Every year, the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 in Central Europe programme ranks the top 50 fastest growing technology companies in the region from several industries. This year, 13 fast-growth companies emerged from Southeast Europe, with Bulgaria’s OfficeRnd in top 10 and Slovakia with the largest presence. Moreover, 8 out of 25 were recognized as Growth Stars (too new to be in Fast 50, ed.note), led by Romania’s DRUID. Following its historic Series B, the big Investment Star winner was Bulgarian fintech startup Payhawk.
The Recursive had a closer look at which are these ambitious and innovative companies, and what solutions they are bringing forward.
2021 Technology Fast 50 ranking
First of all, to be eligible for the top Fast 50, companies had to meet a number of criteria, including base-year operating revenues of minimum €50K in 2017, 2018, 2019, and a current year operating revenue (2020) of at least €100K.
This year, the ranking broke records of its own. The average growth recorded was 2278%, the highest in the programme’s 22-year history. Industry-wise, software companies dominated the list, with 66% of the total, while other prominent sectors included fintech, media, and communication.
SEE’s presence included Slovakia with 5 companies, Croatia, with 4, Bulgaria with 2, and Albania and Slovenia with one each.
What they do: Proptech startup OfficeRnD offers flex space and hybrid workplace management software to help companies deal with remote operations smoothly and effectively. They recently closed a $10M funding round to accelerate growth and market share expansion.
What they do: Kontentino’s management tool for social media helps teams create, plan, organize, and approve content.
Company: Three of them
What they do: They are a software development company, focusing on web and mobile solutions, and working on long-term projects.
Company: Sudo Labs
What they do: Sudo Labs help companies and startups build software solutions, on different scales and across multiple industries.
Company: ADUS Technologies
What they do: The company creates custom software solutions for regional and global enterprises.
Industry: Media & Entertainment
What they do: Helps mobile game developers with multi-channel user acquisition strategies.
Company: Zebra BI
What they do: Zebra BI offers data visualization technology for report, dashboard, and presentation creation in Excel and Power BI.
Company: Flow and Form
What they do: The team of engineers and product specialists work on technology solutions that help the real estate industry collect and better use data, improve operations, and improve the customer experience.
Company: Async Labs
What they do: Async Lab is a digital agency, providing solutions such as software development and digital marketing.
Company: Reactor Studio
What they do: As the name recommends, the company helps brands expand abroad by intermediating local services including call-center, collection point for return goods, and setting up a bank account.
Company: Landmark Technologies
What they do: They create web design and develop software solutions for clients across multiple industries.
What they do: Bulgarian EnduroSat specializes in engineering, building, and operating NanoSatellites that help improve space technology. Earlier this year, the scaleup received venture debt financing of up to €10M from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
2021 Growth and Investment Stars
The report also ranked the top 25 Growth Stars, or companies with great potential, but too young to qualify for the Fast 50 category. These have a minimum base-year operating income of €10K in 2018 and 2019, and €30K in 2020.
SEE’s presence in the ranking included Slovakia with 3 companies, Techband.io, Simplicity and Wilio, Croatia, with 3 companies, BrightDock, HiveTech, CircuitMess, and Romania with 2 – DRUID and FintechOS.
Among all Growth Stars, Romania’s DRUID, offering conversational AI automation through its no-code platform, shined the brightest. One of Central Europe’s most successful AI-focused companies, DRUID is operating in the fast-growing market of virtual assistants, expected to reach $19.6bn by 2025. Moreover, by 2025, 95% of all customer interactions are expected to be managed by conversational AI.
Earlier this year, the Romanian chatbot platforms raised a €2M Series A to expand internationally, increasing its valuation to €8M. With this wind in its sails, the company’s revenues grew at an impressive rate of 6,753% for the past three years, which further translated into a 545% uplift in the number of interactions managed during the year and a 134% increase in customer portfolio.
Finally, Payhawk, the Bulgarian startup with a B2B expense-management solution, was the sole contender of the Investment Star category, with an impressive $19.58M funding received between 1 January 2018 and 31 May 2021. Payhawk’s key to success was identifying and solving a major problem for businesses with their solution: spending more efficiently.
Rapid and intense progress over the last three years culminated in a record-breaking $112M Series B earlier this month, which made Payhawk the fastest company in CEE to reach this stage and pass $100M in VC funding. It is also second in size only to UiPath’s $153M Series B in 2018. Finally, this was the biggest funding round in the history of the Bulgarian tech ecosystem.