It’s a widely held belief that the European venture capital scene is poor relation to the US. Given how important such finance is to the continent’s technology startups, this has long been a sore point. However, a new report (embedded below) from German VC firm Earlybird states that the opposite is now true.
The report argues that European venture capital has reached an “inflection point” and that it now offers better real performance than the US for the first time. The report argues that the past two years has seen $15bn in venture capital liquidity in Europe – half the figure for the US over that period, but based on only one fifth of the funding.
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Earlybird’s report goes on to state that proportionally, Europe is producing higher exit multiples than the US, due to an overproportional share of successful exits in Europe.
The reason for this? The report says that a lack of supply for the huge demand that exists for VC funding, couple with a small but strong set of VC firms operating in Europe, has led to a ‘Buyer’s market’, with low entry valuations and much greater capital efficiency than the US. While comparatively few startups receive venture backing, the report argues that the only the ‘cream of the crop’ are invested in.
The report also states that the traditional gloomy outlook on European VC is based on reports that don’t take into account ‘post-bubble vintages’, which it says are better performing, but their success is simply not visible yet.
While it’s clearly in Earlybird’s interests to publish an optimistic view of the European VC scene, and it’s possible to say just about anything with statistics if you frame them the right way, it’s refreshing to see a report that shows the weight of the continent’s successes rather than just the usual talk of risk-averse investors and entrepreneurs who fled Europe for Silicon Valley.