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VC analysis 2011: Internet continues surge, cleantech loses ground

10 February 2012 10:51
By Niels Valkering

As we reported on Wednesday, venture capital funding for tech companies in Europe is still widely available. This post will report on the sector breakdown for 2011.

Internet retained pole position in 2011 with 320 investments reported (27% of the total number of deals). This is 36 deals more than in 2010, when Internet reclaimed first place in the sector ranking for the first time since the high days of the Internet bubble. Increased investor appetite for webshops (146 deals in 2011) was the main reason for the surge in 2011.

Software took second place in 2011 with 246 deals (18%), an increase of 34 deals compared to 2010. The increase in funding for online shops has also resulted in renewed interest from investors in the technology infrastructure: e-commerce application builders scored 21 deals in 2011, a huge boost compared to 7 deals in both 2010 and 2009.

Software swapped places with Biotechnology & Healthcare in 2011. The latter sector dropped to 199 deals (17%), down from 238 in 2010. Rarely does deal activity for biotechnology companies outpace that for biopharmaceuticals. Until last year, it was only recorded twice in the period since 2000: in 2001 and 2007. But the margins were small in both occasions. In 2011, however, biopharmaceutical funding dropped to 42 (from 68 in 2010), while 60 biotechnology investments were raised (up on 55 in 2010). For the third year in a row, most Biotechnology & Healthcare deals were closed by medical device manufacturers (76 in 2011).

Communications companies secured 109 deals (9%) placing the sector fourth. Within the sector developers of wireless applications were most popular: 60 deals in 2011, well up compared to the preceding three years when the tally stopped at around 30 deals per year. Surprising was the strong decrease in Energy & Agriculture deals, which represents almost all cleantech investment. The sector dropped 30% in deal activity scoring 99 deals in 2011 (8%), the lowest level of activity since 2007. The remaining sectors in the ranking in 2011 were Computers & Electronics (7%), Media & Entertainment (6%), Materials & Nanotechnology (3%) and IT Services (1%).

Watch this space for more data on 2011. Next up: the country ranking!

If you can't wait and want to analyse our data yourself, click here or email us at

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