Barely two weeks into 2022 and the French startup market is buzzing with venture-backed excitement.
Paris-based marketplace Ankorstore announced Monday (Jan. 10) that it has raised a 250 million euro ($283 million) Series C funding round with a 1.75 billion euro valuation, giving France its second unicorn of 2022.
Led by U.S. venture capital firms Bond and Tiger Global, the round brings the firm’s total fundraising to 365 million euros ($412.8 million) since it was founded in November 2019.
“We are obviously thrilled about this funding but we will not lose sight of what drives us: our mission to support independent brands and retailers and do everything we can to enable their success,” Ankorstore’s founders said in a LinkedIn post.
Founder Pierre-Louis Lacoste added: “The Covid crisis is pushing people to realise that the store down the street is important, it’s the heart of a community…The world of tomorrow is not just the world of Amazon,” UK Tech News reported.
The business to business to consumer (B2B2C) startup is currently active in 23 European markets and operates a wholesale marketplace for 200,000 independent brands who sell their products directly to independent retailers who then sell the products to their own customers. Brands can use the marketplace for free but are charged a commission on the sales they make.
The platform offers multiple products from household supplies and beauty products to stationery and children’s products.
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The announcement comes on the heels of a 254 million euro ($276 million) round by PayFit, pushing its valuation to 1.82 billion euros ($2 billion).
Launched in 2015, the payroll and human resources management solution for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) has more than 6,000 clients in France, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom, and has raised 179 million euros ($202 million) since inception.
Related: VC Investment in French Startups Doubles in 2021 to Hit $11.3B Despite Funding Gap Between Regions
PayFit and Ankorstore’s rounds offer a glimpse into the booming VC ecosystem in France, where startup investments doubled in 2021, from 5.1 billion euros to over 10 billion euros. The combined enterprise value of French startups founded since 2000 has already increased significantly, up 17.7x since 2010 to reach 179 billion euros in 2021.
Read more: Europe VC Ecosystem Smashes Records In Q3 2021, Setting The Stage For Promising 2022 Deals
The rounds also show the potential of Europe’s VC ecosystem, which had a record-breaking year in 2021. In the third quarter (Q3) 2021 alone, average angel and seed pre-money valuation stood at 3.8 million euros, a 22.5% increase from the record set in 2020, according to recent data from Pitchbook.
Learn more: Europe’s Fast-Growing Tech Sector Spurs Record $121B in Startup Funding
Per the report, the U.K. and Ireland remained the main VC hub of Europe as investment in their firms stood above 2020’s numbers across all financial stages, an indication that their VC ecosystems are managing the post-Brexit era well.
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