Top Companies Behind The 2018 Midas List Europe


Our second-ever Midas List Europe, produced by Forbes in partnership with TrueBridge Capital Partners, arrives at an exciting moment in Europe’s venture capital history. Venture capital and growth funds are on track for a record fundraising year, according to Preqin data, as investors have taken interest in the growing tech ecosystems across Europe. Europe’s IPO market – spurred by Adyen’s successful June listing – has also heated up significantly since last year.

2018 Midas List Europe Top CompaniesProduced by TrueBridge Capital Partners in partnership with Forbes.

The portfolios of this year’s Midas List Europe investors reflect those trends. The top ten companies that moved the needle for investors are almost all newly public or high-growth private companies, and nearly half are concentrated in fintech, a sector that’s become vastly popular in Europe.

Here are the companies that powered investors’ portfolios this year.

Spotify

Spotify’s unusual decision to directly list on the NYSE raised some eyebrows and concerns from investors worried about the potential for share price volatility. But Spotify’s listing was successful, and in its first two quarters as a public company, its share price has seen steady growth. Now, the question is whether Spotify’s successful direct listing will empower other startups to take a similar path.

Since its listing, Spotify has focused on building out its “two-sided marketplace,” with the goal of one day charging artists and music labels for services. While Spotify lowered its outlook for subscriber growth in its latest quarterly earnings report, it touted new partnerships with Google and Samsung and the launch of new tools like Spotify for Artists as areas for significant future growth.

Where It Counted The Most On The 2018 Midas Europe List*:

  • Frederick Cassel, Creandum (#5)
  • Sonali De Rycker, Accel London (#3)
  • Klaus Hommels, Lakestar (#7)
  • Par Jorgen Parson, Northzone Ventures (#2)

WeWork

Since its appearance on last year’s Top Companies list, WeWork has entered its eighth year as a private company; it’s rumored to be raising a new round of funding at a $35-40 billion valuation; and it’s still on everyone’s shortlist of companies in the IPO pipeline.

Now, in what could be considered its second act as a company, WeWork has been growing its number of enterprise members, which include large companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, and General Electric, and pushing into new international markets, particularly in Asia. It’s also been experimenting with new living spaces, including dorm-style living arrangements, community meet-ups, gyms, and schools.

Where It Counted The Most On The 2018 Midas Europe List*:

  • Michael Eisenberg, Aleph Europe (#8)

Adyen

Dutch fintech company Adyen made itself an international household name this year following its $8.3 billion IPO on the Euronext in Amsterdam. The success and size of Adyen’s listing, which is one of Europe’s largest this year, has helped spur interest in European tech and venture capital at large.

Since its IPO in June, Adyen has benefitted from the rapid rise of e-commerce and popularity of mobile payments in the restaurant and hospitality industries. While it’s one of many fintech companies uprooting traditional banking and financial institutions, Adyen has stood out for its lower-cost, user-friendly e-commerce solutions, its analytical tools, and its ability to handle transfers in multiple currencies and payment types used around the world.

Where It Counted The Most On The 2018 Midas Europe List*:

  • Jan Hammer, Index Ventures (#1)

Farfetch

Farfetch is one of the few retailers to outcompete Amazon by excelling in one corner of the market Amazon has failed to dominate: luxury fashion. Headquartered in London, Farfetch’s online platform gives consumers access to a range of products from over 2,000 luxury brands, including clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories. The company generated $385 million in revenue in fiscal year 2017 and, made its public market debut with a $5.9 billion valuation.

Although Farfetch isn’t the only retailer to corner the luxury market, Farfetch is unique in that it does not own the inventory it sells. A technology company at its core, Farfetch serves as a bridge between shoppers and over 700 international brands and boutiques, and it’s experimenting ways to layer on top of that platform, including integrating Conde Nast’s magazine content and testing new retail technologies to build a “store of the future.”

Where It Counted The Most On The 2018 Midas Europe List*:

  • Frederic Court, Felix Capital (#19)
  • Robin Klein, LocalGlobe (#4)
  • Saul Klein, LocalGlobe (#9)
  • Tom Stafford, DST Global (#6)

BlaBlaCar

Paris-based BlaBlaCar is a travel network allowing drivers and passengers to connect and carpool over long distances. Established in 2006, BlaBlaCar now has 65 million registered users in 22 countries and, according to TechCrunch, reached profitability this year.

BlaBlaCar’s European roots and its unique vision, compared to other ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft, have both been key to its success. BlaBlaCar drivers are not looking to make a profit – instead, the platform is viewed more as a community that helps drivers and passengers offset the costs of gas and tolls, which are more expensive in Europe than in the United States. The company’s plans for an IPO are unclear, but in the meantime, BlaBlaCar is continuing to invest in ways to evolve in its second decade, beginning with a rebranding early this year.

Where It Counted The Most On The 2018 Midas Europe List*:

  • Philippe Botteri, Accel London (#18)

DocuSign

DocuSign’s IPO in April this year, which valued the company at about $4.4 billion, came on the heels of seven other cloud or enterprise software IPOs in 2018, including Dropbox and Zscaler. While DocuSign’s business – electronic signatures – may not seem splashy on the surface, for years DocuSign has been addressing a core and unmet need for businesses. According to DocuSign, there’s yet to be an evolution in the technology of facilitating contracts, and any solution needs to be specially designed to interface smoothly across multiple departments and teams.

DocuSign’s competitor set includes nimble startups like HelloSign and industry heavyweights like Adobe. But so far DocuSign has secured impressive momentum, with a customer roster that includes T-Mobile, Salesforce, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America, as well as a tiered subscription model.

Where It Counted The Most On The 2018 Midas Europe List*:

  • Philippe Botteri, Accel London (#18)

GreenSky

For over ten years, GreenSky, which facilitates loans for home improvement projects, hid under the radar as one of the United States’ most valuable fintech companies. But since its successful IPO in May 2018, which raised over $800 million, GreenSky has been impossible to ignore.

As a private company, the Atlanta-based GreenSky attracted a number of high quality investors, including PIMCO, TPG, and ICONIQ Capital, with its multi-year track record of profitability. GreenSky’s strong performance also accelerated its strategic evolution and separation from marketplace lenders like LendingClub and OnDeck. Over the past couple of years, GreenSky has partnered with doctors and dentists to offer financing for elective procedures (such as LASIK and teeth straightening), and it’s experimented with financing online purchases of furniture and other large items for the home.

Where It Counted The Most On The 2018 Midas Europe List*:

  • Tom Stafford, DST Global (#6)

Zalando

German e-retailer Zalando, which listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange in 2014, sells shoes, clothing, and other fashion and beauty items to users in 17 countries across Europe. Zalando was established in 2008 under the inspiration of Zappos.com, and initially it specialized in footwear. Since then Zalando has expanded its offerings and evolved from a digital selling platform into something more akin to an online shopping mall.

Recently, Zalando has been increasing its focus on its key differentiators from other retailers – its technology and its relationships to brands. Last month, Zalando launched its Algorithm Fashion Companion (AFC), which suggests outfits that match the most recent items customers have purchased. Zalando also stands out from behemoths like Amazon for its ability to offer items from top brands and keep its merchandise in-season.

Where It Counted The Most On The 2018 Midas Europe List*:

  • Rainer Maerkle, Holtzbrinck Ventures (#17)

Robinhood

Robinhood is an online platform that allows users to simply trade shares and cryptocurrencies, with no commission. While it’s currently one of the few private companies on this year’s Top 10 companies list, Robinhood is reportedly on the path to an IPO.

Robinhood’s five million customers track, buy, and sell stocks, options, ETFs, and cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum. The company also offers Gold subscriptions for a monthly payment, which provide additional buying power. Most recently, Robinhood launched Clearing by Robinhood, an in-house clearing service, to exert more control over customers’ experiences and more quickly add new features and services.

Where It Counted The Most On The 2018 Midas Europe List*:

  • Jan Hammer, Index Ventures (#1)
  • Robin Klein, LocalGlobe (#4)
  • Saul Klein, LocalGlobe (#9)

iZettle

Founded in Stockholm in 2010, iZettle pioneered mini chip card readers and software for mobile devices. The company’s core market is small businesses in Europe and Latin America, where iZettle provides tools to help its customers get paid and grow their businesses.

Commonly viewed as the “Square of Europe,” iZettle was officially acquired by PayPal in September 2018 for $2.2 billion, making it PayPal’s largest acquisition to date. As part of PayPal, iZettle will help expand the company’s in-store presence and small-business customer base, as well as expand into new markets in the U.S., U.K., and Australia.

Where It Counted The Most On The 2018 Midas Europe List*:

  • Laurel Bowden, 83North (#21)
  • Ben Holmes, Index Ventures (#15)
  • Par Jorgen Parson, Northzone Ventures (#2)

*Listed alphabetically by VC last name. Does not include all investors in the company.



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