Europe’s leading investors and technology entrepreneurs gathered in London’s Hilton Park Lane last night, Thursday 6 October in celebration of the 20th annual GP Bullhound Investor Allstars.
Dubbed the ‘Oscars of the tech world’, Investor Allstars is one of the leading events celebrating the very best of Europe’s vibrant tech industry, shining a light on the entrepreneurs and investors that are driving innovation and growth of the European tech ecosystem.
The 2022 Investor Allstars Awards gathered more than 700 guests to celebrate the successes and achievements within European tech, with Dame Sarah Storey DBE, Britain’s top medal-winning Paralympian, taking to the stage to open the event.
This year’s winners demonstrate the immense growth in the sector, reaching a cumulative value creation of over $1tn, and producing as many new unicorns in one year as the last three.
Investor Allstars also featured Europe’s Allstar Company, with some of Europe’s best-known technology companies pitching to a panel of high-profile investors.
New categories this year included Digital Innovation in TV, Film & Music won by National Theatre Live.
Mathilde Collin, CEO & Co-Founder of Front — the customer communication hub — was crowned Entrepreneur of the Year due to her inspiring attitude, and the generosity with which she shares her expertise with the founder community, plus her indisputable objective metrics.
It was a stellar night for Omri Benayoun & Bruno Crémel from Partech who received the prize for Investor of the Year, following a stunning fundraise and a run of impressive investments in the last year. The firm is known for nurturing a supportive environment for its portfolio companies. The company, which has offices in Paris, Berlin, Dakar and San Francisco, also scooped the prize for Growth and Buyout Fund of the Year.
Exit of the Year went to Summit Partners for its central role in helping Darktrace become one of the most notable British cyber success stories of recent times.
Formo, the biotech company on a mission to bring the next generation of sustainable, healthy, and equitable dairy products to consumers also went home with a prize at the end of the evening. Formo’s Raffael Wohlgensinger was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Judges observed that Wohlgensinger has created a pioneering product in Formo in a challenging foodtech sector landscape.
VC of the Year went to Notion in recognition of its reputation amongst founders for playing such an integral role in their journey– and in recognition of an impressive fundraise in the last 12 months.
The Gut Stuff, founded by two ambitious entrepreneurs on their mission to educate people of all ages and backgrounds about the importance of a healthy gut and gut microbiome, received the award for Tech4Good.
This year’s Seed Fund of the Year award went to entrepreneurial network Entrepreneur First for its unique and innovative business model and for a fleet of impressive exits.
Renowned entrepreneur and Co-Founder and General Partner of LocalGlobe Robin Klein was honoured with the Hall of Fame award for a distinguished career within Europe’s tech ecosystem. The award recognised a long and fruitful journey as a venture partner, and an unrivalled impact on the overall ecosystem.
Commenting on the evening, Manish Madhvani, Managing Partner of GP Bullhound, said:
“Twenty years ago we held our very first Investor Allstars in London to recognise the most promising firms in Europe’s emerging tech ecosystem. Fast forward two decades, and we’re seeing a period of immense growth in Europe’s tech sector.
“Since 2014, the number of Unicorns has increased tenfold and the ecosystem’s aggregate value has grown twelve times. There are now 283 companies valued at over $1bn in Europe and 125 of these have reached Unicorn status in the past year, fuelled by an acceleration in mega-rounds and IPOs.
“The picture of the tech industry today would have been inconceivable twenty years ago. We have built such a strong pool of talent and investment in the continent, which has fostered a unique culture of enterprise. Investor Allstars showcases the very best of the market and celebrates those that lead with ambition and tenacity.
“Past winners have returned ten times the original investment, so we have high expectations of this year’s cohort of winners. We expect those standing on stage to be tomorrow’s category leaders – and I look forward to seeing what they do next.”
GP Bullhound was also proud to highlight its support of charity Working Options in Education, an organisation that helps young people fulfil their potential by developing employability and life skills.
London’s premier tech awards were supported by key partners including Berenberg, Orrick, Wilson Sonsini, Art, Bird & Bird, Calibre One, Cooley, Goodwin, Infravia Capital, and Shoosmiths.
Previous winners at Investor Allstars include Maria Raga of Depop, who won CEO of the Year in 2021 – which also saw, for the first time in the ceremony’s history, the award for ‘Investor of the year’ shared by two winners: Carlos Espinal and Reshma Sohoni, Managing Partners at seed-stage VC fund Seedcamp.
Winners in 2020 included Heini Zachariassen, Founder & CEO of Vivino and Nina Wöss, Co-Founder & COO of Female Founders whilst in 2019, Beringea claimed the title VCT of the Year, DDM were the standout in the Tech for Good category, while the Entrepreneur of the Year prize went to Timo Soininen, CEO and co-founder of Small Giant Games.
Despite a year of global market volatility, the evening showed that the European tech sector is a force to be reckoned with. Last night lauded the fortitude of the entrepreneurs and investors that continue to shape the growth of the digital economy; from the dynamic innovators to the investors who back Europe’s entrepreneurs, movers and shakers.
GP Bullhound’s 2022 Titans of Tech Report indicates the market for these innovators and investors is changing: there is a shift away from the boundless optimism of recent years and as a result, ambitious companies are re-evaluating their long-term strategies and executions.
Investors pumped almost $74bn into 375 deals within the European tech ecosystem in 2021 and Q1 2022, but the number of transactions is slowing. However, mega-rounds are booming; $50m+ fundraising rounds almost doubled in France, while the total transaction value has grown four times over.
Though growth funding has slowed, indicators point to a return to the pre-pandemic average, and sources of funding are stable with growth investors providing the lion’s share of investment.
The market looks particularly buoyant for enterprise, software and fintech sectors. Across these three subsectors, there are 94 new billion-dollar companies, comprising around three-quarters of Europe’s new unicorns. Fintech, Marketplaces, and Enterprise Software saw c.85% of total capital invested in European tech in the last 16 months.
Cybersecurity and insurtech in particular are creating significant interest amongst investors and have created 14 Unicorns worth over $22bn combined; insurtech alone accounts for 18% of Fintech’s new billion-dollar entrants.
The UK, Israel and Sweden are currently the top three unicorn producers, accounting for some $530bn – half the value of all unicorns in Europe.
In uncertain times, there is an opportunity to prepare and recalibrate for the future landscape and to nurture the future category leaders in the tech sector. History shows that this is an opportunity to reposition for the future landscape and continue building category leaders.
The evening showed that there is credible opportunity to be seized in times of downturn – some of the world’s most iconic tech companies were cultivated during recessions. Whilst there is an air of doom and gloom, it has never been more important to celebrate the trailblazers that are pursuing success and forging a path in the digital economy.
GP Bullhound is a leading technology advisory and investment firm, providing transaction advice and capital to the world’s best entrepreneurs and founders. Founded in 1999 in London and Menlo Park, the firm today has 12 offices spanning Europe, the US and Asia.