Who are the 5 most powerful venture capital funds in Britain?

Britain is home to the highest number of growth business investors in Europe, but Germany, Switzerland and Austria are snapping at its heels

Britain is still the leading European country when it comes to venture capital funds and other growth investors, with 306 funds based here.

Germany is the second most popular home for growth investors with 181 funds, followed by France (119) and Luxembourg (66).

London hosts the largest number of European headquarters of American funds, while the UK is home to the most European corporate venture capital funds too (18).

Britain has a strong focus on growth-stage companies, as opposed to start-ups, with the most popular industry being life sciences and HealthTech, according to a report by i5invest and the Vienna University of Economics’ Entrepreneurship Center.

However, the region of Germany, Switzerland and Austria is snapping at Britain’s heels when it comes to setting up new venture capital and private equity funds.

Herwig Springer, CEO of i5invest, said: “With more than a quarter of all new European funds established in this region, we’re noticing an interesting development also in hindsight of the Brexit.”

The 5 most powerful venture capital funds in Britain in terms of assets under management are: Octopus Investments, Balderton Capital, Atomico, BGF and Highland Europe.

As for private equity funds, the top five in Britain are: Intermediate Capital Group, Permira, Apax Partners, HG Capital and Bridgepoint.

When it comes to who the most active UK investors, last year’s busiest British venture capital funds were Seedcamp, Parkwalk Advisors, Balderton Capital, Octopus Ventures, and Bethnal Green Ventures.

In total, there were 676 investors across Europe last year, including 443 VC funds and 233 private equity funds.

Between them, the total amount of assets under management across Europe are €3.04bn (£2.7bn).

Most popular investment sectors

The most popular sector for investment this year across Europe will be life science and health, followed by IT, media and telecoms, anything B2B, automation and artificial intelligence.

Funds based in Germany and Austria prefer to invest in early-stage companies, while the rest of Europe prefers to fund later growth-stage firms.

Overall, the most powerful European venture capital funds based on assets under management are Balderton Capital, Verdane, Atomico, BGF and Sofinnova Partners.

In terms of investment activity, the most active European funds last year were Hiventures from Hungary (200 investments), Germany’s HTGF (160), Kima Ventures from France (100), UK-based Seedcamp (92) and Speedinvest headquartered in Austria (86).

Over the last 24 months, 64 new funds have been established across Europe with a strong focus on early-stage investments in Industry 4.0, life science and HealthTech.

The most powerful newcomers based on assets under management are London-based Corten Capital, Röko from Sweden, a/o PropTech headquartered in the UK, Future Energy Ventures from Germany and NordicNinja VC based in Finland.

And among these newcomers are four new corporate venture capital (CVC) funds: Smart Works from Austria, Helen Ventures from Finland, Sparrow Ventures from Switzerland and DNV GL Ventures from Norway.

However, with only four new CVC funds launching, this VC subsector has been stalling.

In total, there are 55 CVCs based across Europe, the most powerful based on assets under management being Novo Holdings from Denmark, Rabo Corporate Investments based in the Netherlands, Novartis Venture Fund from Switzerland and BMW i Ventures from Germany.

Britain is once again home to the most CVCs (18), followed by Germany (16), and Switzerland (6).

Top investment sectors for CVCs are AI and Big Data, Industry 4.0, life science and HealthTec, Software as a Service (SaaS) and transport.

Stephan Jung, head of the start-up at the WU Entrepreneurship Center, said: “For 2021 we’re hoping to see many more corporates making Venture Capital part of their innovation strategy.”

More on venture capital funds in Britain

22 venture capital firms you need to know about – Growth Business guide

UK venture capital directory