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Research

Investment data analysis

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2021 Key Findings

Reports on levels of private equity and venture capital investment into European companies, including splits by stage focus, syndication and sectors. Investments are shown by the location of the investment firm (Industry Statistics) and the location of the portfolio company (Market Statistics).

Total equity amount invested

The total equity amount invested in European companies in 2021 – €138bn – far exceeds levels in any year recorded and represents an increase of 51% from 2020’s total of €91bn. 8,895 companies received investment, 13% above the average for the previous five years, 84% of which were SMEs. 60% of equity invested was domestic (within the country), 33% was intra-European, and 6% from non-European sources. Investments (by number of companies) were concentrated in four sectors: ICT (37%), consumer goods & services (17%), biotech & healthcare (15%), and business products & services (13%). ICT received almost €43bn of investments and combined with consumer goods & services accounted for more than 50% of investments by amount.

The large increase in levels of investment seen this year mean that private equity investments – specifically by location of the PE firm – represented 0.76% of European GDP in 2021. This is the highest level ever recorded.

Venture Capital investment

Venture capital investment reached a record €20bn in 2021. This is more than a 70% year-on-year increase from 2020 and represents uninterrupted growth in the stage since 2012. 5,334 companies received a venture investment in 2021 - 98% of these being SMEs - representing around 60% of the total number of companies backed during the year. Later stage venture investments saw a large increase in 2021, reaching €12bn – an increase of 170% from 2020. By sector, ICT remains key (almost half of Venture capital investment), followed by biotech & healthcare (19%), and consumer goods & services (12%).

Buyout investment

Buyout investments increased by 28% year-on-year to €79bn, with the category representing almost 60% of total investment for 2021. This year the Mid-market and Mega buyout segments saw roughly equal - and the highest amounts of - investments within buyout throughout the year (37% & 36% of total buyout amounts respectively). Within the Mid-Market, investments in the €15m - €50m range accounted for almost 50% of total amount into the space (in terms of number of companies, the percentage was 74%). By sector, consumer goods & services received the most investment (€20bn), followed by ICT (€16bn), and business products & services (€14bn).

Growth capital investments

Growth investments saw a 124% year-on-year increase to €35bn in 2021, a record level of investment for the category and 142% above the average for the previous five years. The number of companies receiving growth investment increased 8% year-on-year to 2,206. ICT received the highest level of investment (40%), followed by biotech & healthcare (16%), and consumer goods & services (15%).

2021 investments at a glance

2021 - Market statistics All private equity Venture Capital(1) Buyout(1) Growth(1)
Amount €138bn €20bn €79bn €35bn
No. of companies 8,895 5,334 1,341 2,206
No. of firms 1,629 1,095 482 674
No. of funds 3,202 1,892 840 1,340

Source: Invest Europe/EDC

Note: (1) relates to the investment stage of the portfolio company

In this section
Meet the team

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Julien Krantz Image

Julien Krantz

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Sofian Giuroiu Image

Sofian Giuroiu

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Daniel Irwin-Brown Image

Daniel Irwin-Brown

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Lucrezia Lo Sordo Image

Lucrezia Lo Sordo

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