US versus Europe, why Euro VCs are fucked and how Americans are thinking about A rounds.


This is the 27th edition of Sunday CET, a weekly curation of what’s interesting in the European investment and startup landscape.

More money in the market
Interesting bets
Research, data, observations
What others think

More money in the market

🇧🇪 Antwerp-based VC Fortino Capital launches new €80 million fund for backing early stage software startups

🇫🇮 Nordic FoodTech VC announced closing €24.5 million for investing in food companies.

🇪🇸 Bolsa Social Impact Fund has completed a first closing of €10 million, aiming to reach a target size of 25 million.

Interesting bets

🇧🇪 data science startup | €2 million | Force Over Mass

🇪🇪 company which instantly detects and fixes serverless app problems in cloud environments | $2.1 milion | Paladin Capital Group, Passion Capital, Lemonade Stand

🇫🇮 gaming company | $4.7 million | Makers Fund, Sisu Ventures

🇫🇮 subscription-based operation for pet food delivery | €500k | angel investors

🇫🇮 operator of an electric vehicle charging platform technology | JXTG

🇫🇷 constructor of eco-friendly wooden houses | €1.4 million | AVIVA Impact Investing, Inter InvestCapital

🇮🇸 wearable for sports analytics | $1.4 million | The New Business Venture Fund

🇮🇹 online search engine for lawyers | €210k | henQ Capital, ASIF Ventures

🇪🇸 business based on a mobile app aggregating consumer expenses | €1 million | angel investors

🇸🇪 developer of a software platform featuring environmental data | €2.3 million | Norrsken Foundation, Nordic Makers, Max Ventures, GGV Capital

🇳🇱 startup which patented a microbiological process for using human urine for agriculture | €1 million | Evergreen International, Irdi Soridec

🇬🇧 social media automation | £2.5 million | Fuel Ventures

🇬🇧 data analysis platform for growing tech companies | €2.2 million | LocalGlobe

Research, data, observations

🇳🇱 TQ becomes TNW: Why we have rebranded our tech hub

Still to be seen how FT is going to integrate TNW and Index, which were part of the package together with the conference FT purchased last year.

The easy answer is probably merge them w/ as operationally-wise it doesn’t make sense to keep multiple teams for similar products. This is easier said than done since likely TNW has a legacy inventory that comes with an audience easy to sell. And speaking of legacy, there are probably at least a few underlying software tools that need to be re-written or integrated under the same umbrella for achieving operational efficiencies.

But… since the event biz has been put on hold this year because CV, my guess is that one of the internal discussions would be around assessing TNW’s true online brand value. Traffic without ads against it is just wasted money and burning cash for running two similar assets (Sifted and TNW), when the industry is in turmoil with no resolution in sight, can hardly justify content creation without going the DTC avenue. Which is bad timing: bad macro + Sifted not mature + TNW not-monetizable via sub.

Doubt it is a lot of € burn in the grand £383M/year revenue scheme of things but not an easy position either.

Also interesting to follow what they do with Index, a not very up to date but sizeable startup/investor database product without vision whatsoever - now they sell it as a white label matchmaker b2b product but there’s certainly more opps. if FT is capable to assemble a decent product.

🇬🇧 Staff at the digital bank Revolut are being offered shares in exchange for lower take-home pay

🇳🇴 Norwegian’s only real option is to try to come back as a humble regional rival to Swedish and Danish-owned carrier SAS.

🇪🇺 Great map w/ the energy prices market in Europe

🇸🇪 You can purchase a village in Sweden for just $7 million.

🇪🇺 What are the top investment deals in in the Nordic countries for the first quarter of 2020.

🇪🇺 In Q1 of 2020 the Nordic venture market is at about the same absolute value number ($1.1bn-ish) and at 60% of the dealflow level of 2019. link

🇪🇸 K Fund made a hack for easily looking up investors and their deals in Europe based on data from Crunchbase, circa 2015-2019.

🇪🇺 Another hack based on the same Crunchbase data comparing 2019 and 2020 deal flow in Europe.

For a larger context (and better data) CB Insights also has a Q1 funding report.

🇫🇷 Why France is bailing out its startups

🇪🇺 Global survey of consumer sentiment during the coronavirus crisis w/ answers from 21 countries, 9 of which are from Europe.

🇪🇺 Companies shaping “the Future of Work”

🇫🇷 mobile consumer apps backed by Kima Ventures


  • started to learn more about some specific verticals lately, and ran into two diagrams that stuck and I keep coming back to in my thinking process

  • popular social networks for kids under 17 years of age

I admit, I first heard of Roblox from my then-6 years old son when he started using it a few years ago.

What others think

🇪🇺 How far Europe is behind the US? Or how far US is behind Europe? Here is an answer selection from a thread:

Americans have bathrooms and big TVs. Europeans have good health care and a 35 hour work week. These are the different priorities and yes it says everything.

Quality of life is also a somewhat subjective measure. In many European cities, people dry their clothes on clotheslines, which many Americans would find insanely regressive.

Everyone in Europe runs a struggling bookshop and is five years behind on the rent, but the government office that does evictions is six years behind on the paperwork.

Europe seems richer than it is because the things they do spend money on, like roads, tend to be visible.

I don't know if people working 60 hours with little benefits would think a country where their peer works 36 hours and get social programs would view per capita GDP as proof we're richer.

While very high earners in Europe do migrate to the US (to earn even more highly), it's notable that other people do not. Because "middle Germany" is much wealthier than "Middle America."

For top 3rd, yes America is awesome. For middle 3rd, toss-up. Bottom 3rd, Europe wins (at least countries I know - Germany, Luxembourg, Holland and France).

Btw, if you want to read another argument on the subject, this is a good one:

So if you are earning $50k in America, it is a very different thing than earning $50k in France, Germany, or Sweden — in America, you must pay steeply for the basics of life, for basic necessities. Thus, incomes stretch much further in other countries, which enjoy a vastly higher quality of life, even though people there earn roughly the same amount, because they pay vastly less for basic necessities. Americans are rich, but only nominally — their money doesn’t buy nearly as much as their peers does, where it matters and counts most, for the basics of life.

From an entrepreneur’s perspective, I think America is a great place for starting and growing fast a business.

It is a big, one-language market, the societal rules are more open, failure is encouraged, nobody cares what country you are coming from and you have a better chance than in Europe to build great stuff in a faster way. And if you build business backed by VCs, it is more likely to find great investors than in Europe - competition is high and top investors are very experienced and accessible. Incredibly better compared to Europe - Americans are really good at doing business in general.

However, America is as corrupt as you can get - having been born and raised in Romania, I know what I am talking about. Add to that the high criminality (you can get shot in open street just because somebody had a bad day) and that the public services are extremely bad.

Everything is car-centric and commuting-based and it is rare to find well-maintained cities. In some ways America is so backwards that whenever I go there from Europe is like time travelling to the 80s.

And, if you have a family, the education is expensive and the healthcare is extremely expensive.

If you are young and competitive, it is likely to succeed in US in more ways you can define success as it is easy to find smart money and peers with the right mindset. Europe is a place to take the slower way while you enjoy life, culture, food and in general la dolce far niente.

A smart approach is taking the best of the two worlds. The best piece of advice is the one I got from Martin - "raise in US and build the company in Europe.”

🇬🇧 COVID and forced experiments (Ben Evans)

🇬🇧Read and learn: a detailed review of the arsenal of aggressive legal terms that VC's may want to use in a crisis, so founders know what to look out for.

🇪🇺 A simple explanation as to why the European VCs are fucked this year

🇪🇺 Covid-19 Euro investors pulse survey taken by Yannick Roux of Semantic Ventures

🇪🇺 VC Covid-19 Barometer #4


Happy Sunday!

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Created every Sunday by @drnovac. Please share it with people who may find it interesting - thanks!