Cyprus: an emerging startup ecosystem at crossroads between Europe, Africa and Asia
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, located at the eastern end of Europe, at the heart of the busy shipping and air routes linking Europe, Africa, and Middle East-Asia. This unique location has led Cyprus to play an important role in regional geopolitics and trade relations, making it a strategic business center.
Cyprus’ startup scene, in numbers
Today, Cypriot people strive to offer an innovative, diverse, and investor-friendly tech environment. Over 446 startups and scaleups call Cyprus home in 2022, and together they are now worth €3.7b in combined enterprise value.
Cyprus is an upcoming innovation and entrepreneurial hub and many organizations work together to offer constant innovation and entrepreneurship events, collaborations and discussions. Among them, TechIsland – a non-profit IT Association, was established in 2021 with the mission of turning Cyprus into a world-class destination for world-class talent.
Over the past decade there has been a steady increase of available capital to fund startups across Cyprus. We saw an increase in the number of recorded rounds over the last decade, particularly in early-stage investment (Pre-seed to Series A). With €85.5M raised, 2021 was a record breaking year for Cypriot startups, like most places in the world. 2022 seems to be be back to pre-pandemic levels, so far Cyprus-based startups raised €17M this year.
Unicorns and other success stories
In Greek mythology, Cyprus is the birthplace of Aphrodite and Adonis. Today, the island is home to two other magical creatures. Both Nexters and Outfit7 reached the coveted unicorn status.
Nexters joined the board of the Tech Island Association back in April last year to help build an attractive ecosystem for tech companies of different size – from startups to corporations. Their investments and contribution to the development of business in Cyprus was awarded later that year by the President of Cyprus.
With companies like Nexters investing in their local ecosystem and contributing to the flywheel effect, new sprouts emerge. Among the top Cyprus-based startups to keep an eye on right now, there is both gaming startups Jarvi Games and Colossi Games but also edtech startup LearnWorlds, digital studio TheSoul Publishing or payment and intelligent cashier services Praxis Cashier.
As shown through its recent success stories, the gaming industry in Cyprus is thriving and startups in this sector raised €33.4M since 2018 with the highest recorded number of rounds compared to other industries.
However, it is in edtech that Cypriot startups have raised the most funding between 2018 and 2022 with a total amount of €60.1M. Tourism is one of Cyprus’ most resilient and strong economic sectors. The island has all the prerequisites to further develop this industry and offers great potential for investments in niche areas such as Health & Wellness, Sports, Luxury and Lifestyle.
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