July 13, 2024
New hope for European tech? VC funding up 12% to $30B in 2024



Whisper it, but startup funding is showing signs of a rebound.

Venture capital investment in Europe has risen by 12% so far in 2024, according to Dealroom. By June, the financing for startups and scaleups had reached $29.3bn.

If the current spending rate continues, this year will become third-most active ever for VC in the continent.

The leading industry for investment is energy, which raised $5.6bn during the first half of 2024. This continues a trend from last year, when energy companies topped the funding charts in every quarter.

There have been shifts, however, in the sector’s biggest targets.

Hydrogen companies bagged the biggest rounds in quarter two of 2024. The biggest beneficiary was France’s HysetCo, which raised €200mn to develop hydrogen taxis. A further €140mn went to Belgium’s Tree Energy Solutions, which produces electric natural gas from green hydrogen.

Artificial intelligence, meanwhile, now comprises 18% of Europe’s VC funding — up from 10% a decade ago.

Wayve, a London-based startup developing AI for autonomous vehicles, topped the quarter’s investments with a $1.1bn Series C round. Across the field, generative AI brought in the bulk of the cash.

VC eyes on GenAI

GenAI attracted a record $2.6bn across the second quarter of 2024. It now makes up 10% of the continent’s total venture capital funding.

Jeannette zu Fürstenberg, Managing Director and Head of Europe at VC firm General Catalyst, expects the momentum to continue.

“We are in the very early innings of one of the largest technology sea changes in history,” she told TNW via email.

“As entrepreneurs and industry leaders grasp the transformative power of generative AI, they are uncovering new business models, products, and form factors.”

General Catalyst is financing this vision. The firm co-led the quarter’s second largest VC investment in European GenAI: a $640mn Series B round for Mistral AI.

Zu Fürstenberg depicts the Paris startup as a flag-bearer for the continent.

“Mistral stands out not just for its groundbreaking technologies, but also for its adherence to European values and an open-source philosophy,” she said.

“Seeing Mistral’s founding team’s ambition and talent caliber has undoubtedly encouraged other investors to hunt out hidden gems across Europe.

UK and France lead charge

Europe’s leading nation for VC investment this year is the UK. The country has raised $9.4bn in total, $6.8bn of which has gone to London-based firms.

Cambridge also makes the top 10 European cities for funding. The city’s companies have raised $664.6mn — up 83% on 2023.

In the country rankings, France took second place with $4.3bn. The majority ($3.1bn) arrived in Paris, which the likes of Mistral have turned into an AI hub.

Geneva has also enjoyed a lucrative six months. The city has already raised more in the first of 2024 ($385.7mn) than during the whole of last year ($262mn).

Startups behind the boom include biopharma company iOnctura ($86.4mn), digital bank Alpian ($83.7mn), and drug development firm Neurosterix ($63mn).

They prove that artificial intelligence isn’t the only field raising big rounds. For zu Fürstenberg, however, AI in Europe has a unique allure.

“Europe can be a key player in the immense economic opportunity unleashed by AI, which I like to call a European RenAIssance,” she said.

“Leveraging the power of AI to bolster European productivity and growth we believe will be key when building globally successful technology companies on this continent.”



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