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Choose the AI startup of the year

Choose the AI startup of the year,
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AI has made a big leap in 2021, and so have many of the AI startups that were born in the SEE region. From building platforms for autonomous systems to AI-based mobile robots, startups across the region have been very much active during the past year.

The Recursive team shortlisted 13 companies from the region and now you can vote and choose the AI star of the year. We included startups and companies whose AI-powered solutions, platforms, and products have made a difference in various sectors and industries.

Our criteria for the selection was the following:

  • These startups must have achieved a significant milestone in 2021, such as having funding rounds above €500K, regional or global expansion, user growth, or also growth in revenue.
  • A big market opportunity and a strong, vibrant, and dedicated team behind the startup.

In our selection, you will find SEE-founded companies with local capital and teams, based in our region.

You can vote until December 22nd, 2021. The winner will get:

Check the selected startups in the survey below and learn more about their solutions and significant milestones.

If you think that someone is missing from the list, you can nominate it through the form, and if the particular startup fits the criteria, we’ll add it to the list by December 13th.

Who are the AI stars in Southeast Europe?


Founded: 2015

Based in: North Macedonia/UK

What they are building: GDPR-compliant sales and marketing platform that provides access to real-time data.

 Milestones in 2021: Cognism raised a $12.5M series B round, led by investors AXA Venture Partners, Investiere, and VentureFounders, and supported by a new investor – Swisscom Ventures. So far, the total funding received by the company is over $39.3M.



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Founded: 2018

Based in: Bucharest, Romania

What they are building: A smart chatbot that helps employees, customers, and partners to communicate digitally.

Milestones in 2021:  DRUID AI raised a Series A investment of €2M at the beginning of the year to expand internationally.



Founded: 2020

Based in: Bucharest, Romania

What they are building: Enterprise platform helping banks and other financial institutions launch modern digital experiences

Milestones in 2021:  The startup raised $8.5M in a seed round, led by PortfoLion, a VC and private equity firm part of OTP Group, and joined by Budapest-based Day One Capital and Romanian crowdfunding platform SeedBlink.


Gideon Brothers

Founded: 2017

Based in: Zagreb, Croatia

What they are building:  AI-based mobile robots that rely on 3D cameras and utilize deep learning algorithms. 

Milestones in 2021: Gideon Brothers raised a $31 million Series A round, led by Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), the venture arm of the largest private US company Koch Industries, and supported by DB Schenker, the fourth biggest third-party logistics provider.



Founded: 2020

Based in: Bucharest, Romania

What they are building: Blockchain-built platform using AI innovations to create synthetic media

Milestones in 2021: Humans raised €7.6 million through the private sale of cryptocurrency, with their main investors including entrepreneur and active crypto investor Razvan Munteanu and renowned blockchain company Elrond Research.



Founded: 2017

Based in: Athens, Greece

What they are building: AI software platform that helps pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies reduce drug development risks and faster introduce new drugs to market

Milestones in 2021: Intelligencia raised $12M In a Series A round led by the European health tech investor MTIP. The round will be used for product development and the expansion of its Greek R&D team, for an increase in sales and expansion of its customer success teams.



Founded: 2020

Based in: Cluj, Romania

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What they are building:  AI and robotics system which can aid blind people with their mobility

Milestones in 2021:  The Romanian startup attracted over $12M while showcasing for the first time in history how technology can do the same that a guide dog does.


Founded: 2017

Based in: Zagreb, Croatia

What they are building: AI  platform for building autonomous support systems in various industries, from healthcare for patients with chronic conditions to financial advice for clients in the banking sector.

Milestones in 2021: Mindsmiths raised €1.2M in a seed funding round led by Croatia-based VC Feelsgood investment fund. The company looks to further its presence in Europe and North America, negotiating with multiple clients in the tech space that would like to use the platform to deepen the relationship with their users.


Perceptual Robotics

Founded: 2016

Based in: Athens, Greece

What they are building:  Autonomous drone inspection for wind turbines

Milestones in 2021:  The Greek startup raised €1.8M in a round led by cleantech VC TSP Ventures, impact investment firm Humble Holdings, and Athens-based Metavallon.



Founded: 2016

Based in: Romania

What they are building: TypingDNA provides typing biometrics authentication as a service, enabling companies to recognize people by the way they type.

Milestones in 2021: The company released its “TypingDNA Focus” app, which uses patent-pending AI technology to predict the mood of an end user based on their typing patterns. The app can assess when the user is feeling stressed, happy, calm, energetic, or focused.



Founded: 2017

Based in: Athens, Greece

What they are building: Smart application that helps its users manage their money with the help of artificial intelligence.

Milestones in 2021: Plum secured a €12M round, including investors such as UK-based dmg ventures, Dubai-based Ventura Capital, Global Brain from Japan, Greek Venture Friends, and California-based 500 Startups.



Founded: 2017

Based in: Athens, Greece

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What they are building: AI platform for Biomedical Cause & Effect discovery, which empowers researchers and decision makers to quickly find causal evidence and generate insights from vast amounts of documents.

Milestones in 2021: In May 2021, Causaly raised $17M in a Series A round led by international Index Ventures, together with Greek-based Marathon Ventures.


Zeit Medical

Founded: 2019

Based in: Athens, Greece

What they are building: AI and bioelectronics monitoring for patients with neurological injuries

Milestones in 2021: Zeit Medical raised €1.8M in a round co-led by American VCs SeedtoB and Digilife. The startup was also part of Y Combinator’s summer 2021 program.

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Bojan is The Recursive’s Western Balkans Editor, covering tech, innovation, and business for more than a decade. He’s currently exploring blockchain, Industry 4.0, AI, and is always open to covering diverse and exciting topics in the Western Balkans countries. His work has been featured in global media outlets such as Foreign Policy, WSJ, ZDNet, and Balkan Insight.