Poland – the biggest economy in European tech’s fastest-growing region

Having seen record levels of investment and growth in recent years, Central and Eastern Europe is catching the attention of top-tier foreign investors. And as the largest economy in the region, with a strong talent pool and a new generation of successful startups like Booksy, Brainly and Docplanner, Poland is becoming an important European tech ecosystem.

This new report to accompany the launch of the new Poland startup database initiated by PFR, and supported by InnoEnergy Point Nine CapitalSpeedup GroupGoogle for StartupsWolvesSummitMarket One Capital, and Cogito Capital Partners, explores the startups, scaleups, and investment landscape making up the Polish tech ecosystem. The database catalogues over 2,400 Polish startups and scaleups, 90+ investors and 1,600 funding rounds, with Polish startup coverage up 71% in just 6 months thanks to this project.

Report - The Polish and CEE tech ecosystem outlook

Growing fast

Central and Eastern Europe has become the fastest growing tech ecosystem in Europe. Between 2015 and 2019, investment in the region grew 4.3x from 0.3B to $1.8B, more than twice as fast as Western Europe. The region has also now produced eight unicorns, including Vinted and Gitlab, and six billion dollar exits, including Skype and LogMeIn. These success stories are breeding a large pool of talent, skills and capital to be recycled amongst the growing number of rising star startups in the region, fuelling growth.

Poland, the region’s largest economy

In a region of 148 million people, Poland is its largest economy with 30% share of total Central and Eastern European GDP ($1.59T).

Poland has also long been known as home to a pool of great developer talent – the largest in Central and Eastern Europe at 401K, over twice the number of Romania in second place (139K).

Since 2013, Poland has ranked first in CEE for number of venture capital rounds, 823 compared to Estonia’s 477, and second by total amount raised at 0.9B. More than a third of that investment came in 2019 alone, as Polish startups raised record levels of funding, in what is still an ecosystem in its first phase of development. And it’s not just dominated by big rounds. The average cheque size for pre-Seed-stage investments has almost tripled since 2013.

The investor landscape

Poland is home to at least 97 venture capital funds, and foreign investor appetite is also significantly on the rise. Last year 69% of Polish rounds had involvement from a foreign investor, often top tier VCs from around the world.

PFR Ventures is the largest institutional investor in the CEE region, having launched almost 30 new VCs between 2018 and 2019 which collectively have $1B in dry powder ready to deploy in the Polish market.

With significant exits already under its belt including Fibaro, PizzaPortal and Frisco, and important recent success stories like Booksy, Docplanner and Brainly, Polish tech while still in its infancy has built strong foundations for rapid growth.

Report - The Polish and CEE tech ecosystem outlook