startups backed by the most active angels in Europe
Welcome to Sunday CET, our coverage of what’s interesting in the startup ecosystem from Europe.
startups backed by the most active angels in Europe
Tech Nation is just survival for the Brits
bullish on the future of transportation
From almost 4000 angel investors we have tracked over at Nordic 9 as active in 2022, what startups names would you guess that come up more frequent in their portfolios?
Before getting into that - the angel investing activity has increased considerably in Europe in the past few years, with recycling as one of the more important drivers i.e. startup founders cashed out and put the money back into the ecosystem. Those are actually the best angel investors to work with as they are practicians who get it as opposed to number crunchers driven by theory, which is how business is conducted nowadays. Alas, there’s many other valuable sorts, (ex-)VCs, bankers, consultants or private equity guys that are doing this either full time or on the side of their daily jobs. Also important to note is that most of those guys are usually investing passively, to the extent of dumb money (they call it bets), rather than being proactive and treating angel investing as a professional job. The best angels are helpful, proactive, and can become great boosters for a startup’s trajectory.
Usually angel investors don’t act alone - they work in packs, and Europe has multiple pockets of angel investors deploying money in startups. Just by looking at the Nordic 9 data, I can easily identify at least 40-50 such pockets scattered all over Europe - in fact, there’s many-many others, and there’s no database in this world that has a comprehensive evidence of all the angel activity in Europe. Over at Nordic 9 we clean up data for about 4-5k every year, and that is a significant number compared to what you can find elsewhere, as we proactively dig a lot of intel related to angels.
Back to the point. Given that the Euro environment is super fragmented, it was worth spending half an hour for data crunching to see what comes out as a common denominator.
I took the 2022 portfolios of some 20 of the more active angels in Europe, selected from 4 regions:
I threw their portfolios in a spreadsheet - about 30 startups appear in at least 2 portfolios of those guys. By aggregating the portfolios by investors region:
in the Nordics I got names such as Ark Capital, Depict or Elo Health
Now, the more interesting part was aggregating all the startup names.
The one that came on top is Timberhub, present in 4 portfolios - they’re Dutch doing a digital marketplace for timber trading, seeded by Speedinvest last May, followed by a fresh round led by Creandum and HV Capital exactly 3 months later.
There were two other names that appeared in the portfolios of 3 angels:
Futurz - French building an alternative to ESOP without equity sharing, which raised last Aprils
TheSimpleClub - Germans building a learning app for kids and students, which raised almost 8 million last summer.
Granted, there’s many ways you can do this exercise for milking the proper intel, mine is quick and dirty but even so there’s many other interesting names that came up. The spreadsheet has 230 startups with all the names by country and is available for our N9 customers. 😊
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Good to know basis
👉 Is cold emailing working with investors? - of course
🤔 How do you get investors to find you - turn the tables around
🇸🇪 Guide for startups in Sweden - basic stuff
🇩🇪 Guide for startups in Germany - basic stuff
🇫🇷 9 AI predictions for 2023 - link
🤔 Products with community at their core - link
Have you produced useful resources for the community? They can be events, reports or tools - send me an email with submissions at firstname.lastname@example.org
The real estate situation
🇬🇧 This week, the startup accelerator Tech Nation announced closing down as the government will pull out funding it. That is bad for a multitude of reasons, and I saw all sorts of hot takes with unfair comparisons with Germany and France backing their ecosystems. That’s comparing oranges with bananas - listen, the UK is bleeding, the country is in one of its worst economic shapes since the WWII. Closing down Tech Nation is a survival mode decision - when you’re drowning at such fast rate, you look to cut as much as possible in order to at least re-balance. The UK economy is far away from that - its being badly managed culminated with Brexit and it went downhill at an accelerated rate ever since. There’s not even a path to recovery as of yet, and so considering terms such as innovation or startups is out of the context. The local startup ecosystem seemingly went the same way, as it needs constant, proper support for producing value for the economy. It’s become expensive and complicated to run a startup - today the environment is rather defined by increased lack of talent availability, huge costs of living, high legal frictions for outsiders and so on.
Looking at the big European picture that includes Britain though, it’s not only the local subsidies or accelerators that make a difference for a startup founder - they’re equally important to finding investors. The only reason for a foreign founder to test the UK investors waters nowadays is that London is one of the coolest cities in the world and that there’s still 20-30 local VCs they can talk to and who can get it, a big problem in Europe in the VC-backed startup world of the past decade. That gap however has narrowed considerably today. If you have international ambitions for your startups, you can find decent investors on the continent, in hubs like Paris or Stockholm - they know their stuff to the dot, they behave professionally and they even conduct business in English. On top of that, if you’re doing something interesting, a select number of American investors and their representatives will even chase you anywhere you are.
In short you don’t need to put London on your trajectory anymore. The huge European inbound of talent and energy to the UK is fading away - the Brits are suddenly not the smartest people in the room when it comes to VC-backed startups from Europe. Europeans caught up fast, not only by throwing money at the problem, but also by having improved fast the knowledge and professionalism through the cycles. And sadly, the British government has bigger fights to deal with rather than nourishing the local investor community with funding initiatives like Tech Nation. That’s a long term investment run requiring high yearly expenses and it’s up to the private money to figure things out now - the best in class are already hedged with dealings on the continent or in the US. However… to quote somebody from Twitter - the quip that UK is now Italy without the sunshine feels increasingly harsh on Italy. 😊
🚄 Future of transportation. I am bullish on the transportation being radically different in the next decade, as today things are still running in an old paradigm, mostly un-affected by technology (i.e. electric) and innovative business models. The low cost airlines emergence was probably one of the more significant change in the past, particularly in Europe. Yes, regulations and fragmented infrastructure make for a difficult business case, but startups usually tackle hard problems, right? Oh, and we can safely say that Europe is decades ahead of USA, where travelling still seems stuck in the 70s.
And so I am a sucker for startups giving it a try.
Imagine a business model that aggregates corporate demand for travel needs of multiple companies from the same region matched by regional airports to their chosen destinations. This means using a dynamic platform for deploying aircraft assets, optimising, and rightsizing them subject to any given demand. If any seats are remaining, they will be sold to business travelers to piggyback on the flights. The target is to provide door to door travel time regionally in Europe in less than 2 hours, only with electric planes.
Add on those guys too.
🕸️ Speaking of being bullish Sorare did a multimillion-pound deal with the English Premier League for licensing official player cards, as users will be able to purchase and use official Premier League-licensed NFTs under the exclusive multi-year agreement. Long Sorare.
🇫🇮 The Finns are not really happy about how Israel-based Playtika handles the local M&A deals as Playtika just made an offer to buy Rovio at a premium of 55%.
🇬🇧 Doing crypto ain’t easy Crypto companies with US operations withdrew their applications to register in the United Kingdom rather than face rejection after the standards for acceptance were raised. Britain’s top financial watchdog has approved only 15% of crypto company registration applications after tightening its standards, which now require digital-asset companies to follow the same money-laundering rules as traditional financial firms. Just 41 companies have been given the green light.
🇪🇺 Euro space index. Euronext launched an European space-related index to track the performance of European companies in the space sector.
🇬🇧 The FT has seemingly made available up to £100 million for acquisitions.
🇩🇪 Audi acquired a minority stake in Formula 1 team Sauber Group, as the Swiss constructor’s current partnership with Alfa Romeo will end after the coming season.
💲 US investment bank Lazard paid €190,000 to end Frankfurt investigation in an insider-dealing investigation.
🇩🇪 German companies are looking at thousands of layoffs in Silicon Valley as an opportunity to recruit top talent. Good luck with that.
🇪🇺 Preparing for the next winter Europe’s gas outlook for 2023.
🇪🇺 Can EU keep up with the US on green subsidies?
👏 Google smelled the coffee - it seemingly invested 300 million in OpenAI’s competitor, Anthropic, done by ex-OpenAI employees. Why, oh why - it’s business development, as most of the money is in the form the computing resources Anthropic uses from Google's cloud computing division.
Meanwhile, ChatGPT reached 100 million MAUs in January - here’s a good interview on the current AI development wave with John Carmack.
🤔 Amateur investors are backing away from trading in public markets, with big implications for the direction of the market. They are still collectively the biggest holders of U.S. equities and any retreat from stocks could remove a steady source of support at a turbulent moment.
👋 The market sentiment: sell.
🤑 The merger of slow money and fast money - private equity buys insurance firms hunting for better yields.
🎶 Welcome to the content business - Meta has been paying to scrape other sites for years while suing companies that scrape Facebook and Instagram.
🦇 Dude in charge of Mastercard's NFT-related efforts resigned by minting his resignation letter as an NFT and selling it as a means of financial support.
🗣️ Medicalising obesity is Big Pharma’s biggest and most disturbing heist of all time.
🚘 A Porsche AG dealership in China put $148,000 sportscar on sale for just $18,000.
💲 What I learned selling comedy tickets on the streets of New York.
🍣 Japan has to deal with sushi terrorism.
⚡ Year 2038 problem.
A medium cappuccino (362ml) from Costa contains 325mg caffeine, compared to 66mg in a Starbucks Tall (350ml) cup. Similar sized cappuccinos from Caffè Nero will give you 110-115mg of caffeine, from Greggs 197mg, and from Pret 180mg.
✨ Michigan boy, 6, orders nearly $1,500 in food from Grubhub on dad’s phone.
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