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Romanian Startups Ecosystem — overview and news for first half of 2019

As expected, the Romanian startup ecosystem continued its wild excitement, so we thought about reviewing the major news and events that took place related to startups in Romania, a perfect 10 minutes read for your vacation.

For more details, just open the links in each of the paragraphs. In case, I missed something important, let me know in a comment. We’ve started with 10 pieces, but the list got close to 40 so far 🙂 Enjoy!

Investment news

We witnessed approximately 25 deals totalising close to €10M, including the ones in seed/acceleration phase, but those take less than 10% of the total sum (we’re not including here UIPath’s Series D round).

  1. The Romanian based unicorn, UIPath raised Series D investment roundof $568M at more than $7B valuation. UiPath was founded in 2005 and began raising private capital in 2015 and has since experienced rapid growth of its valuation and annual recurring revenue (ARR). The company went from $1 million to $100 million in annual recurring revenue in less than two years. It counts close to 2000 enterprise customers and various sources estimate a $450 million in ARR in 2019.
  2. E-commerce platform, Blugento, received funding of €1 million from R22, a Polish investment fund, with aim to expand in central Europe. Blugento grew its revenue almost 10 times in just 3 years to 1.5 million RON and it was valued at almost €4 million in this transaction of 31% equity stake.
  3. GapMinder Venture Partners rounded its capital to €40M size, while continuing the investments in startups like (platform for employees to review companies), MediJobs (career marketplace for healthcare recruiting), Beez (platform for saving money on online shopping), Finqware (middleware financial API aggregation platform to interconnect businesses and fintechs with banks), FintechOS and TypingDNA (see bellow).
  4. FintechOS, startup focused on accelerating the digital transformation of financial institutions, has attracted €1,1M post-seed investment in a new round led by GapMinder VC, with participation of LAUNCHub VenturesGecad Ventures and other private investors. This makes the total capital invested so far worth €2.7 million. The company plans to continue its expansion and raising series A round by the end of 2019.
  5. SymphoPay, a middleware platform that adds marketing capabilities and analytics to existing POS devices, received investment of €650,000from Early Game VenturesGECAD VenturesSparking Capital and other business angels. The solution is designed for retailers who want to integrate all partner banks into one single payment terminal which is connected to a central platform capable to integrate marketing and loyalty campaigns in real-time.
  6. Early Game Ventures (EGV) announced the launch of its acceleration program. The fund selects around 5 startups each year, providing up to €200 000 for 7% -10% of the equity. The fund invested already in Watto(company building a network of ultra-fast charging stations for electric vehicles in Central and Southern Europe), Bookvitals (extracts essential information from books and provides book summaries) and as well Symphopay (as mentioned above).
  7. Gecad Ventures participated with a follow-on investment in TypingDNA. Romanian AI-based typing biometric secured $1.5M funding from several investors including GapMinder and other international investors. The startup combines AI and behavioral biometrics as an identification verification tool for recognizing people by the way they type on desktop keyboards and mobile devices.
  8. A new private equity fund of €45 million was launched with the support of European Investment Fund. Morphosis Capitalis focused on growth investments, of €5–15 million per transaction in companies active in sectors such as consumer goods and supporting sectors, healthcare, technology with impact in the real economy and B2B services.
  9. AlphaBlock, a Romanian AI company that builds investment management solutions for pension funds, family offices, and hedge funds, has raised an undisclosed amount from Real Ventures, a Canadian early-stage venture capital firm. The investment brings the startup’s valuation to $15 million.
  10. Bucharest-based Questo raised seed round of funding from two private angel investors, bringing its valuation to $1.5 million. Founded in 2017, Bucharest-based startup Questo has developed a mobile city exploration game which is already present in 40 European cities. Questo plans to use the funding to expand to some of the largest cities in the world, including London, New York, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Barcelona.
  11. DigiTail, SaaS startup that helps digitise veterinary practices and founded by Romanian living in the Nordics, closed an investment roundof 220 000 euro after their participation in Fast Track Malmo accelerator. The same accelerator invested also in Neurolabs (which provides artificial intelligence solutions for the retail industry; in issues related to supply chain, from forecasting to on-shelf monitoring and self-checkout).
  12. Jobful, recruitment through gamification platform, has completed its first angel investment round and obtained EUR 100,000 in funding from three private investors. The investment will be used for both further platform development as well as a mobile app to be launched this fall. Jobful targets young professionals who are looking to develop their careers as well as companies seeking to make the recruitment process more efficient by providing an initial test of candidates’ skills and an assessment of their interests.
  13. Techstars Berlin invested and accelerated two Romanian startups, MEDIjobs (healthcare career market place) and Nifty Learning(operational intelligence for enterprise training management), with focus on client acquisition and growth in international markets.
  14. InnerTrends(data science product for SaaS that uncovers insights in customer onboarding, retention and engagement) is part 500startups’ 25th batch. As a US-based four-month seed program, the 500 Startups seed fund invests $150,000 in participating companies in exchange for 6% equity. 

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