Is your SaaS startup the next big thing, but do you lack funding? Have a look at this list of 9 SaaS investors from Europe.
Jonathan Swift once said: “A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart”. He was right, of course. But we also know that money is what makes the world go round. Making sure money isn’t in your heart is excellent advice on a personal level, but if you want to turn your idea into a thriving business, you must think about money and funding.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying that money should become your most important motivation. Your idea is about helping people. No company has ever succeeded without offering value to its clients. But you do need to spend quite a bit of time actively pursuing funding for your SaaS startup.
Let us help you a little bit, by giving you a list of 9 SaaS investors in Europe.
Many investors like to keep their options open. So instead of “investing in SaaS” they like to see themselves as investors in tech companies. AngelSquare is one of the few venture capital firms that has explicitly made SaaS startups their niche (along with fintech companies).
This venture capital firm was founded by Balthazar de Menthon and Charles Degand in 2016. This SaaS investor from Europe is also known under its legal name FundMe SAS. So far, AngelSquare has exited 8 investments, such as Datananas and Lalilo.
Recently AngelSquare invested in companies such as Click&Savour (€1 M investment), a specialist in big data and investment-AI SESAMm and online advertising platform getfluence (€ 5M) make the next step in their development.
Ever since 1998, Ventech (a.k.a. Ventech Capital) has invested in the digital economy. Ventech was founded by Alain Caffi when the dot-com bubble was at its highest point. It was a time when all you needed to do was add .com to the name of your startup and people would throw fortunes your way. It became increasingly clear that this madness had to end someday. That day arrived in 2000.
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment things went south, but it was March 10th, 2000, that the NASDAQ peaked at 5,048.62. A streak of bad news, amongst which the bankruptcy of Webvan, boo.com, and Pets.com made the NASDAQ lose almost three-quarters of its value, wiping all profits of the preceding years. Many lost their fortune during this crash.
Unlike many other tech investors, Ventech managed to survive the 2000 massacre. Without a doubt, Ventech has learned a lot from the events. These days, Venture specializes in early-stage investments in startup companies.
This SaaS investor from Europe invests in a wide array of companies, as long as it’s tech-based: hardware or software, B2B or B2C. It does limit itself geographically, though. With offices in Paris, Munich, and Helsinki, Ventech focuses on France, DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), and the Nordic Countries. One office, located in Shanghai, invests in Asian Startups.
Since its founding, Ventech has had 38 exits, 6 of which involved investments in software, 5 involved E-commerce, 5 had something to do with the Internet and 5 successful investments were mobile-based.
#3 Portugal Ventures
Is your SaaS startup based in Portugal? Then you might want to look into Portugal Ventures. This investor from Europe invests in startups with a registered office in Portugal. Such a clear focus limits competition, meaning that if you meet all the criteria, and have a good business plan, your chances are good with this investor.
This SaaS investor from Europe is part of the Banco Português de Fomento and specializes in startups in the pre-seed, seed, and Serie A stage.
Portugal Ventures invests between € 50K and € 1,5M per startup in return for a minority stake in the company. The exact investment ceiling depends on the sector and development stage, preferring co-investment with Portuguese and international partners.
At the time of writing, Portugal Ventures is reported to have 100+ portfolio companies, worth well over € 184M. In total, Portugal Venture made 235 investments. The second quarter of 2021 was particularly eventful, with 30 investments made.
This Saas investor from Europe is based in Vienna, Austria. It was founded on June 1st, 2011.
Speedinvest promises you a focused investment team that knows your industry inside and out, as well as full access to an in–house platform of operational experts. More: “(Our) Deep Tech, Fintech, Industrial Tech, Network Effects, Digital Health and Subscriptions experience, know-how and deep networks are yours from day one.”
Quite honestly, such promises would give us a strong “if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t true”-vibe if it wasn’t for the track record of the Speedinvest founders.
The founders ( Daniel Keiper-Knorr, Erik Bovee, Micahel Schuster, Oliver Holle, and Werner Zahnt) have a huge track record when it comes to “things online”, which obviously is very attractive to SaaS startups.
So far, Speedinvest manages more than € 400M worth of assets. Speedinvest has made 254 investments, 63 of which in software, 39 in FinTech, 24 in IT, and 20 in purebred SaaS startups.
#5 Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen (TGFS)
Did you get annoyed reading the part about Portugal Ventures because you don’t have a registered office in Portugal, but are based in Sachsen, Germany? Have no fear, for Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen (TGFS) is here to help you give your tech startup a real boost.
Sachsen (Saxony) is a region in Germany known for its strong semiconductor industry. TGFS, founded in 2008, started out as a venture capital fund for “high tech startups with strong growth potential”. Obviously, early investments included several manufacturing companies (7), or startups active in electronics (6) or sensors (5). However, TGFS goes with the times and invested in 18 software companies (either SaaS or on-premise), 11 IT startups, 5 companies building the Internet of Things, and 4 companies self-identifying as SaaS.
Telefonica is a household name in Spain. Since its founding in 1924, this company had a telecom monopoly in Spain and a strong presence in Latin America. After its monopoly was broken in 1997, Telefonica had the opportunity to expand into other business ventures.
The company followed an aggressive acquisitions strategy, with a clear focus on tech companies. As investing in startups needs flexibility, Telefonica decided to create Wayra, a semi-independent company connecting Telefonica with technological disruptors all over the world.
Wayra promises investment and a “unique and smooth interface between entrepreneurs and (their) network of corporates, governments, and other partners”.
Wayra celebrated its 10th birthday on April 1st, 2021. The SaaS investor from Europe had a lot to look back on: in the 10 years this investor has been around it made a whopping 1,182 investments, including 74 investments where Wayra was the lead investor. The pace at which the company invests seems to have dropped a bit, though. Whether this is due to the relatively low number of successful exits (36) is unclear.
But hey these days being an investor in tech disruptors pretty much equals being a SaaS investor, right?
Paris is not just the city where a number of SaaS companies have their HQ, it is also the home base for AGORANOV. Founded in 2000, this public Science & Tech incubator has helped nurture many an idea to growth. So far, AGORANOV has made 33 successful exits.
Examples of companies AGORANOV helped grow are Lalilo (yes, the same company AngelSquare also had a stake in), online payments platform PayPlug and the cloud-based platform for car-data analytics Drust.
So far, AGORANOV has made 318 investments, taking the role of lead investor in 40 instances. The most recent investment done by AGORANOV was in December 2020 when it provided collaborative, automated data discovery tool Castor with an undisclosed amount of non-equity assistance.
Now that we’re in Paris anyway, let’s also have a look at 2001 founded SaaS-investor Wilco. This SaaS investor from France (Europe) also goes by the somewhat less spiffy name Scientipole Initiative.
Wilco leverages start-ups by providing promising business concepts with a non-guaranteed no-interest loan. The loans, which are personnel loans, have a duration of 5 years and can be € 20 – 90K (per enterprise).
This accelerator supports approximately 100 new start-ups every year. Apart from funding, participating companies are assigned one of the 100 “serial entrepreneur”-mentors.
#9 Force over Mass Capital
It took a rollercoaster ride that lasted several years, but Brexit has become a reality. This new reality has presented companies from the United Kingdom with new challenges. If your SaaS startup is based in the United Kingdom, it might be easier if you could procure funding from a SaaS investor that is based in Europe, but not part of the European Union.
Force over Mass capital is an option to consider. Founded by Martijn de Wever and Theo Osborne in 2013, this venture capitalist has invested in 123 startups (26 as lead investors) in the UK and other European countries.
This investor from Europe does not invest solely in SaaS. The investment scope includes four verticles: Fintech, AI, SaaS, and Industry 4.0
Plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs with a great idea
One could say that SaaS has rapidly become a mature concept. About a decade ago, SaaS was still new and, let’s face it, somewhat odd. But the industry has grown, making it easier for SaaS startups to explain to potential investors what it is they do.
Some investors from Europe have embraced SaaS, and explicitly include it in their investment scope. This serves as an open invitation to SaaS entrepreneurs to get in touch to discuss their business ideas. However, any investor claiming to be tech-savvy should be interested in the opportunities that come from investments in SaaS companies.
So if an investor doesn’t specifically state they are interested in SaaS, give it a go anyway.
Want to know more about the several ways to get funding for your SaaS startup?