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Where the Innovation Leaders of CEE Started: Charles University

Front view Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague.
Image credit: Charles University
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The Czech Republic has established itself as a breeding ground for technology startups, with successful ventures created with the support of local universities and their alumni. Among them, Charles University is a great example of a traditional university that manages to keep up with the times.

Founded in 1348 by Charles IV, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, it is the biggest university in the country and one of the oldest ones in Europe. Located in the heart of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, it is also famous for its beautiful architecture and historic buildings.

It supports the startup ecosystem through programs like its Innovation Labs and fosters a positive record of alumni who become founders or co-founders of technology companies. These range from long-established technology companies to recently founded startups.

Another interesting venture is the university’s CUIP initiative, which is a subsidiary focused on commercialising research and innovation done by its students, by connecting them with investors. Some examples of spin-offs are LAM-X, a biotechnology company producing nano-materials, and Tap2U, a community-based translation platform.

From long to newly established companies, we list out some innovative players in the Czech technology environment which were founded by alumni from Charles University.

 

Founders that started from Charles University

Avast

Avast is one of the world’s leading cybersecurity companies, providing solutions for individual and enterprise customers. The company was founded in 1988 by Eduard Kučera, who achieved a doctorate in Physics in Charles University, along with Pavel Baudiš. In September 2022, the company merged with NortonLifeLock.

Today, it remains a successful case for technology companies created in the Czech Republic who desire to go global.

 

Data Driven Era

Founded by Martin Zeman, Data Driven Era offers sales consultancy for organizations utilizing a data-based approach for private-equity-backed businesses. Their data analysis solution provides information about the performance of different touchpoints in the sales process.

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Martin is a graduate from the university’s Computer Science program.

 

Wallmine

Wallmine’s solution allows customers to track their stock investments in complete detail. The platform aggregates detailed company and performance information, along with news, SEC filings, and insider trading.

The company was founded by Charles University alumni Juraj Masar and Veronika Kolejak, who also co-founded Better Stack. Both graduated in Computer Sciences, and Veronika also attained a Molecular Biology and Biochemistry degree.

 

Zonky

Zonky offers micro-loans by connecting potential lenders and borrowers. Their platform allows these transactions to occur completely online or through their mobile application.

Originally founded by Lucie Tvarůžková, who is a former student of the university’s Journalism program, the company merged in 2022 with AirBank.

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