Europe’s ‘soonicorns’: Who will be next to reach a €1B valuation?


In 2022, Europe registered its second-biggest year for newly minted unicorns, but the continuing downturn could put on damper on further creation.

A total of 46 European and Israeli companies crossed the €1 billion threshold last year, according to PitchBook data. Companies including payment network provider Satispay and edtech specialist Multiverse were among those to join the continent’s unicorn herd.

Investors are predicting that conditions will remain harsh for the foreseeable future, as the challenges that arose last year, such as rising interest rates and inflation, continue into 2023. And as valuations become more realistic, it is likely that fewer companies will make it across the €1 billion mark than in recent years.

That said, VCs are still sitting on a mountain of dry powder and will continue making big bets on startups they consider to be future winners.

We’ve compiled a short list of some of the VC-backed companies that are currently valued at over €500 million and could be the next to join the ranks of Europe and Israel’s €1 billion-plus startups.


Most recent post-money valuation: €610.6M (2022)

Billions of people across the globe already use social media on a daily basis, and the market is expected to grow to $777.64 billion by 2026, according to The Business Research Company. One startup looking to share in that growth is Paris-based BeReal.

Described by Forbes in December as “the social media app of the year,” BeReal’s selling point is authenticity. The app only allows users to post photos once a day, and with no filters. Although dwarfed by the likes of Instagram, the company is growing fast and has gained 73.5 million monthly active users and 20 million daily users since its launch in 2020.

BeReal’s most recent funding round pushed its valuation to over €600 million. Its backers include Andreessen HorowitzAccel and DST Global.

Carbon Clean

Most recent post-money valuation: €537.2M (2022)

Investor appetite for climate-tech startups intensified last year, and the sector was one of the few to register record levels of funding—€5.3 billion in 2022 compared with €5.2 billion in 2021, according to PitchBook data.

Most VCs are predicting another solid year for dealmaking as the sector’s popularity grows. One area that is piquing interest is carbon capture, which is UK-based Carbon Clean‘s mission.

Founded in 2009, Carbon Clean’s technology is designed to capture, store and use carbon dioxide in an array of industries including steel and refineries. In May, the startup secured $150 million in a Series C led by Chevron and supported by Samsung Ventures and Wave Equity Partners, among others.


Most recent post-money valuation: €507.8M (2022)

HR tech has been a staple for VC investments. The sector experienced a surge during the pandemic that resulted in several new unicorns, such as Personio and Factorial.

Based in Paris, Malt offers a freelance consulting platform that currently has over 360,000 freelancers and 40,000 clients. In 2021, the company raised €80 million in a round led by Goldman Sachs Growth Equity and Eurazeo.

Due to the downturn, more companies are looking to save money by reducing head count. This means there is a growing need to outsource projects that can no longer be done in-house. Add to that the fact that more people may be turning to freelancing to hold them over until their next job, and Malt may see benefits on both fronts.


Most recent post-money valuation: €953M (2021)

Private equity allocations have been increasing over the past few years and Berlin-based Moonfare is looking to democratize entry. The startup offers individual investors and advisers access to PE funds for as little as $125.

Last year, the firm doubled its AUM to over €2 billion and recorded more than 40,000 users. At the end of 2021, it secured a $125 million Series C led by Insight Partners.

With the current volatility in the public markets, Moonfare expects more investors to diversify their portfolios by putting money into PE, potentially boosting the company’s numbers.


Most recent post-money valuation: €678.7M (2021)

Fraud prevention is a top priority for most companies as cyberattacks and scams continue to rise.

London-based Quantexa offers software providing a contextual view of internal and external data, which can help address challenges across financial crime, customer intelligence, credit risk and fraud.

The company most recently raised $153 million in July 2021 in a round led by Warburg Pincus. Its clients include banks, insurers and government authorities.

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