2021 is shaping up to be a stellar year for fast-growth companies in Europe. Investment into European growth companies reached almost EUR20 billion in the first quarter, roughly double any quarter of 2020. Funding at every stage was up, with late-stage funding growing the most.
Whilst we’re not great supporters of ‘unicorn hunting’, as there’s a plethora of brilliant, innovative businesses out there that will achieve great success without the coveted billion valuation, new unicorn counts in Europe grew all the same. A record-setting 16 new unicorns were coined in a single quarter. In the whole of 2020 just 15 new European unicorns joined the unicorn board.
These current numbers account for 11 percent of all unicorns globally, and the amount of capital raised in the first quarter was more than EUR7 billion.
Early-stage funding is also at an all-time high for European startups, with total volume up 62 percent on the same quarter last year. The number of early-stage growth companies that received funding was also up, indicating that it’s not just the select few chart-toppers receiving the bulk of the money. The capital markets remain strong, and for companies with a good track record of growth that capital is more accessible than ever.
UK/Europe-based medical and biotech companies have had a good start to the year, with some significant transactions in the digital health and bio/pharma sectors. At Axial Capital we are completing A rounds and pre-IPO financing rounds for two growth companies in the MedTech space, with buy-in from the UK/EU and from North America remaining strong.
Q2 is under way at a good pace, and the good run for innovative growth companies looks set to continue!