2020 shaped up to be the ultimate test of our endurance as individuals and the resilience of the ecosystem in which we work. As we approach the end of the year, it’s becoming clear that Europe has held up staggeringly well. In terms of capital invested, Europe is about to post its second highest year on record.
Companies like Hopin have carved record-breaking paths to unicorn valuations. As a result, we now have more than 100 billion-dollar private European tech companies. However, 2020 is not only a story of gigantic rounds – European investors have backed the seed stage of our ecosystem to an unprecedented extent. These are incredible achievements, and speak of an ecosystem in which healthy foundations run deep.
Amid all this, we at Slush continue to believe that entrepreneurship is one of the best and fastest ways to change the world for the better. To that end, it’s been encouraging to see that led by Infarm, Ynsect and Northvolt, investments into European purpose-driven companies have continued to grow. Like so often in history, it seems that a global crisis brings out our most noble ambitions. In September, Slush’s virtual stage was host to Daniel Ek’s announcement that he’ll commit €1B of his personal wealth to funding European moonshots. It directly addresses the funding gap that deeptech companies continue to struggle with.
Amid the explosive rise of the European ecosystem over the past decade, it’s been easy to forgo engaging with the inefficiencies and inequities that still hold our ecosystem back.
In an almost exhausting repetition of conclusions we’ve drawn before, a lack of diversity and inclusion remains the most pressing of these. While data is yet again insufficient, what we have points to two things: European tech continues to involve a narrow subset of the population, and those that differ from its narrow norm are held back and marginalized. Going forward, we will have to move from talk to action. Anything less would be unacceptable.
With record numbers of capital available and an active dialogue around important policy among key European policymakers, we have the foundations in place to make 2021 an excellent year for European tech. As such, we at Slush are more inspired than ever by our mission – to help and create founders that change the world. This truly is the best time to be a founder; to courageously embrace the uncertainty, to look for patterns in what seems like chaos, and to fearlessly build technologies that will make the “new normal” a better normal.