RR #13 Jun'21 | Shoper IPO, SaaS in Poland, Turkey on 🔥
Mining for hidden gems in Central Eastern Europe
time flies fast in VC land. As many of you are probably wrapping up any open topics before a deserved summer break, I’m happy to be back with a fresh update for June’21.
It was a busy month. More than 50 rounds were announced. 💰 Softbank made its first investment in Poland. 🔥 Turkey is on fire with two mega-rounds. The investment boom continues as we prepare for the Delta variant of the Corona virus 😂.
In all seriousness, I hope everyone is safe and healthy.
I am excited to welcome more than 350 new subscribers to my humble newsletter. Lead Ventures, Marathon, Flashpoint, Hummingbird, Trind, Hiventures, Form Ventures, Omers Ventures, Sparking Capital were some of the funds to join the list -thank you 🙏.
As I’m still experimenting with different formats for this newsletter, I looked back at the last 12 months of the updates I wrote. I wanted to revisit my initial idea for Rounds Review and see if it is still relevant. After giving it some thought, I would like to share with you some of my reflections.
The European VC market is growing fast. Not sure if Covid19 was an accelerant but over the last 12-18 months things started to move much faster. There are more companies, more funds, and more money chasing a limited number of great opportunities. With this overall expansion of the market, it is getting harder to keep track of all the deal activity. I guess that my intuition to focus on CEE was a good choice as it allowed me to focus on one specific region. Having said that, I also see that CEE has become more competitive across the board. I think now more than ever the question for CEE VCs is how to stay relevant and stand out from the crowd.
CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) is a large region. Most of you are probably familiar with the Baltic States -> Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. This sub-region is home to some of the biggest tech success stories in CEE. Andris @ Change Ventures even argues that Baltic States are the “next startup nations”. What I recently noticed is that there is a new sub-region emerging -> SEE (Southeast Europe). Irina @ Recursive is doing a great job covering this new sub-region comprising Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, North Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia. At the same time, we see Poland account for 20% of all the funding in the region. As it is my home market, I am naturally long-term bullish that Poland will produce most of the output in the coming decades. Tomasz @ Inovo recently shared Q2 numbers for Poland. I anticipate that Poland will see multiple unicorns in the next few years with Docplanner, Booksy, Brainly being the top candidates. This would definitely position Poland close to Estonia. With so many local markest expanding at the same time it will be difficult to keep track of everything. On the flip side, more people are sharing data and insights from their local ecosystems. If local systems grow in density over time, and will become multigenerational (many 2nd, 3rd time founders) it might even make sense to focus on single countries and still drive great returns.
My next reflection is probably the most important. The only thing which doesn’t seem to expand is time. Sourcing deals, closing transactions, managing a growing portfolio of companies, and keeping tabs on all the activity in the region doesn’t leave too much room for a work-life balance. I am exploring the idea of getting someone to help with data collection and basic analysis. I think it is a great opportunity for someone to get into the game. Any referrals would be greatly appreciated.
Lastly, I thought about the difference between data, information, and insights. When I started Rounds Review, my main goal was to learn about the CEE VC ecosystem. I was mostly looking for data (like funding) and information (which VCs were active). Insights came mostly from combining data and information. Now after 12 months of research I think I have a good overview of the region. The move to Substack, surfaced a new aspect of this research - the community. I believe that ultimately your network is the best source of insights. I don’t know how to address this part yet, but I’m working on it. There are many informal networks around CEE. Some are based on angel groups, some on founders looking to connect with other founders. I had my go at community building with Startup Stage and Meetup VC. It has always been a great learning experience. I would like to try to do the same around Rounds Review.
If you have any inputs or comments on the above, I’m up for a discussion.
#news and data about CEE I've picked up recently
Want to take a peek into Eastern Europe’s biggest female angel investor club? Sifted got you covered.
Mircea @ Activised shared a great overview of the funding activity in Romania for the first half of 2021.
Robert Ditrych did an excellent job reviewing the recent IPO of Shoper - the Shopify of Poland.
Startup Poland published the 2021 Venture Capital report. You can download it here.
#EXTRA -> 2021 Polish B2B SaaS Landscape
I’m proud to present the updated 2021 Polish B2B SaaS Landscape. This year we put in the extra effort to extend the report and not only focus on funding but also revenue of SaaS companies which are based out of Poland. [larger image]
240 companies added to the landscape
More than €220M in revenue for the last financial period
~€660M raised to date by all companies in the landscape
HR, ERP, and Sales were among the most funded categories
#Jun’21 - here is a snippet of the most important numbers
📣 51 rounds announced
💰 ~ €731M raised (all rounds converted into EUR)
🚀 Two mega-rounds. Getir is on 🔥 with, another ~€450M. Dream Games bagged €130M.
🌍 Mubadala, Sequoia, Silver Lake, Tiger Global, Accel, Index, Balderton were among some of the international investors active this month.
🇹🇷 Turkey was the most active country (again).
As a side comment, it came to my attention that some rounds included in Crunchbase have not yet been publicly announced. I don’t know how this data is added to Crunchbase and what is the original source, which makes it even more difficult to track/verify. This is another area that definitely needs improvement.
#companies I found somehow interesting this month
offers an open banking platform that gives access to various banks across Europe. As the trend of embedded finance is only getting stronger across SaaS I think we will see more of these types of platforms emerge.
is a feedback platform focused on bridging the gap between designers and developers. It offers an intuitive UI to report, comment, and collaborate on website frontends.
is a new product in the productivity stack. It offers analytics across various communication channels. The product tries to identify inefficiencies and help managers improve processes around time allocation.
I’ve started working on my Series A research. I’m hoping to share some of my early learnings in the next update. What I found interesting already is that this year we had 16 Series A rounds announced. My definition of a Series A round is at least €4M raised. Now, is 16 a lot, just right, or a poor result for a region that includes 11 countries? I will leave you with this question until the next update.
In the meantime here is the list of these Series As:
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