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Startup Cities in SEE: Who Is Who In The Emerging Skopje Ecosystem

Skopje Startup Ecosystem
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Cost-effectiveness, connected and collaborative community and a great pool of tech talent – these are the factors stated in North Macedonia’s profile in Startup Universal that are of the biggest importance for the development of the country’s ecosystem. Local entrepreneurs are recognized as being natural bootstrappers who keep very close contact with the diaspora of successful tech founders in key markets abroad which makes scaling up internationally easier. 

The numbers speak for themselves – during the past three years, North Macedonia has climbed up from 84th to 57th place in the Global Innovation Index. Besides the development of the infrastructure, the progress in the startup fields is enabled by the increasing cooperation between founders, investors, scientists, and academia. The following mapping of the local startup ecosystem recognizes the biggest players and enablers of entrepreneurial development. 

Marketing, Analytics and Big Data Startups

  • Elevate-Global LLC – develops a proprietary AI software to enable autonomous building, evaluation, selection and deployment of predictive models for the energy, utility and manufacturing industries.
  • PowerAD – an advertising platform that pairs drivers willing to wrap their car with companies looking for a unique way to advertise in order to allow marketers to create, manage and scale advertising campaigns on consumer vehicles. 
  • Sales.Rocks – an all-in-one sales enablement and automation platform that helps companies fill their sales pipeline, get quick access to contact profiles of companies and customers worldwide and automate their outreach process.
  • Greedymetrics – a product research software that lets users discover trending products on Shopify based on sales and traffic metrics. 
  • InPlayer – develops pay-per-view and subscription solution that increases content owners profitability and maintains a seamless experience for the end-user.
  • Embed Social – allows businesses to use user-generated content on autopilot, and display it on their website to build trust and increase conversions.
  • Vidict Media Server –  a robust P2P SaaS enterprise software for enabling live streaming online. 
  • Synapse Aviation –  flight operations and training platform that uses 3D engine technology to provide the ultimate situational awareness and briefing tool for any operating aviator.
  • Qpick – a location-based advertising platform that helps brick and mortar retailers convert nearby shoppers into store visitors with GeoTagged promotions.
  • Swift Data – offers data analytics, BI, and data management to help organizations innovate, including by making interdependencies among people, institutions, entities and processes through the study of data relationships. 
Read more:  15+ Early-Stage Bulgarian Startups to Keep an Eye on in 2023

Recruiting and Edtech Startups

  • Laika –  a platform for matching IT Companies with tech professionals from Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Croatia through a mix of online and offline engagement.
  • Bintern – a SaaS platform that connects students and unemployed people with companies for internship and work.
  • Semos Education –  develops virtual classroom solutions and a wide range of courses for users with a different level of computer technology knowledge.
  • UpShift – a platform that allows people to find available shifts from their smartphone and business owners to find help when they need it. 

DevOps Startups

  • Microtica – a development platform that helps companies have a standardized way of building infrastructure and shipping applications.

Gaming, Media and Entertainment Startups

  • NapNok Games – an award-winning independent game studio with offices in Copenhagen, Skopje and Minneapolis with a  mission is to reinvent social play and to create groundbreaking local/ social multiplayer games. 
  • SPORY – an AI assistant based on Facebook Messenger that helps people organize sports games faster while avoiding the hassle.

Smart City and IoT Startups

  • Angor AG – develops software, IoT and integration and electronics solutions for companies in the heath, smart city, energy and agriculture industries. 
  • AirCare – a mobile app that allows users to find out the quality of the air they breathe by using open data to visualize air quality. 
  • Intelory  – provides IoT and cloud-based analytics solutions for intelligent remote monitoring and control of industrial and commercial devices.
  • Hoyo Tech – develops software ecosystems for any IoT solution, including mobile, web, wearable and low-level applications, acting as a single-point-of-contact service provider.

Security and Compliance Startups 

  • Metricity – a SaaS platform that helps businesses and organizations meet anti-money laundering compliance requirements, verify client’s identity and calculate risk assessment from money laundering and financing terrorism.
  • Stornest – a startup that uses blockchain to protect data with encryption and release it to the beneficiaries in the event of  passing or incapacity. 
  • – a decentralized application that uses blockchain to allow users to sign, notarize and verify any type of document.
  • Pentestiverse – provides cyber-security interactive training and offers consulting to companies in the same domains.
  • Netiinc – provides a security solution for enterprise, encryption services and safe browsing.
Read more:  12 Southeast European Scaleups and Their Lessons About Growth

Travel and Mobility Startups  

  • Claxi – a taxi app with private taxi, ride-sharing and delivery options that allows users to connect by choosing between different offers on a bidding platform while reducing passengers’ costs and increasing taxi drivers revenue.
  • When in X – an online marketplace for alternative tours and experiences which connects travelers with local “experts” who become the service providers. 
  • SmartBumps – an intelligent speed bump that will behave like the traditional speed bumps for the fast drivers, but is level with the road for the slow ones, significantly improving the driving experience.

Venture Capital and Private Equity Funds

  • Fund for Innovation and Technology Development –  a government entity that co-finances startups to encourage and support innovation activities in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Investments are between €30k and €100k and no equity is taken.
  • SEAF Macedonia – a USAID financed fund that manages multiple funds, ranging from mezzanine investments to PE funds. 
  • South Central Ventures – a €40 million fund dedicated to early-stage and growth investments with a portfolio of more than 30 startups from across the Balkans.
  • CEED Macedonia Business Angels Club – consists of around 20 entrepreneurs who are Club members willing to invest in business ideas or existing businesses, if they spot the potential for growth or innovation.

Accelerators and Incubators

  • Seavus Accelerator – the first corporate business technology accelerator that supports tech startups of all stages of development and ICT professionals. 
  • Business Accelerator Ukim – a business and technology accelerator that aims to identify and support the growth of local entrepreneurs, start-ups, and early-stage companies with strong commercial and market potential. 
  • X Factor Accelerator – has started the 30-month long project “Together we grow” which provides educational and financial support in order to encourage regional entrepreneurship by moving forward the startup scene outside the capital city.
  • Newman’s Business Accelerator – the first startup accelerator in the country that currently runs the majority of programmes and events in the area of education, entrepreneurship, corporate innovations, and investments. 
  • YES Incubator – a foundation and a business incubator that offers access to services for accelerating growth and development of young entrepreneurs. 
Read more:  The Next Gen STEM Talent in CEE: Bulgaria’s Golden Mathematicians

Coworking Spaces and Supporting Organizations, 

  • Public Room –  a space dedicated to creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, gastronomy, informal education, music experience and networking. 
  • Coffice – a community-style shared office space in the center of Skopje which gathers like-minded individuals, freelancers and collaborators. 
  • Funky Coworking – a community of freelancers and startups who organize daily meetups at various locations around Skopje to promote the coworking lifestyle. 
  • MK Startups Space – the first entrepreneurial community center in Skopje and meeting space for start-ups, innovation leaders and the community.
  • Startup Macedonia – an umbrella ecosystem organization that aims to digitalize the ecosystem by introducing a startup platform that serves as an open hub for the ecosystem progress, an events calendar, and as a place to find individual profiles of startups, organisations, investors, and mentors.
  • Ceed Hub Skopje – offers a co-working space, events and educational programs as well as access to finance and mentorship support.
  • SmartUp – an incubator and educational organization that aims to make the most of technology to advance young people’s development by encouraging innovative solutions to social and economic problems.
  • Social Impact Lab – runs programs and projects aimed at fostering social entrepreneurship and reestablishing cooperation with all relevant players.
  • INNOFEIT – a center for technology transfer and innovations which is selected by EIB to become a CoE.
  • Brainster Space – a tech center, co-working space, and a continuously growing community at the centre of Skopje.

Startup and Networking Events

  • Startup Weekend Skopje –  54-hour hackathon for developing new business ideas. 
  • Startup Grind Skopje – an independent startup community, actively educating, inspiring, and connecting 215,000 founders in over 185 cities.
  • Get in the ring – a global startup competition that offers an opportunity for startups of different stages to gain exposure and credibility, by being selected as a winner of a local event. 
  • InTech Meetup – aims to foster knowledge exchange and networking in the IT community by organizing events with prominent domestic and international speakers. 
  • Codecamp – a free, one-day software development conference that brings together developers to encourage excellence and innovation and recognize the best practices in the software development industry. 

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Elena is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive, an online media dedicated to the emerging tech and startup ecosystems in Southeast Europe. She is keen on sharing the innovation stories that shape the regional ecosystem and has a great interest in fintech, IoT, and biotech startups. Elena is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Political Science at the American University in Bulgaria.