Q2 2013: UK Start-ups Continue to Raise More Venture Capital Investment Than Their German and French counterparts

According to CrunchBase data, total new capital invested in the EU tech industry rose from $861 million in Q1 2013 to $870 million in Q2. The data, which was extracted on 24th June, breaks down venture capital raised by round type, investor, company, geography and more.

In the second quarter of 2013, $870 million was invested in over 185 rounds. The rounds break down to 81 angel rounds, 46 Series A, 14 Series B, 10 Series C and later, and 34 unattributed venture rounds. These results exclude later-stage investments, such as private equity and post-IPO investments.

  • The Top 10 of European countries* by total amount raised by start-ups in Q2 2013 was in descending order: the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands

FIGURE 1

  • The UK still dominates other European countries both in terms of number of rounds and total amount raised, although it was the only country in the Top 8 that saw a drop in amount raised compared to Q1 2013 (c.-30% decline quarter-on-quarter and -68% year-on-year)
  • UK companies raised $225 million in 70 rounds in Q2 2013, while France raised $178 million in 20 rounds, Germany raised $118 million in 18 rounds, Spain $85m in 16 rounds and Ireland $74m in 8 rounds
  • The most active investors in the first 6 months of 2013, in terms of number of rounds they participated in, were in descending order: Eleven (headquartered in Sofia), Index Ventures (London), Crowdcube (Exeter), London Business Angels, and North West Fund (Warrington). The top 50 is as follows:

FIGURE 3

All data for this post comes from CrunchBase, TechCrunch’s free database for start-ups.

Note:

* Not all funded companies have a category and/or region set. Most do, but not 100%, so there is a bit of a discrepancy across the data

How accurate is CrunchBase? – Part 2

I am glad to report the CrunchBase team has showed interest in the analysis that I’ve published in my last post, the part 1 of this series. So much so that they have agreed to share with me the complete CrunchBase dataset: not just covering start-ups headquartered in the US (as publicly shared here) but in all corners of the world!

Armed with this plethora of data I carried on a comparative analysis of the CrunchBase dataset in different regions. Here is the content of the report that I produced and sent to the CrunchBase team:

One can draw two key results from comparing the CrunchBase dataset to statistics published by Dow Jones’ VentureSource:

  1. For start-ups headquartered in the US and Europe, the CrunchBase investment data has become much more accurate in recent years. For instance, the sum of VC investment in US-headquartered start-ups is pretty much equal to the amount reported by VentureSource (both in  2011 and 2012)
  2. The accuracy in other regions (e.g. India, Israel and China) has not steadily improved over time in the same way that it has in the US and in Europe

Fig^ 1

Fig^ 2

Another way to measure the accuracy of the database is to look at the average time lag between a round occurring and its data entry in the database. Once again, the analysis shows a clear improvement in that respect, especially in the US and Europe.

Fig^ 3

For all rounds of investment in the database that have occurred between Q1 2010 and Q4 2012, time lag drops significantly over time (c.75% reduction in the US and c.82% in Europe). The US remains the region where the dataset is the most “up-to-date”, with an average delay of 22 days between a round occurring and its data entry (vs. 37 days in Europe).

I have also tried to identify any significant “push” or “jump” in accuracy that may have occurred since the database was first created, in May 2007. To do so, I investigated the monthly number of rounds entered in the database with a time lag bigger than 200 days:

Fig^ 4

The above chart shows there was a significant peak in data entry activity around April 2010; this was probably caused by a concerted effort from the CrunchBase team to improve the historical accuracy of the dataset.

More detail regarding the accuracy of the CrunchBase dataset in Europe

Whilst the CrunchBase dataset seems to reconcile very well with the VentureSource statistics at a European level for recent years, a more detailed analysis at a country level shows a much lower level of reconciliation:

Fig^ 5

Fig^ 6

From this chart we can deduce that:

  • There are countries in which the CrunchBase dataset seems very incomplete. In France in particular, both the number of rounds and invested amounts represent only c.40% of stats reported by VentureSource
  • However, there are also countries for which CrunchBase seems to provide a more complete dataset (both for number of rounds and invested amounts) – for instance in the UK and in Germany

These results imply that VentureSource cannot be assumed to be a comprehensive source for the European VC and start-up eco-system. To double-check this I produced the chart below, which compares overall statistics published by VentureSource, EVCA (European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association) and those that I got from analysing the CrunchBase dataset:

Fig^ 7

Whilst the CrunchBase dataset is clearly incomplete for 2007 data, its accuracy improves for more recent data. In fact, as of today CrunchBase may well be the most accurate database in the world when it comes to the Europe start-up scene (one has to keep in mind however that the strength of the database varies considerably by countries – for instance it is strong in the UK but weak in France).

This should not come as a surprise: the weakness of professional database for the European VC industry (such as Thomson and Dow Jones VentureSource) has already been reported by EarlyBird Venture Capital in 2011:

Fig^ 8

Source: EarlyBird, EVCA, Prequin database: http://www.slideshare.net/earlybirdjason/earlybird-europe-venture-capital-report

To conclude, whilst my analysis shows that there is room for improvement at a country level, the fact still remains that CrunchBase is already doing as good a job as any other existing database when it comes to keeping track of European VC investment activity. If CrunchBase were to actively launch and promote the CrunchBase Venture Programme in Europe, it would probably change CrunchBase into the uncontested #1 database for the European start-up eco-system. And the best thing about it? Unlike its competitors, CrunchBase is free!

How accurate is CrunchBase? – Part 1

Recent development at CrunchBase

Launched in 2007, CrunchBase has quickly become a fantastic resource for the startup community. Even though the database has always been accessible through the CrunchBase API, CrunchBase released in April 2013 an Excel spreadsheet containing a significant portion of the dataset, so that more people would be able to help improve the accuracy of the data.

The CrunchBase team has also launched in May the CrunchBase Venture Programme to gain support from US VC investors in building out a more open, timely, and accurate dataset.

Sadly, the focus of these initiatives has only been in the US so far (the downloadable Excel spreadsheet, for instance, does not include data from European countries), and yet CrunchBase’ European data would really benefit from the initiative: I estimate that the dataset is less than 15% accurate in Europe versus c.80% in the US.

 

Estimating the accuracy of the CrunchBase dataset in the US vs. Europe

My estimates are based on a comparison of the yearly total VC investment in start-ups and the yearly number of rounds reported in Crunchbase versus ‘more reliable’ sources (Thomson and Dow Jones VentureSource). Here is a chart showing the CrunchBase accuracy rate in the US for different calendar years:

Investment - accuracy over time

Rounds - accuracy over time

These charts show a clear improvement of the CrunchBase’ US dataset over time, from below 10% accuracy prior to 2004 to above 70% after 2011.

I repeated the same analysis for CrunchBase’ French VC deals/start-ups and found that the accuracy was below 50% for 2002-2009 data (based on an extraction of the Crunchbase dataset in July 2010). I have only repeated the analysis for France (I could not easily find historical investment data for other European countries) but I suspect that the CrunchBase dataset is weak in many European countries. This would not be surprising: webstatdomain.net shows that Techcrunch.com only gets limited traffic from European countries: the UK (3.7%) and the Netherlands (1.4%) are the only two countries appearing in the Top 10 by share of visitors.

Improving the CrunchBase dataset would greatly benefit Europe’s start-up community: a public, free and comprehensive directory of investors, start-ups and key employees is the first step towards enhanced transfers of skills, experience and investment across European countries.

Therefore, dear Techcrunch, could you please expand the CrunchBase Venture Programme to Europe? Here is a good place to start in the UK and in France:

List of major VC funds in the UK not yet members of the Programme (source: Inn0vationMatt3rs):

Index Ventures
Accel Partners
Bessemer Venture Partners
Wellington Partners
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Benchmark Capital
Atlas Venture
North Bridge Venture Partners
Meritech Capital
Institutional Venture Partners
Polaris Venture Partners
Summit Partners
First Round Capital
Greycroft Partners
Battery Ventures
Sigma West

List of major VC funds in France not yet members of the Programme (source: Chausson Finance):

Idinvest Partners
Truffle Capital
A Plus Finance
Iris Capital
OTC Asset Management
Omnes Capital
Innovacom
AXA Private Equity
Time Equity Partners
XAnge Private Equity
Midi Capital
Cm-Cic Capital Prive
Ace Management
Alven Capital
Turenne Capital
Seventure Partners
Sofinnova

UK entrepreneurs: know which VC to pitch to based on the size of your company

Raising VC funding is most certainly a time-consuming task — and can mean lots of headaches for entrepreneurs. In fact, the funding process may even distract a CEO’s attention away from the company for a long period of time.

Entrepreneurs can make this process more efficient (and less frustrating) by targeting the “right” VC funds: those after the type of investment opportunities that their start-up represent.

When shortlisting VCs, you should apply some simple selection criteria such as:

  1. Depth of experience in your industry (e.g. how many deals have they funded in your category)
  2. Success rate (e.g. how many exits have they secured in recent years?)
  3. Geographic proximity (as most VCs like to be “hands-on” with their portfolio companies)
  4. Do they mostly participate in seed funding, series A funding, or both?

This post tries to to bring some clarity to UK entrepreneurs on that 4th bullet.

I used the ventureloop dataset (the same used in previous posts, such as here, and here) and captured, for each company backed by one of the UK top 10 VC funds, a company size estimate defined as the number of employees listed on LinkedIn.

The results, charted in the graph below, enable an indicative comparison of the relative propensity to invest in early-stage companies for each of the Top 10 VC funds (click on the picture to enlarge):

Propensity to invest in early-stage companiesVC funds in the above chart are sorted from left to right, with VC funds most likely to invest in early-stage start-ups on the LHS and least likely on the RHS.

Key takeaways for UK entrepreneurs include:

  • The 3 VCs most likely to invest in early stage companies are Wellington Partners, DFJ and Index Ventures
  • The 3 VCs least likely to invest in early stage companies (i.e. more focused on later-stage rounds of funding) are Benchmark Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Atlas Ventures 
  • Index Ventures and DFJ were the only two funds covering the full spectrum of company size with their portfolios. In other words, not only do they seek to get involved in early stage companies, they also have the capacity to follow-through on their seed investment!

Technical comments / word of warning regarding the analysis:

The analysis was based on a sample of companies and this sample may not be very representative of a whole VC portfolio (in particular, for Atlas Ventures, for wich only 6 companies were in the sample):

VC fund Number of portfolio companies in the sample
Wellington Partners 8
Draper Fisher Jurvetson 16
Index Ventures 31
Accel Partners 11
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers 8
Balderton Capital 13
Sequoia Capital 18
Atlas Venture 6
Bessemer Venture Partners 8
Benchmark Capital 17
Total ventureloop sample 211

There is a selection bias in the ventureloop dataset since companies listed on that website are companies that sought to hire during Q1 2013. Over such a short period of time the likelihood of a big company hiring is higher than for a small company, hence I believe many small start-ups in the 1-25 employees segment were ‘screened out’ of the sample. This bias is obvious on the last column of the above chart: you can see that there are way too few small companies in the total sample compared to large companies.

This implies that the propensity to invest in early stage companies as estimated above is probably underestimated.

Top 15 Venture Capital funds in the EU in 2013 (so far)

By crunching data from the Ventureloop.com database one can come up with a pretty accurate ranking of the biggest VC funds operating in Europe, on a near real-time basis!

Indeed, the website provides a pretty comprehensive listing of available job positions in VC-backed companies throughout the world, and in the EU in particular.

For the top 5 EU countries (i.e. the UK, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and France) I have analysed 12 weeks worth of Ventureloop data, starting in January 2013. Based on this analysis, here is the Top 15 list of VC funds by job creation* in Europe in 2013 to date:

Rank VC fund Job count
1 Index Ventures 640
2 Balderton Capital 249
3 Sequoia Capital 198
4 Accel Partners 187
5 Wellington Partners 175
6 Draper Fisher Jurvetson 153
7 Bessemer Venture Partners 153
8 Summit Partners 125
9 Benchmark Capital 110
10 Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers 101
11 First Round Capital 78
12 North Bridge Venture Partners 67
13 Meritech Capital 56
14 Sigma West 55
15 Atlas Venture 44

Note:

*In cases where a company was backed by several VC funds I assumed an equal share of capital investment from VC backers and distributed to each VC fund an equal contribution of job creation. For instance a start-up with 3 backers with 5 jobs offering would result in a job creation of 5/3=1.66 attributed to each of the 3 VC funds

These 30 VC-backed companies are creating jobs faster than any other in Europe…


In total 1,465 job positions in VC-backed start-ups were listed on the Ventureloop database over the last 7 weeks (Jan 15 to Feb 28). By splitting these jobs by country and VC fund backers I  identified in my previous post (published last Saturday) the list of Top 15 VC funds in Europe for the period Jan-Feb 2013.

I have now also split these jobs by start-up and industry segment to produce the list of Top 30 EU start-ups over the same time period and to get a feel for industry segment dynamism by country. The results are presented below:

Top 30 EU start-ups by job creation

High-level comments:

– the two biggest job creators were King.com and Spotify –  both have a predominant footprint in Sweden

– Criteo is ranked 3rd and is the only start-up with a majority of job creation in France…

– 9 of the top 30 start-ups created jobs in 3 or more of the 5 EU countries analysed here, highlighting that these companies have already undergone significant geographic expansion

– c.57% of the Top 30 companies had a majority of job creation in the UK

Top Tech segments by job creation in Europe in Jan-Feb 2013

High level comment: Digital gaming, Digital advertising and Digital music are the most important Tech segments in Europe.

Industry segment dynamism in the Top 5 EU countries in Jan-Feb 2013

High level comments (Note: the above chart was based on an industry classification of the top 43 start-ups, which represented 53% of total job creation in Jan-Feb 2013):

– the UK is the most diversified start-up eco-system, with no industry segment representing more than 16% of job creation

– by contrast, Sweden had two segments representing more than 27% of job creation (Digital games and Digital music) – highlighting that the Swedish eco-system is still young and may currently be over-reliant on few major but recent success stories

– the German start-up scene enjoys a level of maturity that seems to sit in between the UK and Sweden, with a reasonable coverage of key Tech industry sectors

Here is the Top 15 of VC funds by job creation in Europe in 2013 (… so far)

I’ve just found out about Ventureloop.com. This website provides what looks like a pretty comprehensive listing of available job positions in VC-backed companies throughout the world.

I thought it would be interesting to crunch that data to see what insights it can provide. Having a vested interested in the EU innovation eco-system I focused my analysis on the top 5 EU countries by number of jobs listed in the Ventureloop database for the period 15 of January to 28 of February 2013 (i.e. 7 weeks), which were as follows:

  1. the UK with c.900 jobs (49% were in the Greater London area)
  2. Germany with c.290 jobs
  3. Sweden with c.150 jobs
  4. the Netherlands with c.70 jobs
  5. France with c.70 jobs

In total 1,465 jobs were listed on the Ventureloop website over the last 7 weeks. If job creation is equally distributed over time and assuming the Ventureloop database is exhaustive this would amount to a total of c.11,000 jobs created by VC-backed start-ups in Europe in 2013… not bad!!

I tried accessing older job listings from the Ventureloop database, via the Wayback Machine (web.archive.org) but they were not available. I may carry out this analysis again in 3 months to see how the results presented below evolve over time.

With no further ado, here goes the output of my data crunching (click on the pictures to enlarge):

VC job creation_1

VC job creation_2

Based on this analysis, the Top 15 of VC funds based on job creation* in Europe was as follows in descending order:

Rank VC fund name Total jobs created
1 Index Ventures 312
2 Balderton Capital 130
3 Wellington Partners 92
4 Accel Partners 92
5 Sequoia Capital 90
6 Draper Fisher Jurvetson 72
7 Bessemer Venture Partners 71
8 Summit Partners 65
9 Benchmark Capital 63
10 First Round Capital 46
11 Sigma West 41
12 Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers 38
13 North Bridge Venture Partners 26
14 Northzone 25
15 Meritech Capital 21

I will shortly publish another post, showing how this job creation was split by start-up and by industry segment – watch this space 😉

Note:

*In cases where a start-up was backed by several VC funds I assumed an equal share of capital investment from VC backers and distributed to each VC fund an equal contribution of job creation. For instance a start-up with 3 backers with 5 jobs offering would result in a job creation of 5/3=1.66 attributed to each of the 3 VC funds