Venture capitalists invested more money than ever into start-ups last year

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Hopin founder and CEO Johnny Boufarhat.

Hopin

Venture capitalists invested more than $675 billion in start-ups worldwide in 2021, doubling 2020’s previous all-time high, according to data published Thursday by VC analysis firm Dealroom and British promo agency London & Partners.

Despite the pandemic, the number of so-called “unicorns” continued to rise at a clip last year, with some 133 start-ups in the San Francisco Bay Area seeing their valuations climb to over $1 billion, followed by 69 in New York, 21 in Greater Boston, 20 in London, 16 in Bengaluru and 15 in Berlin.

The surge in the number of unicorns was complimented by the number of megarounds — start-up funding rounds over $100 million.

These shot up dramatically in some cities, with London seeing a 3.4-times increase. There were 64 of these megarounds in London alone last year, up from 19 in 2020, according to Dealroom. Fintech app Revolut raised an $800 million series E round, while rival Monzo raised over $600 million across two deals. Elsewhere, online events platform Hopin raised $850 million across two deals in 2021.

In total, start-ups in the U.K. capital raised $25.5 billion from VCs last year, up from $11.2 billion in 2020, and there are now 75 unicorns in London, with recent additions including mobile banking app Starling Bank and insuretech start-up Marshmallow.

Laura Citron, CEO of London & Partners, said in a statement that London is now a truly mature global technology capital.

“We have big pools of later stage funding, nearly two new unicorn companies every month, and massive funding rounds and exits,” she said. “This data shows that London is not only a brilliant place for entrepreneurs to start businesses, but also to grow them to a global scale.”

VC firms in London raised $9.9 billion in new funds in 2021, accounting for 35% of all European VC funds. Index Ventures, Balderton Capital and 83North all closed big new funds, while well-known U.S. VC firms including Lightspeed and General Catalyst set up offices in the city.

Europe vs. the U.S. and China

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