Weekly VC Insights by Uniborn #18

Inside: A tasty and healthy food-as-medicine trend, a founder's checklist for showing European investors, and why women are leaving the industry
Barbara Krassner
🇬🇪 Uniborn Team
3 min read

Hey there, Uniborn fam! We've just finished digging through reports and charts to serve the juiciest news bites! So before you take off for a well-deserved weekend, check out our digest section — and hit that cherished "subscribe" button!

🔥 Here's what founders need to do to reach the top round in CEE

Barely 24 hours ago, Tech.eu's watchful eye revealed the trail of European tech companies that raised €4.7 billion in 353 deals.

It could be a case of summer slumber or a settling in after the Covid-19 crescendo. Either way, the numbers speak for themselves: a nearly 20% drop from the previous month (remember June's €5.8 billion?) and half the amount from the same period last year (flashback to July 2022's €9.5 billion). 

So the competition for capital is getting fiercer — especially for ordinary companies that don't pretend to grow horns on their foreheads. 

Inovo, the top Polish VC, sheds light on what investors are looking for and highlights key investment benchmarks for Seed/Series A projects in Central and Eastern Europe.

How the mood of the VC market has changed over the past three years. (Image: Coatue)
How the mood of the VC market has changed over the past three years. (Image: Coatue)

Dig into the Inovo analysis for a more in-depth look.

🔥 What Q4 2023 will bring for venture funding seems to have finally become clearer

Nothing particularly cheery, according to Sapphire Ventures' calculations. There is a significant drop in funds in the US, and some numbers strongly resemble 2018-2019 levels.

  • The median first-time fund size for H1 2023 is $25M: down from $39M in 2022
  • 10 growth funds and 8 opportunity funds closed: down 60% and 38%, respectively, from 2022
  • Only 16 funds >$500M closed in H1 2023: vs. 43 in 2022

The same scenario can be expected in Europe. The average time to final close for European private equity funds is on the rise, as LPs are under stress and favor whale firms. The PitchBook data shows this clearly.

Image: PitchBook
Image: PitchBook

Dig into the PitchBook article for a more in-depth look.

🔥 A cracked glass ceiling seems to be healing: European VC industry loses female power

Just when we were getting excited that women finally seem to be taking on more leadership roles in startups across the EU, things took a turn for the worse.

Yes, a VC "boys' club" alarm is still ringing loudly, as 45% of Euro startups overlooked the diversity memo, and about 15% have absolutely no females in leadership positions. What inspired us was last month's research showing that a staggering 35% of influential roles are now in the hands of women, up from 29% last year. 

But the day before yesterday, the Sifted team published some excerpts from the conversations with women who have left European venture capital. Since the beginning of 2023, there have been dozens.

Gender bias dominates the reasons: fatigue from fighting for equal pay and other working conditions, frustration at being mistaken for an office manager just because you are a woman, and resentment that it's harder for female entrepreneurs to secure funding.

So, sadly, even an enlightened venture capital industry like Europe's will need more time to level the playing field.

But there is still hope. Some women are leaving venture capital firms to start their own. There have been at least three recent fund launches by female investors who have left larger funds.

Dig into the Sifted review for a more in-depth look.

🔥 The food-as-medicine approach can prevent many health conditions; however, four barriers must be overcome

There was a lot of talk about the "food as medicine" movement, and some people considered it another hype. But the trend is still gaining momentum:

  • The White House allocates $8 billion to nutrition programs
  • Uber Health adds essential goods delivery
  • Rockefeller Foundation funds pilot prescription programs for veterans
  • Startups focusing on medically tailored food delivery, diet coaching, and nutrition services are securing money even amid a general slowdown. Recently, Mend raised $15 million in Series A, Modify Health — $10 million in Series B, and Bitewell — $4 million in seed funding.

Investors, governments, and the public all express great interest in healthy and affordable food — what could possibly go wrong? But wait, there's more to this stew than meets the eye: diet rebellions, foodie quality control, and data manipulation by involved parties are causing mischief.

By the way, check out the lists of 20 Italian and Spanish FoodTech startups from EU-Startups. Not all of them are about health support, but they are definitely about food!

Dig into the PitchBook report for a more in-depth look.

Cover image: iStock

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