July 20, 2021

Corporates invest a record $4.6bn in European startups

Big funding rounds like Klarna's $1bn raise (backed by Visa) and Hopin's $400m round (backed by Salesforce) made the total jump in the first quarter of 2021.

Maija Palmer

3 min read

Photo by Connor Hall on Unsplash.

CVC investment in Europe increased to an all-time high of $4.589bn in the first quarter of 2021, lifted by big-ticket rounds such as Visa's investment into Swedish buy-now-pay-later company Klarna and Salesforce Venture's investment into webinar platform Hopin.

Funding deals that had at least one corporate backer jumped by more than 50 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of 2020 according to data compiled by Stryber, the innovation consultancy.

Chart showing CVC funding amounts
Source: Stryber

Corporate venture capital accounted for nearly a quarter of all VC funding in Europe in the first quarter of 2021, as big companies got bolder with bigger investment rounds. The number of CVC deals fell 16% from the fourth quarter of 2020 but the amount spent in each round is getting bigger.

Chart showing CVC as a proportion of VC funding
Source: Stryber

The UK led both in the amount of money spent on CVC deals ($2.1bn) and in the number of deals (50). Sweden came second in the amount of money spent but the vast majority of this came from the $1bn Klarna deal.

Chart showing CVC spending and number of rounds by country
Source: Stryber

Germany and Spain were also active markets in terms of deals, with deals like Daimler's investment in Volocopter's $242m Series D fundraising and Scania's investment in the $160m Sennder Series D round bringing up the total.

Chart showing biggest CVC deals in Europe
Source: Stryber

The most active CVC investors in Europe still tend to be US-based corporates such as GV, Google's venturing arm, and Salesforce Ventures. But Spanish bank Bankinter, SEB Ventures, the investment arm of Swedish bank SEB, and Shell Ventures are also increasingly active.

Chart showing most active CVC investor
Source: Stryber

A full copy of the Stryber report can be found here