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The Largest Funding Rounds for Central and Eastern Europe in 2023

As the CEE region continues to establish itself as a key player in the global tech landscape, 2023 saw an influx of investment that has been pushing the development of regional startups and companies.
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As the CEE region continues to establish itself as a key player in the global tech landscape, 2023 saw an influx of investment that has been pushing the development of regional startups and companies. However, the year also posed difficulties for securing funds and startups had to adapt their strategies, and the region faced the absence of any registered unicorn. 

Despite these obstacles, there were, however, notable exceptions as some outliers successfully secured substantial investment rounds to fuel their growth initiatives.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most significant funding rounds that have shaped the CEE business landscape and its ecosystems throughout the year. 

From innovative startups in cybersecurity and AI, to established players in biotech and big data, these funding rounds showcase the dynamism and potential of the CEE region, while at the same time putting a spotlight on its ability to attract substantial investments and fuel the next wave of technological advancements.

R.Power Renewables 

Latest round: €150M

Country: Poland

Stage: Equity round

Founders: Przemek Pieta, Tomasz Sek, Jakub Charaszkiewicz

Vertical: Energy

About: R.Power Renewables is one of Europe’s fastest-growing large-scale solar energy market companies. The company is actively involved in the development, construction, maintenance, and independent production of green energy through photovoltaic power plants, contributing to a clean environment and emission-free development across multiple countries.

LucidLink 

Latest round: $75M

Country: Bulgaria/USA

Stage: Series C

Founders: George Dochev, Peter Thomson

Vertical: Cloud storage

About: US-Bulgarian startup LucidLink is a storage collaboration platform to connect creative teams working on shared data sets. In November 2023, LucidLink raised $75 million in Series C funding, in what has been the biggest funding round for Bulgaria in 2023 and one of the largest rounds in CEE. The round is led by US investment firm Brighton Park Capital, with major existing investors, including Headline, Baseline Ventures, and Adobe Ventures.

Causaly 

Latest round: $60M

Country: Greece

Stage: Series B

Founders: Yiannis Kiachopoulos, Artur Saudabayev

Vertical: Machine learning/ Healthtech

About: Causaly’s platform maps the correlations across vast amounts of scientific data, which in turn helps medical professionals, experts, and innovators to focus on developing novel medicine instead of spending months looking for data correlations. In July 2023, the startup raised a $60M Series B round led by Iconiq Growth together with Index Ventures, Pentech, and EBRD among others.

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Hack The Box

Latest round: $55M

Country: Greece/UK

Stage: Series B

Founders: Haris Pylarinos, Aris Zikopoulos, James Hooker

Vertical: Cybersecurity

About: Hack The Box is a gamified cybersecurity upskilling, certification, and talent assessment software platform. The online platform offers individuals, universities, and companies a chance to game up their hacking skills by giving them access to virtual experiential hacking labs where they learn by doing and rewarding them with points and badgers for advancing in their training. At the beginning of 2023, the Greek-founded startup closed a $55M Series B round, led by the Carlyle Group, one of the largest private equity firms in the world, alongside Paladin Capital Group, Osage University Partners, Marathon Venture Capital, Brighteye Ventures, and Endeavor Catalyst Fund.

Instacar

Latest round: $55M

Country: Greece

Stage: Series A

Founders: Antonis Zois, Antonis Samothrakis

Vertical: Mobility

About: Founded in 2019, Greek startup Instacar aims to revolutionize car leasing by offering a fully digital, hassle-free experience that allows customers to obtain their vehicles through a digital procedure that lasts only a few minutes. In February 2023, Instacar raised a €55M Series A round led by investors such as Velocity Partners, Autohellas/Vasilakis Group, and the Olympia Group, with new investors such as Elikonos 2 S.C.A. SICAR participating in the round. 

Dronamics 

Latest round: $40M

Country: Bulgaria/UK

Stage: pre-Series A

Founders: Konstantin Rangelov, Svilen Rangelov

Vertical: Drones, Logistics

About: Bulgarian cargo drone airline Dronamics recently became the first drone cargo company in the world to obtain a European drone airline license, allowing it to self-authorize flight operations across EU countries. In February 2023, the startup raised a $40M pre-series A round from VCs and angel investors from 12 countries, including Founders Factory, Speedinvest, Eleven Capital, and the Strategic Development Fund (SDF), the investment arm of the Tawazun Council. 

FlowX.ai

Latest round: $35M

Country: Romania

Stage: Series A

Founders: Ioan Iacob, Serban Chiricescu, Radu Cautis

Vertical: AI

About: FlowX.ai is a Romanian company specializing in helping large enterprises streamline their internal processes through digitization. In May, the startup raised $35M in a  round that marks the largest Series A in the Romanian startup ecosystem, led by London-based venture capital firm Dawn Capital. 

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TileDB

Latest round: $34M

Country: Greece

Stage: Series B

Founders: Stavros Papadoupoulos

Vertical: Big Data

About: TileDB specializes in a universal data engine that enables users to access, analyze, and share complex data with great flexibility. In October, TileDB raised $34 million in its Series B funding round, with notable investors including AlleyCorp, Lockheed Martin, Intel Capital and Βig Pi Ventures.

Keboola

Latest round: $32M

Country: Czech Republic

Stage: Series A

Founders: Petr Šimeček, Milan Veverka, Pavel Doležal

Vertical: Big Data

About: Keboola’s mission is to connect and integrate all company data in one end-to-end Data Stack as a Service, while allowing customers to have full control of their data with a single platform. The startup recently raised $32 million in a Series A funding round, led by the private equity business of Viking Global Investors. 

DRUID AI

Latest round: $30M

Country: Romania

Stage: Series B

Founders: Andreea Plesea, Daniel Balaceanu, Liviu Dragan

Vertical: Conversational AI

About: DRUID AI offers AI-powered intelligent virtual assistants that aid professionals from various industries to communicate digitally and with the end goal of reducing time spent on data operation and to increase quality and creativity while lowering costs. In September, the company announced the closing of a $30M Series B round, led by TQ Ventures and with notable participation from new investors Smedvig Capital, Endeavor, and Verve Ventures. DRUID’s Series B also received continued support from existing investors GapMinder, Hoxton Ventures, and Karma Ventures.

Plan A

Latest round: $27M

Country: Bulgaria/Germany

Stage: Series A

Founders: Lubomila Jordanova, Nathan Bonnisseau

Vertical: GreenTech

About: Plan A is a GreenTech company that develops a carbon quantification platform to measure, monitor, and reduce environmental footprint. In September, Plan A announced the successful closure of a $27 million funding round, led by US-based Lightspeed Venture Partners and significant participation from global financial institutions including Visa, Deutsche Bank, and Opera Tech Ventures, the venture capital subsidiary of BNP Paribas, in addition to existing investors and unicorn founders.

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IP Fabric

Latest round: $25M

Country: Czech Republic/USA

Stage: Series B

Founders: Miroslav Hybl, Pavel Bykov, Roman Aprias

Vertical: Big Data

About: IP Fabric is a Czech startup focused on network assurance, security assurance, and multi-cloud networking. In June, the company announced a $25M Series B funding round to accelerate the automation of complex enterprise network infrastructure discovery, modeling, and visualization. The investment was led by UK-based One Peak with the participation of German Senovo and Czech Presto Ventures.

Woltair

Latest round: €20.5M

Country: Czech Republic

Round: Series A

Founders: Daniel Helcl, Karel Náprstek, Jiří Švéda

Vertical: Energy tech

About: Woltair specializes in selling, installing, and servicing power and heat solutions, including heat pumps and photovoltaics, in Europe. Founded in 2018, Woltair belongs to one of the most notable Czech startups.

ElevenLabs

Latest round: $20M

Country: Poland

Stage: Series A

Founders: Mati Staniszewski, Piotr Dabkowski

Vertical: AI

About: ElevenLabs is a Polish startup developing AI voice synthesis software for creators and publishers. In June, the startup closed a $20M Series A round co-led by entrepreneurs Nat Friedman and Daniel Gross alongside Andreessen Horowitz, with other participants including Creator Ventures, SV Angel, Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger, Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe, Deepmind and Inflection AI co-founder Mustafa Suleyman and O’Reilly Media founder Tim O’Reilly.

GenePlanet

Latest round: €20M

Country: Slovenia

Stage: Series C

Founders: Marko Bitenc

Vertical: Biotechnology

About: GenePlanet is a Slovenian startup active in the field of biotechnology, specializing in genetic testing and research. In July, the Slovenian biotech raised €20M in a Series B funding round, led by growth equity firm BlackPeak Capital, to establish profitable operations in 50 countries within the next five years, drive the development of new products, and invest in robust big data infrastructure.

 

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https://therecursive.com/author/bojanstojkovski/

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.