases was the $1.1 billion acquisition of US-based Inteliquent. The company said the fresh capital would “strengthen its financial position and flexibility.”

A few months after the deal, Sinch made a small acquisition, paying €48 million in cash and shares for Munich-based startup MessengerPeople.

Spotify startup raises $1.3 billion

One of Europe’s largest startups, Spotify, announced in February that it was offering “exchangeable senior bonds” from its US subsidiary. Raising $1.3 billion is like getting debt financing, Musically explains. Investors in the bonds can exchange them for cash or Spotify stock after March 20, 2024. At the same time, the company said it would use the proceeds for “general corporate purposes.”

One of the corporate goals seems to have been a global service buyout. Spotify has made at least a few acquisitions this year: it has bought app developer Betty Labs, podcast search platform Podz, audiobook aggregator Findaway and tech company Whooshkaa.

Just Eat Takeaway raises €1.1 billion in capital

Amsterdam-based food ordering and delivery company Just Eat Takeaway.com, a public company listed on Euronext Amsterdam, raised additional capital earlier this year through a two-tranche convertible bond offering.

Just Eat Takeaway has not made any major takeover announcements since raising funding and only acquired Slovak rival Bistro.sk in July for €50m.

Cinch receives an investment of £1 billion as a result of the deal

Constellation Automotive Group, which owns digital used car retailer Cinch, raised £1bn of private investment in May to grow the business and continue to compete with the likes of Cazoo and Carzam.

It was reported that the size of the deal was twice what the company originally planned, which meant that blue-chip investors were willing to pour money into the business. This transaction became one of the largest in the history of the British company, if not the largest.

Delivery company Delivery Hero raises €1.25 billion

In September 2021, Delivery Hero raised €1.25 billion through a share convertible bond offering. The company said it will use the money for “corporate-wide purposes” as well as “taking advantage of attractive investment opportunities that may arise.”

In October, Delivery Hero announced the acquisition of Hungry.dk in Denmark for an undisclosed sum. Prior to the deal, Delivery Hero already had a 44 percent stake in the Danish company.

Turkish e-commerce company Trendyol raises $1.5 billion

Turkish e-commerce platform Trendyol announced a massive $1.5 billion funding round in August, making it the country’s first $16.5 billion “dragon startup”. The round was led by General Atlantic, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Princeville Capital and sovereign wealth funds, ADQ (UAE) and Qatar Investment Authority. The investment marks SoftBank’s first venture capital deal in Turkey.

Not well known in the West, Trendyol dominates the local e-commerce market with over 30 million customers and over 1 million packages delivered daily. Company founder Demet Susan Mutlu said at the time of the deal that the cash injection will be used for “expansion in Turkey and internationally.”

Stake in Adevinta sold for €1.9 billion

In a private secondary market deal that is still technically an investment, British investment firm Permira bought a 10.2% stake in Adevinta from eBay for €1.9 billion. Announced in July, the deal came a few weeks after Austrian competition regulator finally approved Adevinta’s $9.2 billion takeover of eBay’s classifieds business.

The takeover deal made Adevinta the world’s largest online classifieds company, in which eBay received a 44% stake. Now that Permira has acquired a portion of it, the US e-commerce giant still owns 33 percent.

Later that year, Adevinta also sold the popular British classifieds site Gumtree, which it promised to do to the Competition and Market Authority in exchange for permission to acquire the eBay business.

$2.75 billion investment for Northvolt

Swedish energy tech company Northvolt, which makes (relatively) sustainable lithium-ion batteries, is in a league of its own this year, raising $2.75 billion in a private placement. Announced in June, the share offering was led by Swedish pension funds AP1, AP2, AP3, AP4 and OMERS Capital Markets, along with existing investors Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Volkswagen Group.

Northvolt has already secured more than $27 billion in contracts with players such as BMW, Fluence, Scania and Volkswagen. The company is currently expanding its first gigafactory in Sweden to 60 GWh and aims to reach a total European production capacity of 150 GWh by 2030.

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