The European start-up ecosystem has been of major importance to us here at White Star Capital. In particular, we have been very active throughout Western Europe, partnering with over 20 start-ups including the likes of Tier Mobility, Butternut Box, Clark and Meero, and publishing several deep dives for key ecosystems such as the UK, Germany, France, and the Nordics & Baltics. Over the last few years, we have become increasingly focused on the burgeoning ecosystem developing in Central and Eastern Europe and as an affirmation for our support for this region, we are very happy to share our latest report covering one of its key hubs, Poland.
We made our first investment into the region in 2018, partnering with Packhelp, a B2B marketplace for customised packaging. This was followed shortly after with our investment into Uncapped, a financial platform that provides digital entrepreneurs with the tools to accelerate their growth. We have witnessed first hand the growth of the Polish tech scene, which we believe has been the result of 3 major aspects, a world class talent pool, a hugely supportive government, and the congregation of many of the world’s largest tech companies setting up offices there. With $1.6bn in capital invested now since 2015, and more than $300m in the first half of 2021 alone, it is clear that Poland is becoming a force to be reckoned with in Europe.
Our report unpacks the current progress and outlook for Poland, using our ecosystem model to highlight Poland’s unique positioning in an increasingly global playing field for start-ups as well as interviews from Wojciech Sadowski, co-founder and CEO of Packhelp and Piotr Pisarz, co-founder and CEO of Uncapped, showcasing their views on the future of the ecosystem.
So what did we find?
- 2020 was a record year in terms of funding values and volumes, with $560m in funding in 229 deals, with the majority of deals at the Seed and Series A stage but with several atypical later stage deals that take up a significant portion of capital invested, including Booksy’s $70m Series C, Brainly’s $81m Series D, and ICEYE’s $96m Series C
- Poland leverages its highly skilled workforce and top universities to encourage foreign-VC backed companies and large corporates to set up offices in the region, fuelling further innovation
- Poland has its own community of high quality angel investors supporting start-ups from the very earliest of stages, and a number of seed funds driving much of the VC activity to date (of the 80 local funds in Poland, 43% are seed funds)
- While the ecosystem remains quite young, there is a gap in the market for later stage rounds which is increasingly being filled with capital from international venture capital firms
As further confirmation of our support of Poland, we are delighted to share that PFR Ventures, Poland’s development financial institution focused on supporting innovative Polish businesses, has written the foreword for this report.
We are eager to continue backing great founders in the region, and partnering with key stakeholders and investors as the ecosystem matures, and we hope that this report serves as a helpful guide for other investors and stakeholders interested in doing the same.
We hope you enjoy the read, and if you have any feedback or would like to discuss any part of our report, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About White Star Capital
White Star Capital is a global multi-stage technology investment platform that invests in exceptional entrepreneurs building ambitious, international businesses. Operating out of Guernsey, New York, London, Paris, Montreal, Toronto, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, our presence, perspective, and people enable us to partner closely with our Founders to help them scale internationally from Series A onwards.