One of the great strengths of the CEE region is a strong emphasis on engineering and mathematics; not surprisingly this is reflected in the kinds of start-ups the region produces. To identify the top companies we spoke to investors and entrepreneurs from the region and further afield. To qualify, companies had to have been started in the region or maintain a significant presence there. We have not included start-ups from the Baltics or Russia as these will feature in another edition. We have included Austria and Ukraine.
What it does: Zooming presentation software.
Why it’s hot: Prezi’s cloud-based tool has more than 45 million users and 120 million presentations, and is used by 80% of the Fortune 500. The company has raised more than $15.5 million from Accel Partners, Sunstone, and the TED Conference (TED’s first investment in a start-up). Prezi has been cash flow positive since 2009, and doesn’t anticipate any further funding rounds.
Prague, Czech Republic
What it does: Social media analytics and optimization.
Why it’s hot: The Socialbakers platform enables brands to measure, compare, and contrast the success of their social media campaigns with competitive intelligence. It claims more than one million visits per month. In 2014 the company closed a $26 million Series C round led by Index Ventures and opened an Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore. Clients include half the Fortune 500.
San Francisco, CA, U.S.
What it does: Collaborative API building tool.
Why it’s hot: Apiary offers a quick way to prototype an API without writing code; it also allows all team members, and clients, to contribute to the design. With engineering operations in Prague, Apiary has gathered more than 35,000 APIs. Customers include Akamai and GoodData. In September 2013 it raised $1.63 million from Flybridge Capital Partners and Baseline Ventures.
Palo Alto, CA, U.S.
What it does: CRM and sales productivity platform.
Why it’s hot: Base offers CRM and sales pipeline management software, used by more than 5,000 customers, from small firms to GE, 3M, NCR and Xerox. It has had more than a quarter-million downloads. With R&D offices in Kraków, Poland, it has raised $23 million from RRE Ventures, Index Ventures, The Social+Capital Partnership, OCA Ventures, I2A and angels.
What it does: Continuous software deployment platform.
Why it’s hot: Codeship enables software updates to be released quickly, automatically and multiple times a day to a public cloud. The service is used by hundreds of software engineering team worldwide. In February it raised $2.6 million in Series A from Sigma Prime Ventures, Boston Seed Capital’s and Devonshire Investors, bringing total funding to $3 million.
Brno, Czech Republic
What it does: JPEG2000 compression software.
Why it’s hot: Comprimato’s JPEG2000 software is based on standard graphics processing units that deliver compression up to 10x faster than existing software at a fraction of the price. Currently used by the digital cinema market, Digimetrics and Stanford University. In September 2014 it raised €1 million from existing investors Credo Ventures and Y Soft Venture Capital.
What it does: Call encryption services.
Why it’s hot: CryptTalk, developed in 2009 by Hungarian start-up Arenim, supports secure calling and instant messaging. Encryption occurs directly between the communicating peers; no central servers are involved. More than 100 million secure phone calls have been completed. The company received €1.4 million from Energen Group and wants to raise another €10 million.
Kraków, Poland & New York, NY, U.S.
What it does: Sensors and analytics.
Why it’s hot: Estimote’s iBeacon-compatible beacons can be attached to any object, giving location and contextual awareness. The Estimote SDK enables smartphone apps to understand their proximity to objects, connecting the real world to smart devices. More than 10,000 developers worldwide are working with its beacons. In December 2013 Estimote raised a $3.1 million seed round.
What it does: Web-based farm management tools.
Why it’s hot: Farmeron helps bring dairy farm records online and boosts farms’ results with actionable metrics. Its statistics and reports can be used to monitor production performance and adjust production plans as well as support government reporting requirements. In May it raised $2.65 million in funding from agricultural investors, bringing total funding to more than $4 million.
What it does: Mobile-to-TV delivery platform.
Why it’s hot: Flipps allows users to find and send movies and other content from smartphones to connected TV screens. The app has been downloaded 10 million times; the company’s patented technology works with 250 million connected TVs and 5,000 manufacturer models. Flipps has raised $2.9 million in three rounds; investors include Tim Draper and Earlybird Venture Partners.
Brunn am Gebirge, Austria
What it does: Real-time indoor navigation.
Why it’s hot: Indoo.rs provides Indoor position technology that can be built into apps and services to support a range of solutions for travelers, retailers, airports and railway stations; it’s currently collaborating with San Francisco International Airport. It also plans to license a chipset that can be built into devices. In January 2013 it raised a six-figure seed round led by Tecnet Equity.
What it does: Micro-location software using beacons.
Why it’s hot: Ifinity uses beacon technology for cities, education, healthcare, museums and commercial spaces. Its Virtual Warsaw project was one of five winners of Bloomberg Philanthropy’s Mayors Challenge to solve urban problems. Recently raised a seed round from SpeedUp Venture Capital with a $12 million valuation.
Sveta Nedelja, Croatia
What it does: High-performance electric vehicles.
Why it’s hot: Rimac Automobili develops and produces high-performance electric powertrain systems, battery systems and full vehicles. It holds the official Guinness world record for the world’s fastest-accelerating electric automobile. The company’s Concept One car has been chosen as the Race Director and for passenger laps during the first season of the Formula E electric car races.
What it does: Activity, fitness and sleep tracker.
Why it’s hot:Runtastic gathers and manages sports data to increase performance. Sports data from its Orbit device is tracked via an app and can be uploaded to Runtastic’s social fitness community site. There are 40 million registered users; the app has been downloaded more than 90 million times. In October 2013 Axel Springer acquired 50.1% with an eight-digit-euro investment.
San Francisco, CA, U.S.
What it does: Universal shopping cart.
Why it’s hot: Launched in Romania, Two Tap aims to simplify ordering; it enables consumers to buy any product from any retailer on any mobile app or website. In the six months to August 2013 transactions grew by 50x; it works with more than 200 retailers. Also in August, it closed $2.7 million in seed funding from Khosla Ventures, Transmedia Capital, Digital Garage and angels.
What it does: UX design platform.
Why it’s hot: UXPin makes user experience design easier; it offers more than 900 pre-made UI templates and patterns, custom reusable elements, and a fast drag-and-drop interface.In October 2013 the company raised $1.6 million in seed funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Freestyle Capital, and IDG Ventures.
Under The Radar
What it does: Subscription-based football predictions site.
Why it’s hot: BETEGY provides predictions for the five most popular European football leagues using a self-learning algorithm to process and evaluate statistical indicators. It claims it can forecast the result of a match with up to 80% probability. Investors include bmp media investors. In May BETEGY signed a three-year software license with Chinese lottery provider SunLoto.
What it does: Automated brewing machine.
Why it’s hot: Brewie’s kitchen counter-top brewing machine enables users to brew their own low-cost craft beer without any prior knowledge of brewing. Users can brew 20-25 liters of beer in five hours for about 20 eurocents. The machine is controlled via a smartphone app. Brewie is the 2014 winner of Startup Sauna Budapest. It hasn’t raised any external funding yet.
What it does: News and entertainment for gamers.
Why it’s hot: Gaming Live is a live-streaming platform for game and eSports-related content, with social network features. The company is currently focused on Europe. The site offers content producers tools to monetize their activities and reach new audiences. Received $27,000 in funding from SeedCamp in May 2014.
What it does: Image recognition Platform-as-a-Service.
Why it’s hot: Imagga offers business customers a set of APIs for automated image tagging, categorization and meta-data extraction. The company sees its service as a solution for websites that seek to monetize images. Launched in September 2014 after a public beta phase, the Imagga service is currently processing millions of images. Imagga is seeking VC funding.
What it does: Intelligent sleep mask.
Why it’s hot: IntelClinic claims its NeuroOn mask is the first consumer device that can measure sleep waves, eye movement, and other activity with professional accuracy. It helps users adjust their sleep cycles to fit their natural patterns. IntelClinic hit its Kickstarter goal of $100,000 in a day, in December 2013, ultimately raising $438,000. The NeuroOn is expected to ship in January 2015.
Business Map/ Kanbanize
What it does: Visual project management service.
Why it’s hot: It offers visual management solutions that enable real-time collaboration through customizable Kanban boards. It enables users to pinpoint productivity issues. Customers range from consumers using its free community service to Fortune 500 companies. The company has received close to $340,000 in funding from Bulgaria’s Eleven Accelerator Venture Fund.
What it does: Remote wireless pet camera.
Why it’s hot: Petcube’s device allows pet owners to talk to and play with animals remotely using a smartphone app. The company raised some $250,000 on Kickstarter while enrolled in the hardware start-up accelerator HAXLR8R in Shenzhen, China. Some 2000 people have already pre-ordered Petcube, which is scheduled to ship in October 2014.
IDerma/ Teddy theGuardian.com
What it does: A toy bear with embedded medical sensors.
Why it’s hot: Embedded certified medical sensors measure a child’s heart rate, oxygen saturation, and body temperature, then capture and send the data to a pediatrician’s app. As winners of the 2013 VentureOut Challenge, an initiative by World Bank’s infoDev in collaboration with CRDF Global, it received $10,000 in seed funding. Bears can be pre-ordered now.
What it does: Veterinary practice management.
Why it’s hot: VetCloud is a SaaS tool that provides scheduling and CRM for vets, combined with a big data engine. Currently in private beta with clinics in London, California and eastern Europe, VetCloud enables vets to use their data to make business decisions. It has raised close to $800,000 from TechStars and Bulgaria’s Eleven Accelerator Venture Fund.