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10 Southeast European Scaleups That Have Conquered Europe

Southeast Europe scaleups
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An innovation ecosystem that has grown fifty times in value over the past decade, Southeast Europe is no short of fast-growing, market-grabbing startups. The hype is only just starting in the region, and it’s in large proportion due to a handful of companies that have proven the emerging ecosystem’s value proposition as a lean value creator, rich with tech talent. Today, we take you through a list of Southeast Europe scaleups that were most successful in expanding to some of the largest markets in Europe and the US.

As minimum criteria, we decided to select startups and scaleups that have not yet made an exit, have no more than 15 years in the market, and are either based in or have offices in Southeast Europe. The list that follows is in alphabetical order.

10 Southeast European scaleups making waves in Europe and the US

Cognism, built from North Macedonia

Sector: sales software, sales intelligence

Solution: Cognism helps businesses find, engage and close prospects by providing premium company and contact information, including firmographics, technographics, sales trigger events, intent data, verified business emails and phone-verified mobile numbers.

Founders: James Isilay, Stjepan Buljat

Office presence: North Macedonia, UK, UK, Croatia, Germany 

Total funding: $126.7 million

Latest round: $87.5 million Series C round led by new investors Viking Global Investors and Blue Cloud Ventures alongside follow-on investors

Traction: ARR growth of 100% in 2021, over 1000 customers in over 40 countries

 

Dronamics, built from Bulgaria

Sector: aviation and aerospace component manufacturing, logistics, drone manufacturing

Solution: The company is developing an unmanned, autonomous vehicle (UAV) called “The Black Swan”, which can transport 350 kg at a distance of 2,500 km, in a more affordable way than existing aircrafts.

Founders: Svilen Rangelov, Konstantin Rangelov

Presence: offices in Bulgaria and UK

Total funding: $62.3 million

Latest round: $40 million pre-Series A round led from VCs and angel investors from 12 countries

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Traction: 150 aircraft engineering professionals across 12 countries; they recently made their first cargo drone flight test in Bulgaria; they closed major deals with companies such as DHL and big airports around Europe

 

EnduroSat, built from Bulgaria

Sector: aviation and aerospace component manufacturing, satellite manufacturing

Solution: The company provides nanosatellites and space services to business, exploration, and science teams.

Founders: Raycho Raychev

Presence: offices in Bulgaria, US, Italy

Total funding: $28.6 million

Latest round: $10M Series A round led by CEECAT Capital and joined by existing investors

Traction: fleet of 2500 systems currently operational in space; growing by more than 200% year-to-year for the past six years

 

FintechOS, built from Romania

Sector: fintech, digital financial services, low-code software

Solution: The FintechOS platform helps companies simplify and accelerate the launching, servicing, and expansion of financial products and services, making financial solutions run in as little as 12 weeks.

Founders: Teodor Blidarus, Sergiu Negut

Presence: Romania, UK, US

Total funding: $91.1 million

Latest round: $60 million Series B led by Draper Esprit, and joined by Early Bird Digital East, LAUNCHub Ventures, Gapminder VC, and OTB Ventures

Traction: 70% overall revenue increase and 300% revenue increase from the insurance business in 2022; 50+ financial service customers

 

FlexCar, built from Greece

Sector: automotive, motor vehicles, shared mobility

Solution: FlexCar offers car leasing services, aiming to make mobility accessible and convenient.

Founders: George Bizas, George Desyllas

Presence: Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Mexico

Total funding: €300 million

Latest round: led by US-based Data Point Capital, amount unknown

Traction: over 10,000 vehicles deployed, 29,000 customers served

 

FLOWX.AI, built from Romania

Sector: enterprise software, AI

Solution: The first development platform that allows FIs and other enterprises to build digital apps in just 10 weeks, while reviving their legacy infrastructure and re-building it from within.

Founders: Ioan Iacob, Serban Chiricescu, Smaranda Manolescu

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Presence: Romania, US

Total funding: $43.5 million

Latest round: $35 million Series A from PortfoLion, a VC and private equity firm part of OTP Group, and joined by Budapest-based Day One Capital and Romanian crowdfunding platform Seedblink

Traction: 16x ROI, serving +30 million users, 78+ NPS for customer and employees

 

Payhawk, built from Bulgaria

Sector: fintech, payments

Solution: Offers the leading spend management solution for domestic and international businesses throughout Europe, the US, and the UK. It includes company cards, reimbursable expenses, accounts payable, and accounting software integrations.

Founders: Hristo Borisov, Konstantin Dzhengozov, Boyko Karadzhov

Presence: Bulgaria, UK, Spain, France, Netherlands, Lithuania, Germany

Total funding: $215 million

Latest round: $100M in a round led by the Silicon Valley-based VC Lightspeed Venture Partners

Traction: reached unicorn valuation (>$1 billion) in a four year timespan; over 280 employees; serves companies in 32 countries

 

Plum, built from Greece

Sector: fintech, mobile app

Solution: A financial app where you can save, spend, earn and invest with saving tools and investment features.

Founders: Victor Trokoudes

Presence: Greece, UK, Cyprus

Total funding: $82.4 million 

Latest round: $1.4 million in equity crowdfunding

Traction: +1.5 million customers across 10 European markets; >180 employees

 

Rimac, built from Croatia

Sector: automotive, electric vehicles

Solution: Developing the most advanced hypercars in the world, as well as high-performance electrification, autonomous and software solutions for the world’s largest OEMs.

Founders: Mate Rimac

Presence: Croatia, US

Total funding: $875.8 million

Latest round: €500M in a Series D round led by SoftBank and Goldman Sachs

Traction: valued at over $2,2 billion; more than 2000 employees; from 2023, the Rimac Group is headquartered at a new 200,000 m2 Rimac Campus, large enough to accommodate over 2,500 people

 

Tenderly, built from Serbia

Sector: web3, blockchain

Solution: The Tenderly platform enables Web3 developers to build, test, monitor, and operate smart contracts from their inception to mass adoption, combining debugging tools with observability and infrastructure building blocks.

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Founders: Bogdan Habic, Andrej Bencic

Presence: Serbia, US

Total funding: $58.6 million

Latest round: a $40 million Series B investment round, led by Spark Capital, and joined by Accel, PointNine Capital, Abstract Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, Uniswap Labs, and Daedalus

Traction: 230% increase in revenues in 2022, 200,000+ contracts monitored per month

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Antoanela is a Sustainability Communications Specialist and Deputy Editor at The Recursive media. From these roles, she is helping organizations communicate their latest sustainability goals, strategies, and technologies. She writes about climate tech, ESG, impact investment, sustainability regulation, and related topics.