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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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