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Catalyst Romania Fund I Marks Another Successful Exit

SmartBill Team (personal archive)
Image credit: SmartBill team (personal archive)
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In a nutshell

  • Catalyst Romania Fund I just announced the sale of its remaining shares in SmartBill, a Romanian provider of cloud-based invoicing, inventory, and accounting services for SMEs, to the Norwegian Group Visma.
  • This marks a successful exit for Catalyst Romania Fund I portfolio.
  • In 2020, Visma acquired more than 50% of SmartBill.

 

Background story

Catalyst Romania Fund I is the first early-stage venture capital fund in Romania. It was financed through the EIF’s JEREMIE program (the JEREMIE Romania initiative). In recent years, it has invested more than €12M in 10 Romanian tech companies, such as Vola.ro, AvocatNet.ro, 123FormBuilder, Simartis, SmartDreamers, OmniConvert and SeedBlink

This exit is following other successful ones such as Green Horse Games being sold to Miniclip, a Tencent subsidiary, or Vector Watch being sold to FitBit. 

SmartBill was founded in 2006 by Ioana Hasan,Radu Hasan and Mircea Capatina. The company launched its invoicing software in 2011 and released its first cloud invoicing product in 2014. 

In February 2016, SmartBill raised a €1.1M round led by Catalyst Romania and joined by Gecad Ventures.  According to the company’s data, SmartBill has experienced nearly 20-fold growth since Catalyst’s initial investment, with annual revenue increases ranging from 30% to 60%. As of March 2024, over 6.5M documents are issued monthly through the platform. 

 

In their own words

“The journey of growth with Catalyst as an investor and partner has been remarkable, witnessing a tenfold expansion over the span of eight years. Marius’s invaluable advice played a pivotal role during crucial junctures in the business, contributing significantly to our success. It’s partnerships like these that shape the trajectory of a company, and we’re grateful for the support and guidance provided by Catalyst and Marius throughout this journey,” said Radu Hasan, CEO and Co-Founder of SmartBill.

 

Investor’s perspective

“I was privileged to be a part of the SmartBill success story, assisting the founders with advice already some years before our investment through Catalyst Romania Fund I was done, together with Gecad Ventures as co-investors. It is great to see where the company is now and I am confident SmartBill can continue to grow much more in the years to come. As fund investors we need to exit our companies at a certain moment, given the limited lifetime of such an investment structure,” said Marius Ghenea, Managing Partner, Catalyst Romania.

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“The growth journey for SmartBill has been amazing, and a big reason for the success has been the close collaboration with Marius and the rest of the team from Catalyst. Marius not only brings local market knowledge, but his broad experience within entrepreneurship and business development has helped set the company’s direction and focus. Collaborating with him has been a pleasure, and I hope I will get the opportunity again,” said Alicia Halaas, Business Area Director, Visma Small Business Segment.

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https://therecursive.com/author/teodoraatanasova/

Teodora Atanasova is a News Editor at The Recursive. She covers everything around funding rounds, exits, startups expanding to international markets, big tech opening R&D in CEE, meaningful for the ecosystem partnerships.