No more borders – some stats from our latest fund

We’ve been investing out of our new fund for a year now. One thing that completely blows me away is that any and all international borders are now truly out the window. In every way you can imagine. The tech community is living the new Europe – never mind – new world.

 To many of you this is news from the Church of the Bleeding Obvious. Nonetheless I wanted to share some data with you, based on our first investments from our new fund over the last 12 months. We’ve only announced 3 investments but have actually done a lot more (around 10) we’ll announce soon, so I hope the data is somewhat indicative already.

Just as a scene-setter: We’re most active in Berlin but invest across Continental Europe; we like to back European companies with global ambitions. Let’s see what the data says.

Here’s the split of the dominating nationality within our founding teams:

  • German: 35%

  • US: 29%

  • Other: 36% (France, Sweden, Austria and Iran)

The large German portion and other European countries would be pretty much as expected. But around a third from the US? This is new and its good. I am seeing a huge influx of US talent and they are bringing a healthy new element to our entrepreneurial gene pool in Europe. We’re not only seeing this with founders, but also a lot of experienced US C-level folks are moving in.

I then looked at if there is a match between nationality of the founder and where the company is based:

  • Yes: 44%

  • No: 56%

So the majority of founders are building a company in some place they are not from. They are making choices based on where they think the best place is to build their companies. We see this most in Berlin, where barely anyone is from Germany. But it’s also happening elsewhere.

I guess we’re all seeing capital becoming more mobile, so I looked at syndicate structures:

  • National syndicates: 22%

  • International syndicates: 78%

What’s really interesting here is that this applies across all stages – from seed to growth; we’re seing entrepreneurs really having more choice and that they can match capital to their company and not to their geography. Again, a super healthy thing.

The next data set is the most important to me. We like to think that Europe is now systematically creating companies that can become global leaders in their space and are not just addressing regional markets. So here’s a split of our companies’ activities when we invested:

  • National: 11% (addressing just 1 market)

  • International: 22% (addressing several markets)

  • Global: 66% (addressing dozens of markets across all continents)

No comment needed.

I expect these numbers to shift even more towards the global / international part of the scale going forward. I love it.

What are you seeing?

P.S.: Here’s a traffic map for this blog. Same story.

Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 12.42.45 PM


7 Comments on “No more borders – some stats from our latest fund”

  1. It is healthy indeed to have no border limitations when addressing markets or establishing companies. Some months ago I did some research on founders and investors around the world (68 interviews on 6 continents) for my book, Customer Seduction. I was surprised to see there are no big differences between the entrepreneurs in the way they look at the world.

    One reason is that the internet really makes us global, borderless. We can communicate wherever, we are easily informed about wherever.

    And speaking of traffic maps, today I posted a map with the users of my startup, splinter.me – they come from 40+ countries without putting any effort in marketing or expansion at this stage.

    And since you mentioned founders origin in comparison with where they establish companies or address markets, here is my own example: I am Romanian living in Belgium. My co-founder is Egyptian living in Egypt (with his wife and kids actually). We work remote now and it is really easy due to internet and tech tools. We plan to relocate together somewhere where a young startup can thrive, meaning in a good startup hub and close to our investors. But then we want to address a global market. We can never be close to all our clients and close to the best pool of investors and talents to hire. It is always going to be a compromise. But just origin doesn’t really matter. We have a global mindset, we are mixed cultures in the founding team and we are going to go where it is best for our startup.

  2. […] Comments/ in Uncategorized / by admin March 11, 2013 I took the post by Ciarán today about the latest Earlybird fund as a impulse to complete a post longly overdue. End of 2012 we […]

  3. Sebastian says:

    Of those ventures currently addressing just one market, how many evolve into international ventures over time, do you have numbers on that? It touches the larger question of US startups immediately having a large market at their fingertips while most European startups upon launch mostly limit themselves to very small markets, and more often than not for no other reason other than unwillingness to internationalize (discuss :)? Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

  4. […] some data based on our first investments from our new fund (see this older post for more data on a new kind of company DNA we’re seeing) that shows – overly aggregated […]


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