Avokado – the online shopping service – raises a seed round

Hungarian start-up „Avokado”, what is the concept behind it?

Our days revolutionizing the FMCG e-commerce sector is not easy. The ones taking this challenge in Hungary are part of a start-up named „Avokado”. The goal is to bring a smooth and unique shopping experience to users who are enabled to shop from multiple stores while getting all delivered at once to their doorstep. On the other hand, the goal of the retailers is to enable expansion to the digital world while widening their customer base.

Avokado’s current investment

Current seed funding gave proof of Avokado’s business concept & and business model. The investor is ED Group (investment holding of Balázs Várkonyi and Gyula Kelemen). Várkonyi and Kelemen are very well-known successful entrepreneurs in the field of e-commerce which is bringing waste experience and „smart money” to the Avokado team.

Excellent founding team

Some of Avokado’s team members are Tibor Székács, Erik Barcsay and Szabina Matócza each individual with decades of experience in e-commerce. Tibor is the CEO of Avokado, coming with experience in execution & and leading the whole process of launching „Aldi” in Hungary, after which was the Group Managing Director of Hofer, responsible for more than 800 stores. Erik founded BIG FISH, an e-commerce-focused software company, that offers its services tailored to market leader players’. Kristóf is coming with the background of introducing and leading Tesco Online in Hungary. Szabina built Háda’s Webshop (Hungary’s largest second-hand fashion online store) handling 40 000 products monthly and overseeing expansion to 6 countries, other than that at Cherrisk.com she managed the international rollout, and as VP of e-commerce for 4 years overseeing the rollout to 3 countries and building the team from 6 to 70 people.

Partnering with ED Group is bringing an additional layer of expertise. Várkonyi back in 2001 year founded with his partner Extreme Digital web shop, which expanded to 9 countries. In 2019 it merged with eMAG, another regional e-commerce giant and Várkonyi became its CEO with more than 800 employees. In 2023 from eMAG group separated Vatera.hu (online auction portal) and Ingatlan.com (Hungarian local major real estate website) and Balázs announced that Vatera and Jófogas (classifieds website) would merge and become the biggest domestic used goods market. During more than 2 decades of his e-commerce industry-specific experience, he gained numerous awards and recognitions.

Steady growth in online grocery

Some of the pain points in the online shopping current market are sometimes 10-25% higher prices than in stores, logistic struggles of bigger chains that can’t cope with short delivery times, missing best-seller products online, and no same-day delivery. Current retail market trends no doubt are moving the tendencies to the growing market of online shopping experience where Avokado sees an existing gap and market niche still to fulfill.
Proof of concept is also an example of Instacart in the USA that Avokado sees as a familiar idea that they would like to tailor to the domestic market needs, said Szabina Matócza, Avokado’s Managing Director.

Our role in securing Avokado’s seed investment

Absolvo is convinced that this team can build the next possible unicorn, and that’s why we joined them on this journey. Starting now with the first step (a seed round) and accompanying them for future A/B series rounds in the not-too-distant future. Our team proudly supported them in rethinking the growth strategy, positioning the story, financial planning and then establishing talks with local and international investors, negotiating the terms, and assisting in deal signing. More and other levels of achievements are yet to come!

 

Revving up the startup race: venture capital funds slam the brakes on deals, funding only the most promising!

In the fast-paced world of startups, the engines seem to be losing steam as Venture Capital Funds tighten their grip on the accelerator. Based on the latest data (end of October 2023) from Pitchbook, the funding landscape is experiencing a notable shift – which was initiated in the second half of 2022 – with a reduction in the number of completed deals.

VC funds slam the brake on deals

VC firms are becoming increasingly discerning, carefully selecting only the most promising and deserving startups to support. This change reflects a growing emphasis on quality over quantity, as funds concentrate their resources on backing the truly exceptional companies that have the potential to make a lasting impact in the market.

Nr. of CEE tech deals until 31 October

The current fiscal year has witnessed a notable downturn in the completion of venture capital deals, marking a considerable departure from the upward trajectory observed since 2016. This extraordinary reduction in the volume of completed transactions, when evaluated in the context of the past decade, highlights a momentous shift in the market dynamics. Nevertheless, it is crucial to contextualize this development, as comparable trends have emerged across both Western European and American markets.

Nr. of WE tech deals until 31 October

Nr. of US tech deals until 31 October

While the magnitude of the decline may appear alarming, a broader perspective reveals a more nuanced picture of the prevailing landscape. However, one thing remains certain: the startup race is revving up in 2023 and only the most promising contenders will secure the fuel they need to accelerate towards success.

Growth trends – number of tech deals over the past years

Over the past years, the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region has exhibited a consistent and robust growth trend. As evidenced by the accompanying table, this growth trajectory has been remarkable and sustained, extending until the first half of 2022, with positive year-on-year growth figures recorded from the second half of 2017 until H2 of 2022. It is worth highlighting that the CEE region’s growth rate has demonstrated resilience amidst the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, setting it apart from the tech venture capital markets in Western Europe and the USA, which experienced a slight decline during this period. Moreover, it is noteworthy that even prior to the pandemic, the tech venture capital markets in Western Europe and the USA exhibited a slower rate of increase when compared to the thriving CEE venture capital market.

Nr. of CEE tech deals

Nr. of WE tech deals

Nr. of US tech deals

The COVID-19 pandemic, however, proved to be a notable turning point in the trajectory of recent trends, particularly within the CEE venture capital market. Following a period of significant growth, the pace of expansion began to be moderate, contrasting with the Western European and US markets which experienced a remarkable resurgence, with the US market achieving an impressive 31% growth rate within a year. Subsequently, all three markets experienced a considerable slowdown, culminating in a decline six months later. Notably, in 2023, the CEE market experienced the most pronounced downturn following its previous period of robust growth, with only a fraction of the deals being completed compared to the previous year.

The impact of downturn across all stages of VC cycle

The downturn has inevitably impacted all stages of the venture capital cycle. However, it is important to note that the severity of the impact varied across different stages. As depicted in the graph below, it becomes evident that venture capital firms are not really experiencing a shortage of funds. Rather, they have adopted a more discerning approach, exercised caution and carefully evaluating investment opportunities in startups. Consequently, the later stage, which typically requires a significant infusion of capital, experienced a relatively lesser decline compared to earlier stages.

Nr. of completed tech deals in CEE

Venture capital firms are adopting a more selective approach, prioritizing investments that exhibit strong growth potential, sustainable business models, and a clear path to profitability.

Implications on capital investments and average deal sizes

Following an analysis of the volume of successfully closed transactions, it is now imperative to address the implications of the venture capital market downturn on capital investment. The presented graphs indicate a gradual return to pre-COVID levels of capital investment in both Western Europe and the CEE region. Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge that the extraordinary growth observed in 2021 and 2022 is unlikely to be replicated. As such, the market is now undergoing a process of normalization, marking a transition from the extraordinary highs observed in the previous years.

CEE: Capital investment adjusted by inflation

WE: Capital investment adjusted by inflation

When considering investments across different stages, there are slight differences between Western Europe and the CEE region. In Western Europe, a unanimous peak was observed in 2021, followed by a gradual and subsequently rapid decline, except for the seed and later stages. Conversely, the CEE region exhibits a less predictable and stable pattern.

The provided tables reinforce the notion that VC firms are not experiencing a shortage of capital, albeit accompanied by a decline in the number of investments. This assertion is supported by the sustained value levels observed in early-stage investments in the CEE region, while angel and accelerator investments didn’t experience notable decreases either. It is worth noting that although later stage investments also declined, such figures can be disproportionately influenced by one or two outliers characterized by exceptionally high investment amounts. In contrast, preceding stages exhibit a more substantial sample size of deals, with fewer extreme values.

Average deal size adjusted by inflation

So, what key insights and strategic approaches should startups be aware of considering the current circumstances?

  1. Firstly, they should be prepared for an extended timeline in securing funding. Building and nurturing relationships, as well as leveraging networks, have become increasingly valuable assets in the fundraising process. Startups must prioritize cultivating strong connections with potential investors, industry experts, and strategic partners to enhance their credibility and access to funding opportunities.
  2. Furthermore, it is crucial for them to be proactive in managing their financial situation. If a startup finds itself in dire need of funding, they should be prepared for the possibility of a downround, wherein the valuation of the company may be lower than previous investment rounds. To mitigate this risk, startups should focus on preserving cash, extending their financial runway, and pursuing organic growth opportunities.
  3. In this competitive landscape, startups should also reassess their market strategy. It is essential to not only survive but also outperform competitors. By effectively positioning themselves in the market, startups can attract and retain customers, thereby gaining a competitive advantage and potentially expanding their market share.

In the race for startup success, the checkered flag is within reach. As the venture capital landscape shifts gears and funding becomes more selective, only the boldest and most innovative startups will steer their way to victory. So buckle up, rev your engines, and accelerate towards greatness!

 

Unveiling the hidden dangers of questionable market reports: a must-read for business owners and investors

‘Hello Sir, are you interested in the global time travel machine market and how it’s poised to be booming in the coming years? If so, it’s your lucky day, because I’m presenting you with a once-in-a-lifetime offer – a market report available to you for an unbelievably discounted price of only 3300 dollars.’

Global time travel machine forecast for sale

The anecdote above serves as an extreme example of a shady market research company. However, they are more concerning than amusing, as they can easily mislead anyone regarding the trends and expectations in any market segment.

In this post, we’ll guide you through the challenging landscape of questionable market reports. By the time you finish reading, you’ll be equipped with the tools to identify doubtful data and safeguard your decisions and investments.

Our experience in this field

At Absolvo Consulting, daily comprehensive market analysis is an integral part of our work. With a primary focus on the technology sector, we thoroughly examine market size and trend progression within a wide array of studies sourced from multiple channels. Our method involves delving beneath the surface to critically evaluate the underlying data. This rigorous analytical approach equips us to accurately assess demand for a company, its promising opportunities, predict potential deals, investor appetite or pinpoint regions with the most promising activity. Our standard procedure includes checking multiple market studies concurrently for each project. Consequently, we’ve identified anomalies in various market reports, shedding light on significant disparities in expectations and projections.

The case study revealing essential insights

During one of our projects, we conducted an examination of a niche market in the IT industry. The results of this analysis serve to vividly highlight the stark contrast between trustworthy and dubious market reports. We compared the forecasts provided by a single reputable research company (in green) with those offered by eight less reliable research firms (in red), and the findings are quite enlightening. In each row, the first value signifies the current estimated market size, while the second value denotes the projected market size.

Case study: market estimate discrepancies

In this specific niche market, the estimated market size was roughly four times greater when considering the average questionable research company in comparison to the evaluation of the industry expert. However, instances of extreme ‘over-estimations’ were also observed, with projections reaching levels 30 to 40 times higher than the actual market size. These exaggerated base market size estimates significantly influenced the forecasts. Consequently, even though the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) is the highest in the case of the trustworthy firm, its projections remain the most conservative, resulting in the smallest anticipated market size.

Background checks are necessary

While in some cases, the forecast numbers themselves may raise a few eyebrows, most of the time, they aren’t that unusual. This is especially true when your rational sense is somewhat clouded by the hope of your niche segment being the one with the most significant growth potential. If you’re not relying on data from a renowned industry authority, it becomes crucial to conduct a background check on the source.

In our experience, well-founded research takes substantial staff and resources to produce, as extensive data acquisition and primary research is required for meaningful insights. Respectively, several renowned research companies are specialists in their selected fields, with a relatively narrow focus of industries.

This raises doubts about the credibility of relatively unknown companies that claim to offer an extensive collection of reports or claim to cover a wide range of industries. It’s also worth noting that dubious market research companies often target niche segments where reliable data is scarce or entirely unavailable.

Another key characteristic we’ve observed is that questionable market research firms tend to maintain a front-end presence in the EU or US, with their backend operations often situated in other geographic locations (e.g. several back-end operations of questionable research entities may be found in India, however, it’s important to emphasize that not every Indian market research firm provides dubious data). What’s particularly noticeable, though, is the consistent presence of market reports of dubious companies on the first pages of Google search results. This observation implies that they invest significantly in SEO services, ensuring their high visibility in search listings.

Negative consequences

Frequently, we come across mentions of dubious market reports within companies’ materials, such as pitch decks. This situation can be detrimental for both startups seeking investment and companies aiming to attract potential buyers. Inaccurate data has the potential to impact a company’s valuation and the expectations of its stakeholders, sometimes even leading to a deal falling through. Moreover, it can erode a company’s credibility in the eyes of investors who are aware of those market segments (with several active investments) or have conducted thorough research and identified exaggerated or inaccurate figures. Such discrepancies can somewhat tarnish a company’s professional image.

Conversely, investors can likewise experience adverse consequences resulting from an inaccurate approach. This could lead to overpaying for a company or having unrealistic expectations based on improper market projections provided by the seller. In light of these scenarios, it’s evident that using accurate, reliable data in company materials is mutually beneficial for both parties involved in a deal.

The vital takeaways

  1. Don’t put all your faith in the first Google search results.
  2. Always use multiple sources.
  3. Don’t immediately swallow the sugar-coated figures; seek data from credible experts.
  4. Always check the research company’s fields of expertise and background.
  5. Trust accurate forecasts for your industry as a whole rather than relying on questionable specific niche data.
  6. Only invest in reports when you’re absolutely certain of their authenticity.

Tech savvy & wealthy: Ranking Europe’s top 10 Private Equity firms by dry powder for tech deals

Private equity firms play a crucial role in funding and supporting the growth of companies across industries, including Information Technology and tech-enabled services. In this blog post, we will explore the top European private equity firms with the largest dry powder and strong focus on investing in tech companies across Europe.

We will provide an overview of each firm’s investment strategy, their dry powder, and their successful investments and exits, primarily in the tech sector, based on Pitchbook data available until April 2023. The following firms have the capability to offer capital and strategic support that are essential for companies wanting to achieve significant growth.

Top 10 European PE firms by dry powder available

10. AlpInvest Partners

Dry Powder: 8.84 billion EUR

HQ: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Web: https://www.alpinvest.com/

AlpInvest Partners is a highly experienced global private equity firm with a substantial dry powder of 8.84 billion euros, managing an impressive 59 open funds and overseeing assets under management exceeding 60 billion euros. Renowned for its track record of over 1,000 successful investments and a dynamic portfolio of 49 companies, AlpInvest has established a sterling reputation for its acumen in recognizing and allocating capital to cutting-edge enterprises across diverse sectors.

AlpInvest has made astute investments in an array of companies, exemplified by its acquisition of Profi Rom Food, a leading European retail chain based in Romania, in February 2017 for 575 million euros through a co-investment, buyout deal. Additionally, AlpInvest has demonstrated its prowess in the telecommunications sector through its strategic investment of 202 million euros in Euskaltel, a Spanish telecommunications company, in October 2012 as part of a co-investment growth deal. Notably, AlpInvest has played a pivotal role in fostering the remarkable growth of Euskaltel during its ownership tenure, culminating in a successful exit in August 2021 for a substantial 2 billion euros, delivering impressive returns to its investors. Apart from Euskaltel and Profi Rom Food, AlpInvest’s investment history boasts a roster of well-known companies, including Cushman & Wakefield and Avaya.

With a legacy of more than 250 successful exits, AlpInvest has firmly established itself as a trusted partner for generating significant returns through strategic investments and value creation. The firm remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering the growth and development of its portfolio companies and has a proven track record of successful collaborations with visionary leaders in the business world.

9. Bridgepoint Advisers

Dry Powder: 9.99 billion EUR

HQ: London, UK
Web: https://www.bridgepoint.eu/

Bridgepoint Advisers, a leading private equity entity, has a robust collection of 14 investment funds and oversees an astonishing 40 billion euros in managed assets. Acclaimed for its exceptional talent in discerning and investing in revolutionary companies across a wide range of industries, including the field of information technology, the firm boasts a remarkable history of achievements with more than 600 prosperous investments and a dynamic portfolio of 70 active companies. Armed with a substantial reserve of 9.99 billion euros as dry powder, Bridgepoint Advisers is aptly equipped to seize profitable prospects in the dynamic market landscape. The company primarily invests across four verticals, which are advanced industrials, business and financial services, consumer, and healthcare, with technology as a horizontal connected to everything everywhere.

Among its successful investments, Bridgepoint Advisers acquired Dr Gerard, a Polish food company in October 2013 through an LBO. Additionally, in January 2015, the firm made a successful investment in eFront, a renowned software provider of alternative investment management solutions, with a leveraged buyout worth 430 million euros. During its ownership period, Bridgepoint Advisers demonstrated its expertise in the sector by supporting eFront in achieving substantial growth. In May 2019, the firm successfully exited its investment in eFront for 1.16 billion euros, resulting in significant gains for its investors.

8. Nordic Capital

Dry Powder: 14.08 billion EUR

HQ: Stockholm, Sweden
Web: https://www.nordiccapital.com/

Nordic Capital is a distinguished global private equity firm that boasts a dry powder of 14.08 billion euros, managing 5 open funds and holding assets under management worth 25 billion euros. With over 400 total investments and an active portfolio of nearly 50 companies, Nordic Capital has a history of uncovering and placing investments in pioneering, growth-oriented companies across various industries, including information technology. Furthermore, Nordic Capital is dedicated to investing in companies that proactively address global challenges, contribute to building a prosperous society for all, and promote transformative sustainable change.

One of Nordic Capital’s remarkable investments in the IT sector was back in 2012 when it successfully completed a leveraged buyout (LBO) of Itivity Group, a Dutch software and IT services company, valued at 228 million euros. Over the course of nine years, Nordic Capital played a pivotal role in Itivity Group’s growth journey by facilitating the expansion of its product portfolio, customer base, and market position. The result was an outstanding achievement as Itivity Group was eventually sold for a staggering 2.14 billion euros in May 2021, realizing major profits to Nordic Capital’s investors. Besides Itivity Group, the Swedish private equity firm invested in other influential companies, such as Lindorff Group or Bank Norwegian.

Nordic Capital is renowned for its investment approach, which centers on long-term growth and value creation. The firm has established itself as a trusted partner for visionary company leaders who aspire to expand their businesses. Boasting a track record of over 110 successful exits, Nordic Capital has earned a sterling reputation for generating impressive returns for its discerning investors.

7. Cinven

Dry Powder: 15.35 billion EUR

HQ: London, UK
Web: https://www.cinven.com/

Cinven, a prominent global private equity firm with an impressive dry powder of 15.35 billion euros, manages seven open funds and oversees assets under management worth more than 30 billion euros. With a robust performance record of identifying and investing in progressive, expansion-minded companies across various sectors, including information technology, Cinven has established itself as a leader in the industry. One of the firm’s current funds has been named a Real Deals ‘Future 40 ESG Innovator’ which underscores Cinven’s special focus on making positive economic, social, and governance impacts through their investments.

Cinven’s extraordinary expertise in the tech sector is proved by several notable investments. One of these was the leveraged buyout of CPA Global, a leading intellectual property management company based in the United Kingdom, valued at 1.14 billion euros in 2012. Under Cinven’s guidance, CPA Global experienced major growth over the course of five years, showcasing Cinven’s ability to create value. In 2017, Cinven successfully exited CPA Global for 2.69 billion. It is a great example of the company’s rich history, which includes around 170 successful exits. Due to this fact, the company has a strong reputation for garnering considerable profits for its investors.

6. Intermediate Capital Group

Dry Powder: 22.08 billion EUR

HQ: London, UK
Web: https://www.icgam.com/

Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) is a highly regarded private equity firm that specializes in investment management and corporate finance. With a significant dry powder of 22.08 billion euros at its disposal, the firm expertly manages 34 open funds and boasts an active portfolio of 70 companies and a staggering 70 billion euros in assets under management. The London-based firm is committed to fostering a future workforce that prioritizes diversity as a core value. In ICG’s 2020 graduate programme, an impressive 63% of participants were female, while 37% identified as belonging to an ethnic minority group. Additionally, the firm actively supports young individuals from underserved communities through various initiatives and programs.

ICG has an exemplary history of prosperous investments spanning various industries, including the lucrative IT sector. In September 2017, the firm co-invested a substantial 1.53 billion euros in Norwegian Visma Group, a leading provider of cutting-edge business software and cloud services, in a secondary transaction. This investment underscores ICG’s astute acumen in identifying companies with innovative products and services.

Furthermore, ICG has a rich history of successful exits, with over 300 notable exits to its name, including the profitable exit of Poland-based media and communication service provider Aster City Cable in September 2011. This remarkable expertise emphasizes the firm’s commitment to delivering outstanding returns for its esteemed investors. ICG’s noteworthy investment in Visma Group, combined with its extensive experience and a history of lucrative exits, positions it as a compelling option for companies seeking exceptional growth and expansion opportunities.

5. CVC Capital Partners

Dry Powder: 23.55 billion EUR

HQ: Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Web: https://www.cvc.com/

Renowned for its exceptional reputation and formidable prowess, CVC Capital Partners stands as a distinguished private equity firm with a noteworthy dry powder of 23.55 billion euros dispersed among its seven active funds. The company prides themselves on integrating ESG within their operations and investment processes. With the aim of producing sustainable value for their portfolio companies and investors, the firm had near 1,000 total investments before, and currently manages over 150 thriving organizations that collectively amass a mammoth 137 billion euros in assets under management.

The firm’s unparalleled expertise in the ever-evolving realm of information technology renders it an irresistible choice for visionary leaders in search of investment opportunities. A prime example of CVC Capital Partners’ keen acumen in the IT sector is its strategic investment in Avast Software, a pioneering provider of PC security software based in the Czech Republic, a move made in March 2014. The Luxembourg-based company further proved its commitment to nurturing innovation and fostering growth in the digital industry, by co-investing with Summit Partners in AVG Technologies, a Czech cybersecurity firm, through a public-to-private leveraged buyout (LBO) transaction valued at 1.25 billion euros in September 2016. Both deals showcased the firm’s ability to identify and capitalize on the potential of promising tech companies poised for exponential growth.

Notably, the firm’s track record extends beyond investments, as exemplified by its successful exit from its investment in Formula One in July 2017, a company it had acquired in 2006. This exit marked a triumphant return for CVC Capital Partners and served as a testament to its ability to yield considerable profits for its esteemed investors.

4. Permira

Dry Powder: 25.06 billion EUR

HQ: London, UK
Web: https://www.permira.com/

With over 500 total investments and 75 billion euros in assets under management, Permira is a renowned private equity firm recognized worldwide for its specialized knowledge and proficiency in investing in companies. Permira always looks for the opportunity to partner with disruptive technology, tech-enabled and category-creating organizations led by visionary management teams. Boasting a dry powder of 25.06 billion euros and managing 17 open funds further strengthens Permira’s reputation in the IT industry and makes the company a preferred choice for tech firms on the verge of transactions.

In a public-to-private leveraged buyout (LBO) deal worth 5.47 billion euros, Permira co-invested with Canada Pension Plan in Mimecast, a London-based leading company specializing in email security and cyber resilience. This investment demonstrates Permira’s ability to identify innovative tech firms. Besides its notable impressive investment performance, Permira has a strong history of exits, as the company has done more than 160 such transactions successfully. This expertise spotlights the firm’s commitment to generating significant returns for its investors and many well-known past and present portfolio companies, such as McAfee, Zendesk, or Hugo Boss further solidify Permira’s reputation as a premier option for tech companies in search of an investor.

3. Hg

Dry Powder: 25.28 billion EUR

HQ: London, UK
Web: https://hgcapital.com/

Hg is widely recognized as a distinguished private equity firm with a formidable track record of investing in companies poised for growth. Boasting a substantial war chest of 25.28 billion euros in unallocated capital, the firm adeptly manages a diverse portfolio of 33 open funds. Hg’s dynamic portfolio presently comprises 53 companies, collectively valued at approximately 50 billion euros in assets under management. The London-based private equity firm has a core expertise in funding and supporting businesses operating in the software and technology-enabled sectors, including software-as-a-service (SaaS), cloud computing, cybersecurity, fintech, and healthcare technology.

This deep domain knowledge and experience in the sector is showcased in Hg’s history of transactions. In March 2019, the firm invested in Transporeon, a leading cloud-based logistics platform located in Germany, through a leveraged buyout worth 706 million euros. Hg recently exited its investment in Transporeon for 1.88 billion euros, meaning that the company has now made more than 120 successful exits. Additionally, Hg has made illustrious investments in companies such as The Access Group and Visma Group, both in the IT sector. These achievements exemplify the firm’s ability to identify innovative and growth-oriented companies and provide them with support to realize their potential.

2. EQT

Dry Powder: 31.42 billion EUR

HQ: Stockholm, Sweden
Web: https://eqtgroup.com/

EQT, a premier private equity firm with a global reach, is an excellent choice for tech companies seeking capital to propel their growth. Through 31 open funds the firm has a significant dry powder of 31.42 billion euros, which it uses to fund growth-oriented organizations across various industries. The Stockholm-based company is dedicated to sustainable investment and focuses on making positive environmental, social, and governance (ESG) impacts through their capital deployment. As of now EQT has close to 150 active portfolio companies, amounting to a substantial 114 billion euros in assets under management.

EQT’s investment in foodtech company SNFL Group in March 2022, a co-investment with AM FRESH Group and Paine Schwartz Partners, saw the firm lead a 1.6 billion euros growth round in the Spanish company. Two months later, EQT also made a successful exit from Wolt, a Finnish food delivery startup, after it had acquired the company in 2019. This exit emphasizes EQT’s capacity to enhance the value of its portfolio firms, in addition to its ability to deliver profitable outcomes to its stakeholders. A deep understanding of the IT industry and a proven track record of successful investments and exits means Swedish EQT is a top choice for either a buyout or a growth round.

1. Ardian

Dry Powder: 39.51 billion EUR

HQ: Paris, France
Web: https://www.ardian.com/

Ardian, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, presents a compelling choice for companies pursuing growth. With an impressive dry powder of 39.51 billion euros, the company’s investment strategy is to provide flexible capital to organizations in various industries, including IT. The firm had approximately 1,300 total investments in the past and manages 31 open funds currently. Ardian has a diverse active portfolio of around 200 companies, amounting to a staggering 130 billion euros in assets under management.

Ardian’s investments in Taxually, the Hungarian start-up providing tax reporting solutions and Poznan-based Allegro showcase the firm’s interest in the technology sector – Ardian co-invested in the Polish and European e-commerce market leader’s 3.1 billion euros buyout in January 2017, which is one of the largest transactions in the industry in the CEE region. Ardian has also made notable investments in other tech companies such as TDF Group in France or WorldPay in London.

A successful exit from Vivacom in November 2012 highlights Ardian’s ability to create value and generate substantial returns for their investors. Vivacom, a leading Bulgarian telecom operator, was sold for 1.2 billion euros, which was a significant achievement for the French private equity firm. With their knowledge and capabilities, Ardian is equipped to provide business guidance and agile capital to fund the expansion of established companies, offering the necessary support for growth.

And +1, as the most active technology investor in the CEE region

MCI Capital

Dry Powder: 51.67 million EUR

HQ: Warsaw, Poland
Web: https://mci.pl/en

As the most active technology investor in the CEE region, MCI Capital rightfully earns a place on this illustrious list. The prominent Polish private equity firm boasts a distinguished track record of over two decades in unlocking substantial value from IT investments, with a keen focus on the flourishing fintech, e-commerce, and digital media sectors (btw, we also supported our Client in an M&A deal with it). With a robust financial position, including significant dry powder of 51.67 million euros, and managing assets under management (AUM) totalling 576 million euros, MCI Capital is a formidable player in the industry.

Setting them apart is their proactive and hands-on approach with portfolio companies, characterized by strategic and operational support, leveraging their extensive network of industry contacts and resources to drive value creation initiatives. Their commitment to responsible investing is evident in their meticulous integration of sustainability and ethical considerations into their investment decision-making process, aligning with the ever-growing demand for responsible and ethical investment practices in the technology sector.

Noteworthy exits from MCI Capital’s portfolio include prominent companies such as Zettle by PayPal, Lifebrain, and Polish Allegro, underscoring their ability to deliver successful outcomes for their investments. A prime example of their expertise is their 2017 acquisition of Hungary-based Netrisk through a leveraged buyout (LBO) worth 56.5 million euros, followed by a successful partial exit just three years later, yielding a remarkable 55 million euros and retaining an approximate 24% share in the company. The Warsaw-based private equity firm managed another impressive transaction successfully in December 2018, by acquiring Polish tech company IAI SA through a public-to-private LBO. MCI Capital’s extensive experience, hands-on approach, commitment to responsible investing, and robust financial position exemplify their status as a reliable partner for technology entrepreneurs in Central and Eastern Europe (btw, we also made deal with them).

Private equity – active past years, bright future

The private equity market has a promising future, as demonstrated by its remarkable activity in 2021 and 2022. Record-breaking transaction values and volumes, driven by ample dry powder available to firms, highlight the industry’s strength and potential.

PE European deal activity - Pitchbook

 

PE players have been actively utilizing their dry powder to expand their portfolio companies and drive M&A market activity, underscoring their ability to capitalize on investment opportunities. The diversification across sectors, such as healthcare, technology, energy, and real estate, further strengthens the market’s resilience and potential for sustained growth. Overall, the private equity industry is poised for a bright future, with PE firms driving M&A market activity and contributing to the industry’s ongoing success.