While Q3 was a fairly slow one for funding across the region, the quietness was particularly felt in Denmark, with the last three months seeing just 21 venture investments into Danish startups totalling $40 million.
A quick note on methodology before we begin:
* We only record private minority venture (equity and loan) investments into Danish tech companies
After Q2 saw the slowest quarter for investments in over a year, Q3 was even worse, with us needing to go back to 2015 to witness a quieter quarter for the number of investments. Perhaps most worrying, is that this is the third quarter in a row to see a decline in the number of deals, following the peak of 44 investments in Q4 2016. Denmark will be hoping for another strong Q4 this year in order to arrest this slide.
It was almost the same story when it came to the amount invested, with only (ironically) Q4 of last year seeing less invested. However, it now looks certain that 2017 will be a down year for the amount of capital invested, with 2017 nowhere near last year currently.
The main reason for this is that 2 out of 3 investments are being made below $500,000. Interestingly, there were no investments made between $3-10 million, demonstrating that there is a lack of Series A opportunities and action right now. We touched on the seemingly lack of quality Danish companies coming through in this stage in our Q2 analysis and we suggested that this should pick up later this year, however with this not happening in Q3, there are just three months of the year left for this to change.
Six different verticals saw more than one investment, with Enterprise SaaS and Health and Wellness leading the way. Danish FinTech investments have still not excelled this year, despite their strong 2016.
Trustpilot and Labster were the only investments above $10 million, with the third highest investment as low as $2.9 million, which really presses home the lack of action in the Series A range in Q3. This follows just one investment (Logpoint) of $10 million in Q2, meaning that this is an ongoing “issue” for the Danish ecosystem.
Copenhagen accounted for 9 in 10 Danish investments. Aarhus and Aalborg had increased their share in recent quarters, although Copenhagen’s dominance was felt once more in Q3, a big increase from the 69% they had seen in Q2.
International investment was at 19% in Q3, a decrease from the 24.1% in Q2. This is hardly surprising considering the large majority of investment action occurring at a very early-stage, what appears important is that International investors continue to engage with the Danish ecosystem during this fallow period, so that the capital is available when stronger companies do emerge and require resources to scale.
I’ve been talking of a quiet period in Denmark for some time now and it appears that the investment activity is backing up my thesis. There are natural swings in periods of activity and in fairness, in Labster, Denmark had one of the most hotly-contested deals in the Nordics this year announced in Q3, demonstrating that it is not all doom and gloom. However, what I will be looking for in Q4, more than number of investments and amount of capital invested, is the number of companies raising Series A and amounts between $3-10 million, as proof that things are picking up once more.