#5 CEE Venture Rounds Review OCT’20

I hope you are well and safe. As predicted, in many countries across the EU Covid19 has struck back with an even deadlier force. Unfortunately, Poland has seen a dramatic increase in cases. With 20k-27k daily cases, we are borderline National Quarantine. I guess we can only hope that a relief (in form of a vaccine or other) will come soon.


I think most of us in the industry have somehow found a “new normal”. It seems that 2020 is a year of zoom VC. My impression is that deals are getting done faster with less due diligence. Later stage funds (~ series A) are getting more aggressive at seed and even pre-seed in some cases. Two words — more competition! Everywhere. Not only stagewise but also geo is starting to play a smaller role. Since everyone is on zoom anyway, what is the sense of national borders? If you only have a mandate to invest across the EU, now is a good time as any to expand your reach.

I had a great discussion with Mircea and Drago about the startup scene in Romania, we should definitely see more deals coming from UIPath nation. I highly recommend to reach out to Mircea or Drago for insight on Romania. Here you can find a good primer published by the Financial Times.

I also had a very good conversation with Maciej at PFR Ventures. We talked startups, funds and data. After this conversation, I am convinced that Maciej sits on the most accurate data set on VC funding in Poland. Not sure if I’m braking an embargo here, but expect a detailed report on the Polish funding landscape closer to the end of the year.

You should also check out the Baltic Startups Funding Report put together by Change Ventures. There are some interesting key insights, which I think also apply to other CEE countries.

So, what happened in October across the CEE? Here is a snippet of the most important data points

📣 16 rounds announced
💰 ~ €15,4M raised (all rounds converted into EUR)
🚀 The largest round was raised by bitNinja (announcement) ~ €2,1M, edrone (based in my home town of KRK) is also worth mentioning as they raised more than €2M from Protfolion and also received a grant in excess of €2M from the National Center for Research and Development in Poland.
🌍 I haven’t picked up many international funds. It is worth mentioning that Airly attracted some high-profile angels. Alchemist (a B2B focused accelerator based in SF) invested in Yieldigo.
🇵🇱 Poland was the most active country with 5 rounds.

VC Rounds Announced in CEE in October
Investors who made investments in October

Some additional notes:

  • after numerous discussion with other investors in the region, I think there is little value in reporting aggregate numbers. Many rounds are not announced. Accuracy of data in public databases is low. From the next RR onwards I will focus on quality vs quantity.
  • 5 months of researching rounds in CEE has already thought me a lot. With the data I’ve collected I’m starting to see some patterns emerge. Co-investors, notable angels, exceptional founders are starting to emerge from the data. I will try to present some of these insights in the coming months.
  • Moving forward I want to allocate more time towards Poland and B2B SaaS which is my primary domain. SaaS still dominates across CEE.

📣 As always, feel free to reach out if you would like to discuss or challenge any of the data points.

I’m a Partner at Innovation Nest, a seed VC fund focused on B2B Software. Helping SaaS founders with growth strategies and tactics.