Planet Positive Startups – Looking Back on 2021 and Forward to 2022

by Tuuliki on January 5, 2022

In 2021, we at Sunly were busy on the startup front by investing just shy of €2 million in electrification startups. So, we are happy to say that we have contributed our fair share to new green technologies and boosted Estonian cleantech startups. Can’t wait to see all of them skyrocket! 

But in all honesty that is nothing compared to what 2021 had in store for startups in Europe. Capital invested in the region topped $100 Billion, creating 98 new unicorns. Such a massive rise! The growth was driven by huge rounds of $250M+ that alone represented 40% of the total capital invested in Europe. 

But we also witnessed stagnation in Europe’s startups. The number of seed rounds & the total funding sourced stagnated, staying at the same level as in 2020. So, the three times bigger capital invested (from little above $30 billion to over $100 billion), didn’t make it down to founders & teams in the beginning of their journeys. 

This was the same in Estonia, where the total funding number was high, but was mostly driven by a few megadeals. We at Sunly appreciate a megadeal as much as the next player, but our focus lies on the early stage, helping planet-positive startups to grow. 

Oh also… a new term was coined in 2021. It’s planet positive. Love this term, truly! It stands for companies that are working to make sustainable use of planet’s resources… you know… like the electrification startups we like to support!  

And… 11% of all the capital invested (more than $10Bn) went into companies like these in 2021. With clean energy & climate tech startups leading the way. Sure, it’s not quite as high as the FinTech investment numbers, but it is still remarkable. Afterall, the next 1000 unicorn gigacorns (unicorns that reduce CO2 emissions by 1 gigaton/year) coming from the cleantech sector also need some financial backing (thanks Blackrock!)! 

Raising our proverbial glasses to 2022 being another record-breaking year, where European startups double what they raised in 2021! But this time… let’s make it so, that the companies in the beginning of their journey get a proportionally larger share of the pie.  

And if you happen to be one of these companies looking for an investment, then don’t be a stranger & link up with us here at Sunly and contact Rasmus at [email protected], our Innovation Lead. 

*Data curtesy of Dealroom.co & Atomico’s State of European Tech 2021