A UiPath to success: Central and Eastern European startups coming of age

Bolt, Wise, Rohlik, Vinted, UiPath, GitLab and Pipedrive. Central and Eastern Europe is producing startups that would be envy of any ecosystem, and increasingly attracting the world’s attention. With startup value up 19x in the last decade, investment on track to 3x in 2021, and 34 unicorns born in the region, CEE’s got a lot to shout about.

Our new report in partnership with Google for Startups and Atomico explores the CEE ecosystem development, current state of play, and future trends driving a €186B ecosystem.

Report - Coming of age: Central and Eastern European startups

The CEE ecosystem has come of age

Companies founded in CEE have now a combined enterprise value of over €186 billion, up 19x since 2010. But it has not been an overnight success.

CEE startup value

Tech giants such as AVG, Avast, Skype, Allegro, LogMeIn attracted the attention of international investors and activated the positive flywheel, posing the base for the next generation of successes such as Bolt, Rohlik, Zego.

CEE unicorns

Record venture capital investment 

Venture capital investment in CEE founded companies has already smashed previous records with €4.0B already raised in 2021. At this pace, 2021 would see a growth of 2.3x from previous all-time-high in 2019.

CEE funding

This is not only driven by megarounds, early stage investing is also booming. Pre-series B funding grew 2.1x in the first half of 2021 compared to last year.

CEE tech has strong fundamentals

The CEE region has created huge success stories, especially in enterprise software thanks to some of the best tech developers in the world.

Almost a third of CEE unicorns have been bootstrapped, suggesting both a lack of available capital, but also that the region has strong entrepreneurial fundamentals, and an ability to build sustainable, scalable startups.

"I strongly believe that CEE has a massive potential to become a cradle of Europe's most valuable companies. Most of the ingredients are already there - determined founders, skilled talent and clockwork execution."

Sasha Vidiborskiy, Atomico

Estonia, one of the smallest countries in CEE and yet one of the biggest startup ecosystems, has more startups per capita (1,048) and has raised more investment per capita (€1,967) than any other country in Europe. Early success stories, paired with a progressive, startup-friendly legislative environment have fostered a nation of tech entrepreneurs.

After recent success stories such as UiPath, the international spotlight is once again on Central and Eastern Europe. The increasing international investor attention, from those keen not to miss CEE’s next decacorn, combined with an ecosystem that is increasingly self-sufficient, bodes well for the future of startup ecosystems in Central and Eastern Europe.

"Successful CEE tech startups are attracting the attention of international investors and activating the positive flywheel, providing a base for the next generation of successes.”

Joanna Nagadowska, Google for Startups

Report - Coming of age: Central and Eastern European startups