2016 European Startup Circuit

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Nurburgring — http://avelocidade.blogspot.com

January is my favorite month. No matter how great or not the previous year was, in January you always start fresh. In the Venture Capital business it is also the start of the startup conference circuit. As I am preparing my 2016 events calendar I thought it would be a good idea to share it.

2015 was a good year for European startups. Funding continued to be strong. BlaBlaCar raised $200M in a series D round led by Insight Venture Partners. Transferwise, Delivery Hero and many others also raised substantial capital.

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On the other side of the table, number of European VC firms raised new funds. Paua Ventures, PointNine Capital, Speedinvest, LakeStar just to name a few. Dörte Höppner (EVCA) wrote a short summary of this in “More Unicorns, More VC”.

Although more funds means that more capital will find its way into European startups we still have a long way to go. Atomico expressed it nicely in “The State Of European Tech: Achievement Unlocked, But Not Mission Accomplished”.

The presentation is full of great insights. There is one slide that I found really valuable. I believe that great companies need local resources to get started. One way of looking at this is through the activity of the local tech community.

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Yes, London is a European tech Mecca, but what is really interesting is the longtail of other cities. Great to see that Europe is building out its tech environment in all directions. East, West, North, South its happeing everywhere. Scale or density is still a challenge in most places but we are definitely heading in the right direction.

Being a seed stage / thesis driven VC, my view is narrowed to one vertical — SaaS. What puts a smile on my face is the proliferation of Europeans SaaS companies. There is no escape — we are amidst a software revolution. With European countries being rather small in population it makes a lot of sense to focus on building SaaS companies. The SaaS business model is highly scalable and not really dependant on any specific location. Hence, you can start a SaaS company anywhere in Europe.

This brings me to my own little research. Relying on Angel.co, I have compiled a list of European cities that are home to SaaS companies.

Data gathered by Angel List is nowhere near accurate but is great to act as an indicator. I’ve mapped out the Top 30 cities, where European SaaS companies are based. It is a safe bet to say that most “tech” cities in Europe have some SaaS activity. This location diversity is one of the cool things about Europe.

One of my 2016 goals is to visit more of these “SaaS Cities” and connect with the local startup community. Events are always a great opportunity to meet new startups or local co-investors. In order to plan my events calendar I’ve compiled a list of events worth attending this year. Maybe some of you will find it useful.

I called my events list the 2016 European Startup Circuit.

There are still a few blank spots on my list as I was unable to find info on the leading startup events in some cities. In some cases organizers haven’t yet updated their websites. Feel free to comment with your events of choice.

Written by

I’m a Partner at Innovation Nest, a seed VC fund focused on B2B Software. Helping SaaS founders with growth strategies and tactics.

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