Meet the top SaaS investors in Europe, helping to pave the way for SaaS startups across the region
SaaS (software as a service) is becoming one of the most viable and profitable models for startups today, and Europe is fast becoming a hub of innovation in SaaS and in response to this, investors are pumping more funding into SaaS models than ever before.
- European VCs provide more than funding – European investors are looking to be more than just a silent partner, offering their projects expert advice and business incubation alongside funding.
- European investors are interested in SaaS marketing tools – Many of the projects being supported by Euro VCs tend to look at SaaS social media automation/analysis apps and marketing tools to help businesses improve audience reach.
- Internalization of funding for European growth – Many of the VCs in Europe are starting to keep funding within the continent rather than directing it to Silicon Valley and Asia, as they now believe the slower growth of tech in Europe is due to a lack of funding.
- Data tools are receiving attention – Data tools for security, visualization, analysis, and collection are taking a front seat in the investment world, whereby projects offering these types of SaaS tools are getting a large chunk of the funding pie.
- European VCs tend to be founder-focused – European investors say they dedicate a great deal of time and effort to improving the entrepreneurs behind the ideas as much as building the concept itself.
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Based in Denmark, Northcap focuses its energy on supporting SaaS and B2B, and B2B2C businesses. While they have been known to pump funds into later rounds, they’re most generally concerned with early investment in the seed and early-growth rounds. Northcap invests exclusively in IT companies, with a particular lean toward communications, mobile, e-commerce, and cloud computing.
Not only do they offer funding, but they also provide advice and expertise on human resources, company structure, end-to-end sales process, and scaling up. SaaS companies they have most recently invested in include Falcon.io, a SaaS platform for marketing departments to manage social media campaigns; and Sekoia, a platform for care workers to access necessary information in real-time.
One of the most well-known European investors in the tech world, Point Nine Capital is an angel venture capital company from Berlin. Their main priority is investing in online marketplaces and SaaS and they tend to deal only with early investment. However, they carry a policy of first in, last out, where they seek to incubate the companies they work with to increase the chances of long-term success.
The firm has a very small, intimate team that works closely with each other to ensure everyone is on the same page. In general, they make investments that range from a couple of hundred thousand dollars up to 2 million dollars. Some of the successful SaaS projects that they have invested in include Candis, and accounting software; Mambu, a banking software to change the face of lending; and Zendesk, a customer support platform.
Notion Capital is based in London and is an old hand at investing in tech in Europe. Turning their attention to B2B SaaS, their investments most often fall in line with fintech, cybersecurity, big data, and human management. The firm is led by entrepreneurs who have in-depth knowledge and experience in cloud computing, helping to guide their judgment of potential projects to invest in.
They also leverage this experience to assist the companies they invest in to direct their businesses in ways that will lead to success at an enterprise level. Included in their portfolio of SaaS investments are Brightpearl, an inventory management system; Mews, a property management software; and KisanHub, an AI platform for agriculture.
Tribal VC invests solely in Irish startups to promote tech talent within their country. Investments are predominantly in SaaS, with companies spanning CRM, security, sales, hospitality, marketing, and so forth. The team is very experienced, with the co-founder having previously been the CEO of Clearscape.
Currently, the firm has backed more than 20 tech companies in Ireland, providing professional advice and expertise to support financial assistance. Their investment checks range from $200,000 to $2 million, with 4-6 new companies appearing on their books each year. Right now, in terms of SaaS investments, they have Barricade, a security software; LikeCharity, a donor recruitment marketing automation software for nonprofits; and Boxever, customer intelligence software for travel companies.
Based in London, Balderton Capital has been investing in European companies since 2000. A series-A focused venture capital company, Balderton Capital has raised over $2.7 billion since its inception, directing this money toward the development of technology companies in Europe.
Balderton Capital believes that the lack of large-scale tech companies in Europe is due to a dearth of funding – they’re helping to change this by supporting new start-ups and nurturing them to become leaders in their fields. Some of the SaaS firms they’ve invested in include Mimiro (ComplyAdvantage), risk intelligence software, and Peakon, software to measure and improve employee engagement.
Mosaic Ventures, a London-based venture capital firm, is hoping to support and nurture cutting-edge technology that will drive changes within all industry sectors. They are currently focusing their efforts on investing in European startups that are working with SaaS, deep learning, and AI.
The team behind the company is very knowledgeable, having worked in [email protected] and Yahoo in the early days of the internet. They are looking for future industry leaders that are looking to disrupt their sector and redefine the way things are done. Their current SaaS investments include Guidebook, an app for building software through your mobile phone, and Tray.io, an integration platform.
With offices in London, Berlin, and Silicon Valley, DN Capital has a specific focus on looking for companies that want to scale up their operations to work on both sides of the Atlantic. Funding companies across Europe and North America, DN Capital specializes in helping technology companies scale internationally. As an early-stage investor, they have made 90 investments across 8 countries, with 23 exits in the bag – making them one of the most notorious venture capital companies in Europe.
They do not have a particular preference on sector, working with companies that traverse travel, digital health, fintech, SaaS and so much more. Some of their more well-known SaaS investments include Endeca, a customer experience management software; Finiata, a software for digitizing invoices for SMEs; and Geckoboard, a data visualization software.
Having been around since 2016, LocalGlobe is the brainchild of a father-son duo, Robin and Saul Klein. As early-stage funders, they gear themselves toward backing state-of-the-art technology and companies that support that tech – for example, they recently invested $2/7 million to a drone insurance company.
With big investments ready to hand out, the company brands themselves as investing in ‘EUnicorns’ and ‘next-gen SaaS superstars’. Attempting to make huge impacts, the company has put money into SaaS firms such as Asteroid, a 3D prototyping software; and Gospel Technology, a data security platform for enterprises.
Connect Ventures is concerned with providing early-stage funding in the seed, startup, and Series A rounds. Connect Ventures doesn’t only back tech companies – it has a diverse portfolio, however the managing partner, Sitar Teli, previously worked for Doughty Hanson Technology, leading to their investments having quite a technological bias. The company uses its experience to provide ‘tough love’ to their investments, incubating their business ideas as well as providing funding.
Connect Venture believes that excellent product pioneers change in industry sectors, and focuses its energy on building up founders with an exceptional product. Two of their most relevant SaaS investments include Infogram, a web-based data visualization app that helps users to create maps and infographics; and TOTEMS, a marketing suite that compliments Instagram.
Led by Will Prendergast, Frontline Ventures angle their investments toward community-focused companies with entrepreneurs looking to make a huge shift toward more collaborative ways of working. With offices both in Dublin and London, Frontline Ventures gets its teeth sunk into B2B startups all across Europe. The team is made up of ex-entrepreneurs who now use their know-how to guide new founders, while encouraging the gap between tech and humanity to come together, using capital and experience to do this.
They intend to accelerate the learning process for founders in an attempt to speed up their route to success – with a strong emphasis on scaling companies, especially into the US. Currently, they’re supporting SaaS companies such as Logentries, a software for log management and analysis; and Barricade, software that provides early warnings of hackers.
Innovation Nest has a specific interest in B2B SaaS startups that are growing in Europe. They are interested in building these new companies up from being local entities to global successes that transverse international borders. With a strong network of contacts around the world, Innovation Nest draws on this to help provide connections and expertise for the founders they invest in, that’s most relevant to their needs.
The firm believes that Silicon Valley is leading the way in technological innovation and puts a huge emphasis on their startup founders expanding to have a physical presence there. In this sense, they help their founders to make moves to get into the exclusive community. Some of the interesting SaaS projects they’ve worked with include Infraspeak, a facility management software for speeding up registration processes, and CallPage, a software to convert web visitors to sales calls.
Creandum invests in early-stage startups that they consider being innovative, while also showcasing a potential to grow quickly. They have offices based across San Francisco, Berlin, and Stockholm, giving them the run of Europe and North America. Having already put money into over 70 companies, Creandum considers itself a leading early-stage venture capital firm for the tech sector, with a firm belief that software will be the driving force that creates positive disruption.
With an entrepreneur-first attitude, they push for their founders to rise above mediocre, using the company’s professional insights and capital support to do this. Some of the prominent SaaS projects they’ve been involved with include Omniata, a customer data platform designed to allow users to run their businesses on data insights; and Factorial, a HR management software for SMEs.
Having been early investors in companies like Lastminute.com and Dailymotion, Idinvest consider themselves to have a keen eye for ideas that will take off. While the private equity and venture capital firm doesn’t focus solely on technology companies, this sector takes up a lot of space in their portfolio. They have over 8 billion euros under their management currently, which they are using to prop up European businesses that are looking to show signs of changing current models of behavior.
With the aim of becoming the leader in funding for SMEs in Europe, Idinvest has quite a large team of industry experts to help guide the projects they are managing. Right now, they have invested in SaaS companies such as Talend, a data integration software; and Synthesio, a social intelligence software for businesses.
Runa Capital focuses on technology businesses in Europe and is looking to help early-stage companies who show the potential of having cutting-edge tools to shift the paradigms of tomorrow. Runa is looking for companies that demonstrate a capacity for fast growth, aiming their funds toward AI, machine learning, middleware, SaaS, and cloud business solutions. Having worked with a $135 million fund in 2010, they supported 33 companies; while they’re currently working with a second $135 million fund right now.
The large team of experienced entrepreneurs aims to drive new founders from their European roots out into international success, pushing the products they support into the global marketplace. Current SaaS projects they have on their books include Zipdrug, a SaaS marketplace for pharmaceutical companies to improve products and compete to lower costs; and Dashbot, a bot analytics platform that helps to increase engagement and provides actionable insights.
Northzone has four offices around the world but has a keen eye on pushing Europe as software companies are starting to rise to the top of the startup pile. Having been around since 1996, Northzone is veteran a investor and has supported over 130 companies in their endeavors. Collectively, the team has over 200 years of entrepreneurial experience which they bring to the table to help steer their projects into the realms of international working. With companies such as Spotify, Trustpilot, and Avito on their books, it is obvious that Northzone knows what they are doing.
They are eager to invest in disruptive technologies and consider themselves a technology investment partnership agency, with a real aim to nurture the relationships with their founders to become part of the team as the company develops. Right now, they’re churning out SaaS companies such as Qapital, a personal banking software to help millennials budget, and Fuse, a UX tool suite for designing mobile apps.
With over $500 million under management, Alven Capital is a considerable size venture capital firm with an interest in early-stage investment. While they do target the entire European market, their main focus is on French and French-related entrepreneurs that are working within the digital technology sector. Alven Capital has been pumping its funding into building companies that look into cyber security solutions, AI, data management, SaaS, and disruptive marketplace models, as a means to accelerate the shift into new economic models.
That said, the team considers themselves to be well versed in art and science, therefore bringing a more rounded approach to boosting their entrepreneurs. Currently, Alven Capital has 5 funds under its management. Some of the notable SaaS companies they have invested in include Concord, a contract management software, and PeopleDoc, a cloud-based HR service.
Hanging in there since, 1998, Ventech is a very experienced early-stage venture capital firm that’s been around for the lion’s share of the digital revolution, has been a part of shaping it with their investments. They tend to cross all industry sectors, from health to marketing, but narrow their efforts to boosting technology companies that are optimizing these areas. They like to invest in both B2B and B2C companies, and extend funding to both hardware and software developers.
Most often putting their money into Series A rounds, their typical funding amounts range from 2 million to 5 million euros, but they have been known to invest smaller amounts in Seed rounds. They have offices in Paris, Munich, and Helsinki, and tend to direct funding toward companies in France, in the Nordics, and in the DACH region. Currently, they’re working with SaaS firms such as Augure, a company providing PR and communications solutions; and Albacross, a lead generation software.
Focusing their attention on mainly enterprise software and fintech, Dawn Capital is looking to help European entrepreneurs branch out into the global marketplace, sending their companies international. They consider themselves to be in a partnership of peers when entering into a relationship with new investment and drive the message of moving quickly to stifle impatience.
They are particularly looking for charismatic entrepreneurs who show a spark of difference in the way they work, as they feel this vibrates through a whole product, idea, and company – and they seek to nurture this within their partnerships. Founded in 2006, the company is based in the UK but extends its funding to entrepreneurs all across Europe. Currently, they are working with SaaS firms such as Sticky, a biometric visual marketing tool for optimizing communications and engagement; and Mimecast, an email management platform.
A global investment company, Partech has offices situated in Dakar, Berlin, Paris, and San Francisco. In tackling the whole globe, they have funds directed purely toward European entrepreneurs, offered at the seed, venture and growth stages. Currently, they have over $1.3 billion in investment capacity and are offering investments of $200,000 to $50 million on average. The focus is on technology across all sectors, agnostic to whether the company is B2B or B2C.
As it stands, they have 140 companies in their portfolio, despite being a relatively small team, and make around 45 new investments each year. Funding both hardware and software, Partech has already closed 20 IPOs and has been a part of over 50 exits of over $100 million. Some of their successful SaaS investments include Scoop.it, a content marketing automation software; and Five9, a cloud-based call center software.
e.ventures has been around since 1998, and now has a strong global presence reaching from Latin America, across Europe, to Asia. Having been investing in internet businesses for over 15 years, e.ventures leads the way with experience and insights, as well as locally-driven knowledge for each area they work within. With internet, media, and mobile projects in their hands, they emphasize the importance of disruptive companies being led by dynamic leaders, which is why they put special focus toward boosting and training their entrepreneurs using their own industry experience.
The venture capital firm is stage agnostic but tends to invest more in the early rounds. Right now, they have a couple of SaaS companies on their books, including BlueKai, a data management platform to gather marketing insights from third-party data; and Marchantry, an e-commerce solution for retailers to streamline their supply chain processes.