🔥RR #12 Circular Economy, Covid rocket fuel, latest #fintech hub in CEE
Mining for hidden gems in Central Easter Europe
As you might have seen, I’ve upgraded this humble substack as now it has a logo 😂. Thank God 🙏 for Canva. More upgrades are coming! Stay tuned.
There are now 119 subs to this newsletter. Thank you to each and every one of you. You are in great company. These are some of the names behind the list -> Speedinvest, Singular, Karma, Launchub, Earlybird, Credo, Notion, Peak just to name a few.
as every one of us is super busy, I will iterate on the format to make it as pleasant to digest as possible. This means -> shorter, more to the point, funnier 😂 posts.
I’ve started working on a separate Airtable which will be the main database for my curated content. It will be separated into Rounds, Companies, Funds, Investors. It will replace the Google Sheets you’ve been receiving.
I will no longer publish these posts on Medium. I’ve decided to move all my content to Substack.
I’ve been getting requests to include a “who’s raising” section and a “key hires” section. I’m still figuring out if it makes sense to include them. If you have an opinion, I would really appreciate the feedback.
I’ve also started a Rounds Review Pocket as I’m finding more and more content focused on VC in CEE. I will try to include it at the end of each post.
Another upgrade for the newsletter will be a B2B SaaS section. As this is my focus area, I will try to include my commentary to those rounds.
#news and data about CEE I've picked up recently
Lithuania is becoming a recognised #FinTech hub via Sifted
Highlights from the first North Macedionan National Startup Summit via Trending Topics
New fund in the region. Launch of Vitosha Venture Partners via Techcrunch
7 years of digital transformation in 12 months. MCI shared their latest financial results via Linkedin
State of Polish AI 2021 via Digital Poland
Competition for talent is through the roof. Tylko is a Polish scale-up that raised ~€30M of funding to date. To put their offer into perspective. The average salary in Poland is ~€1k. Head of Growth is one of the most difficult positions to fill from the local ecosystem.
#companies I found somehow interesting this month
They help event organisers make their events more accessible by offering multilingual support. The founders are betting on the fact that not everyone speaks English (nor wants to). The ability to interact in your own language can sometimes be a game-changer for event participants.
For many e-commerce is purely about selling physical goods online. Outside of physical products, there is a host of other services that can be offered and sold online. Introwise is building a one-stop-shop for anyone who sells “knowledge” to easily setup a business page, offer slot booking, video and payments.
Logistics is becoming a hot market as e-commerce volumes are increasing. With more cross-boarder sales, merchants have to deal with shipping their products to multiple countries. This is becoming an increasing challenge. You could be using FBA or you can try to setup your own fulfilment network. Omnipack is taking a fullstack approach to this problem.
#May’21 - here is a snippet of the most important numbers
📣 53 rounds announced
💰 ~ €333M raised (all rounds converted into EUR)
🚀 There was only one mega-round in May. Vinted has raised another €250M.
🌍 Accel, Insight Venture Partners, Storm Ventures, Notion Capital were among some of the international investors active this month.
🇹🇷 Turkey was the most active country (again).
Few comments based on the data
In May we have seen more than 90 unique investors invest in the region. Most of them had made only 1 investment. Every month I pick up new names, which means there are still more funds being launched. I would say that competition is growing on all levels - local, regional and international.
Turkey, Estonia and Poland continue to be among the TOP3 most active countries. My take on this is that Estionia is the most vibrant/developed ecosystem. Poland has seen the government heavily invest into the VC ecosystem through various fund-creation schemes. Turkey is a large home market. All the other countries in CEE seem to have fewer rounds announced.
It still holds true that seed is mostly local, regional at best. Very few International funds are investing into pre-seed / seed deals in CEE. There are of course some edge cases, but the general rule seems to be that these funds come in at Series A. It is also a common practice for local funds to seek International investors to join their companies at Series A. Some try to do it already at seed.
This year we have definitely seen many companies reach later stage growth. There were several >€100M rounds raised in recent months. I don’t have the data to support this yet, but imho we are seeing an end of a cycle. Companies created circa 2010-2014 are entering a “maturity phase”. Some seek IPOs like Wise, some raise prob pre-IPO rounds like Vinted. Vinteges between 2019 and 2021 will we interesting to observe 10 years from now. These company have really experienced a once in a lifetime event -> in the form of the Covid19 pandemic. Some got accelerated like Interactio and are definitely riding the “remote” wave.
I decided to focus more on Series A companies in the region. The bar for raising Series A in CEE is high. Based on Crunchbase data, there are ~7700 rounds that have been announced in the region. ~8% of them have been Series A and above. This is based on raw data. I would assume the conversion rates is closer to 6%, if you actually filter out mislabeled rounds. If you only filter out companies that have raised Series A (in some cases also further rounds), then there are less than 500 rounds tracked in Crunchbase.
As a starting point, I will look at all Series A rounds announced from the 1st of January 2020. So far there have been 89 rounds announced. Interactio mentioned before raised the 3rd highest Series A in the region.
Expect a full review in the next Rounds Review.
Thank You! You've reach the end of this months update. Much appreciated, I hope you enjoyed the content. If you would like to share feedback or comments feel free to hit the reply button. PS sorry for all the typos