Climate-focused industrial tech start-ups boomed this year, report finds

10 Nov 2021

Image: © Attasit/

A Dealroom and Speedinvest report found that investment into Europe’s industrial tech start-ups in the climate space has grown by 220pc in 2021.

It has been a good year for European start-ups in the industrial technology space, with the value of early-stage companies growing by 120pc since 2020 to reach €73.9bn. It has been an even better year for those focused on the climate, with investment in this space increasing by 220pc in a single year.

This is according to a report by Dealroom and VC firm Speedinvest, which found that Europe now has 13 industrial tech unicorns and exits to the value of more than $1bn, with 4.1pc of industrial tech start-ups classified as ‘future unicorns’.

In July, another Dealroom report found that Europe was leading the way in the world’s billion-dollar tech company boom, with 65 of the 170 cities globally that have at least one unicorn. In 2021 alone, the region has attracted €49bn in VC investment – more than the US, China and the rest of Asia.

‘Our report clearly showcases the momentum of the industrial tech sector, presenting a variety of bold solutions to help decarbonise the industry’

The new report, published this week, focuses on European start-ups in the industrial tech space. It found that investment from non-VC investors now accounts for 49pc of total industrial tech investment, up from 35pc in 2020.

Cybersecurity, logistics and procurement are some of the highest valued areas in the industrial tech space and have shown the strongest growth in 2021, driven by an increase in the number of unicorns in these segments.

Celonis, a software company focused on process mining, is the most valuable industrial technology company in Europe at €10bn, followed by Autostore, the Norwegian warehouse robotic automation company valued at €7bn.

The report found that mega-rounds have become a significant feature, pointing to increasing availability of late-stage funding as the sector matures. Celonis secured a $1bn Series D round this year, while other tech companies in the space such as Forto and Agile Robots also had some high-value rounds.

Eyes on climate

But perhaps the most promising growth was seen in the climate space, with climate-focused industrial tech companies attracting significantly more investment than before. According to Marie-Helene Ametsreiter of Speedinvest, this is an important step in tackling the climate crisis.

“There’s no doubt that tackling climate change is a key priority for governments and business alike,” she said. “And with industry accounting for 38pc of CO2 emissions in its own right, improving industrial processes through incorporating new technologies will be key to solving the problem globally.”

Dealroom founder and CEO Yoram Wijngaarde added that the climate crisis is one of the world’s most pressing social and economic threats that demands new measures from heavy industries because of their significant contribution to emissions globally.

“Our report presents encouraging reading in this context and clearly showcases the momentum of the industrial tech sector, presenting a variety of bold solutions to help decarbonise the industry.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic