Santa’s coming to town
inventures’ exclusive ‘Question Time’ studies among CEE and Austrian startups demonstrated that in 2014 founders have been generally optimistic about the future of entrepreneurship in their respective countries. A lot of this was due to good news coming from all over – investments and exits made some people very, very happy, while inspiring others to work harder. Read on for a recap of some of the more notable milestones we reported on this year.
Rolling in deep (dough)
Although this particular piece focuses on investments, there is no way we can fail to mention the exits too. A successful exit is the ultimate goal that investors and many founders hope for; so be sure to check out the list on the right for a quick review of the champagne-popping news of the year.
- Notable 2014 Acquisitions
- Bulgaria Telerik was acquired by Progress Software for €213.7 M in October
- Slovenia GrabCAD was sold to Stratasys for €81M in September
- Romania Intralinks acquired docTrackr for €8.1M in May
- Slovakia & Czech Republic Zomato purchased Obedovat.sk and sister Launchtime.cz for €2.6M in total in September
Even though the CEE region is just starting to truly revel in the startup fever, news of investments have been far from scarce this year. A lot of these were in the five- or low-six figures, mostly provided by venture funds like SpeedInvest or i5invest in Austria and accelerators and (networks of) incubators like AplusB in Austria, Eleven in Bulgaria, Wayra in the Czech Republic, TractionTribe in Hungary. EU- and state-sponsored seed funds like LAUNCHub and aws also gave a welcome intitial push to dozens of startups this year, making sure we have no shortage of good news to report on and new ideas to spread.
The Venture Almanach Austria 2015 provides an exclusive list of investments
And how could it be different, with 150 private investors and funds in Austria alone, as listed in our first-ever Almanach.
As important as these initial support funds are, what everyone wants to know about are the bigger investments and seed rounds that startups managed to secure – these are the ones really validating the good ideas as great ones and changing the game in a big way. We reported on about 20 investments of over a million in 2014, that’s almost two per month – not bad considering a few years ago startup was an unknown word in the region and angels were in the church’s domain alone. You can see a detailed list in the table below, together with a closer look at the top five, in terms of value. Attesting to the fact that the whole region is going strong, you can see that the top investments are far from being concentrated just on Austrian startups.
Top of the Stacks
- Lithuania’s second-hand e-marketplace Vinted took the cake, the icing and the cherry on top early on, with their February Series B investment round to the tune of 22 million euros! Led by Insight Venture Partners along with Accel Partners, the round, meant to help the startup take on the US market, became one of the largest in the Baltics.
Another Baltic success, EstonianTransferWise impressed in June not just with the amount secured – 20 million euros – but also with the prominence of their backer Richard Branson of Virgin fame. They promptly celebrated by staging stripping flashmobs in front of London banks to demonstrate that, unlike the big players’ hidden fees, these guys had nothing to hide.
Moving into the single-digit millions Brainly, an edtech startup from Poland, announced in October that they too, were planning a US expansion – one backed by 7.3 million euros in an investment round led by General Catalyst Partners.
Although the whole of CEE suffered a bleak, rainy summer, June was a hot month for investments, as it was also when Hungarian security startup BalaBit, announced an 6.5 million euros investment from London-based C5 Capital.
Rounding up our list with another June investment, Austria makes an honorary appearance. Even though the country secured the most announcements of seven-digit investments, only one deal ranked in the top five – Wikifolio closing a 6 million euros round, led by SpeedInvest.
Investment Startup Name Home Country Investor Info
€21,000,000 Vinted Lithuania
Insight Venture Partners, Accel Partners and others €20,000,000
Richard Branson, Valar Ventures and others €7,300,000 Brainly Poland
General Catalyst Partners, Runa Capital and others €6,500,000 BalaBit Hungary
SVAngel, CrunchFund, Nicolas Berggruen and others €3,600,000 HotelQuickly Slovakia
GREE Ventures €2,400,000 Tresorit Hungary
Euroventures,vAndreas Kemi, Marton Szoke and others €2,200,000 TwoTap Romania
Khosla Ventures, SV Angel, Joseph Saunders and others
Tim Draper, LAUNCHub, Earlybird Venture Capital €1,800,000 Kompany Austria
Norbert Zimmermann and others
€1,800,000 Kontakt.io Poland Sunstone Capital
€1,600,000 Number26 Austria Ealrybird, Redalpine, Axel Springer Plug and Play
€1,400,000 Infogr.am Latvia Point Nine Capital andConnected Ventures
€1,200,000 Settle Ukraine Life.SREDA
€1,000,000 AirDog Latvia Kickstarter Campaign
€1,000,000 Cortical.io Austria Reventon
€810,000 Flatout Technologies Austria Austria Wirtschaftsservice (aws) and others