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Europe Raises 20 Unicorns This Year Including Crypto Companies

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Unicorn- Investors Kings

This year alone, 23 companies in Europe and Israel have become unicorns (startup companies valued at over $1 billion), beating last year’s total of eight, according to a report by financial data and software firm Pitchbook.

European startups have managed to attract a staggering €32.5 billion (around $39.3 billion) since the beginning of 2021. This year’s capital inflow could easily surpass the €37.6 billion raised in the whole of 2020.

Of the total, 20 companies are based in Europe, including several crypto startups. The U.K. accounts for most of these unicorns, with London-headquartered Blockchain.com currently valued at $5.2 billion after securing $420 million in two funding rounds earlier this year.

Germany is next with digital wealth manager Scalable Capital, valued last week at $1.4 billion after raising over $180 million in a round led by Chinese tech giant Tencent. French crypto security startup Ledger became the latest to join the bunch with $380 million in new funding last week.

The Old Continent is now home to almost 12% of the world’s unicorns with over 50 active companies, the published data revealed. The capital attracted by these entities has continuously grown over the past five years and the 2021 total is expected to reach a record high.

The term unicorn, used to describe startups valued at over $1 billion, was coined by venture capitalist and angel investor Aileen Lee in 2013. It alludes to the rarity of such successful ventures.

European decacorns, or companies worth over $10 billion, have also performed quite well this year. Swedish fintech startup Klarna, for example, was valued at $31 billion in March, becoming the continent’s most valuable VC-backed firm. Klarna was leading the board already in September 2020, at $15 billion, but was replaced by Checkout.com in January of this year, when the online payments company gained a $15 billion valuation, Pitchbook detailed.

According to the authors of the report, the growing participation of U.S. investors has been a major factor in the investment increase in Europe. Almost half of the unicorns’ top 10 backers, such as Accel and Insight Partners, are based across the pond. Pitchbook also emphasized:

U.S. firms have been actively targeting Europe’s tech startups, which tend to have lower valuations than their U.S. counterparts, offering more opportunities for higher growth rates.

The financial data firm believes that the effects of robust investment into unicorns based in Europe could create even larger valuations in the future. “We expect transatlantic capital flows to continue to increase and strengthen valuations in Europe, as cash-rich U.S. investors seek new companies showing the strong potential that could be introduced to the U.S. market,” said Nalin Patel, a private capital analyst at Pitchbook.

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Former First Bank Chairman, Ibukun Awosika Joins Binance Advisory Board

A former chairman of First Bank of Nigeria, Ibukun Awosika has been appointed to the Binance Advisory Board

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Ibukun Awosika

A former chairman of First Bank of Nigeria, Ibukun Awosika has been appointed to the Binance Advisory Board. 

Investors King learnt that one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange companies, Binance, has appointed Ibukun Awosika on its advisory board. Binance is believed to be the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. 

The former chairman of First Bank of Nigeria was selected among other eminent people which include Max Bacus Former U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China; Hyung-Rin Bang, advisor of the Korea Presidential Committee; Bruno Bézard, managing partner at Cathay Capital, former economic advisor to the French Prime Minister and ex-head of the French Treasury; Henrique de Campos Meirelles. 

The list also includes a former president of the Central Bank of Brazil; Leslie Maasdorp, the chief financial officer of the New Development Bank; Adalberto Palma, former senior advisor to the President of Mexico; Christin Schäfer, founder of ACS Plus; Ed Vaizey, a member of the UK House of Lords; David Wright, chair of Eurofi. 

The appointment of the advisory board will help the Binance exchange to break new boundaries in the face of crypto regulation challenges. 

It should be recalled that in June 2021, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ordered Binance to halt all UK-regulated activity over worries about weak consumer protection. Similarly, in May 2021, Bloomberg News reported that Binance is being investigated by the United States Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service for money laundering and tax evasion. 

The Central Bank of Nigeria has also banned cryptocurrency-related transactions in Nigeria. In a circular released in February 2021, the Central bank reaffirm a 2017 directive to financial institutions to block any account that transacts in cryptocurrency. 

However, despite the overwhelming opposition to cryptocurrency, millions of retail investors keep embracing it, especially in West Africa. 

In July 2022, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) rated the West African country third among countries with the highest number of cryptocurrency holders in Africa. The report also stated that more than 13 million Nigerians are in possession of digital assets

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Hundreds of MSMEs And Underserved Communities to Benefit From Microsoft And ICE Power Project

Microsoft and ICE Commercial Power have entered a partnership agreement to power hundreds of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and underserved communities. 

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MSME

Microsoft and ICE Commercial Power have entered a partnership agreement to power hundreds of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and underserved communities. 

ICE is a Nigeria-based affordable and renewable energy provider that deploys microgrids to help small and medium businesses which have limited or no access to power supply. 

In a pilot programme, ICE had earlier deployed 20 solar microgrids to connect about 170 underserved small businesses across three communities in Nigeria. The pilot program was undertaken in Edo, Delta and Ondo States.

In a statement released by the company, ICE Commercial Power noted that it understood the electricity challenges of small businesses and underserved communities in Nigeria, especially at a time when the cost of energy is exorbitantly high. 

Investors King earlier reported that because of the hike in the price of diesel, the cost of doing business in Nigeria has increased by more than 50 percent in 2022. This has adversely impacted the profitability of many businesses. 

According to ICE Commercial Power, “Many of Nigeria’s SMEs rely on using generators to provide power, but these machines can be unreliable, and the fuel and maintenance costs are high”.

“The African Development Bank noted that Nigerians spend about $14bn on generators and fuel yearly in order to avoid crippling downtime for their businesses.

“SMEs play a vital role in driving economic growth and job creation on the continent. Connecting SMEs to alternative energy sources helps to minimise downtime and maximise productivity.” the statement read. 

ICE Commercial Power further stated that the power project in partnership with Microsoft will connect businesses and underserved communities to reliable and affordable clean energy. 

The company also declares that users will be able to monitor their energy usage online to have significant control over their energy consumption.

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Jumia Partners With Coca-Cola to Improve Customers Experience

Jumia, Africa’s leading e-commerce platform, has partnered with Coca-Cola Africa to offer Coca-Cola products to consumers in the comfort of their homes. 

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Coca-cola - Investors King

Jumia, Africa’s leading e-commerce platform, has partnered with Coca-Cola Africa to offer Coca-Cola products to consumers in the comfort of their homes. 

The partnership will enable Jumia to reach out to millions of Coca-Cola customers through the Jumia platform.

Both wholesale and retail consumers can get the products at an affordable price and at the fastest delivery time. 

According to Romain Christodoulou, Jumia’s Chief Commercial Officer, “We are happy to partner with Coca-Cola to meet consumer demand for everyday products at the fastest delivery time and at affordable prices.

“Coming after the launch of our Quick Commerce stores, we are happy to let our consumers know that they can expect their delivery of beverages in under 20 minutes, offering convenience at its best,”

Similarly, Coca-Cola believes the partnership will bring its products closer to the consumer, especially those who prefer to shop online. 

The company’s Vice President for Customer and Commercial Leadership, Minas Vourodimos stated that Coca-Cola is pleased with its partnership with Jumia which will make Coca-Cola directly available to consumers in their homes. 

“Through this, we will be offering an alternative for easy and fast access to Coca-Cola brands across several beverage categories”. She added.

Investors King gathered that the Jumia and Coca-Cola partnership is one of the many strategic partnerships the African e-commerce giant has made in the last nine months. 

It could be recalled that early this month, Jumia partnered with Ziplan to start using drones for delivery services. This will help Jumia to reach rural and remote areas in Africa which could be hard or impossible to reach through conventional methods.

Subsequently, shopping on Jumia will be faster, more convenient, sustainable and accessible.

When the Jumia drone delivery service becomes operational, it will give Jumia the leverage to better serve its customers and subsequently increase the company’s revenue.

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