To identify the most promising fast-growing Internet companies in Europe, Informilo asked some of the most active investors in the sector to nominate and evaluate 25 companies outside their own portfolios.
What it does: Open-source enterprise content management platform.
Why it’s hot: Claims to be the second-largest open-source player in the market, after Red Hat; 1,800 organizations in 212 countries use Alfresco. Its systems manage over seven billion documents. In August it raised $45 million to support global growth. Alfresco is growing by more than 30% annually, triple the pace of the ECM market.
Reading, UK (& San Francisco, CA, U.S.)
What it does: Filtering and data mining software that targets social media.
Why it’s hot: Datasift enables companies to track and filter trending topics, sentiment and geolocation data from a number of social media sources. One of a handful of certified data resellers for Twitter. In December 2013 is raised $42 million in funding, for a total of $70 million raised to date. Added Sina Weibo as a source in 2013.
What it does: Cloud-based contact centers.
Why it’s hot: NewVoiceMedia’s cloud contact center solution is used by more than 300 customers in 116 countries. The company claims it’s outpacing the cloud contact center market fivefold; this year staff doubled to meet increased demand. In July it raised $50 million, bringing total funding to $105 million. The new funds will be used to build out its business in the U.S. and Asia.
What it does: Video ad management platform.
Why it’s hot: Teads helps users create premium video inventory, manage campaigns, and monetize video inventory through its private ad exchanges. Its services are used in 42 countries. Teads recently raised $5.5 million. In April it merged with Ebuzzing; the combined company will generate $100 million in revenues in 2014. It plans to list on NASDAQ in 2015.
What it does: Inter-city ride-sharing community.
Why it’s hot: BlaBlaCar has 10 million members across 13 countries and transports more than two million people every month, creating an entirely new, people-powered transport network. In August it raised the largest VC round ever in a French start-up — $100 million — from Index Ventures, Accel Partners, ISAI and Lead Edge Capital. The company’s previous round was $10 million in 2012.
What it does: Online food ordering site.
Why it’s hot: Delivery Hero claims to be the biggest food network in the world, with more than 75,000 participating restaurants; it delivers more than 10 million meals globally every month. It operates in 23 countries, but has no plans to add the U.S. In September the company raised $350 million at a valuation of more than $1 billion; it has raised $635 million to date.
What it does: Real-time restaurant reservation platform.
Why it’s hot: Quandoo connects more than three million restaurants in 89 cities across Europe and Asia; it has seated 2.8 million diners so far. In July it raised $23 million in Series C financing; the round was led by Piton Capital. In October Recruit Holdings took a strategic holding. Total funding is approximately $39.5 million.
What it does: Members-only travel flash sale site.
Why it’s hot: Secret Escapes negotiates exclusive discounted rates (up to 70% off) for luxury hotels and holidays. In 2013 membership more than doubled, to over four million in the UK alone; revenue tripled to £65 million. Secret Escapes has raised more than £14 million in funding from Index Ventures, Octopus Investments and Atlas Venture. It launches in the U.S. earlier this year.
What it does: Music, TV shows, and ads discovery service
Why it’s hot: Shazam’s app is used by more than 500 million mobile devices; it has 100 million mobile monthly active users, up 34% increase on 2013. The company took 10 years to reach one billion tags, 10 months to reach two billion, and three months to go from 10 to 12 billion. In February it raised $20 million from a consortium of investors.
What it does: Travel search and comparison site.
Why it’s hot: Skyscanner is the number one travel search engine in Europe; it helps more than 60 million visitors find flights every month. It supports 30 languages. Revenues doubled in 2013 to $108.6 million; profits also doubled. In 2013 Sequoia acquired a stake in Skyscanner that valued the company at $800 million; it could be worth £1 billion today.
What it does: Social sound platform.
Why it’s hot: Soundcloud enables its 175 million users to discover original music and audio, connect with each other and share sounds with the world. In 2013 it lost $29 million on revenue of $14 million. In August it introduced advertising and started providing payments for some of its more popular artists. Soundcloud raised $60 million at a $700 million valuation in January 2014.
What it does: Music streaming service.
Why it’s hot: Allows users to stream music from the big music players and smaller labels using either a free, ad-supported service or a premium ad-free service. Spotify has 10 million paying users and 40 million total users. A $250 million funding round in 2013 valued the company above $4 billion. Now working on tie-ups with mobile operators and hardware providers around the world.
What it does: Omni-channel payment solutions.
Why it’s hot: Adyen provides payment services to over 3,500 customers including KLM, Superdry, TomTom, Vodafone, and Farfetch. The company processed more than $14 billion in payments transactions in 2013 — a 40% increase over 2012. It also saw a 40% increase in new customers worldwide and 43% increase in revenue over last year. Raised $16 million in June.
What it does: Payment processing app and card reader.
Why it’s hot: iZettle’s service is used by hundreds of thousands of businesses in nine countries. In May is received €40 million in funding in a round that valued the company at around €200 million. The round included new investors Intel Capital, and Zouk Capital. Earlier investors Greylock Partners, Index Ventures and Northzone also participated in the round.
What it does: Electronic voting services.
Why it’s hot: Scytl’s election platform has been used in more than 35 countries over the last 10 years. The company claims the largest patent portfolio of the industry, with more than 40 international patents and patent applications. In August Scytl secured a $44 million investment. Profitable since 2006; revenue growth has averaged 70% per year.
What it does: Foreign currency transfer services.
Why it’s hot: TransferWise keeps currency transfer costs down by using the real exchange rate and charging a low service fee. In April the company announced customers had made foreign exchange transfers totaling £1 billion so far. In May 2013 Peter Thiel’s VC fund led a $6 million funding round, bringing the total raised to $7.35 million.
What it does: Marketplace for independent boutiques.
Why it’s hot: Farfetch offers shoppers access to more than 300 online designer boutiques. Sales in 2013 reached $160 million, with year-on-year growth of 100%. In April the company raised $66 million, led by Vitruvian Partners. Farfetch previously raised $42.5 million from Index Ventures, eVenture Capital Partners, Advent Venture Partners, and Condé Nast.
What it does: Online furniture retailer.
Why it’s hot: Home24 is Germany’s largest online furniture store, offering more than 100,000 products from more than 350 manufacturers. In the 12 months to February, it generated more than €100 million in revenue. A Rocket Internet company, Home24 is also active in France, Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland, and recently entered Belgium.
The Hut Group
What it does: Multi-website online retailer.
Why it’s hot: The Hut Group is one of Europe’s fastest-growing online lifestyle and health and beauty groups, using a ‘multi-category, multi-website’ model. In 2013: sales were up 34% to £176.4 million; adjusted EBITDA increased by 48% to £15 million; and the Group handled more than six million orders. In September it arranged an £80 million revolving credit facility for international expansion.
What it does: Online payment for websites.
Why it’s hot: Klarna Checkout integrates popular payment methods in a simple solution that allows customers to shop using their email address and zip code. Supports 200,000 transactions a day for 45,000 merchants in 16 countries. Raised €90 million from existing investors in March for a total of €280 million; now valued at close to $1 billion. Expanding to the U.S. in 2015.
What it does: Online own-design furniture shop.
Why it’s hot: Made.com bypasses the middleman to connect customers directly with furniture designers, saving up to 70% off prices at leading retailers. Sales have grown 100% year on year since launch; the company now has 200,000 customers and revenue in the low tens of millions of pounds. Currently operating in the UK, France, and Italy. Rumored to be considering an IPO.
La Plaine Saint Denis, France
What it does: Online flash sales.
Why it’s hot: With revenues of more than $500 million, and 15 million members, Showroomprive is the second-largest private sales website. It expects sales to increase by more than 50% in 2014; more than half its sales come from its mobile app. Showroomprive raised over $46 million in funding in 2010. In October it became the largest European retailer to accept payments in Bitcoin.
La Plaine Saint Denis, France
What it does: Internet flash sales pioneer.
Why it’s hot: Vente-privee.com is the originator of the online sales events. Sales in 2013 are estimated at €1.6 billion, mainly in Europe. In December 2013 Qatar Holding became a “significant minority shareholder,” alongside the company’s founding partners and Summit Partners. Now refocusing on Europe; its U.S. joint venture with American Express will close at the end of this year.
What it does: Home decoration e-commerce site.
Why it’s hot: Westwing is Germany’s largest shopping club for home decoration products and design tips. The company is active in 15 markets and has over 17 million members. In 2013 revenues exceeded €110 million. In April Westwing raised €72 million from Odey Asset Management, Fidelity Investments and Tengelmann Ventures; total funding is more than €150 million.
What it does: Retailer of products for babies and children.
Why it’s hot: Windeln.de is the leading online retailer for baby and children products in the D/A/CH market. It offers more than 55,000 products. In 2013 sales exceeded the €100 million mark, doubling year on year, as they did in 2012. In May the company raised €15 million from DB Private Equity and existing investors to expand its geographic presence and product line.