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The Series A team: The top 5 investors in Europe’s Series A rounds

In the “fewer but bigger” age of venture captial, early-stage deal figures have suffered as a result. However, a look at the numbers suggests one particular series has been a survivor.

Fewer deals for more money has been the VC mantra for a number of years, with common wisdom suggesting that investors are becoming increasingly likely to put their eggs in fewer baskets in a bid to acquire holdings in the continent’s biggest startups. Indeed, our 2018 Annual European Venture Report noted that deal counts have fallen each year since 2016, while total value has risen steadily since 2015.

This would give the impression that early-stage deals have suffered as a result. However, a look at the numbers suggests one particular series has been a survivor.

Confounding trends, the number of Series A deals in Europe has remained above 400 each year since first crossing that threshold in 2016, per the PitchBook Platform, with capital invested similarly remaining steady in 2017 and 2018, after surging by more than 30% relative to 2016’s total.

One could view this as inversely related to overall volume and value trends finding an equilibrium at the Series A level—an inflection point, arguably, between true early stage and growth stage, where deal numbers are remaining level even as values increase. According to PitchBook data, the median Series A size in Europe so far in 2019 is €6.87 million, compared with €5.15 million last year and €5.35 million in 2017.

But who is financing this Series A stand?

Below are the top five VC investors in European Series A deals since the beginning of 2016, with deal counts in parentheses:

1. Idinvest Partners (28)
2. High-Tech Gründerfonds (27)
3. Octopus Ventures (26)
4. Index Ventures (24)
5. Partech Partners (23)

PitchBook subscribers can access the full list here.

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    Written by Sean Lightbown
    Sean was a financial writer in PitchBook’s London office, working on the daily European newsletter. Previously, he worked in both London and New York for Mergermarket, writing and editing white-label reports for accounting firms, law firms and other service providers, covering topics including M&A, private equity and high-yield debt.

    Sean holds a BSc in Politics with Economics from the University of Bath, and is a long-suffering Bolton Wanderers supporter.
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