Our most-read stories of 2021 reflect many of the industry’s newest trends and breakthroughs — from the metaverse to quantum computing.
But it was also about people; We caught up with Romania’s richest man, UiPath founder Daniel Dines, and looked at what life is like for black female founders who are (romantic) partners and raising capital. And of course we looked at who’s getting rich…
So here they are – the most eye-catching articles on Sifted this year:
1/ Revolut has turned over 70 employees into millionaires.
A maturing European tech ecosystem should mean more millionaires. Nowhere is this more true than at Revolt, the second most valuable private company in Europe.
At least 76 past and present employees now own shares in Revolut at a seven-figure price, according to an analysis of companies’ filings. Between them, they hold more than a dozen $10m+ stocks. That includes veterans like Alan Chang Manages operations at Revolut; As well as executives like Revolut’s first CFO; Peter O’Higgins.
2/ 15 Metaverse startups to watch, according to investors and founders
In the year 2021 was the year the concept of the metaverse came into the language for Mark Zuckerberg – and the VCs started piling up. European investors and founders share with us 15 Metaverse companies in Europe that have their eyes on countries from Iceland to Poland. France.
3/ A beginner’s guide to scaling (and making money at it)
Readers who doubt it, you’ve really, really been into the metaverse thing, haven’t you? Our deep tech guru Maija Palmer walks readers through the evolution of the metaverse, from the birth of the term to 1992 to refer to a highly immersive and shared virtual world where people come together to play games, communicate and work.
4/ Gorillas: The New WeWork?
No sector in European tech has received more press and hype this year than fast food. One of the most well-funded contenders is Berlin-based Gorillas, which is the fastest European tech company to break the record. To get the unicorn status in March.
But when there’s rapid growth, it’s inevitable that gorillas will grow ill, like the one he experienced this year. Sifted spoke to nine people who accused the company of random firings, exploitation of drivers and warehouse workers, and a hostile environment at its headquarters. Others raised questions about the cash-burning business model. How does the story end?
5/ Early investors in Deliveroo get 60,000% of their money back
Ah, the luck of the first ticket investors. Enter the rocketship tech company, and as Deliveroo’s early investors experienced when the delivery company went public earlier this year, the answer could be astronomical. Although the market price remains below Speculation before the listing, it is not certain that early investors like Index and Hoxton will go home as happy as this article predicts.
6/ Europe’s 10 Best “Unicorn Universities”
University and graduate programs are where strong friendships are formed – some of which become the basis for starting a company together. Sifted looked at universities in Europe whose graduates have created $1 billion companies.
7/ Europe’s best 30 young venture capitalists
As Gen Z enters the workforce, they’re making their mark on VC as well. We profiled the top 30 young VCs across Europe at companies such as Speed Invest and Hardcore Capital. Some young people like Harry Stebbing established it their own money.
8/ Early investors are on track for a 220,000% return with UiPath.
Romanian robotic process automation startup UiPath’s US listing was a win for European tech — and a wake-up call for VCs. The $1.3 billion IPO was proof that great European companies can be founded anywhere, and investors who did their due diligence, Sifted found, were duly rewarded.
9/ The discovery of salt cuts the cost of storing solar energy in half
Sweden is undoubtedly Europe’s influential tech capital, boasting private energy companies such as battery giant Northvolt and (slightly smaller) Seborg, a small next-generation nuclear startup.
One of the biggest problems with wind or solar power is finding a good way to store it. If you need both heat and power – at a low price – there are a few good options. Cyborg has found an improved molten salt storage solution that is cheaper and more efficient than current technology, and could be a game changer for energy storage.
10/ Hint: Quantum computers will soon be in your phone.
A quantum computer small enough to sit on your desk – or embedded in a satellite, car or mobile phone – is no longer a pipe dream. Thanks to the development of qubits created using synthetic diamonds, the first such machines have actually started to be delivered to early customers. The technique is being brought to market by startup Quantum Brilliance, a consortium of investors led by Main Sequence Ventures and the founders of QxBranch, an Australian quantum services company acquired by Righetti, which raised nearly $10 million in seed funding.