Funding Rounds, Acquisitions, and Exits From European Startups in 2016
We are big supporters of the European startup community to which we belong. Our continent produces some amazing ideas and the talented people needed to execute and build upon those ideas.
So far this year, we’ve taken a look at 20 of Europe’s most innovative startups, why France’s startup scene is particularly exciting, and who is making waves in Sweden. Now, let’s take a look at some of the teams that have been rewarded for the good work they’ve done so far.
Here are 20 European startups that either received nice funding rounds in 2016 or were acquired by larger companies.
EU Startups: The 20 Biggest Funding Changes of 2016
Portugal’s Aptoide is building an Android app marketplace designed to give the Google Play store a run for its money, and investors are intrigued by the startup’s potential — intrigued to the tune of 4 million USD in a Series A funding round.
In five years, Aptoide has grown to become the largest independent alternative Android app marketplace. At the time of the funding round, the company reported it had 100 million users around the world. Its focus is emerging markets, and the company has offices in Singapore and Shenzhen.
One of the rising stars in health tech is London’s Babylon, which connects mobile users to an artificial intelligence doctor capable of diagnosing minor health issues (and will connect users to a live human doctor when it can’t). The app’s AI can also track a user’s health habits, predict potential issues and even diagnose problems before the symptoms appear.
Investors were excited by Babylon’s potential, and the startup raised 25 million USD in January, just 11 months after launching. That became the largest Series A funding round by any European digital healthcare company to date.
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Another British digital health startup, Big Health, makes a mobile health app called Sleepio, which is used by hundreds of thousands of people who’ve signed up via their employers. The app helps users track their sleep, adjust habits as necessary for a better night’s rest and ultimately enjoy great mental wellness as a result.
The company announced in June it had raised 9.5 million GBP to grow further and partner with even more employers.
One of the major players in the UK’s food delivery space, Deliveroo announced in August it had raised 275 million USD to fund rapid expansion plans. That brings total funding for the three-year-old company to nearly a half billion USD.
“With a now more than sizeable war chest, Deliveroo co-founder Will Shu told Tech.eu that the money will be spent on its ambitious international expansion plans, strategic projects such as the off-site delivery kitchen initiative RooBox, and of course staffing up,” tech reporter Robin Wauters writes.
Nearly a decade old now, Devialet is still raising noteworthy funds to expand its work with high-quality audio technology. At the end of November, the French company raised 100 million EUR that brought in a whole new slew of investors (including Jay-Z).
One of the company’s big breakthroughs is its ADH Intelligence technology, which creates a hybrid digital-analog sound that makes music sound fantastic. And just last year, it released its Phantom speaker, which Wired says “points the way to the future and will force fussy and intractable audio critics to reassess their position on just how good music played via Wi-Fi on a unit no larger than a breadbox can sound.”
Dubsmash, an app made in Berlin that lets users record and share videos of themselves lip-synching, has been on fire for most of 2015 and 2016. In fact, TechCrunch’s Steve O’Hear reports that as of late November 2016, the app is signing up a million new users roughly every five days.
That bit of insight comes on the heels of an announced 9.5 million USD funding round. To date, the two-year-old startup has raised more than 15 million USD.
This list is going to have plenty of eye-popping exits, but it’s worth spending time looking around the seed-stage end of Europe’s startup community. One such seed-stage startup worth keeping an eye on is Portugal’s Faarm.io, which won the second annual Startup Lisboa Boost competition at Web Summit in Lisbon this year.
In recognition of Faarm.io’s potential to track and share information on food, Caixa Capital awarded co-founders Miguel Lupi Caetano and João Gomes 100,000 EUR to develop their company further.
Stockholm startup Glue is turning its customers’ phones into smart keys capable of locking and unlocking any door you specify from wherever you are. This could be an awesome tool for landlords and holiday home owners who need to remotely control who can get access to a building or a room.
The company announced earlier this summer it had raised 3 million USD “to support the continued development of an ecosystem around in-home delivery of products and services.”
Amsterdam’s Impraise offers what it calls a “fitness-tracker for your professional life.” Its software gives employees rapid feedback on their performance so they can know as soon as a task or project is completed where they can improve. This past spring, the company raised a seed round of 1.6 million USD to build upon the work it was doing.
Dutch startup inSided was founded on the idea that modern brands need to build communities around themselves to remain viable. “The brands of the future inspire their customers and help to remove friction in using their products,” co-founder Wouter Neyndorff says. “Just like consumers themselves, brands need to switch from traditional one-way channels like TV towards digital and many-to-many communication channels like communities.”
In February, inSided reported it had raised 6 million EUR in a Series A investment round to grow the platform it has built to help brands call together their own communities.
Swedish digital health company Lifesum had a big summer, raising 10 million USD in a funding round to expand the work its team is doing to touch more people’s lives. Lifesum exists primarily as an app, but as the company grows — especially among American users — it has begun to position itself as a full-fledged digital health company, capable of tracking dozens of behaviors, habits and other data points that will help people get visibility on their own health.
Magic Pony Technology (now Twitter Cortex)
London-based video startup Magic Pony, which used compression protocols to shrink video sizes by half and used neural networks to make low-quality streams resolve more clearly, proved the perfect fit for Twitter.
Twitter acquired the two-year-old company this past summer for 150 million USD and folded it into its machine learning division, Cortex.
Dutch wearables company NightBalance, which develops devices to help people who suffer from sleep apnea, announced in the summer it had raised 12.5 million EUR to further develop its Sleep Position Trainer device — which gently vibrates against the skin to get sleepers to turn over without waking them — and to expand into America.
UK wealth management startup Nutmeg announced in November it had raised 30 million GBP. The app streamlines investment portfolio management down to a single app, and users can get started in investing with as little as 500 pounds.
According to TechCrunch, the four-year-old company manages more than a half billion pounds in investments and has some 20,000 customers and counting.
Paris-based online learning platform OpenClassrooms announced in September that it had raised 6 million EUR to expand the reach of its digital skills and entrepreneurship lessons across Europe.
“We are convinced, and the educational market shows it, that self-paced training and open online courses are the key to success in a lifelong learning approach,” founders Mathieu Nebra and Pierre Dubuc told ed-tech news portal EDUKWEST last year. “There are barriers in learning; what we need is to give the opportunity to anyone to learn any subject at anytime. Sharing their knowledge and expertise is the best way to learn more and better.”
France’s Sigfox, an Internet of Things company intent on building the infrastructure for smart homes and commercial built spaces, announced in November it had raised 150 million EUR in a funding round.
According to a release on the company’s blog, Sigfox’s network currently supports more than 10 million smart devices in 26 countries, and it plans to use this investment round to grow that network to 60 countries.
Edinburgh’s Skyscanner, the preferred travel search portal for so many European holidaymakers, announced in November it had been acquired by China’s largest online travel company, Ctrip, for a cool 1.4 billion GBP.
Rob Davies at The Guardian reports this will net Skyscanner’s co-founders 400 million GBP each, plus thousands for each employee who sells his or her company shares.
Helsinki game development company Supercell made jaws drop everywhere this summer when it announced that Chinese tech giant Tencent was acquiring an 84 percent stake in the company for 8.6 billion USD.
That’s “billion” with a B. The overall valuation of the games company, famous for titles like Clash of Clans, came to 10.2 billion USD. Not bad for a six-year-old startup that’s brought four games to market.
Wercker in Amsterdam is doing work that sounds pretty esoteric to outsiders — the company describes itself as a “Docker-Native CI/CD Automation platform for Kubernetes & Microservice Deployments” — but in lay terms that just means it helps developers test and deploy their code faster via automation.
In January, CEO Micha Hernandez van Leuffen announced on the company’s blog that his team had raised a 4.5 million USD round of funding “to accelerate our enterprise offering, expand our commercial team, and of course, build the best developer experience out there for creating and deploying containerized applications in an automated way.”
Finnish food-delivery startup Wolt spent 2016 building a small empire around the Baltic coast. After raising 10 million EUR to expand operations into Sweden and Estonia, the team has been busy looking for new ways to get food to hungry customers. This includes using a six-wheeled, moon-rover-looking robot, which the company has been testing out in Tallinn this fall.
“We could not be more excited about this since it’s not only the future,” says Juhani Mykkänen, head of marketing and comms at Wolt. “It’s also just plain cool.”
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