VC investments in CEE exceeded €5.4B in 2021 according to Vestbee Report: VC Transactions In CEE 

Vestbee, the leading matchmaking platform and community for startups, VC funds, accelerators, and corporates in Central & Eastern Europe, has just published VC Transactions In CEE Report – 2021. According to the report, the disclosed number of investments in the CEE region in 2021 reached over 1000 and exceeded €5.4B in total funding. What’s worth noticing, compared to the previous year, 2020, the total amount of investments (YoY) was doubled.

In recent years, the CEE region experienced record-breaking growth in venture capital investments attracting more and more VC funds investing across Europe, notably from Western Europe and the United States. – underlines Ewa Chronowa, Partner at Next Road Ventures and CEO at Vestbee.  The upcoming years will only strengthen this trend. With its high-skilled engineers, less expensive labor, high concentration of tech companies, combined with a fast-growing startup ecosystem CEE became a key investment destination for international VC funds who are also seeking better valuations and higher returns on investments. 

As reported by Vestbee, Poland, Estonia, Romania, and Lithuania were the most active countries, while in terms of the disclosed amount of funding secured by regional startups, Estonia was the leader (€1.2B), followed by Poland (€807) and Romania (€780M). The most popular industries in 2021 included Artificial Intelligence, Healthcare, Internet Services, E-commerce, Finance, Shared-services, Delivery, and Analytics. The most impressive funding rounds were secured by UiPath – €623M, Bolt – €600M, Vinted – €250M, Rohlik – €190M, and Grammarly – €174M. 

Looking at the CEE VC landscape, we see more and more cross-border investments resulting in much bigger early-stage funding rounds. It’s no longer a surprise to see startups raising a few million euros in pre-seed or seed rounds. Strengthening the regional VC community and attracting US investors will allow funds to write bigger checks and regional startups to grow and expand businesses globally faster. – comments Ewa Chronowska.

Additionally, the report highlights the most active investors in CEE: Startup Wise Guys, Black Pearls VC, Czysta3.VC, SMOK Ventures, LT Capital, Next Road Ventures, Evig Alfa, Tar Heel Capital Pathfinder, Fil Rouge Capital, Early Game Ventures, Superangel, and Eleven Ventures.

We will also be witnessing growing competition among VC funds for the best deals. Choosing investors that add value to their business and company culture for early-stage founders will become the main focus. We also expect the further rise of alternatives to VC funds, like venture debt for companies at the growth stage and democratized VC via crowd for earlier stages resulting in more options to choose from.

How VC & startup scene is CEE will be shaped in 2022? After the record-breaking year 2021, at its outset, 2022 should be another strong year for early-stage VCs and startups in CEE. However, the impact of the tragic Russian invasion of Ukraine may introduce notable uncertainty to the entire region and global economy, raising a big question mark for the global and regional startup and VC ecosystems. In the aftermath, the amount of capital allocated in regional startups 2022 may slow down compared to historic 2021. underlined Ewa Chronowska.
For more insights into the regional VC transactions in 2021 and quarterly investment comparison covering fluctuations in funding level, number and amount of transactions by country and brief descriptions of most interesting CEE funding rounds jump into VC Transactions In CEE Report 2021 and TOP 100 CEE Startup Funding Rounds.