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UNIQA Ventures reaches a €150M investment capital to target CEE early-growth startups

UNIQA CEO Andreas Brandstetter and UNIQA Ventures CEO Dr. Andreas Nemeth
Image credit: UNIQA CEO Andreas Brandstetter and UNIQA Ventures CEO Dr. Andreas Nemeth (Credits: UNIQA Ventures/Sebastian Reich)

UNIQA Ventures, which is the Vienna-based venture capital fund of the UNIQA Insurance Group and one of the most active corporate venture capital funds in Europe, is increasing its growth capital from €75M to €150M. Half of the capital is to be invested in CEE startups. 

Founded in 2016, UNIQA Ventures supports startups from all over Europe that have innovative business models, strong founding teams, proven product-market fit, and traction. The fund targets companies in the late seed and early-growth stage from the Fintech, Insurtech, and Healthtech verticals. For 5 years, the fund has built a portfolio of more than 30 tech startups, including one unicorn – the digital investment platform Bitpanda. UNIQAVentures has also made 5 exits with Inzmo, Koalaboox, FragNebenan, Playbrush, and Twisto.

With the increase in investment capital, the corporate venture fund will target CEE startups that have scalable business models, great exit potential, and whose capital requirements are above €500K. Target vertical companies in the early growth stage that are looking to raise Series A and Series B will be funded with tickets ranging from €0.5M to €5M. 

“5 years ago, we decided to invest in the game-changers of tomorrow. I am very proud that today the UNIQA Insurance Group can call itself one of the most active startup investors in the country (No. 3 in 2020) and has been able to achieve an average return of over 20 percent per year over the last five years,” said Andreas Brandstetter, CEO of UNIQA Insurance Group in the official press release.

Why is the CEE region attractive for UNIQA Ventures

UNIQA Ventures’ team explained for The Recursive that The CEE region is UNIQA’s core market region as well as one of the most exciting start-up regions for VC investments. “As investors, we appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit there as well as the pool of talent, especially in the IT sector. In the long years of transformation, a generation has grown up there that is cosmopolitan, highly educated, and willing to take risks. There are outstanding start-ups that do not have to fear comparison with the USA,” the team of UNIQA Ventures shared.

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They highlighted that many CEE startups are internationally oriented right from the start as their home markets are often too small. “In addition, their valuations are comparatively attractive. We at UNIQA Ventures will continue to invest in our home market in the future, but are clearly focusing on the CEE region as a growth market,” they remarked. 

Corporate innovation and partnerships across the UNIQA Insurance Group

To allow for more collaboration between founders and partners, UNIQA Ventures is set up as an independent exploration unit separate from the classic insurance business. In order to create the biggest value-added for the portfolio companies, the fund provides founders not only with capital, but also with industry expertise, market knowledge, and network access. Moreover, many of the startups conduct pilot projects with UNIQA companies and nearly a third of the portfolio companies already work with UNIQA as sales, product, and IT partners.

As an example, the Group is currently partnering with the portfolio startup Telemedico that is a leading provider of telemedical services in Poland, Omni:us, an AI-based automation platform for claims processes, and Insly, a cloud service provider for insurance companies and brokers.

In addition, UNIQA Ventures partners with other venture capital funds from the Austrian and CEE ecosystems such as Elevator Ventures (Raiffeisen Bank International AG) and Speedinvest GmbH.

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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.