Sifted, the voice for European tech — raises £4m

Alex Reed
Mountside Ventures
Published in
4 min readNov 25, 2021

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TL;DR

  • The scaling startup media brand, Sifted, is filling an informational void in Europe’s fast-growing new economy — becoming the go-to news platform for all things European tech
  • Sifted — backed by the Financial Times — closed their £4m round led by ScaleUp Capital, to continue growing their team and media channels across the European ecosystem
  • We were delighted to work with the team on this round — read on to find out more 👇

What we love about Sifted:

One of our key goals when launching Mountside Ventures was to support the European ecosystem on its journey towards catching (and ultimately overtaking) the US in years to come. That’s why we’re not only optimising the fundraising process for the very best companies — but also running initiatives to demystify the LP / GP landscape. Together, these pillars aim to increase the flow of capital into European startups and promote Europe’s tech ecosystem.

Sifted, therefore, was a perfect fit — they saw a gap in this fragmented market to become the reference media and trusted voice for Europe’s startup economy, and to help support the emergence of a new generation of founders.

  • World-class team — led by Caspar Woolley, previous Co-founder of Hailo, and John Thornhill, Innovation Editor at the Financial Times, Sifted has two experienced leaders perfectly placed to steer the ship — they’ve built a team of hungry writers and editors, who also have a great sense of fun and a clear love for what they do. For example, one of our favourite additions to Sifted — their new fictional columnist, Rosie Wood, VC Associate at ‘Mild Conviction’.
  • High-quality journalism — publishing with the same quality and integrity as the FT, but with a focus on innovation and early-stage tech — Sifted have built a trusted brand that delivers the latest news, thought-leadership, and insights, to your inbox. They hand-pick and report on the biggest scoops, ask the difficult questions, and point the spotlight on our industry’s greatest issues and debates, such as diversity and sustainability. They’ve already had a big impact to date, and it’s clear that the level of responsibility and accountability they bring will only improve the ecosystem for the better. Their approach is clearly working, with demand growing rapidly, attracting 10 million unique visitors since launch and now with a newsletter readership of more than 100,000 across the region.
  • Long-term vision — there are exciting times ahead, as they expand across Europe, evolving new and existing media channels — this year they launched their premium membership, on top of the array of startup and industry newsletters & reports. Looking further forward, they’ll continue to develop talks & events (see tweet below), the podcast (which launched last week — listen here), and their intelligence hub.

Mountside <> Sifted

We partnered on Sifted’s raise to support Caspar and John in completing their funding round, including helping them to formulate a robust financial model that reflects current traction (readership, ads, corporate sponsors etc.) and also builds in future growth — developing the paid membership model as well as adjacent revenue streams — that they’ll be focusing on with the new raise.

This was one of the more complex forecasting exercises — with emphasis on key assumptions to help model out their future vision (across the plethora of potential channels), and it was important to not only illustrate their ambitious growth but also prove that they are defensible and realistic. We’re huge believers in their vision — through an in-depth analysis of their market size, it’s difficult not to be.

Fundraising is a great chance to take a step back and reflect — often a rarity for most founders. Sifted’s strategy has developed considerably over the last 6 months, and by going through this process it’s clear they understand who they were (at launch), what they are now (today), and what the brand will be in the future.

“Like everyone else in European tech, Sifted is our go-to publication for the latest news and insights. We’re delighted the team has found an investor who shares their passion for the vision, and excited about what’s to come from our favourite media organisation.”

Jonathan Hollis, Managing Partner, Mountside Ventures

“We really enjoyed working with the Mountside team, leveraging their experience to support us in preparing for and completing our funding round. We’re now laser-focused on growing the Sifted team and becoming the definitive media brand for Europe’s startup ecosystem.”

Caspar Woolley, Co-founder, Sifted

What’s next?

Sifted are hiring across the board to double their team in size — check out their open roles here!

We’re thrilled to see what the next stage of their growth journey will bring, and the impact they will have in creating positive change in the European startup ecosystem. If you’ve been living under a rock and are not already signed up to (all five of) their newsletters, see here. Even better, for access to their exclusive events and content, join as a member here!

If you’re a founder as ambitious as this team, we’d love to hear from you— submit details of your company here. We aim to respond to everyone within 48 hours!

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