Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Accel 2020 Euroscape: "Decacorn Unleashed"​ - Apply Now!

- This article was co-authored with my colleagues Varun Purandare and Candice du Fretay and published initially on The Accel 2020 Euroscape will be presented at SaaStock in October.

Last year, we predicted it would take three years for Europe to mark its first Decacorn. We are so happy and excited to see how wrong we were, as it took less than 9 months! Following in the footsteps of consumer companies Supercell, Spotify and Adyen, UiPath became the first European SaaS decacorn earlier this week. With this milestone, Europe has clearly established itself as a key center for software innovation in the world. 

If we look back 10 years, it is amazing to see how far the SaaS ecosystem has come  in a decade. When we started to take stock of this progress four years ago with the first Accel Euroscape, the list of the top 100 cloud companies from Europe and Israel, we had great hopes and Europe delivered beyond our expectations.

So, what does the next generation of European SaaS companies have in store for us? 

This is what we will attempt to discover with the 2020 Accel Euroscape. 

Applications are now open, and if you think the name of your company should be on the list, you can apply HERE – applications will close on 9th September 2020. 

Similar to last year, on top of the 100 companies in the Accel Euroscape, we will release our Champions League of Unicorns and now Decacorns! Customer feedback will play a key role in our ranking as usual. We will be working closely with G2 to include their ratings in our ranking.

2020 has been the best of times and the worst of times. The worst, because the global COVID-19 pandemic, on top of its impact on the health of millions of people, has created havoc in the global economy, triggering unprecedented levels of unemployment and destroying many small and large businesses. The best, because the confinement has accelerated digital transformation dramatically, achieving in two months what should have taken at least two years. 

As a consequence, SaaS public multiples and private company valuations are at an all time high, and the pace of cloud innovation is accelerating. The aggregate value of the 67 public cloud companies have surpassed $1T in February 2020 to reach $1.4T at the time of this post. In some areas like collaboration or health tech, the progress has been dramatic. 

For example, unicorn Doctolib added 31,000 new doctors in five weeks for its tele-conferencing service, seeing the number of daily calls jump from 1,000 to 100,000! At the same time, the government adapted the legislative framework to make sure patients would be fully reimbursed. 

While founders have been very quick to streamline their costs and prepare for the worst in the early days of the crisis, the demand for most SaaS products has continued to grow since the beginning of the year, and we have not observed the shock that we saw during the past crises in 2000 and 2008.

Indeed, all the traffic lights are green for the SaaS ecosystem (fingers crossed!). 

In the past 9 months, the 100 companies from the Accel 2019 Euroscape and the 13 “Champions” have raised c. $3B, including 11 nine figure rounds, in particular UiPath ($226m), Algolia ($110m) and Celonis ($290m), with 3 additional companies passing the $2B valuation mark. SaaS remains one of the top categories for funding in Europe and Israel with $6.1B raised since the beginning of the year, a jump of 25%+ vs. the same period last year, despite Covid.

2020 is also a remarkable year for our firm, as we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of our presence in Europe. As you can imagine, it has been hard for us to celebrate this milestone in the current environment, but after 20 years of helping software companies go global, believing strongly that the European software ecosystem would rise and reach the global stage, witnessing the first European Cloud decacorn is above any celebration we could have hoped for.

We will disclose the 2020 Accel Euroscape on October 12-14 2020 at SaaStock. This year, it won't be in Dublin but fully remote. 

Don't forget to tune in, and you can already register for an opportunity to attend for free (ADD LINK). On top of the list of the top 100 companies, we will present our analysis of the European Cloud ecosystem and how it was impacted by COVID 19.

Stay tuned and see you in October. Don't forget to apply HERE.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

UI Path: the first European Decacorn is born

From Bucharest to the World

As we boarded our flight back to London in early February 2017, leaving behind the Bucharest winter, our team was incredibly excited by the two days we spent with Daniel and his team. Yet, it was hard to imagine that a short three and half years later UiPath would become the first European Cloud Decacorn.

What an incredible journey for this company born in Romania. This new financing of $225m valuing the company at a post-money of $10.2B is an incredible milestone, rewarding one of the fastest-growing cloud software companies of this generation.

This success is the testament of the hard work and relentless ambition of the founder, Daniel Dines and his co-founder Marius Tirca. Together, with a passionate and dedicated team, they pushed the limits of global growth, democratized the access to automation technology, and transformed the way enterprises of any size could harness the power of automation.


"COVID-19 has heightened the critical need for automation...

we are committed to working harder to help our customers evolve,

transform, and succeed fast in the new normal"

Daniel Dines, founder UiPath


We feel very fortunate and grateful to have been part of this journey from the early days, leading the series A in 2017 and the series B in 2018, and to have supported the company in every financing round since including the recently announced Series E this week.

While much of startup entrepreneurship activity historically centered in Silicon Valley, at Accel, we believed many years ago that Silicon Valley was not only a place but a state of mind. Technology entrepreneurship is exploding around the world and we seek to connect with the next generation of entrepreneurs everywhere, leveraging our offices in London and Bangalore. UiPath and Daniel Dines are the perfect example of a company founded locally but scaled globally.

It is a privilege to be working with this visionary team, and it has not always been an easy ride. Hypergrowth creates its own challenges and it is hard to build solid processes when you are running at 100 miles per hour. The company had to streamline its processes at the end of last year. Then came COVID, the black swan. And again, UI Path showed its resilience and adapted very quickly to this new environment, making some disciplined choices but emerging bigger and stronger, with more than $400m ARR run rate. 

Cloud Decacorn: big milestone for Europe

We all remember 10 years ago when the number one question was “Can Europe generate a $1B company”. Old times! With this financing, Europe is marking its first Cloud decacorn, following in the steps of Supercell and Spotify on the consumer side. This is a significant milestone for an ecosystem which has experienced exponential growth in the past decade.

The combination of strong tech Universities, the growing interest from large enterprises to embark on  their digital transformation and the rising level of ambition of the new generation of entrepreneurs creates a fertile ground for innovation.

The ecosystem, which was mostly centred around London and Tel Aviv 20 years ago, has become increasingly more fragmented with the emergence of 10-12 hubs across the region. Our last 25 software investments were based in more than 13 cities, including Altrincham outside Manchester and Aarhus in Denmark. It shows that innovation can come from anywhere in the continent and  “Silicon Valley” is a state of mind.

We came to Europe 20 years ago, and even though COVID 19 limited our ability to celebrate this milestone, witnessing the first European decacorn is above any celebration we could have hoped for. 

Global Cloud Factory 

We are very happy to see UiPath, as a European company, join the Accel Cloud decacorn family with other leaders from around the world such as: Atlassian, Crowdstrike, Docusign, Dropbox and Slack. 

At Accel, we love SaaS and Cloud and have invested close to $4B in 230+ companies globally. We believe that category-defining companies are founded all over the world, and while the first Trillion dollars of cloud market cap has come mostly from US-based companies, we expect the next Trillion dollars to come from many hubs across the globe. These smaller hubs can shape companies with growth-oriented DNA because their founders are required to think beyond their local (often smaller) market to plan for a global business from day one. While Silicon Valley will remain an epicenter of technology innovation, we expect to see an acceleration of cloud entrepreneurship globally, following in the steps of UiPath in Europe, Freshworks in India, Xero in New Zealand and  Atlassian in Australia. 

Big congrats and thank you to Daniel and his team for this great success and for what it means for the European and global tech ecosystem, and we look forward to continuing our small role in supporting their journey.


“I want a robot for every person”

Daniel Dines, founder UiPath



Accel: from Silicon Valley to The World - Interview with Start-up Vision TV

I had the chance to share Accel's vision and talk about the evolution of the Tech ecosystem in Europe in the past 10 years. Fun discussion with Florence Klein of Start-up Vision TV.