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


  • 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:


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


* 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
AXA Private Equity
Time Equity Partners
XAnge Private Equity
Midi Capital
Cm-Cic Capital Prive
Ace Management
Alven Capital
Turenne Capital
Seventure Partners

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


*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

The formula that explains why entrepreneurs are a grumpy bunch…

This week Steve Jobs makes the news headlines once again… “Dark Steve” that is, not “Steve the Messiah”.

Secret ‘no-hire emails’ sent by Steve Jobs were released in US Court as part of a lawsuit investigating  an alleged wage suppression tactic that fully stretched across Silicon Valley for years and ended up costing high-flyer employees millions of dollars in unrealised salary raises and hampering freedom to switch jobs in Tech companies.

Of course it is not the first time that “Dark Steve” makes an appearance on the media stage. Many will remember the unapologetic article published on Gawker in October 2011, in which Steve Jobs was portrayed as “rude, dismissive, hostile, and spiteful to Apple employees; […] bullying, manipulation and fear followed him around Apple”. Why did Steve Jobs have such a difficult personality?

An explanation occurred to me this week, as I was thinking about just how difficult entrepreneurs in general can be to work and live with. The idea comes from a simple formula that I first learned about during a “Change Management” lecture at Cambridge University, back in my student days.

This formula, first created in 1969 by Richard Beckhard and David Gleicher, provides a model to assess the relative strengths that affect the likely success (or failure) of organisational change programs.

The formula expresses a condition that needs to be met for change to happen:

D x V x F > R

The product of D, V and F must exceed R, where:

  • D is the Dissatisfaction with how things are now;
  • V is the Vision of what is possible;
  • F represent the First, concrete steps that can be taken towards the vision; and
  • R is the archenemy: the Resistance to change

It strikes me now that this formula seems as relevant and applicable in the context of entrepreneurship. Have a second look at it:

  • V: When you read biographies of revered and legendary entrepreneurs the word “visionary” is bound to come up a dozen times
  • F: Entrepreneurship is about doing. Trying something new, experimenting with new concepts/products/services are all first concrete steps that are like second nature to successful entrepreneurs
  • R: if changing HR processes or the culture of an organisation is met by significant Resistance to change then put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur. Think of the tremendous level of skepticism and apathy that you have to face to make your dream come true: this stellar CTO that you need to recruit when you have nothing to show for it other than your passion and your idea, this VC investor who is sitting on a mountain of dollars and is reluctant to loosen the purse strings, this first customer who is not sure about giving his bank details to a shabby-looking thirty-something dude in T-shirt and flip-flops, that dominant industry player who has the financial resources to put you out of business the minute he feels too threatened…

Now all of this leads us to the D-word: the answer to the question we’ve been trying to answer. One of the forces the entrepreneur needs on his side to make sure he can beat Resistance to change is “Dissatisfaction with how things are now”. There goes your difficult personality!

To support this argument, here is a story shared on Fred Wilson’s blog that comes from Don Valentine, the founder of Sequoia (one of the best venture capital firms in the business):

When one of the younger partners in the firm started, Don took him aside and drew a four square quadrant. Along one axis, he put “easy to get along with” on one end and “hard to get along with” on the other end. One the other axis, he put “normal” on one end and “brilliant” on the other end.

He then said, “sometimes we make money with brilliant people who are easy to get along with, most often we make money with brilliant people who are hard to get along with, but we rarely make money with normal people who are easy to get along with.”