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Germany Mints Majority of New European Unicorns

Venture capital investments have slowed generally, but four out of the seven European start-ups that cracked the one-billion-dollar mark in 2023 came from Germany.

According to the annual “State of European Tech” report, published by atomico, HSBC and others, fledgling companies from Germany continued to deal well in a more difficult environment than in previous years. Germany currently has the largest number of unicorns in the European Union.

“Not surprisingly, given the relative maturity of tech ecosystems in these countries and deeper pools of local talent, capital, and more established public markets, countries like the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden have secured the highest count of $B+ exits to date,” the report stated. “These exits, of course, are critical for the continued growth and development of their local ecosystems thanks to the flywheel effect that is unleashed through the subsequent recycling of capital and talent.”

1-Komma-5, Aleph Alpha, Deep L, and HelsingAI were among the seven newly born European unicorns in 2023. 

The German companies also booked some of the year’s biggest financing rounds. Aleph Alpha took in USD 500 million in Series C and USD 108 million in Series B financing. Helsing AI added USD 222 million and DeepL USD 100 million, both in Series B rounds.

The German success stories reflect the continuing popularity of artificial intelligence companies among venture capital investors.

According to the report, Germany was also home to three of the largest VC funds raised in 2023: HV Capital Fund IX Growth (USD 770 million), High-Tech Gründerfonds IV (USD 529 million) and Hitachi Ventures Fund II (USD 300 million).

In November 2023, Germany’s Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action announced that the public-private “Wachstumsfonds Deutschland” (Growth Fund Germany) had attained its goal of one billion euro.

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