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EMEA’s unicorn hunters: 10 investors shaping growth during tough times

EMEA Investors

Venture capital investment in Europe is experiencing a sharp decline, as investors pivot away from emphasising growth and instead prioritise cost reduction. According to a recent report by Pitchbook, a financial data firm, European VC deal value during the first half of 2023 has plummeted by 61% compared to the same period last year. 

The total amount of capital raised on the continent amounted to €8.9 billion. If this trend continues, the full-year figures are expected to be 37% lower than those recorded in 2022. Analysts attribute this decline to a combination of factors, including rising interest rates, elevated inflation, challenges in fundraising, and a subdued IPO market.

At this point in time, here is the sixth annual update of the Dealroom Investor Ranking. This data-driven ranking of the most prominent venture capital investors in the world is a tool for all startup ecosystem decision-makers, including founders, investors, LPs, regulators, and policy-makers.

Going by this report, in the EMEA, the London-based seed investor LocalGlobe has beaten all other global investors to be the most successful in backing unicorn startups from the region. Notably, the ranking is based on where the startup investment targets are based, rather than where the investor is based. Here’s a list of these EMEA investors that have backed unicorns. 


Localglobe team
Picture credits: Localglobe

LocalGlobe is a venture capital firm based in London, United Kingdom, founded by father and son duo Robin and Saul Klein. They have made investments in various startups, some of which have achieved “unicorn” status (private startups valued at over $1 billion). 

The venture capital fund which includes Melio, Motorway and Tide in its portfolio, has backed 13 EMEA unicorns at the seed stage including Hibob, TravelPerk and has also backed startups like Bearmery into Series A funding round. 

The Wise, Monzo and Zego backer also launched a scaleup fund last year to back tech startups from Series D to all the way up to the IPO.

In the past year, enterprises within the portfolio of LocalGlobe and its affiliate fund, Latitude, have successfully secured a noteworthy sum exceeding $9.4 billion in follow-on capital. This substantial funding has been garnered from prominent investors on a global scale. The gains and earnings from all four funds are channelled towards advancing the initiatives of Phoenix Court Works, the foundation associated with Phoenix Court, amplifying their mission and impact.

Point Nine

Point Nine team
Picture credits: Point Nine

Point Nine Capital is a Berlin-based venture capital firm that was founded by Pawel Chudzinski and Christoph Janz in 2011. The VC firm focuses exclusively on early-stage Internet investments such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), online marketplaces, and mobile. 

The VC fund has backed EMEA unicorns including Factorial, TIER, Mambu, Revolut, Contenful, DocPlanner, etc. across Series rounds. It has also backed US unicorns Front, Chainalysis, and Zendesk. The Delivery Hero backer also launched a €180 million fund VI in 2022 to back B2B SaaS and marketplace founders at the seed stage. 

As per the VC, over 65% of the companies that the VC backs at the seed stage raise a Series A, and more than ten are already at a minimum of $100M+ ARR. 

Global Founders Capital 

Global Founders Capital team
Picture credits: Global Founders Capital

Yet another Berlin-based firm, Global Founders Capital was founded by brothers Oliver and Marc Samwer in 2013. Being the co-founders of Rocket Internet, a startup incubator, they teamed up with Fabian Siegel, a co-founder of online food delivery company Delivery Hero. 

The firm seeks to invest in companies that operate within the internet, retail, financial software, media, communication, and information technology sectors. It has backed EMEA unicorns Grover, Razor, Personio, Climeworks, etc. and global unicorns such as Meta and Slack that have exited and Next Insurance through all stages of growth – seed to IPO. 

Kima Ventures

Kima Ventures co-founder
Picture credits: Kima Ventures

Headquartered in Paris with an office in London, the company was founded in 2010 by Xavier Niel and Jeremie Berre. The firm invests from seed to Series A, mostly as a lead investor but also working alongside other investors, backing ambitious founders and building products and services that more and more people use every day. 

Detailing its portfolio, Kima Ventures has backed global unicorns including Swile (formerly Lunchr), Docker (formerly dotCloud) and Oyster. The EMEA unicorns in its portfolio include Sorara, Wise, Ledger, etc. 


Seedcamp team
Picture credits: Seedcamp

Founded by Reshma Sohoni and Saul Klein in 2007 in London, Seecamp identifies and invests in world-class founders solving real problems using technology.

The Seedcamp Nation includes 400+ startups building breakout businesses that change the way people live, interact, and buy and includes European unicorns: Hopin, wefox and Pleo along with fast-growing businesses such as Sorare,, and Grover. The startups backed by Seedcamp include Antavo, Granular Energy, etc., and publicly listed UiPath, Wise, and unicorns.

Earlier this year, the prominent early-stage fund closed its oversubscribed Fund VI, securing a substantial amount of $180 million. The Seecamp Fund VI will be utilised to support the most ambitious founders across Europe, ranging from angel to seed rounds.

Cherry Ventures

Cherry Ventures team
Picture credits: Cherry Ventures

Partners Filip Dames and Christian Meermann founded Cherry Ventures in 2013 after building and scaling Zalando from startup to IPO. Headquartered in Berlin, the early-stage venture capital firm backs Europe’s boldest founders, usually as their first institutional investor, and supports them in everything from their go-to-market strategy and the scaling of their businesses.

The unicorns backed by Cherry Ventures include Flix SE, Auto1 Group, Forto, Infarm, and Spryker. The investments have ranged from seed to Series A and beyond. 

Last year, Cherry Ventures launched its fourth fund worth €300 million, an early-stage tech fund. The Cherry IV fund was dedicated to back crypto and web3 companies, building its existing portfolio in the space.


Speedinvest team
Picture credits: Speedinvest

Led by Oliver Holle, founder, CEO and Managing Partner, Speedinvest is one of Europe’s most active early-stage investors with over €1 billion in assets under management. The company invests across all stages of growth ranging from seed to pre-IPO investing. 

Its portfolio includes US unicorns such as OneTrust, and European unicorns, including GoStudent, wefox, TIER, etc. Speedinvest has offices in Berlin, London, Munich, Paris, and Vienna. 

In late 2022, ‍Speedinvest raised €500 million of new capital to help European startups scale to global success. Of this, €300 million was invested into innovative new pre-Seed and Seed tech startups through its fourth flagship fund, Speedinvest 4. The remaining capital is reserved for selective follow-on co-investments in existing Speedinvest portfolio companies to support their long-term growth. The Speedinvest 4 follows the raise of a €80 million Climate & Industry Opportunity fund

500 Global 

500 Global team
Picture credits: 500 Global

Established by Brian Curliss, Christine Tsai, and Dave McClure in 2010, 500 Global is a multi-stage US-based venture capital firm with $2.4 billion in assets under management. It invests in founders building fast-growing technology companies. 

To date, 500 Global has backed over 5,000 founders representing over 2,800 companies operating in over 80 countries. Its portfolio includes US unicorns – Reddit, Carbon Health, etc. and EMEA unicorns such as Insider, Foodics, etc. Some of the notable exists include Flywire, and Twilio. 

Entrée Capital 

Entree Capital team
Picture credits: Entree Capital

London-based Entrée Capital was founded by successful entrepreneurs – Aviad Eyal and Martin Moshal in 2009. The VC firm provides multi-stage funding for innovative startups and companies all over the world. It has offices in London and Tel Aviv.

With $1.25 billion in assets under management across 9 funds, this VC firm has invested in hundreds of global startups. Entrée’s portfolio companies include unicorns such as Rapyd, Gusto, Glovo, Deliveroo, etc. Entrée Capital has invested across all stages of growth from pre-eed.

SV Angel 

SV Angel team
Picture credits: SV Angel

Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm SV Angel was founded by Ronald Conway in 2009. It supports entrepreneurs in building lasting companies by assisting at key inflection points and leveraging networks to help them propel their businesses forward.
The US-based unicorns that received funding from SV Angel include Cruise, MetroMile, and Zappos among others. On the other hand, the EMEA unicorns backed by the VC firm include Veriff, GoCardless, and Anchorage.

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