Startups are global by definition but seeing venture capitalists coming to Europe was unthinkable only some years ago.
But things change: hubs and communities have been growing worldwide and investors, including the biggest names, are starting having a look at what happens on the other parts of the oceans.
And, more importantly, they invest.
This basically means that:
1) tech talent in Europe and Asia abound and
2) startups beyond Silicon Valley are becoming attractive.
Considering Europe, in particular, the “urban innovation path” is still long and must necessarily pass through further stages. Anyways, startup communities are expanding in such capitals as London, Berlin, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Milan and Rome, for example.
Even if there are differences in the amount of capital available, European entrepreneurial ecosystems show a general increase in the capacity to generate talent and successful startups (SoundCloud, Spotify, Supercell, jist to cite a few), capable of attracting foreign investors.
Given the above, who, among the US venture capitalists, has already invested in European startups? As already said, notable names have already come to invest in the “Old Continent”, indeed.
PayPal co-founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has showed interest in fintech companies. Via its venture capital firm Valar, he invested in Number26, a Berlin-based provider of a bank account tailored to the needs of the smartphone user, and Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann’s Transferwise, a London-based tech driven international transfer money platform. The latyter’s $58m Series C round closed in January 2014 was led by Andreessen Horowitz, the Menlo Park, California-based venture capital firm founded in 2009 by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz.
Pursuing the future of money, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Wicklow Capital and Future Perfect Ventures have invested in the $30m round of Blockchain, a London, UK-based provider of a Bitcoin wallet.
But big money can be in football as well. Given this, Fred Wilson’s Union Square Ventures (USV) decided to invest in THE Football App, a Berlin, Germany-based mobile news and networking service for football fans, which raised $7m in funding in October 2014. In the same month, Catalyst Investors led the $22m Series B funding round of Decisyon, the Latina, Italy-based provider of business intelligence and performance management software solutions.
Understanding the potential, Google Ventures launched a $100m fund dedicated exclusively to Europe in July 2014. In February this year, its first investment in London, UK-based music technology company Kobalt was announced.
Differently, 500 Startups, the early stage vc firm founded by Dave Mcclure and Christine Tsai, invests worldwide and hosts 30/40 startups a batch from every corner of the planet (including several European companies) in the framework of its 4-month long accelerators located in Mountain View, San Francisco, and Mexico City.
In the just launched 13th batch, it houses Linguatrip, a London, UK-based online platform for booking quality language courses and student accommodations worldwide, ResultsOnAir, an Estonian optimization agency specializing in direct response TV advertising, Storygami, a London-based platform that lets users add related content into videos, and CoContest, a Rome, Italy-based interior design marketplace connecting designers and customers.