29 deeptech VCs in Europe you need to know – Sifted

It is not easy to find investors for a deeptech startup. Science-based companies can take much longer than the typical 7-8 year VC investment cycle to produce a return, and not every investor has the background or experience to evaluate these businesses correctly.

But there are a growing number of European investors who do know to do this and there has been a recent influx of new ones on the scene. Corporate venture arms can also often provide patient capital, and a handful have established a track record of success.

This is our list of the 29 investors that deeptech companies should look at when they start seeking money. This is a peer-nominated list, put together by asking people working in this sector who they come across most frequently and who they value. As always, this is an evolving list, so if there is a great company we have missed, please let us know.

There are many flavours to deeptech investing, so weve categorised the funds to help you find a perfect fit whether it is an established name with a string of exits under their belt, or a fresh new arrival with an interesting thesis, a fund that specialises in university spin-outs or one that is good at plugging B2B startups into corporate networks. Click the names to read the full description of how they operate.

Long-established: Accel Partners, AlbionVC, Amadeus Capital Partners, Earlybird Venture Capital, Elaia, Emerald Technology Ventures, IQ Capita, Supernova Invest

New arrivals: Ahren Innovation Capital, AV8, Crane Venture Partners, Future Positive Capital, Maki.VC

Corporate-backed: ABB Technology Ventures, AV8, Emerald Technology Ventures, Robert Bosch Ventures, Schneider Electric Ventures , Siemens Next47

University-affiliated: AlbionVC, Cambridge Innovation Capital, Elaia, Parkwalk

If you want to take your business to the US: Accel Partners, Atlantic Bridge, Frontline Capital

If you want a lot of money: Atomico, Siemens Next47

Very specialist, lots of handholding: Freigeist, Walerud

Focus on central and eastern Europe: Credo Ventures, Earlybird Venture Capital, Launchub Ventures

Founded: 2009

People: Investment Directors: Kurt Kaltenegger Head of Ventures, Thomas Vogel North America investments, Arvind Vasu Asia investments, Malin Carlstrm Europe investments

Size of fund: Since 2010, ATV has invested more than $200m into technology startups. The fund has an evergreen structure with investment coming from the corporate balance sheet. Looks for startups working on the future of cities, buildings, and homes; future of transportation; future of industry.

What stage do they invest in? From seed to series C with a preference of series A and B

USP: The venture capital arm of ABB has invested in startups spanning a range of sectors including robotics, drones, industrial IoT, AI/machine learning, cybersecurity, smart buildings, electric mobility and distributed energy. The advantage of working with ABB is that startups get access to ABBs deep R&D bench, domain expertise, global customer base and channel partners. An evergreen fund structure means there is less pressure to exit quickly.

Notable investments: 26 companies, including CMR Surgical, Vicarious, GreenVolts, Kespry Validus

Notable exits: DC Systems, Industrial Defender, Persimmon, Bonsai, and Trilliant

Best way to get in touch: https://new.abb.com/about/technology/ventures

Founded: 1983, London office established in 2000

Location: London, Bangalore and Palo Alto

People: In London: Harry Nelis, Sonali De Rycker, Philippe Botteri, Luciana Lixandru, Seth Pierrepont, Andrei Brasoveanu, Luca Bocchio

Size of fund: Accel has raised 6 funds for Europe and has $3bn under management in Europe.

What stage do they invest in? Early-stage, typically series A

USP: Seeks to identify and partner with ambitious founders who have identified an untapped sector and have uncapped ambition. They are industry agnostic, backing originals from the earliest days through all phases of growth. They look for significant technical expertise in the founding team and IP in the product. Their investment philosophy is based on thinking 35 years ahead, and they have a deep CIO and technical expert network that helps Accel understand the underlying technology at companies. As they have teams in London, Bangalore and Palo Alto they can offer startups the chance to be connected globally.

Notable investments: Celonis, DashDash, Rasa, Humio, Deliveroo, Monzo Snyk, UiPath

Notable exits: Atlassian, Kayak, QlikTech, Spotify, Supercell

Best way to get in touch: Founders can reach out to partners directly via social media or through introductions.

Founded: 2018

Location: Cambridge, UK

People: 9 founding partners: Alice Newcombe-Ellis (Founding & Managing Partner), Sir Shankar Balasubramanian, Professor John Daugman OBE, Professor Zoubin Ghahramani, Professor Steve Jackson, Professor Andy Parker, Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, Lord Martin Rees, Sir Gregory Winter

Fund size: First fund of $250m raised in June 2019

What stage will they invest in? Seed to late stage. Typically invest up to $10m in an initial investment. Likely to invest in follow-on rounds, with a maximum investment of up to 15% of the fund.

USP: Has a philosophy of patient active capital, so it will allow longer investment cycles up to 15 years but also help companies find markets for their tech. The company has 8 founding science partners with a long track record in both academia and industry. They have created technologies worth $100bn+ between them, and the idea is that they can help young companies do the same. Ahren also has a unique base of LPs, including unicorn founders and corporations such as Aviva that have the potential to run pilots or provide access to key customers.

Notable investments: 7 investments so far including: Graphcore, Mogrify (transforms cells from one type to another) Nu Quantum (building quantum hardware) Cambridge Epigenetics

Notable exits: None yet

Best way to get in touch: [emailprotected] and @AhrenLP

Founded: Albion Capital was founded in 1995 (the tech investment team was named AlbionVC in 2018 to reflect the increasing importance of the tech portfolio and the changed investment focus)

People: Patrick Reeve (chairman), Will Fraser-Allen (managing partner), Andrew Elder (deputy managing partner)

Size of fund: 540m in 7 funds (6 evergreen venture capital trusts and the UCL Technology fund)

What stage do they invest in? Late seed, series A and series B

USP: Invests in UK startups focused on B2B software and marketplaces. The team has 25 years of experience and takes the approach of building good chemistry with founders. The evergreen venture capital trust structure means that they can take a long term view on investments, holding them for more than 10 years. For example, they held PSE for 12 years before exiting in 2019. 52 in the portfolio.

Notable investments:Avora (business intelligence AI), Elliptic (fighting financial crime in crypto), Hazy (synthetic data), Imandra (automated reasoning explainable AI), Phasecraft (quantum computing), Speechmatics (speechtech) and Quantexa (data analytics AI).

Notable exits: Bloomsbury AI (Facebook, 2018, undisclosed return), Grapeshot (Oracle, 2018, 10x cost), PSE (Siemens, 2019, 10x cost) and IPOs of Orchard Therapeutics (NASDAQ MV:$1.2BN) and Meira GTX (NASDAQ MV: $0.7BN).

Best way to get in touch: Will look at emails and social media approaches but prefers warm introductions.

Founded: 1997

Location: Cambridge, UK

People: Anne Glover (Chief Executive & Co-founder); Hermann Hauser (Co-founder & Venture Partner); Alex van Someren (Managing Partner Early Stage Funds); Andrea Traversone (Managing Partner Digital Prosperity Funds); Pat Burtis (Partner); Nick Kingsbury (Partner); Volker Hirsch (Venture Partner).

Size of fund: Has raised 18 funds so far, and has $1bn+ in commitments

What stage does it invest in? Seed and series A investments (with follow-ons) mainly in UK technology companies. In Europe and Latin America it tends to invest in series B.

USP: Known for taking early and astute bets on deeptech startups, the portfolio speaks for itself.

The firm has three investment strands, For early-stage UK investments it focuses on AI; machine learning; autonomous systems; human/computer interfaces; enterprise SaaS; cyber security; digital health; medical technology, and novel materials; quantum technologies.

Amadeus also makes opportunistic investments in European companies with proven technology, helping them commercialise, and has a third thesis around digital prosperity in emerging market, investing growth capital in fintech and digital services companies in Latin America and Asia.

Notable investments: 150 companies in the portfolio in total, including Graphcore, Prolwer.io, PolyAI, Improbable, Immense, FiveAI, Ravelin, ContactEngine, DirectID, Blockclaim, Congenica, Inotech, Healx, Ori Biotech, Paragraf, Riverlane, Nu Quantum; Creditas, Kreditech, Zilingo, Travelstart, Descomplica.

Notable exits: ForeScout (partial exit, NASDAQ listing), Igenomix (full exit, acquired), Improbable.io (partial exit to Chinese strategic investor), IndiaMART (partial exit, IPO), Iyzico (full exit, acquired by PayU/Naspers), Octo Telematics (full exit, acquired), OneDrum/Yammer (full exit, acquired by Microsoft), Tobii (partial exit, listed on NASDAQ QMX),VocalIQ (full exit, acquired by Apple):

Past exits include Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR), Element 14, Entropic, Lastminute.com .

Best way to get in touch: Meet the Amadeus team at an event or conference, or get a referral from someone. You can also submit a proposal through the website.

Founded: 2004

Location: Dublin, Ireland

People:Managing partners: Brian Long, Elaine Coughlan, Kevin Dillon

Size of fund: 950 million of assets under management across seven funds

USP: Invests in AI, robotics, autonomous vehicles, IoT, cyber security, Industry 4.0, smart edge devices Partners Brian Long and Elaine Couglan have a very long track record in the industry, going back 30 years. They are a steady pair of hands with a history of successful sales.

Notable investments: SambaNova Systems, Quixey, Vectra Networks, 3D Robotics

Notable exits: Recently sold Irish chipmaker Decawave to Apple supplier Qorvo for $400m.

Best way to get in touch: Apply through the website for a 20-minute call for a member of the team.

Founded: 2006

Location: London, UK

People: The deeptech partners to talk to are Irina Haivas, Siraj Khaliq (who backed Graphcore) and principal Ben Blume. (In-depth interviews with them here).

Size of fund: Just raised an $820m fund (more details here), bringing total assets under management to $2.7m. Raised $765m in 2017.

What stage does it invest in? Series A onwards

USP: Looks for founders that can scale up fast and disrupt industries. Probably not worth calling them about a small B2B startup you intend to sell for a modest sum. Everyone knows Atomico and its famous founding partner, Niklas Zennstrom, the founder of Skype but there are a lot of sector specialists. Invests in a lot of consumer tech like scooters and fintech providers, but isnt afraid of taking occasional big bets on unproven tech, having been a relatively early supporter of Lilium Jet and Graphcore.

Notable investments: Wolt, Graphcore, Lilium Jet, Healx.

Notable exits: Spacemaker AI, Varjo, Spacemaker, Bitmovin Quid, Rovio, Supercell, Hailo.

Best way to get in touch: Will read all emails but a warm introduction would be better.

Founded: 2018

Location: London, UK and Palo Alto, US

People: Miles Kirby (Managing Partner), George Ugras (Managing Partner), Baris Aksoy (General Partner), Serpil Kuyucak-Schiebel (Operating Partner), Min Hu (Investing Partner), Victor Christou (Venture Partner), Brett Battles (Venture Partner), Ruchita Sinha (Venture Partner), Shaun Kung (Venture Partner), Dr Gloria Lau (Venture Partner), Dr Marco Pavone (Venture Partner)

Size of fund: 150m

What stage does it invest in? Seed and series A

USP: Backed by Allianz but invests more as an independent venture fund. The team has a lot of experience working in big tech, including Intel, Google, Qualcomm, IBM and LinkedIn. Invests in startups across sectors that are booming as a result of advances in the power of computer processing, machine learning, and new data sources. Specific focus areas are next-generation mobility (including electrification and automation, new ownership models, and deeptech solutions), digital healthcare, machine learning and big data, and enterprise SaaS.

Notable investments: Alpha Medical, Contract Wrangler, Hometree, Locomotion, M:QUBE, PlanetIQ, Swift Shift, Uizard, Rephrase AI, Embrace+ 3 more in stealth mode

Notable exits: None yet

Best way to get in touch: Email [emailprotected]

Founded: 2013

Location: Cambridge, UK

People: Andrew Williamson (managing partner), Michael Anstey, Vin Lingathoti, Rob Sprawson, Robert Tansley

Size of fund: 275m

USP: Focuses on companies in the Cambridge ecosystem, with a deep affiliation with Cambridge University. Interested in earlt stage companies in AI, internet of things, quantum technologies, autonomous systems, therapeutics, medtech/diagnostics, digital health and genomics/proteomics.

Notable investments: CMR Surgical, Riverlane, Carrick Therapeutics, Fluid Analytics, Prowler.io

Notable exits: Bicycle Therapeutics (IPO May 2019)

Best way to get in touch: Website http://www.cic.vc or Twitter at @CIC_vc

Founded: 2019

Location: London, UK

People: Krishna Visvanathan (cofounder), Scott Sage (cofounder), Bonnie Kraus, Rav Dhaliwal, Leo Spiegel, Marta Bulaich,

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29 deeptech VCs in Europe you need to know - Sifted

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