10 Southeast European startups and scaleups that have conquered Europe

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An innovation ecosystem that has grown fifty times in value over the past decade, Southeast Europe is no short of fast-growing, market-grabbing startups. The hype is only just starting in the region, and it’s in large proportion due to a handful of companies that have proven the emerging ecosystem’s value proposition as a lean value creator, rich with tech talent.

Today, we take you through a list of Southeast European startups that were most successful in expanding to some of the largest markets in Europe and the US.

As minimum criteria, we decided to select startups and scaleups that have not yet made an exit, have no more than 15 years in the market, and are either based in or have offices in Southeast Europe. The list that follows is in alphabetical order.

Top VCs From the DACH Region That Invest in CEE Startups

10 Startups and scaleups from SEE that succeed in Europe and the US

Cognism, North Macedonia

  • Sector: sales software, sales intelligence
  • Solution: Cognism helps businesses find, engage and close prospects by providing premium company and contact information, including firmographics, technographics, sales trigger events, intent data, verified business emails, and phone-verified mobile numbers.
  • Founders: James Isilay, Stjepan Buljat
  • Office presence: North Macedonia, UK, UK, Croatia, Germany 
  • Total funding: $126.7 million
  • Latest round: $87.5 million Series C round led by new investors Viking Global Investors and Blue Cloud Ventures alongside follow-on investors
  • Traction: ARR growth of 100% in 2021, over 1000 customers in over 40 countries

Dronamics, Bulgaria

  • Sector: aviation and aerospace component manufacturing, logistics, drone manufacturing
  • Solution: The company is developing an unmanned, autonomous vehicle (UAV) called “The Black Swan”, which can transport 350 kg at a distance of 2,500 km, in a more affordable way than existing aircraft.
  • Founders: Svilen Rangelov, Konstantin Rangelov
  • Presence: offices in Bulgaria and UK
  • Total funding: $62.3 million
  • Latest round: $40 million pre-Series A round led by VCs and angel investors from 12 countries
  • Traction: 150 aircraft engineering professionals across 12 countries; they recently made their first cargo drone flight test in Bulgaria; they closed major deals with companies such as DHL and big airports around Europe

EnduroSat, Bulgaria

  • Sector: aviation and aerospace component manufacturing, satellite manufacturing
  • Solution: The company provides nanosatellites and space services to business, exploration, and science teams.
  • Founders: Raycho Raychev
  • Presence: offices in Bulgaria, US, Italy
  • Total funding: $28.6 million
  • Latest round: $10M Series A round led by CEECAT Capital and joined by existing investors
  • Traction: fleet of 2500 systems currently operational in space; growing by more than 200% year-to-year for the past six years

Bulgarian Dronamics raises $40M to power new generation drone solutions

FintechOS, Romania

  • Sector: fintech, digital financial services, low-code software
  • Solution: The FintechOS platform helps companies simplify and accelerate the launching, servicing, and expansion of financial products and services, making financial solutions run in as little as 12 weeks.
  • Founders: Teodor Blidarus, Sergiu Negut
  • Presence: Romania, UK, US
  • Total funding: $91.1 million
  • Latest round: $60 billion Series B led by Draper Esprit, and joined by Early Bird Digital East, LAUNCHub Ventures, Gapminder VC, and OTB Ventures
  • Traction: 70% overall revenue increase and 300% revenue increase from the insurance business in 2022; 50+ financial service customers

FlexCar, Greece

  • Sector: automotive, motor vehicles, shared mobility
  • Solution: As an alternative to car ownership, FlexCar offers car leasing services, aiming to make mobility accessible and convenient.
  • Founders: George Bizas, George Desyllas
  • Presence: Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Mexico
  • Total funding: €300 million
  • Latest round: led by US-based Data Point Capital, amount unknown. Previous rounds: €50 million
  • Traction: over 10,000 vehicles deployed, 29,000 customers served

FLOWX.AI, Romania

  • Sector: enterprise software, AI
  • Solution: Flowx.AI is an application modernization platform, and the first development platform that enables enterprises to build digital apps in just 10 weeks, while reviving their legacy infrastructure and re-building it from within.
  • Founders: Ioan Iacob, Serban Chiricescu, Smaranda Manolescu
  • Presence: Romania, US
  • Total funding: $43.5 million
  • Latest round: $35 million Series A from PortfoLion, a VC and private equity firm part of OTP Group, and joined by Budapest-based Day One Capital and Romanian crowdfunding platform Seedblink
  • Traction: 16x ROI, serving +30 million users, 78+ NPS for customer and employees

Payhawk, Bulgaria

  • Sector: fintech, payments
  • Solution: Offers the leading spend management solution for domestic and international businesses throughout Europe, the US, and the UK. It includes company cards, reimbursable expenses, accounts payable, and accounting software integrations.
  • Founders: Hristo Borisov, Konstantin Dzhengozov, Boyko Karadzhov
  • Presence: Bulgaria, UK, Spain, France, Netherlands, Lithuania, Germany
  • Total funding: $215 million
  • Latest round: $100M in a round led by the Silicon Valley-based VC Lightspeed Venture Partners
  • Traction: reached unicorn valuation (>$1 billion) in a four-year timespan; over 280 employees; serves companies in 32 countries

Payhawk is Bulgaria’s first tech unicorn

Plum, Greece

  • Sector: fintech, mobile app
  • Solution: A financial app where you can save, spend, earn, and invest with saving tools and investment features.
  • Founders: Victor Trokoudes
  • Presence: Greece, UK, Cyprus
  • Total funding: $82.4 million 
  • Latest round: $1.4 million in equity crowdfunding
  • Traction: +1.5 million customers across 10 European markets; >180 employees

Rimac, Croatia

  • Sector: automotive, electric vehicles
  • Solution: Developing the most advanced hypercars in the world, as well as high-performance electrification, autonomous, and software solutions for the world’s largest OEMs.
  • Founders: Mate Rimac
  • Presence: Croatia, US
  • Total funding: $875.8 million
  • Latest round: €500M in a Series D round led by SoftBank and Goldman Sachs
  • Traction: valued at over $2,2 billion; more than 2000 employees; from 2023, the Rimac Group is headquartered at a new 200,000 m2 Rimac Campus, large enough to accommodate over 2,500 people

Tenderly, Serbia

  • Sector: web3, blockchain
  • Solution: The Tenderly platform enables Web3 developers to build, test, monitor, and operate smart contracts from their inception to mass adoption, combining debugging tools with observability and infrastructure building blocks.
  • Founders: Bogdan Habic, Andrej Bencic
  • Presence: Serbia, US
  • Total funding: $58.6 million
  • Latest round: a $40 million Series B investment round, led by Spark Capital, and joined by Accel, PointNine Capital, Abstract Ventures, Coinbase Ventures, Uniswap Labs, and Daedalus
  • Traction: 230% increase in revenues in 2022, 200,000+ contracts monitored per month

Rimac Energy: Croatian e-car company builds stationary storage for renewables

via The Recursive


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