Highest early stage venture capital in Central and Eastern Europe

Money continues to flow into start-ups in Central and Eastern Europe, as the world is increasingly noticing Technical talents and ambitions get out of the area. Investors from all over the world are engaging in this activity, but when it comes to early stage financing, local venture capital firms still lead the way.

Using Dealroom data, Sifted has created a list of the region’s top early-stage investment funds. Interestingly, Dealroom found that all of the major companies in the region are currently focusing on early stage rounds – perhaps highlighting a funding gap in the middle and late stage in the region.

You can find the complete Dealroom methodology over herebut the ranking depends on the following data points:

  • The number of monocytes in the wallet
  • The number of “future” monocytes in the wallet
  • Number of rounds in the last 12 months

The Dealroom also evaluated the ratings by “dilution score,” with companies that invested early in unicorns scoring higher than those that joined later.

So, without further ado, here are some of the venture capital pioneers from the region.

1. First Capital Market

Market One Capital

With offices in Poland, Spain and Luxembourg, Market One Capital is focused across the continent, although approximately 40-50% of its portfolio comes from Central and Eastern Europe.

Market One’s primary focus is to invest in it Digital platforms and marketplaces, mainly In the seed and pre-seed stages. About 30% of its investments fit other business models, mostly software companies. Most of the investment team has an entrepreneurial background, with five markets established in between. Over the past 10 years, FIRN has invested in more than 40 markets, and more than 70 startups in total.

It is launching a new fund, MOC II, later this year, but is currently investing from the €45 million MOC I fund launched in 2018 (writing initial checks from between 500 thousand1.5 m).

Number of deals in Europe in 2021: Seven startups.
Gender breakdown of the investment team: Eight people, including two women, with increased diversity on her team are a target for MOC II.
Notable investments:

  • classCurrently the largest micro-mobility operator in the world
  • Retail platform for instant grocery delivery JOKRwhich reached unicorn status eight months after the seed tour.

2. Credo Ventures

Credo Ventures founders, Ondrej Bartos (left) and Jan Habermann (right)
Credo Ventures founders, Ondrej Bartos, left, and Jan Habermann

Czech-based Credo Ventures has been a former backer of UiPath, going into the ground floor by backing Romanian unicorns in the first round in 2015. It has continued to invest in regional companies and recently closed its fourth fund, valued at 75 million euros

Credo focuses on early stage investments in companies based in Central and Eastern Europe or within the diaspora in the region, with tickets amounting to €1 million and €3-5 million, respectively, for pre-incorporation and foundation rounds.

The team recently added a talented partner to directly assist startups with recruitment, which is systematically one of the main challenges facing early stage startups.

2021 Number of deals: nineAll in Europe
sex division: Four general partners, all male.
Notable investments:

  • Romanian RPA Giant UiPath (Rhino)
  • Productboard, recently appeared rhinoceros based in San Francisco and launched in Prague
  • Provider of the Czech-American unified data platform Manta
  • Germany-based Pricefx pricing software provider

3. Kaya

Collage of the team at Kaya, Czech VC company

Prague-based KAYA, formerly Enern, has been around for more than a decade and has invested in some of the biggest companies to come out of the area, including companies like Booksy, DocPlanner, and Rohlik.

KAYA specializes in early stage tours of Central and Eastern Europe and elsewhere in Europe as well, with a strong focus on healthcare, fintech and new energy. She closed her fourth fund with a value of 90 million, in January and free checks of two hundred thousand euros until 2 m for series rounds.

2021 Number of deals: 12 new investments, two of which are outside Europe.
Gender division: six male and five female members of the wider team. When it comes to investors: four male partners and one investment manager.
Notable investments:

  • Beauty and wellness appointment booking app founded in Poland PC
  • Polish healthcare platform DocPlanner
  • Online Czech Grocery Start rolick (Rhino)
  • Prague-based BNPL startup Twisto

4. Superangel


Superangel, a fund seeded and backed by some of Estonia’s top tech entrepreneurs, was an early investor in Bolt, Veriff, Starship and Pipedrive, to name a few.

Superangel invests in pre-seed and seed rounds, particularly in the Baltic and Nordic countries, with a particular focus on artificial intelligence and robotics, financial technology, SaaS, mobility and logistics. Collectively, the Superangel team has invested in more than 100 startups around the world, including four that have reached a $1 billion valuation, and many startups are rapidly moving toward that status.

The first €16 million Superangel fund was launched in 2018, and a follow-up fund is expected to be announced soon. He writes checks ranging from 100,000 to 1 million euros.

2021 Number of deals: 19 (13 new, 6 up)
Gender division: T.Three male partners and two investment managers (one male and one female) and three members of the operational team (two women and one man)
Notable investments:

  • Estonian Superapp . navigation app Bolt (Rhino)
  • Start identity verification verive It became the sixth century rhinoceros in Estonia in January 2022
  • Sales of the first CRM and smart revenue platform Pipedrive (Unicorn)

👉 Read more: Major early stage investors in Spain

5. Practica Capital

Practica Capital VC

VC Practica Capital in the early stage in Lithuania focuses on the area that you know well; Namely, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are the founders of the Baltics throughout Europe.

Although a public fund, the vast majority of deal flow comes from the Baltic states related to SaaS and vertical market segments, and Practica has built a strong portfolio in those segments. Its latest fund, Practica Venture Capital II, worth €28.5 million, was launched in 2019 and focuses on initial rounds and first rounds (checks written for €100k – €3 million).

2021 Number of deals: 18 (11 new, 7 rounds up)
Gender division: Advisory Committee: 60% female, 40% male, Investment team (partners): 100% male, broader team: 85% male, 15% female.
Notable investments:

  • Money transfer platform founded by UK-based Lithuania
  • interactionIt is a direct translation platform used by the United Nations and the European Parliament
  • Montonio, a Klarna competitor that has developed a comprehensive checkout solution for e-commerce merchants
  • traffica mobility-as-a-service startup from Lithuania

6. GapMinder Venture Partners

Bucharest-based GapMinder Venture Partners focuses on early stage start-ups in the Central and Eastern European region, particularly startups among companies operating in the fields of machine learning, artificial intelligence, process automation, networking, cybersecurity, financial technology, and digital transformation sectors. Its latest fund, with a value of 50 million euros, was launched in 2018. It issues checks ranging from 300,000 euros to 1.8 million euros for first rounds, with a follow-up of up to 2.5 million euros (with a total investment in a company of only 8 million euros).

2021 Number of deals: 13 (seed and pre-incorporation), including follow-up rounds led by other European venture capitalists
Gender division: Partner level: 100% male; Wider investment team: 30% female and 70% male
Notable investments:

7. Contrarian Projects

Contrarian Ventures co-founders Thomas Kemets (left) and Rocas Picoliitis

Lithuania-based Contrarian Ventures claims to be Europe’s largest and first seed fund for climate technology, with a strong focus on energy, mobility, the built environment, industry and transit technologies such as hydrogen. It also has a pan-European approach, both in terms of the location of its investment team and the composition of its portfolio.

Contrarian’s first fund, launched in 2018, was worth €12.5 million, with a follow-up fund to be announced later this year. He. She He writes checks for between €500,000 and €2 million for the preliminary rounds and foundation rounds, and up to €4 million for Series A, and has led 60% of the foundation rounds in which he participated.

2021 Number of deals: four , excluding follow-ups (tThe team aims to make it six or seven deals per year).
Gender division: Five team members, all male (planning to double the size of the team, with seven new roles available in the short to medium term, with the goal of achieving gender parity in the long term)
Notable investments:

  • Israeli startup H2Pro, which is focused on developing cheaper hydrogen fuel
  • ebike supplier Zoomo last mile delivery
  • PVcase, a Lithuanian SaaS provider of solar power plants

8. Launching projects

Bulgarian startup LAUNCHub Ventures focuses on early stage startups in Southeast Europe and its diaspora and has invested in some of the most notable early stage rounds from the region, including in the Romanian fintech startup FintechOS The OKR Bulgarian startup Gtmhub. It is sector-neutral, but with a broad interest in artificial intelligence, fintech, blockchain, health technology, and the future of work. The venture capital firm is trying to nurture the region’s founders, and claims that 50% of portfolio graduates return to LAUNCHub Ventures as private investors.

LAUNCHub’s latest fund, worth €74 million, was launched in December 2021, with check sizes ranging from €300,000 to €2.5 million.

2021 Number of deals: Seven
Gender division: The male/female split is 5:1 for the partners and 4:1 for the broader investment team.
Notable investments:

  • Bulgarian startup OKR Gtmhub
  • Financial technology based in Bucharest FintechOS
  • Giraffe360, a subscription-based robotic camera for a real estate startup
  • OfficeRnD, the SaaS platform for managing mixed workplaces

Kate Gillette is a Western-Eastern Europe correspondent. Tweet from Tweet embed