Login to access your exclusive member-only content and account information.


Not a member? Join us

  • Operate to the highest level of professional standards
  • Access authoritative industry research and data
  • Navigate the complex EU regulatory environment
  • Network and engage with industry leaders
News & opinion

European VC shakes off COVID-19 in 2020 with strong start-up support

23 Sep 2021

  • VC investment volumes in 3.5 months after outbreak remained in line with prior years
  • Investment into healthcare start-ups increased by 77% during COVID disruption

Invest Europe, in partnership with the European Investment Fund (EIF), today published The VC Factor - Pandemic Edition, a new report illustrating European venture capital’s continued strong support for innovative and fast-growing start-ups in the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The study is the second edition of the ground-breaking collaboration between Invest Europe, the association representing Europe’s private equity, venture capital and infrastructure sectors, as well as their investors, and the EIF - Europe’s largest investor in venture capital funds. It draws on data from 2,611 firms investing into VC and 32,114 start-ups between 2007 and 2020. The findings show that the volume of VC investment during the three and a half months following the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 was in line with the two prior years, despite lockdowns and travel restrictions that meant fewer investments and reduced deal flow for VCs.

The report shows that the number of investments by VCs reduced by 13.6% between March 11, 2020 – the date on which the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic – and the end of the second quarter. The decline was offset by a 19.3% increase in the average amounts invested into companies, as VC firms continued to back the start-ups driving European innovation and laying the foundation for a better tomorrow.

The European healthcare sector stood out during the period with a 77% increase in investment volumes, reflecting VCs enhanced focus on biotech companies developing potential vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, as well as start-ups committed to improving healthcare for European citizens more widely.

The findings of the VC Factor echo Invest Europe’s flagship report ‘Investing in Europe: Private Equity activity 2020’, which showed that venture capital investment in Europe grew for the eighth consecutive year to €12 billion in 2020, underlining the industry’s resilience despite physical restrictions on people and businesses, as well as intense economic turbulence.

Alain Godard, chief executive of the EIF, said: “Total VC investment volumes did not decrease immediately after the outbreak of the pandemic, despite reduced deal activity exacerbated by lockdowns. Indeed, healthcare investment saw a 77% increase as VCs targeted companies making a difference in this critical sector. The research shows that European VCs were able to adapt quickly to the situation and finish the year strongly, channeling investment into start-ups working at the cutting edge of health and technology.”

Eric de Montgolfier, CEO of Invest Europe, commented: “European venture capital did not escape the effects of COVID-19 but responded with characteristic strength. Across the continent, VCs continued to invest in disruptive technologies as well as life-changing biotech and healthcare innovations. Europe is packed with entrepreneurial talent and venture capital is crucial to a strong recovery from the effects of COVID-19, as well as essential to a brighter long-term future for all Europe’s citizens.”

The latest VC Factor report also shines a new light on where Europe’s venture capital managers are based and where they invest, illustrating that VC firms tend to cluster together much more than their investee companies. The top 12 hubs in Europe represent 61% of the investment capital deployed but only 40% of investment received.

London, Europe’s largest venture hub, accounts for 23% of money invested and 12% of capital received. It is followed by Paris, which is the source of 15% of capital invested while receiving 7% of venture capital deployed. As a proportion of GDP, however, Berlin is the largest VC hub in Europe, followed by East Anglia in the UK where investment is focused on innovation emerging from leading university Cambridge.

To read the VC Factor in full, please click here.


Watch the video

Media enquiries For more information please contact

Eric Drosin Image

Eric Drosin


Communication Director


What can I do to manage cookies stored on my computer or phone?

You can accept or refuse cookies. Accepting cookies is usually the best way to make sure you get the best from a website.

Most PCs automatically accept them but you can change your browser settings to restrict, block or delete cookies if you want. Each browser is different, so check the 'Help' menu of your particular browser (or your mobile phone's handset manual) to learn how to change your cookie preferences. Many browsers have universal privacy settings for you to choose from.

Help on how to set and customise your cookie settings for your browser

How to manage cookies in Internet Explorer

Cookie settings in most versions of Internet Explorer can be found by clicking the tools option and then the privacy tab.

How to manage cookies in Firefox

Cookie settings in Firefox are managed in the Options window's Privacy panel. See Options window - Privacy Panel for information on these settings.

How to manage cookies in Chrome

Click on the spanner icon on the toolbar, select settings, click the under the bonnet tab, click on content settings in the privacy section.

How to manage cookies in Opera 

You can manage cookies in Opera if you Click on settings, then Preferences, then Advanced and finally Cookies

How to manage cookies in Safari

Choose Safari, then preferences and then click security. You should then be able to specify if and when Safari should accept cookies.

To manage cookies on your mobile phone please consult your manual or handbook.

Get more help about how cookies work with specific browsers.

What happens if I don't accept cookies?

If you decline cookies, some aspects of Invest Europe site may not work on your computer or mobile phone and you may not be able to access areas you want on the website. For this reason we recommend that you accept cookies.

What happens if I delete my cookies?

If you delete all your cookies you will have to update your preferences with us again and some aspects of our site may not work.

What happens if I change computers or mobile?

If you use a different device, computer profile or browser you will have to tell us your preferences again.

If you'd like to learn more about cookies in general and how to manage them, visit

We can't be responsible for the content of external websites.

Opt-out of cookies


Join today

This is for members only. To view in full login or join Invest Europe today.