How does the Polish Startup Ecosystem compare to the West?

On November 3rd I published some data on the Polish venture funded startups. To categorize the companies I used a taxonomy, which my colleague and a Kauffman Fellow, Gil Dibner, uses to regularly share venture stats on Western Europe and Israel.

I took Gil’s data for Western Europe and Israel for Q2 2016, and compared with my findings for Poland. Being the largest country in the region, Poland as a startup ecosystem it is quite representative of the rest of Central Eastern Europe.

54% of the Polish venture-funded companies sell to enterprises, compared to 40% in Western Europe and 75% in Israel.

Polish startups (more often than elsewhere in Europe) develop solutions oriented towards small and medium enterprises (30%). This reflects the structure of the Polish market, composed to a large extent of SMEs.

In terms of sector focus Western European startups have been recently big on financial services (1st investment category) and electronics (2nd). Cybersecurity is a huge focus, especially in Israel. These sectors are increasingly gaining traction in Poland too, but the current portfolio still focuses largely on marketing solutions, health, energy and gaming. CD Projekt Red is a Polish game development company valued at over $ 1bn. Most people in the gaming industry know it for “The Witcher”.

Marketing solutions for enterprises (brand tracking, lead management etc.) is the top investment category in Poland and the rest of the CEE region.

Finally, both Polish and Western European venture-funded startups successfully apply the SaaS model (26% and 32% respectively).

Marketplaces and commerce are becoming less popular for new investments across the board, but are still well-represented in the current portfolio in Poland and Western Europe.

Central Eastern European (just like Israeli) entrepreneurs have been most successful in commercializing enterprise-facing solutions. I expect this to continue to be their strong focus, while consumer businesses will continue to come from larger countries such as USA and Germany. Gaming is a flourishing sector in Poland and I expect it to stay this way.

As the startup sector matures in Poland, I predict that the startups will attempt to target fewer SMEs and more larger businesses and corporations.

Reach out to me on twitter @ewencja or with comments or questions.