For a country that tops the ranking of greenhouse gas emitters in Central and Eastern Europe, Poland is also seeking to become a regional leader in the climate tech space. Necessity is, as they say, the mother of invention.
According to the Net Zero Future50 report by PwC and Wolves Summit, the CEE climate tech investment space has followed an upward trend, at around 57% compound annual growth rate between 2013 and 2020. In total, $1.7 billion was invested over the period in more than 170 startups. Poland was the fifth most active investment hub, with 5% of total startup funding, behind Estonia, Lithuania, and Croatia.
Yet, as the sixth largest economy in Europe, Poland is expected to further increase its contribution to the climate tech scene in the future in the years to come. Just recently, the state-owned fund PFR Ventures announced investing €55M in four green investments, in a bid to finance the development of new climate technologies that can address the climate crisis. PFR Ventures has signed agreements to invest with European investors Contrarian Ventures and Eurazeo, global investor General Atlantic’s BeyondNetZero fund, and local VC Montis Capital.
Today, we are looking at the local startups and investors we expect to be leading the Polish climate tech scene in the coming years.
Key local players
Founder & CEO: Jakub Lubonski
Sector: Waste management
Solution: The company created a smart waste bin, designed for public places, that uses AI to recognize, sort, and compress waste automatically, controlling the fill level and processing data for convenient waste management.
Funding: They raised a Series A Funding of $272K.
Sector: Emissions Data, Monitoring, Management and Reporting
Solution: The company’s cloud enterprise software solution uses AI, and computer vision to track forestry product provenance from logging to the final wooden product, deliver data for certification, monitor carbon footprint and offer carbon credit management.
Founders: Oleksandr Razumtsev, Olha Razumtseva, Pavel Panasjuk
Sector: Energy savings
Solution: The company developed a system that uses ordinary air for cooling instead of traditionally used hydrofluorocarbons, thus avoiding hazardous methods and reducing energy use and emissions.
Funding: So far, the company raised a seed round of €250K. In 2022, the team won the Huawei Startup Challenge, with a monetary prize of €21K.
CEO: Marcin Koziorowski
Sector: Food waste technology
Solution: EcoBean developed a solution for upcycling coffee waste into new raw materials and products. They work with HoReCa and offices alike.
Funding: The company received a ~$90K grant.
Co-founder & CEO: Marek Wilgucki
Sector: Industrial machinery manufacturing
Solution: The company aims to reduce the environmental impact of opencast mines by re-imagining how the extraction process takes place, including by: improving surveillance of the opencast mines, creating a solution for autonomous extraction, and moving the extraction process into space. By 2023, they plan to have their first operational prototype of an autonomous vehicle powered by hydrogen, to be used on Earth and in space.
Funding: The company is implementing projects financed by European Funds EcoSat and MineCam. They also collaborate with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Astroport Space Technologies to use its Autonomous Transport Platform technology.
CEO & Founder: Sebastian Gorecki
Sector: Precision agriculture and robotics
Solution: The company developed an apiary management solution that can automatically detect dangerous situations, anomalies, and the change of environmental factors in bee hives. With it, beekeepers can inspect hives remotely, detect diseases, schedule tasks, extract honey, and keep bee health records.
Founders: Bartosz Kruszka, Mikolaj Granuszewski
Sector: Food waste technology
Solution: The company created NanoseenX, a solution for water desalination and purification. The product uses nanotechnology to turn saltwater or sewage into clean drinking water within 2 minutes.
Funding: So far, they raised $450K. In 2022, they won the Polish Product of the Future in a competition organized by PARP.
Sector: Food waste technology
Solution: The company offers smart inventory software that helps restaurant owners take control of their inventory, reduce waste, improve efficiency and make data-driven business decisions.
Funding: So far, they raised $260K in funding.
Sector: Supply chain, carbon emissions reduction
Solution: The company’s software calculates scope 1, 2, and 3 greenhouse gas emissions across the whole supply chain and creates automatic carbon footprint reports following GHG Protocol and compliant with industry standards.
Funding: The company raised an undisclosed seed round.
Founders: Krzysztof Kondratowicz, Slawomir Kasper
Sector: Food waste technology, renewable energy
Solution: The company offers an innovative system that extracts and processes agricultural production residues, namely corn cob cores, to produce renewable energy.
Funding: The company raised an early stage VC round.
Founders: Artur Kupczunas, Olga Malinkiewicz, and Piotr Krych
Sector: Renewable energy
Solution: The nanotechnology company has pioneered the development of lightweight, thin solar cells based on perovskite materials. They introduced the first real-life application of perovskite solar cells, a mobile phone charger operating with artificial light.
Funding: In 2020, Columbus Energy, a leading provider of services in the Polish energy market, invested €10M in the company for 20% equity.
Founders: Artur Racicki and Piotr Hołubowicz.
Sector: Energy efficiency, renewable energy
Solution: The company is building a smart system of energy independent solar-powered products, including smart benches, solar bins, solar displays, and solar bus stops. These are working off-grid, and are equipped with charging stations, smart hotspots, and sensors.
Funding: They raised a $265K seed funding from bValue Venture Capital.
Founder & CEO: Arthur Matuszczak
Sector: Natural disaster management
Solution: The company produces wildfire detectors that support forest inspectors, regional crisis management centers, and other places at risk of fire to quickly respond to emerging threats. They use advanced technology, consisting of specialized drones, cameras, sensor networks, AI, and applications.
Funding: So far, they raised $3.7 million in funding.
Founder & CEO: Dr Mateusz Maj
Sector: Smart mobility
Solution:The company offers an AI-powered platform that helps companies reduce car fleet operational costs, introduce electrical vehicles to their fleets, and manage fleets and drivers effectively.
Funding: So far, they raised $240K in pre-seed funding.
Local investors supporting sustainability startups
Managing Partners: Marcin Matysik
Industries & Solutions: CleanTech, BioTech, FMCG, IT innovations – Internet of Things, cybersecurity, and machine learning
Investment stage: pre-seed, seed, and series A
Ticket size: up to €850K in minority stakes
Industries & Solutions: AgriTech, MedTech, Food/BioTech, Industrial Tech, Energy/Clean Tech, Robotics, IoT and Hardware
Investment stage: early-stage
Ticket size: up to $1M
Founder & Managing Partner: Maciej Balsewicz
Industries & Solutions: predominantly work with companies in B2B software, energy transformation, e-commerce, FMCG
Investment stage: two directions – seed and growth
Ticket size: €100K to 1M for the seed fund; €5 to 15M for the growth equity fund
Industries & Solutions: circular economy and cleantech, advanced materials, process efficiency, energy sector, smart utilities/ infrastructure, AI/ Big data, ICT & cybersecurity
Investment stage: seed, start-up, expansion
Ticket size: €212K to 6.4M
Industries & Solutions: industry 4.0 – robotics AI, IoT, deep tech; life science – biotechnology, food processing, environmental and biomedical devices
Investment stage: Series A and above
Ticket size: €15M to €5M
Industries & Solutions: 4 deep tech verticals: spacetech, AI & automation, fintech, cybersecurity
Investment stage: early growth, post-product
Note: Unlike the rest of the investors in the list which are VCs, Ragnarson is a software agency and angel investor that invests and co-creates products with impact-driven startups.
CEO: Maciej Gałkiewicz
Industries & Solutions: solutions tackling climate issues and socio-economic inequalities
Investment stage: early-stage
Industries & Solutions: Industry 4.0, IoT, renewable energy, advanced materials, smart solutions for a clean environmental, AI and ML
Investment stage: seed and early-stage
Ticket size: €212K to 850K
Managing Partners: Krzysztof Grochowski, Jacek Ostrowski, Wojciech Majewski
Industries & Solutions: impact-focused startups
Investment stage: pre-seed, but focus mostly on seed
Ticket size: average investment ticket is €1M, which we can extend as follow-ons to €2M