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Latest 2024 startup trends: What happened in Q2?

Find out how and which energy, deep tech, and AI startups have been gaining momentum in the first half of 2024.

4 min read

The second quarter of 2024 saw significant movements: Political events, technological advancements, and substantial financial injections have shaped the landscape. It doesn't come as a surprise that energy, deep tech, and AI startups are the investment winners.

European startups 

Elections, energy, and emerging technologies 

The results of the European elections at the beginning of June quickly raised questions about the future of a green Europe—climate-skeptic voices and opposition to climate efforts have been gaining political weight. However, sustainability startups need not bury their heads in the sand. Digital lending initiatives such as the Swedish company Cloover support the clean tech and health tech sectors with embedded financing options. Such initiatives could accelerate the adoption of renewable energy amidst political shifts.

New areas of innovation are gaining momentum, particularly in thermal energy storage. This technology, which stores energy as heat rather than electricity, is proving to be a more efficient method for creating batteries. As a result, green energy startups in this sector are attracting increasing interest from investors. 

According to Dealroom data, funding for energy storage increased by 45% last year. A notable example is the Swedish company Northvolt, which secured the largest green debt deal in Europe to date, amounting to $5 billion. This deal was partly financed by the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Another clean tech startup that benefited from the climate debate in Q2 is GridBeyond, which secured $52 million in Series C funding. This Irish startup leverages AI to innovate and collaborate with customers, optimizing value from energy generation, demand, and storage to achieve a zero-carbon future.

Bill Gates goes Europe

European climate tech is receiving another financial boost from American billionaire Bill Gates. His venture capital firm, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, is committed to scaling climate tech ventures across Europe, backing nine startups: Mission Zero (UK), Heart Aerospace (Sweden), Blue World Technologies (Denmark), Dioxycle (France), H2site (Spain), Reactive Technologies (UK), 44.01 (UK), Bloom Biorenewables (Switzerland), and Quell Therapeutics (UK).

Predictive AI for the factory floor

AI systems are increasingly being introduced to the industry. Large manufacturers are utilizing digital twin technology and AI to detect and rectify operational shortcomings early. Software that predicts maintenance needs is gaining traction, with Swiss startup EthonAI and German startup Daedalus raising $16.5 million and $21 million, respectively, in recent months.

Global startup universe 

Deep tech on the rise 

Investment firms and venture studios are accelerating deep tech innovation in AI and VR through funding and support. In the Far East, the Saudi Ministry and the Hashgraph Association have invested $250 million in a deep tech venture studio. Additionally, Micron Ventures has allocated $200 million for deep tech businesses.

The robotics industry is also recovering from the post-pandemic slowdown. As we head into the second half of the year, 2024 is on track to surpass last year's numbers, with $4.2 billion invested so far. Investment in humanoids—robots designed to resemble the human body in both appearance and functionality—is particularly flourishing. The Norwegian startup 1X, which counts OpenAI as an early backer, has raised $100 million this year for the development of its humanoid robots.

Largest global funding rounds: Cash for AI

Horizontal AI & ML platforms are leading the field, experiencing a surge in funding as they build, deploy, or fine-tune AI models. Cloud services are also gaining significant traction.

San Francisco-based Sigma Computing has raised a total of $558 million in equity funding. This cloud startup provides live access to cloud data warehouses and is backed by Sutter Hill Ventures, Avenir Growth Capital, XN, NewView Capital, and Snowflake Ventures.

German AI startup DeepL has secured $400 million in total equity funding for its translation platform. Founded in 2017, DeepL evolved from the multilingual dictionary Linguee and has been refining its AI language translation technology for seven years. With 20,000 businesses and government entities worldwide as customers, it is supported by ICONIQ Growth, WiL (World Innovation Lab), Teachers' Venture Growth, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Benchmark.

The design tool Figma, also based in San Francisco, has raised a total of $749.1 million in equity funding. This funding will also support AI development: last month, Figma announced the introduction of AI features into its collaborative design tool to speed up small tasks. Figma's backers include Haystack, Daniel Gross, Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and Fuel Capital.


About the author

Tamara Hofer
Copywriter & Marketing Assistant

Tamara is our multi-lingual expert in copywriting and storytelling. She also helps with all digital marketing efforts.

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