To identify the most promising top 25 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 including Amnesty International, Cisco, DAB Bank, FOX, NASA, PGA Tour, and Sony Entertainment. Its systems manage over seven billion documents. In August 2014, it raised $45 million to support global growth. Investors include Accel Partners, Mayfield Fund, Sageview Capital and Sapphire Ventures.
What it does: Social media monitoring and analytics.
Why it’s hot: One of the largest VC-backed SaaS companies in Europe, last month the company closed a $33 million C Round from Highland Capital Partners, Nauta Capital and Partech Ventures, bringing total investment to $63.3 million. Brandwatch claims a 1,200-strong list of customers — including Samsung, Cisco Systems and Sony Music. The company employs some 300 staff globally, and CEO Giles Palmer says it will open more offices following a June 2015 launch in Singapore.
What it does: Cloud-based contact centers.
Why it’s hot: NewVoiceMedia’s cloud contact center technology is used by more than 300 customers in 116 countries. The company claims its growth is outpacing the cloud contact center market fivefold; this year staff doubled to meet increased demand. In July 2014, it raised $50 million, bringing total funding to $114.8 million. The new funds will be used to build out its business in the U.S. and Asia.
What it does: International online commerce specialist.
Why it’s hot: Powa provides technology to help drive e-commerce sales. The company has raised some $176.7 million, most recently an $80 million Series B deal from Wellington Management that valued the company at $2.7 billion. The only other investor in the company is Bright Station Ventures. The company’s rapid growth was fueled by a $96.7 million Series A investment in 2013, the largest A round for a start-up UK technology company.
Tel Aviv, Israel
What it does: Web measurement and competitive intelligence.
Why it’s hot: SimilarGroup helps Internet users find and interpret web content. Its service helps companies benchmark performance against competitors, increase web traffic, and broaden their audiences, using the clickstream activity of tens of millions of global Internet users. In late 2014 it raised a $15 million Series D round from prior investors Naspers and angel investor Lord David Alliance, bringing total funding to $40 million.
What it does: Video ad management platform.
Why it’s hot: Teads, founded in 2011, helps users create premium video content, manage campaigns, and monetize video inventory through its private ad exchanges. Its services are used in 42 countries. Teads recently raised $5.5 million from Bank of China, BNP Paribas Securities Corporation, Bpifrance and HSBC, bringing total funding to $35.8 million. In April 2014, it merged with Ebuzzing. It plans to list on NASDAQ in 2015.
What it does: Inter-city ride-sharing community.
Why it’s hot: BlaBlaCar has 20 million members across 19 countries and transports more than 10 million travelers per quarter, creating an entirely new, people-powered transport network. In September, it raised the largest VC round ever in a French start-up — $200 million — from Insight Venture Partners, Lead Edge Capital and Vostok New Ventures, valuing the company at $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion. The firm currently has no plans to launch in the United States.
What it does: Online food ordering site.
Why it’s hot: Delivery Hero claims to be the biggest food network in the world. More than 35,000 restaurants are connected to its service across Sweden, Finland, Poland, Austria, Germany, UK, Denmark, Russia, Australia, Switzerland, South Korea, China, Mexico and India, but the company has no plans to add the U.S. In September 2014 Delivery Heroy raised $350 million at a valuation of more than $1 billion. It raised another $110 million in June 2015 with a reported valuation of $3.1 billion. It has raised $1.33 billion to date. Rocket Internet owns nearly 40% of the company.
What it does: Manufacturer of connected devices.
Why it’s hot: Described as “France’s answer to Nest,” the designer of connected home devices like smart thermostats and security cameras recently announced a $32.6 million B round from Bpifrance, Iris Capital, Legrand and Pascal Cagni, bringing total funding to $38.4 million. Its first product, a connected weather station, is in use in 105 countries, the company claims.
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. Secret Escapes raised more than £60 million in funding in July from Atlas Venture, Google Ventures, Index Ventures and Octopus Investments, bringing total investment to $80 million. The company claims to have sold almost two million room nights in four years on the back of 19 million subscribers to its database.
What it does: Music, TV shows, and ads discovery service
Why it’s hot: Founded in 1999 to help users identify music tracks, today Shazam claims 600 million downloads from a user base of over 110 million. 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 January 2015, Shazam raised an F Round of $30 million, valuing the company at a reported $1 billion. According to The Wall Street Journal, Warner Music Group owner Access Industries — the holding company of billionaire Len Blavatnik — along with Vivendi’s Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment have all taken stakes in the company.
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. Other investors include Scottish Equity Partners and Oxford Capital Partners. SEP is said to considering selling all or part of its investment ahead of a plan by Skyscanner that is reported to be seeking £65 million to accelerate expansion plans.
What it does: Social sound platform.
Why it’s hot: SoundCloud claims 150 million registered users, up from 10 million in 2011, and claims 175 million total listeners a month. In 2013, it lost $29 million on revenue of $14 million and recently was involved in a dispute with Sony Music, which pulled some of its artists from the platform. Soundcloud raised $60 million at a $700 million valuation in January 2014 bringing total funding to $123.3 million. The Berlin-based company counts Mary Meeker as an advisor.
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 claims more than 20 million paying subscribers out of 75 million active monthly users. The company has raised $1.27 billion, its most recent round, a G round, was $526 million and valued the company at a reported $8.53 billion, more than double rival Pandora Media.
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. In September, the company took undisclosed funding from Iconiq Capital, a U.S. investment company, valuing it at $2.3 billion. The funding came less than a year after a $250 million round led by General Atlantic at a $1.5 billion valuation. The company did $185 million in revenue in 2014.
What it does: Payment processing app and card reader.
Why it’s hot: Founded in 2010 with headquarters in Stockholm, iZettle is now available in 11 countries globally. iZettle’s service is used by hundreds of thousands of businesses in nine countries. In August 2015, it received $67.3 million in funding in a round that brought total funding to $177 million. Its previous round, $60 million in May 2014, valued the company at $274 million. Investors include 83North (formerly Greylock), American Express, Creandum, Dawn Capital, Index Ventures, Intel Capital, MasterCard, Northzone, Santander Innoventures, SEB Private Equity and Zouk Capital.
What it does: Electronic voting services.
Why it’s hot: Of the 21 countries using online voting in the public sector 19 are using Scytl’s electronic election technology. The company claims the largest patent portfolio of the industry, with more than 40 international patents and patent applications. In August 2014, Scytl secured a $104 million investment. Investors include Adams Street Partners, Balderton Capital, Industry Ventures, Nauta Capital, Sapphire Ventures, Vulcan Capital and Vy Capital. Total fundraising is $120 million. Profitable since 2006; revenue growth has averaged 70% per year.
What it does: Foreign currency transfer services.
Why it’s hot: Based in London, but founded in Tallinn, Estonia, TransferWise keeps currency transfer costs down by using the real exchange rate and charging a low service fee. The company claims to have handled $3 billion since its founding four years ago. TransferWise recently raised $58 million from Andreessen Horowitz in a deal that reportedly values the company at $1 billion. Ben Horowitz joined the company’s board. Other investors include Valar Ventures and Sir Richard Branson.
What it does: Global phone directory app.
Why it’s hot: The Truecaller app uses a crowdsourced database to find contact details, and provide caller ID and call-blocking services, for 100 million users in more than 100 countries. In February 2014, the company raised $18.8 million in funding from Sequoia Capital and existing investors; in October it raised $60 million from Sequoia, Atomico and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, valuing the company at $300 million. According to The Wall Street Journal, Truecaller had sales of $1.8 million.
What it does: Marketplace for independent boutiques.
Why it’s hot: Founded in 2008, Farfetch is an online storefront for more than 300 boutiques across the world. It works with stores in New York, Paris, Bucharest, and Seattle, offering more than 1,000 brands and has reported annual sales of $300 million. An $86 million series E round in March valued the company at $1 billion. Investors have put in $195 million and include Conde Nast, DST Global, Felix Capital and Vitruvian Partners.
What it does: Online furniture retailer.
Why it’s hot: Home24 is Germany’s largest online furniture store, offering more than 150,000 products from more than 800 manufacturers. In June, the company raised a $131.3 million D round with investors Baillie Gifford and Rocket Internet, valuing the company at $1.03 billion and bringing total investment to $150.8 million. Home24 is also active in France, Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy and, under the brand Mobly Home24, in Brazil.
What it does: Online payment for websites.
Why it’s hot: Klarna was founded in Stockholm in 2005. Klarna Checkout integrates popular payment methods in a simple solution that allows customers to shop using their email address and zip code. The company has raised $289.3 million from investors, most recently $80 million in August from secondary sales, at a valuation of $2.25 billion. Annual sales are reported to be $118-$120 million. Investors include Atomico, DST Global, General Atlantic, Harvest Growth, Institutional Venture Partners, Northzone, Partners Group, Sequoia Capital, Wellcome Trust and Wellington Management.
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. In June 2105 the company raised $60 million from investors Eight Roads Ventures, Level Equity and Partech Ventures, bringing total investment to $73.1 million. Currently operating in the UK, France, and Italy. Media reports say Made.com revenues grew 63% last year, reaching £43 million, 30% of which were international. Rumored to be considering an IPO.
What it does: IoT networks.
Why it’s hot: Sigfox builds low-energy, low-cost wireless networks that could be the backbone of the Internet of Things. Founded in 2009, in February the company raised $115 million from investors including Telefonica, NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom, Air Liquide, GDF Suez, Eutelsat and Elliott Management. Existing investors Elaia Partners, iXO PE, Partech Ventures and Idinvest also participated. Total investment is $151 million. The company is estimated to be valued at $1.44 billion.
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 and operates in Europe and South America. In 2013, revenues exceeded €110 million. In April, Westwing raised $32.6 million in an E Round from Holding Italiana Quattordicesima and Kinnevik. In a previous funding round in early 2014, Westwing raised €72 million to expand to Belgium, Kazakhstan, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary. It also created seven logistics centers. Total investment to date is $211.1 million. In January, Westwing was valued at $531.9 million.