The European Series A landscape — actionable benchmarks & the most active lead VCs
9 months ago we published, together with Dealroom and Atomico, actionable benchmarks on Seed funding in Europe — round sizes, conversion rates and time to Series A.
This time, together with Dealroom, we sought to provide founders (and their Seed investors) with actionable benchmarks on Series A funding in Europe over the past 5 years.
To draw meaningful like-for-like comparisons, we adhered to the methodology introduced in the previous analysis, whereby rounds were qualified not (only) by their public labelling (frequently driven more by marketing than by substance), but rather by their actual size, with these standardised brackets: $4–7m for “Old” Series A, $7–15m for “New” Series A, and >$15m for “Mega” Series A.
Following that initial qualification, we then constructed a thoroughly validated dataset of 257 Series A rounds from 2014–2018, led by the 20 most active lead VCs in European Series A, which the following analysis is exclusively based on. We focused on VCs who led Series A rounds, rather than just participated in them, because securing the lead investor is typically the primary fundraising priority for founders.
Here are the 3 key takeaways:
(1) In Europe, New and Mega Series A have become notably more common than Old Series A, across most geographies and categories. In fact, in 2017–2018, New and Mega Series A rounds accounted for more than 80% of the capital deployed in European Series A. For detailed geography/category-specific distributions, please see the full report below.
(2) While London is clearly the capital of lead VCs in European Series A — as home to half (!) of them — there are no (!) US-based VCs in this group.
(3) The 5-year data offers granular investment profiles of VCs leading Series A rounds in Europe, based on round size, geography, and category. These provide founders (and their Seed investors) with a robust reference framework for Series A fundraising.
Investment profiles by category (categories are not mutually exclusive):
And investment profiles by geography:
So, whether you’re the founder of an enterprise software company in the UK looking to raise a $5m (Old) Series A, or the founder of a consumer company in Germany looking to raise a $10m (New) Series A — creating the shortlist of VCs who are historically more likely to consider leading your Series A should now be much easier.
Of course, just because a VC hasn’t been (very) active in a certain geography, category or round size range, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be considered as a potential investor. While this is a fully validated historic record, any future fundraising should account for ongoing developments, with existing investors tweaking their strategy or focus, and new investors joining the scene.
We’re extremely grateful to the 20 VCs above who put in the time and effort to share and qualify the data, without which this analysis wouldn’t be possible.
The detailed methodology and findings can be found here. As always, we welcome any constructive feedback and suggestions for future data-driven analyses that would further inform European founders and investors.