Preseed Investing

Looking for the latest tech stats and trends on Preseed in Europe? We’ve got you covered. We’ve collected the latest European technology statistics, trends, and data to help in your quest.

📊 Pre-seed is trending down

The number of early-stage companies being founded (and funded) is the single best indicator for the health of an ecosystem. Out of seven of the top ecosystems, pre-seed investments are down in six in 2019 vs. 2020 (YTD), and rounds are progressively skewing larger.

  • United Kingdom 📉 $68m in 2019, $30.1m in 2020
  • Germany 📉 $20m in 2019, $13m in 2020.
  • France 📉 $12m in 2019, $9.6m in 2020.
  • The Netherlands 📉 $11m in 2019, $3m in 2020.
  • Spain 📉 $8m in 2019, $7.5m in 2020.
  • Portugal 📉 $3.8m in 2019, $3m in 2020
  • Sweden 📈 $6m in 2019, $6.4m in 2020.
(*Source: Crunchbase — Reported Money Raised in USD)

👋 But there are more players than ever

10 Most Active Funds

Talent Investors

I’m a big believer in talent investing and showing ambitious people in Europe (who otherwise might go into consulting, finance or academia) that starting companies is an acceptable career path.

Pre-seed Programs / Fellowships

The pandemic has turned laid off employees into entrepreneurs, and European investors are capitalizing on it

Angel Investors

Build relationships early with angels who can be the first check in.


If you have experience in tech, most accelerators are not worth the 7-15% equity, but the right one definitely are.


Scouts are great because they are usually former operators with experience, and respected by founders. This also hones the next generation of investors.

Founder Communities

Pre-seed Competitions

  • 3 Competition
    • LIVE Pitch Competition (@DebutSessions)
      • Tuesday 15th Dec, 10am-1pm
      • 4 pre-Seed #startups to pitch (1 chosen by YOU)
      • £100k Term Sheet from @AscensionGrp for the Winner
      • EU Startups Summit Pitch Competition
        • April 29-30, 2021
        • An exciting Pitch Competition with 15 of Europe’s most promising early-stage startups
        • + €75,000 in prizes
      • SaaStock Remote Startup Pitch Competition
        • 23-25 February, 2021
        • The perfect opportunity for up-and-coming startups to hone their competitive side and get in front of SaaS experts and big-name VCs.
  • There has never been more alternatives to raise your first check – funds, accelerators, scouts, angels, fellowship programs and talent investors.
  • Remote is "democratizing" Europe. Y Combinator has had more European founders this last batch than ever before – 26 up from just 12 last summer and just 7 in 2018.

🚀 Opportunities

For investors

  • If you miss the best-performing seed investment, you will eventually be outperformed by someone who blindly invests in every credible deal. Index your early-stage investments.
  • The best deals (or most credible) are often private and happen at the city level. Build an audience, develop relationships with ecosystem builders or join local networks.
  • Crunchbase is helpful, but you should use tools like Specter Talent (or engage with communities like On Deck) to catch people before they even start a company.
  • Launch new scout programs. Think student-led, founder-led, or thematic programs (i.e. climate.)

For founders

  • Ideas or co-founders are not required. Entrepreneur First has been operating for years, Heartcore and others launched fellowships and On Deck just launched in Europe.
  • Beware of the price you pay for the round. Some accelerators charge too much and this can mess up your cap table for future rounds.
  • At pre-seed, investors are betting on you. When crafting your pitch think about why you are the perfect person to build this. If your credentials aren’t mainstream, keep building until you de-risk your company with an incredible product or impressive traction.
  • Build a financial model that shows you what you’ll achieve with the money you are asking for, but don’t pull a Softbank.
  • Fundraising is a sales process.
  • Your first meetings should be with less, ahem, relevant investors. This will help you refine your pitch for later meetings.
  • Angel investors are still incredibly helpful and can be your first check in. Though they might be less than before out there, the ones that are still active are willing to take the risks.
  • Not sure whether to approach an investor? Ask for references or check Landscape .
  • Build in public. Lambda School, Fast and Roam are perfect examples.
  • Join communities. Follow other founders and see where they might lead you. If there isn’t a community near you—go and move there. European countries have decent startup visas.
  • Don’t know anybody at all? Start a newsletter, and build an audience you can then leverage. In other words: Create your community. Measure your progress. And of course, be patient. There is no such thing as overnight success.

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