PitchBook News - European VC simmers down

More banks muscle in on private credit; 5 funds to watch in the secondary market; VCs face natural selection
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The Daily Pitch: VC
January 18, 2024
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Europe's VC market logs disappointing year
European venture dealmaking fell significantly in 2023 compared with the prior two years, but still landed above the 10-year average.

Total deal value tallied more than €57 billion, according our 2023 Annual European Venture Report, sponsored by J.P. Morgan, representing a year-over-year decline of 45.6%. Deal count fell to a lesser extent.
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Will more banks join the private credit fray in 2024?
(Craig Hastings/Getty Images)
The growth of private credit, and the driving forces behind it, is a trend with which we are all familiar. But now, something slightly topsy-turvy is happening.

Motivated by a desire to remain relevant in leveraged buyout financing, a growing number of banks are looking to launch private credit strategies. They have market experience in their favor, but they also face stiff competition from existing private credit funds.
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Unlocking liquidity in SaaS, AI, fintech
Public listings of VC-backed companies in the US earned investors only $28.2 billion in the first three quarters of 2023, down 94% from the same period in 2021. The resulting liquidity crunch has left the VC ecosystem in desperate need of an IPO comeback.

But some sectors, particularly those that received significant investment, are facing disproportionate pressure to provide returns. Our recent analyst note dives into three segments—SaaS, AI and machine learning, and fintech—poised to benefit from a reopened IPO window.
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5 funds to watch in the hot secondary market
(Eugene Mymrin/Getty Images)
Lexington Partners' eye-catching $22.7 billion secondary fund gave 2024 a kickstart. The buzz surrounding the secondary market has signaled another boom year for this asset class.

There are 134 secondary funds in the market seeking fresh capital. The largest one to watch is Ardian Secondary Fund IX, which has a target of $25 billion. We have compiled a list of the five largest secondary vehicles that are currently open, ranked by their fundraising targets.
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Threat of irrelevance looms over emerging VCs
(Chloe Ladwig/PitchBook News)
Holiday jet lag isn't the only thing keeping VCs up at night. Countdown Capital's announcement that it is shutting down marked a rocky start to 2024 for emerging managers.

Many are giving LPs more leeway on terms and extending their fundraising timeframes. It will be a year that decides which GPs turn into tenured players, but even VC firms that have been around for decades aren't immune to market forces.
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VC Deals  
General Catalyst, via wholly owned shell entity HATCo, has agreed to buy Ohio-based nonprofit healthcare system Summa Health. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Everphone has secured a €270 million Series D from investors including AlleyCorp, Cadence Growth Capital and Signals Venture Capital. The German company has a leasing and refurbishment platform for corporate smartphones and tablets.

Scottish video game startup Build A Rocket Boy has raised a $110 million Series D led by RedBird Capital Partners.

Massachusetts-based Comanche Biopharma has received a $75 million Series B led by NEA for its preeclampsia treatment.

Pomelo a fintech startup based in Argentina, has raised a $40 million Series B led by Kaszek.

San Francisco-based Lightship, which builds all-electric RVs, has secured a $34 million Series B co-led by Obvious Ventures and Prelude Ventures.

CloudTalk, a New York-based provider of AI-powered call center software, has raised a $28 million Series B led by KPN Ventures and Lead Ventures.

London-based Vertice has secured a $25 million Series B led by 83North and Bessemer Venture Partners for its platform to manage software expenses.

ZymoChem has raised a $21 million Series A led by Breakout Ventures. The California-based company offers a biomanufacturing platform.

Delfos, a Barcelona-based provider of engineer software for renewable energy assets, has received a €6.3 million seed investment led by Contrarian Ventures and Headline.
PitchBook webinar: 2024 US leveraged loan and private credit outlook
The broadly syndicated loan and private credit segments battled a challenging leveraged finance market—and each other—in 2023, amid fallout from rate hikes and increased competition for deals. Where will the challenges and opportunities lie in 2024? Key topics of this webinar include:
  • US leveraged loan market: Trends and analysis—including a look at issuance, LBOs, credit risk, returns and supply vs. demand.

  • Private credit: Will deal activity rebound? How will tightening credit spreads impact this segment? What is the outlook for defaults and recoveries?

  • Broadly syndicated loans: Default and distressed debt outlook, including special emphasis on distressed exchanges.

  • Collateralized loan obligations: After a record year of private credit and middle-market issuance, how will this investor segment evolve?
Register now to secure your spot.
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PE Deals  
CVC Capital Partners is buying Sunday Natural, a vitamin and supplement maker, for €800 million.

TPG Growth made a strategic investment of up to $228 million in supply chain risk intelligence specialist Sayari.

South Africa-based Convergence Partners agreed to acquire IT services company Datacentrix Group. The investment came via the firm's Digital Infrastructure Fund.

Ambienta acquired a majority stake in Frigoveneta, a provider of commercial refrigeration solutions based in Italy.

Norway's Montel, an energy and electricity market data specialist backed by The Riverside Company, acquired European power market consultancy Energy Brainpool and Qwatt, which provides data on power purchase agreements.
Exits & IPOs  
The backers of AirTrunk, an Australian data center operator, are planning to kick off a sales process that could reach approximately $7.9 billion, Bloomberg reported. Investors include Macquarie Asset Management and PSP Investments.

Ardagh Group and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan are prepping for a possible auction of metal packaging company Trivium Packaging in the range of $3.5 billion, Bloomberg reported.
UK-based Pantheon held a final close of Pantheon Global Infrastructure Fund IV, which will have a focus on PE secondaries, on $5.3 billion.

Aramco is injecting $4 billion more into Aramco Ventures, bringing the VC arm's total allocation to $7.5 billion.
Chart of the Day  
Source: 2023 Annual European PE Breakdown
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