Last year, start-ups had a hard time seducing European venture capital firms to invest in their companies. VentureBeat reports that the VC’s are backing the fewest companies on record since research group VentureSource began tracking investments in 1999.
Only 897 companies were able to woo investors. Yet when they did, it certainly paid of. Since when European VC’s do invest, they are putting in higher bets than they did previously. They invest an amount of 4.56 billion euro in total, a two percent rise from 2006.
It’s the fourth year of consecutive increase in the amount of money, yet this has not necessarily has to be a positive thing. Since VentureSource says that in Europe it’s more difficult to turn a company into a profitable business. Therefore VC’s have to keep investing to make sure that the start-ups become success stories.
The statistics of the European market for mergers and IPOs are a bit horrifying. In 2006 89 venture-backed companies went public, in 2007 this number dropped to 38. Moreover, mergers and acquisitions deals fell 38 percent to 136. Again, VentureSource can draw a sad conclusion: it’s the lowest figure of the past ten years.
The US economy seems to be in trouble, with the growing threat of a recession, yet the merger market was pretty strong.
Although this article is discussing differences between European and American markets, I reckon we should think in terms of best of both worlds. There’s more risk capital available in America and they have a better exit environment. But most American companies stick to their (huge) local market and their own language. European entrepreneurs and VC’s are more used to be working with language barriers, but less risk capital is available.
When we combine these two markets, the available cash, the network of the VC’s and the knowledge and talent of entrepreneurs,, chances of success are bigger. European investors already often look for an American partner in the series B. Let’s keep that up. On the web the world is flat, the only barrier we still have to take is language.