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35+ Deep Tech Investors From CEE and DACH Looking for Visionary Founders

deep tech investors

While deep tech may be building the future, investors have not traditionally queued at its door. These potentially game-changing technologies come with too much risk and long windows of return for the majority of European investors. Yet as deep tech becomes instrumental for tackling today’s biggest challenges, we see increasing commitments from both public and private financiers. In fact, European deep tech is not only amassing more capital every year, but may be the second highest VC-funded sector, after energy, according to research for Q2 2023.

Central and Eastern Europe, a small overall market, nevertheless has a great potential for science-based breakthroughs, shown by recent R&D investments in the member countries, as well as an increase in deep tech funds. On top of that, public funding from the EU also helps in building venture funds and investing in disruptive technologies that may be too risky for private investors. 

What are the underlying trends for the increasing appetite for deep tech in the region? Stay tuned for an in-depth analysis in the following days.

Today, we take a closer look at some of the most active CEE and DACH-based deep tech specialist funds, as well as a few generalist funds with a strong preference for IP-driven businesses, and which have shown interest in Central and Eastern European founders.

Deep tech investors from Greece

Big Pi Ventures

Company stage: Seed

Ticket size: €1 – 3 million

Fund size: 50 million euros for its second fund, Big Pi II 

Portfolio highlights: TileDB, Intelligencia, OrthoSon

The venture capital firm founded in 2018 in Athens, Greece, targets startups with deep-technology products and compelling intellectual property. They have recently announced the launch of their second fund, Big Pi II, of 50 million euros at first closing. They invest in areas such as health tech, new materials, IoT, AI, data science, The first fund’s success stories includes companies such as data management platform TileDB, and clinical development AI company Intelligencia, and medical technology company pioneering incisionless treatments, OrthoSon.

Uni.Fund

Company stage: pre-seed, seed

Ticket size: pre-seed – up to €250K, seed – €250K – 500K

Fund size: new fund closed at €50 million

Portfolio highlights: Nanoplasmas, K-Invent, FoodOxys

Founded in 2017 in Athens, Greece, Uni.Fund aims to unlock the hidden potential in the Greek technology, university, and R&D landscape. They are targeting early stage startups developing disruptive technologies, with strong IP, as well as clear, identified markets and proven concepts and products. They invest across areas such as ICT, IoT, health tech, fintech, insurance tech, and food tech. Deep tech portfolio highlights include micro-nanotechnology and surface engineering company, Nanoplasmas, physical rehabilitation and sports biomechanics company K-Invent, and FoodOxys, which has developed a patented portable device for the assessment of the levels of glutathione in blood.

Metavallon VC

Company stage: pre-seed, seed

Ticket size: pre-Seed: €200K – 400K; Seed: €400K – 1M

Fund size: €32 million 

Portfolio highlights: ThinkSillion, Perceptual Robotics, Better Origin

The Attiki-based venture capital fund invests in pre-seed and seed stage companies in Europe and the US, with a particular focus on B2B models and on deep tech solutions such as machine learning and AI, big data, microelectronics and robotics, blockchain, and IoT. Their portfolio includes success stories such as ultra-low power GPUS developer ThinkSillicon (acquired by Applied Materials), modular insect protein bioconversion company Better Origin, and automated wind turbine inspection drone producer Perceptual Robotics. They are part of the Silicon Valley-based Draper Venture Network.

Marathon Venture Capital

Company stage: seed

Ticket size: €1M – 1.5M 

Fund size: €70M

Portfolio highlights: Augmenta, Causaly, Automata

Founded in 2017, Athens-based Marathon Venture Capital targets seed stage technologies companies across various industries and technologies. Yet many of its portfolio companies fall in the deep tech area, including success stories such as precision agriculture company Augmenta (exited), AI-powered biomedicine company Causaly, and autonomous surveillance company Lambda Automata. Marathon invests across multiple sectors from climate, to health, security, infrastructure, finance, real estate, AI, and crypto. Around half of its portfolio comprises international investments.

Deep tech investors from Bulgaria

AlfaStar Ventures

Company stage: pre-seed, seed, early growth

Ticket size: N/A

Fund size: N/A

AlfaStar Ventures is an early-stage alternative investment fund manager, operating AlfaStar Capital – an evergreen EuVECA fund and the firm has recently launched operations. They are seeking AlfaStars – exceptional founders of early-stage startups and disrupting innovators. Their investment philosophy targets solutions for improving life – from cleaner air and water to healthier food, and smart finance, as well as solutions for improving businesses – automation, efficiency, sustainable industry and agriculture. They are looking at technologies such as AI,  machine & deep learning, big data, cloud, metaverse, and blockchain.

BrightCap Ventures

Company stage: pre-seed, seed

Ticket size:€0.5 – 3 million

Fund size: €25 million in Fund I

Portfolio highlights: Efemerai, Amygda Labs, Kardi AI

Based in Sofia with a network in Silicon Valley and Europe, BrightCap Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm investing in companies with defensible technology and significant global growth potential. Their portfolio spans areas such as digital health, health tech, AI, machine learning, automation, and agritech. Without having a deep tech focus, the fund has nevertheless invested in many deep tech startups including cardiac home monitoring startup Kardi AI, industrial AI startup Amygda Labs, and MLops startup Efemerai.

LAUNCHub Ventures

Company stage: pre-seed, seed, Series A

Ticket size: up to €2.5M

Fund size: €74 million through third fund

Portfolio highlights: Ampeco, Colossyan, Mediately

Founded in 2012 in Sofia, Bulgaria, LAUNCHub Ventures is an early-stage venture capital fund focused on investing in startups in South-Eastern (SEE) and Central-Eastern (CEE) Europe. They are looking for game-changing companies solving large-scale problems. While they are industry agnostic, they have frequently invested in areas such as AI, cryptocurrency, medtech, cloud, and analytics. Some of the highlights include EV charging management software company Ampeco, text-to-video GenAI platform Colossyan, and diagnosis and treatment tool Mediately. 

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Deep tech investors from Romania

GapMinder Ventures

Company stage: seed, Series A

Ticket size: seed – up to €2 million, follow-on – up to €6 million

Fund size: $50 million 

Portfolio highlights: FintechOS, DRUID, TypingDNA

Based in Bucharest, GapMinder targets seed and Series A stage deep tech B2B startups with potential for global expansion, with relevant traction and outstanding teams. They invest across industries, but particularly fintech, cybersecurity, enterprise automation, and data/analytics, with focus on technologies such as machine learning, process automation, dev tools, platforms, NLP & interfacing, prediction and detection. Portfolio highlights include fintech enablement company FintechOS, conversational business app company DRUID, and cybersecurity SaaS company TypingDNA.

Early Game Ventures

Company stage: pre-seed, seed, Series A

Ticket size: up to seed: €200K; Series A – €3.5 million

Fund size: €28 million in the first fund

Portfolio highlights: BunnyShell, CODA Intelligence, Tokinomo

Bucharest-based Early Game Ventures invests in technology and IP-driven startups, from pre-seed to Series A stages. They run a program that selects and accelerates 5 to 6 startups each year, as well as lead Series A investments. Areas of focus include enterprise technology such as RPA, NPL, AI & ML, or cybersecurity; consumer technology such as VR and AR, and hardware and electronics, including 3D printing, IoT, and robotics. Portfolio highlights include BunnyShell, an environment as a service platform to create and manage production environments, cybersecurity solutions provider CODA Intelligence, and retail marketing robots company Tokinomo.

Deep tech investors from Ukraine

Sid Venture Partners

Company stage: pre-seed, seed

Ticket size: $300K

Fund size: N/A

Portfolio highlights: Zibra, Numo, Near

The Ukrainian venture capital firm focuses on investments into early-stage, high tech technology startups building global solutions, with Ukrainian and CEE founders at the wheel. Although they are industry agnostic, they prefer spaces such as deep tech, fintech, blockchain, automotive, and B2B models. Portfolio highlights include 3D processing startup Zibra, ADHD treatment app Numo, and programmable blockchain and developer platform Near.

Deep tech investors from Poland

OTB Ventures

Company stage: late seed, Series A, Series B

Ticket size: €750K –  7.5M

Fund size: €150M Fund 2

Portfolio highlights: Iceye, ClearSpace, SettleMint

Established in 2017 and with offices in the Netherlands and Poland, OBT Ventures invests in early growth, post-product, and high tech startups developing unique technologies in Central and Eastern Europe and wanting to expand internationally. They have a preference for verticals such as enterprise AI, fintech, space tech, cybersecurity, IoT, robotics, and climate tech. Some of their portfolio companies that stand out include Iceye, building synthetic aperture radar satellites and ClearSpace, an in-orbit services (IOS) company aiming to enhance sustainable space operations.

ICOS Capital Management

Company stage: Series A, Series B 

Ticket size: €1 – 5M

Fund size: €50 million Fund III

Portfolio highlights: CarbonOrO, Squirro, Photanol

Founded in 2006, ICOS Capital Management is a collaborative venture fund that invests from a corporate-funded pool into deep tech startups across Europe and Israel. The VC firm is based in the Netherlands and Poland, with a focus on deep tech, sustainability, and digitization. Its portfolio spans areas such as biotech, food tech, agritech, medtech, climate tech, chemicals and materials. Highlights include low-cost carbon dioxide capture and separation solution CarbonOrO, data analytics company Squirro, and Photanol, a biotech company converting CO2 into renewable chemicals. 

Radix Ventures

Company stage: seed, late seed 

Ticket size: N/A

Fund size: targeting a minimum of €50 million by the end of 2023

Established in 2023, Polish VC fund Radix Ventures aims to support CEE ecosystems in developing deep tech, with particular focus on Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Ukraine. They are backed by the European Investment Fund with €25 million. Key areas of interest for the fund include energy, logistics, AI & automation, quantum communications, and post-quantum cyber security.

SunFish Partner

Company stage: pre-seed, seed

Ticket size: €250K – 500K

Fund size: N/A

Portfolio highlights: Aether Biomedical, Deepflare, Liftero

Founded in 2016, with offices in Berlin and Warsaw. Sunfish Partners is an early stage VC supporting Polish deep tech startups with global ambitions. So far, their investments span different verticals, but predominantly health tech and pharmaceuticals, automation, and data analytics. Highlights include high functioning, multi-articulated bionic hand manufacturer Aether Biomedical and ML-enabled vaccine discovery solution Deepflare. 

FundingBox Deep Tech Fund

Company stage: seed

Ticket size: up to PLN 4M (€900K)

Fund size: N/A

Portfolio highlights: Pergamin, Vumo, GlucoActive

Founded in 2020, FundingBox Deep Tech Fund invests in early-stage European companies with a defined technological advantage and scalability potential. They are targeting startups with at least an user-verified prototype, with solutions in areas such as health tech, medtech, AI & automation, robotics, and big data. They are a part of The Funding Box Group. Highlights include AI-enabled visual inspection tool for vehicles, Vumo, and medtech startup developing the technology of non-invasive glucose measurement, GlucoActive.

Simpact Impact Investing

Company stage: pre-seed to Series A

Ticket size: 3-4M PLN (€67K – 90K)

Fund size: 130M PLN (€29M)

Portfolio highlights: MyEgg, Glaze Prosthetics, ReBuild

Founded in 2015, the Polish fund specializes in innovative tech startups that generate positive social and/or environmental impact. The second fund is backed by the European Investment Fund and targets the best impact driven startups in CEE and beyond. Their portfolio includes food tech companies such as plant-based egg solutions MyEgg, medtech company Glaze Prosthetics, and ReBuild, a company developing 3D printing solutions for constructions.

LT Capital

Company stage: seed

Ticket size: $250K

Fund size: €60 million in Fund III

Portfolio highlights: Husarnet, BioCam, SunRoof

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LT Capital is a venture capital fund focusing on seed stage startups across Central and Eastern Europe developing industry 4.0 solutions. They are eyeing technologies across AI, big data, cybersecurity, robotics, AR/VR, and digitalization, but also energy, smart city, and circular economy, among others. Portfolio highlights include Husarnet, a peer-to-peer VPN network dedicated for robots, autonomous vehicles and industry 4.0 applications and BioCam, which designs and manufactures an endoscopic capsule for imaging of the digestive system.

Deep tech investors from Czech Republic

Tensor Ventures

Company stage: seed, Series A

Ticket size: up to $2M

Fund size: N/A

Portfolio highlights: Quantagonia, Anari, Bioo

Tensor Ventures aims to support startups that explore uncharted territories in deep tech including quantum computing, computational biotech, and sustainable tech. Is a venture capital fund targeting seed to Series A stages. Their investments include novel projects such as Quantagonia’s hybrid classical-quantum orchestration solution and Anari, developing a cloud-based AI chip factory that makes custom-designed AI chips faster and more affordable.

Longevitytech.fund

Company stage: pre-seed to Series A

Ticket size: N/A

Fund size: $50 million second fund

Portfolio highlights: Remedium Bio, MitoRx Therapeutics, Sampling Human

Prague-based Longevitytech.fund was founded in 2019 with the goal of helping extend healthy and active human life and minimize age-related illness. They invest in pre-seed and seed-stage tech startups and spinoffs worldwide that are aimed to extend healthy human lifespan. Highlights include gene therapy company Remedium Bio and MitoRx Therapeutics, a medtech developing revolutionary therapeutic to arrest decline in muscular dystrophy and neurodegeneration.

StartGuide VC

Company stage: pre-seed, seed

Ticket size: €50 – 200K

Fund size: €6 million

Portfolio highlights: Mobito, Forloop.ai, Digital Transformation Systems

A bridge between angel investors and VC fund opportunities, the SG One Fund is targeting early stage startups in the CEE region addressing the B2C segment in particular. Their portfolio includes solutions in data science, data analytics, 3D modeling, and AI, across various industries. A recent addition to their portfolio is Mobito, a tech company that aims to revolutionize urban mobility with advanced data exchange technologies. 

Y Soft Ventures

Company stage: ideally post-revenue

Ticket size: N/A 

Fund size: N/A

Portfolio highlights: Dronetag, Sensoneo, NenoVision

Y Soft Ventures is the corporate arm of Y Soft, a multinational Czech hardware and software company. The fund invests in B2B startups with global potential. Their technology focus spans from IoT to cybersecurity, big data and analytics, and augmented and virtual reality. One such example is Sensoneo, a smart waste management solution provider.

Deep tech investors from Germany

EarlyBird Venture Capital

Company stage: all development and growth phases

Ticket size: €1 – 10 million

Fund size: €2 billion across all fund streams

Portfolio highlights: UiPath, Minit, Phetoneo

Founded in 1997, Earlybird focuses on European technology innovators, investing in all development and growth phases. The fund is split into four four autonomous, dedicated and specialized teams, including Earlybird-X, which backs deep tech startups, including robotics, AI, and mobility, from the earliest stages by tapping into a network of leading European universities. Some of its portfolio highlights include robotic process automation software (RPA) company UiPath (exited), Minit, a provider of automated business process discovery and mining software (exited), and Phetoneo, a leading provider of complete 3D vision technology.

High-Tech Gründerfonds

Company stage: seed

Ticket size: up to €1 million

Fund size: €1.4 billion AuM, ~€500M in HTGF IV

Portfolio highlights: Aegiq, Neural Concept, adivo

High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) invests in early-stage tech startups with growth potential. Preferred areas include digital tech, deep tech, industrial tech, life sciences, chemistry and related business areas. Some of its bigger exits include Emma, Quantic, c-LEcta. Among current portfolio highlights, we note adivo, a biotech company generating therapeutic antibodies for companion animals, Aegiq, building a new generation of networking and computing with quantum technology, and Neural Concept, a deep learning software solution dedicated to Computer Assisted Engineering and Design.

Vsquared Ventures

Company stage: early stage

Ticket size: N/A

Fund size: €165 million

Portfolio highlights: IQM, Zama, Custom Cells

Vsquared Ventures is an early-stage VC targeting deep tech startups across Europe. They are eyeing solutions across quantum and novel computing, green energy, robotics, AI/ML, new space, synthetic biology, and healthcare. Portfolio highlights include quantum computing company IQM, homomorphic encryption company Zama, and lithium-ion battery cells producer Custom Cells.

UVC Partners

Company stage: pre-seed, seed, Series A

Ticket size: €500K – 10 million

Fund size: €150 million in the current fund

Portfolio highlights: Isar Aerospace Technologies, Aleph Alpha, Reverion

Founded in 2011, UVC Partners is a Berlin-based venture capital fund looking to partner with game-changing, bold, visionary founders from the earliest stage to Series A. They invest in various deep tech areas such as space tech, robotics, quantum computing, AI models, and climate tech. Such examples include Isar Aerospace, building launch vehicles for small satellites, AI R&D company Aleph Alpha, and Reverion, a spin-off of the Technical University of Munich, whose container-based plants can replace conventional gas engines with low efficiencies and can be operated with hydrogen in addition to biogas.

Lunar Ventures

Company stage: seed, Series A

Ticket size: €300K – 1M

Fund size: €40 million

Portfolio highlights: SemiQon, Neurolabs, Molecule

Berlin-based Lunar Ventures, founded in 2017, is looking for technical founders, building at the intersection of deep tech and software, to help them turn sci-fi ideas into working products for global audiences. They invest in technologies such as AI/ML, blockchain, quantum computing, medtech, and cloud computing. Their portfolio includes SemiQon, building quantum processors for the million-qubit era, Neurolabs, developing a shortcut the way to more accurate ML using synthetic vision, and Molecule, a decentralized financial ecosystem for funding new therapies.

Fly Ventures

Company stage: pre-seed, seed

Ticket size: pre-seed: $400K – 900K, seed: $1M – 2.5M

Fund size: €53 million

Portfolio highlights: Better Origin, Scape, Pyka

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Berlin-based Fly Ventures is a specialized European VC targeting technical founders solving hard problems. They invest up from ground zero up to the seed stage in areas such as climate tech, medtech, AI & automation, and VR & AR. Some of their portfolio highlights include modular insect protein bioconversion company Better Origin, AR localization & mapping company Scape (exited), and autonomous electric planes producer Pyka.

B2venture (formerly btov Partners)

Company stage: pre-seed, seed, Series A

Ticket size: €250K – 5M

Fund size: $135M in the btov Digital Tech II fund

Portfolio highlights: Lattice Flow, Baresquare, Neptune

Germany-based B2venture (formerly btov Partners) has been investing in European and US startups at early stages since 2000. They have a close community of angel investors, pioneering new approaches to venture funding. Their portfolio spans across many verticals, including automation, AI, climate tech, biotech, food tech, BI & analytics, and smart manufacturing. The company is an early investor in Facebook, while in Central and Eastern Europe, they have been supporting Lattice Flow, a spinoff aiming to help ML teams deliver trustworthy AI, analytics dashboard automation solution Baresquare, and MLops developer Neptune.

Deep tech investors from Austria

Speedinvest

Company stage: pre-seed, seed

Ticket size: €600K – €2 million

Fund size: €500 million

Portfolio highlights: Dronamics, cylib, Tenyks

With investors based in Vienna, as well as Berlin, London, Munich, and Paris, Speedinvest is eyeing early-stage startups in Europe. They were launched as a €10M micro-fund in 2011, and have reached €1bn in AuM. Their portfolio counts 6 unicorns, including neobroker Bitpanda and electric scooter platform TIER Mobility. Their deep tech investments span across areas such as automation, semiconductors, AI & ML, data science, quantum computing, and climate tech. Highlights include Dronamics, building advanced unmanned aerial systems for logistics, cylib, offering a sustainable technology for Li-ion battery recycling, and Tenyks, a machine learning ops monitoring and validation platform.

APEX Ventures

Company stage: pre-seed, seed

Ticket size: €600K – 2M

Fund size: €50 million

Portfolio highlights: KIVU Technologies, Contextflow, VitreaLab

Founded in 2016, Austrian fund APEX Ventures focuses on supporting deep tech companies across the DACH region, CEE, and occasionally the Nordics. They invest in areas such as smart data & security, fintech & insurtech, industry 4.0, digital health & life sciences, and digital platforms. Among portfolio highlights, we counted KIVU Technologies, building graph computing solutions for security investigators, Contextflow, developing an automated process for medical imaging data analysis, and laser optics company VitreaLab.

Calm/Storm Ventures

Company stage: pre-seed, seed

Ticket size: €50K – 250K

Fund size: €20 million

Portfolio highlights: Mindstep, Bea Fertility, Healee

Vienna-based Calm/Storm Ventures is a boutique venture capital fund with a particular focus on healthcare and medical care solutions. Investment areas vary from digital platforms to diagnostics, virtual care, infrastructure and well-being solutions. Examples from the portfolio include complete brain care digital therapeutics company Mindstep, clinical-grade fertility care service Bea Fertility, and white label all-in-one telehealth platform Healee.

Deep tech investors from Switzerland

Lakestar

Company stage: seed, growth

Ticket size: seed – €100K – 15M, series B, C, & D – €20M – 70M

Fund size: raised €2.8 billion across four funds

Portfolio highlights: Revolut, TerraQuantum, Soul Machines

Present in Berlin, Zurich and London, Lakestar invests across areas such as deep tech, but also fintech, healthcare, digitisation, games & media, and vertical software, counting companies such as Skype, Spotify, and Airbnb among its early investments. It currently holds investments in companies such as TerraQuantum, offering quantum as a service in the areas of quantum algorithms, quantum computing and quantum security, global neobank Revolut, and generative AI and autonomous animation company Soul Machines.

Verve Ventures

Company stage: seed

Ticket size: €500K – 5M 

Fund size: annual investments of €60-70 million

Portfolio highlights: Aktiia, Verity, Versantis

Based in Zurich, Verve Ventures invests in science and technology startups across Europe. They focus on three key verticals: digital technologies, from cybersecurity, to fintech, and industry 4.0, among others; health and biotech, and tangible technologies, from robotics to 3D printing, photonics, and drones. Their portfolio highlights include wearable blood pressure monitor Aktiia, drones company Verity, and antidote developer Versantis (exited).

EU grant programs for deep tech startups

Deep tech startups in Europe enjoy widespread and increasing public support through various channels, both at the EU and national levels. Programs like Horizon Europe, EIC, and EIT InnoEnergy, as well as national agencies provide grants to support these startups. The European Investment Fund (EIF) is a significant contributor, acting as the main Limited Partner (LP) in most European deep tech funds.

Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is the EU’s main funding programme, dedicated to research and innovation. It has a budget of €95.5 billion between 2021 and 2027. It consists of 3 main pillars: excellent sciences, global challenges and European industrial competitiveness, and Innovative Europe. 53.5% of the budget is dedicated to global challenges and European competitiveness, including the green and digital transition.

EIC Fund (European Innovation Council Fund)

Part of Horizon Europe, the EIC Fund aims to support innovations with potential breakthrough and disruptive nature, but that may be too risky for private investors, to scale up. It is dedicated to SMEs and startups, from pre-commercial to market and scaleup phases. They invested over $1.3 billion across 1.5K grants in deep tech startups since 2016.

EIT innoEnergy

EIT innoEnergy invests in the energy sector in Europe, supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). They have invested in over 500 innovations and more than 180 companies since 2010, and are a leading cleantech investor. 

EIF (European Investment Fund)

The EIF is the principal LP behind many European deep tech funds, contributing approximately 40% of the capital allocation.

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https://therecursive.com/author/antoanelaionita/

Antoanela is a Sustainability Communications Specialist and Deputy Editor at The Recursive media. From these roles, she is helping organizations communicate their latest sustainability goals, strategies, and technologies. She writes about climate tech, ESG, impact investment, sustainability regulation, and related topics.