Our most-read tales in 2021 mirrored lots of the new tendencies and breakthroughs within the business — from the metaverse to quantum computing.
But it surely was additionally in regards to the folks; we had brunch with Romania’s richest man, UiPath founder Daniel Dines and checked out what life is like for the (romantic) companions of founders and for Black feminine founders elevating capital. And naturally, we investigated who was getting wealthy…
So right here they’re — essentially the most eyeballed articles on Sifted this yr:
1/ Revolut has turned over 70 workers into millionaires
A maturing European tech ecosystem ought to imply extra millionaires. Nowhere is that this extra true than at Revolut, Europe’s second most respected personal firm.
At the least 76 previous and present workers now personal shares in Revolut price seven figures in accordance with a Sifted evaluation of Firms Home data. Amongst them, over a dozen maintain $10m+ price of shares. That features each long-time veterans like Alan Chang, who oversees operations at Revolut, in addition to departed executives like Revolut’s first CFO, Peter O’Higgins.
2/ 15 metaverse startups to look at in accordance with traders and founders
2021 was the yr when the idea of the metaverse got here into the vernacular because of Mark Zuckerberg — and VCs began piling in. European traders and founders shared with us 15 metaverse firms in Europe that they’d their eyes on in nations from Iceland to Poland and France.
3/ A newbie’s information to the metaverse (and earning profits in it)
Sifted readers, you have been actually, actually into the metaverse, weren’t you? Our deeptech guru Maija Palmer walked readers via the evolution of the metaverse from the beginning of the phrase to 1992 to its use right this moment to discuss with a extremely immersive, shared digital world the place folks collect to play video games, socialise and work.
4/ Gorillas: The brand new WeWork?
No sector in European tech received extra press and hype this yr than speedy grocery. Among the many most-well funded opponents is Berlin-based Gorillas, who handily broke the report for the quickest European tech firm to ever obtain unicorn standing in March.
However with quick progress inevitably comes rising pains, as Gorillas skilled this yr. Sifted talked to 9 individuals who have accused the corporate of arbitrary firings, exploitation of riders and warehouse employees, in addition to a hostile surroundings on the HQ. Others have raised questions in regards to the cash-burning enterprise mannequin. How will the story finish?
5/ Early traders in Deliveroo eye 60,000% return on their cash
Ah, the luck of first ticket traders. Get in a rocketship tech firm and the returns may be astronomical, as Deliveroo’s early traders skilled when the supply firm went public earlier this yr. Although the market cap has stayed beneath the estimated valuation earlier than the itemizing, it’s unsure early traders like Index and Hoxton went dwelling as blissful as this text predicted.
6/ Europe’s prime 10 “unicorn universities”
College and graduate programmes are the place sturdy friendships are cast — a few of which change into the premise for beginning an organization collectively. Sifted took a have a look at the colleges in Europe whose alumni have produced essentially the most $1bn firms.
7/ Europe’s prime 30 younger enterprise capitalists
As Gen Z enters the workforce, they’re additionally making their mark on VC. We charted the highest 30 younger VCs throughout Europe at corporations like Speedinvest and Heartcore Capital. Some kids like Harry Stebbings have even arrange their very own funds.
8/ Early traders in UiPath on monitor to make a 220,000% return
Romanian robotic course of automation startup UiPath’s US itemizing was a triumph for European tech — and a wake-up name to VCs. Its $1.3bn IPO was proof that nice European firms may be based anyplace, and the traders who did their due diligence have been, Sifted found, duly well-rewarded.
9/ Salt breakthrough may halve the price of storing photo voltaic vitality
Sweden is undoubtedly Europe’s impression tech capital, boasting disruptive personal vitality firms like battery large Northvolt and (somewhat bit smaller) Seaborg, a small next-generation nuclear startup.
One of many largest difficulties with wind or photo voltaic vitality is discovering a great way to retailer it. If you would like each warmth and energy — for a low value — there have been few good choices. Seaborg has found an improved molten salt storage resolution that’s cheaper and extra environment friendly than present know-how, and might be a gamechanger for vitality storage.
10/ Breakthrough: Quantum computer systems will quickly slot in your telephone
A quantum pc sufficiently small to take a seat in your desk — or be embedded in a satellite tv for pc, automotive or perhaps a cell phone — is now not a pipe dream. The primary such machines are literally beginning to be delivered to early prospects, because of advances in qubits created utilizing artificial diamonds. The tech is being dropped at market by startup Quantum Brilliance, which raised an almost $10m seed funding spherical from a consortium of traders led by Fundamental Sequence Ventures and the founders of QxBranch, the Australian quantum companies firm acquired by Rigetti.