6 investors and founders spotlight SaaS, B2B and medical technology as Wroclaw hot start sectors – TechCrunch

London and Berlin are generally at the top of European startup hub lists, but Central and Eastern European countries like the Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, and Poland have claimed a growing share of the startup pie over the years. last years. When it comes to Poland in particular, Krakow and Warsaw have become fertile grounds for entrepreneurs who want to develop and grow businesses, but they are not alone.

One of the oldest and most picturesque cities in Poland, Wrocław is a promising competitor in the field of startups, mainly thanks to its academic history and its proximity to Prague, Berlin and Warsaw. This city of 1.2 million people has a large student body that provides ready talent to startups in the city. Indeed, since the beginning of the 20th century, this small town has hosted nine Nobel Prize winners.

Wroclaw has a decent number of startups, according to Startup Wroclaw, in sectors such as e-commerce (Divante, Shoptrotter), digital health (Infermedica, SensDx), software (Tooploox, Droids on Roids), analytics (Piwik Pro), work and HR (Kadromierz, ChallengeRocket) and edtech (Lerni, Flash Robotics).

So, to find out what the startup scene in Wroclaw looks like, we spoke with six local investors, executives and founders. In short, the city appears to be strong in areas such as B2B, SaaS, Marketplace, B2C, gaming, and medical technology.

The country’s capital, Warsaw, has an angel investment scene, but the founders instead look to Germany for smaller investments because “the distance from Wroclaw to Berlin is exactly the same as Wroclaw to Warsaw,” said one of the leaders.

However, there is an air of optimism about the future: “We will have more and more global companies from the Wrocław start-up scene as well as global companies who decide to set up their Polish office in the area. city, ”said one founder.

We asked:

  • Alena Hloba, Community Manager, RST Ventures for Earth
  • Jakub Karkocha, CEO, LightApply
  • Kamil Rudnicki, CEO, Timecamp
  • Paweł Łopatka, VP country manager, SoftServe
  • Michał Wędzicha, Vice-President, CORE Services
  • Maciej Wilczyński, CEO, Values

Alena Hloba, Community Manager, RST Ventures for Earth

In which sectors is your technological ecosystem strong? What are you most excited about? What is he missing?
We are excited about the environment and sustainability sector, in which we are investing. We are also seeing promises in food technology, robotics and Industry 4.0 (we also have companies in these industries). I think we lack more solutions for nature and the environment, and we are trying to fill this gap.

What are the most interesting startups in your city?
Most of the companies in our portfolio: SellIntegro, Z Zieleniaka, Reactivepad and Prosoma. There are also GlucoActive, LiveChat, Optimatik.

How are the technology investors in Wroclaw? What is their goal?
Most of our VCs, in my opinion, focus on B2B, SaaS, or marketplace-type startups. There are many who invest in B2C, games and medical startups.

With the switch to telework, do you think people will stay in Wroclaw or will they move? Are others going to move in?
I think most people stick around especially IT companies because now it doesn’t matter where you are. People are less likely to move to Wrocław unless there are less restrictive working conditions, such as in neighboring countries.

Who are the key start-ups in your city (eg, investors, founders, lawyers, designers)?
We think we are one of the most active investors in Wrocław, along with VentureInc, Fidiasz.

Where do you think your city’s tech scene will be in five years?
It will evolve more in the direction of sustainability (at least we think so). There will definitely be more startups, more investors, and more startup organizations (like meetups or community builders).

Jakub Karkocha, CEO, LightApply

In which sectors is your technological ecosystem strong? What are you most excited about? What is he missing?
Wrocław is rapidly developing its ecosystem of startups. Large companies like Google and Nokia are opening their offices in the city, allowing world-class specialists to be trained who then launch their own projects. An increasing number of events are organized by the city government and startup clusters, which help to encourage young people to enter the world of IT and contribute their ideas.

Poland is much cheaper in terms of wages than Western Europe, which is why many companies from Germany and other countries decide to open their offices here. Wrocław is also quite close to the German border which is a big plus – it is well connected by road and air.

The biggest weakness of Poland is the mentality of the people. We are only developing our economy after gaining full independence. Many seniors have a strict understanding of a business and the ideas for starting up don’t fit that. These people can become investors, but they do not trust high risk investments. We are forced to find investors abroad, which is not always easy.

What are the most interesting startups in your city?
Some companies have left the start-up phase, but they are still extremely interesting: Brand24, Divante, Ten Square Games, Knights of Unity, ZMorph and Monterail. Among the startups, I would cite iMieszkaniec, Infermedica, Primetric, PayEye, Her Impact, Droids On Roids, SmartLunch, Clearcode and LightApply (of course!).

How are the technology investors in Wroclaw? What is their goal?
Poland is quite strong when it comes to VCs, and this also applies to Wrocław. We have a few funds that are actively looking for innovative companies to invest in. Since there are EU funds, many VCs invest in companies that can cover the program requirements defined as KIS. It is much more difficult to find an angel investor in Wrocław – most are based in Warsaw. It is very common to look for a smaller investment tour in Germany, as the distance from Wrocław to Berlin is exactly the same as Wroclaw to Warsaw.

With the switch to telework, do you think people will stay in Wroclaw or will they move? Are others going to move in?
Even before the pandemic, the suburbs of Wrocław were growing very rapidly. People moved to Wrocław to work with LG, Nokia and Google. Good public transport, a small town, and inexpensive apartments were all great reasons to buy your own apartment. During the pandemic, people generally stay at home, but there has been no particular change in terms of where they live.

Who are the key start-ups in your city (eg, investors, founders, lawyers, designers)?
Tomasz Popów, Piotr Orzechowski, Tomasz Karwatka, Piotr Karwatka, Michał Sadowski.

Where do you think your city’s tech scene will be in five years?
We will have more and more global companies from the Wrocław startup scene as well as global companies who decide to set up their Polish office in the city.

Kamil Rudnicki, CEO, Timecamp

In which sectors is your technological ecosystem strong? What are you most excited about?
SaaS, telecommuting.

What are the most interesting startups in your city?
Live Chat.

How are the technology investors in Wroclaw? What is their goal?
SaaS and health.

With the switch to telework, do you think people will stay in Wroclaw or will they move? Are others going to move in?
Stay but work remotely.

Paweł Łopatka, VP country manager, SoftServe

What are the most interesting startups in your city?
LitterAct, Brand24, Pic.

How are the technology investors in Wroclaw? What is their goal?
The focus is on start-ups.

With the switch to telework, do you think people will stay in Wroclaw or will they move? Are others going to move in?
Stay in the city – some will move to regional areas.

Where do you think your city’s tech scene will be in five years?
Like Berlin :).

Michał Wędzicha, Vice-President, CORE Services

In which sectors is your technological ecosystem strong? What are you most excited about?
Software development, software maintenance, team hire and outsourcing of IT specialists.

What are the most interesting startups in your city?
Spyrosoft.

How are the technology investors in Wroclaw? What is their goal?
Investment funds and global players.

With the switch to telework, do you think people will stay in Wroclaw or will they move? Are others going to move in?
Stay in the city.

Where do you think your city’s tech scene will be in five years?
Silicon Valley of Poland.

Maciej Wilczyński, CEO, Values

In which sectors is your technological ecosystem strong? What are you most excited about? What is he missing?
Software development, project and product management, design, DevOps. Absolutely lack of capital, network and “how to evolve” skills.

What are the most interesting startups in your city?
I mainly deal with SaaS, so: Brand24, LiveChat (unicorn in two to three years), TimeCamp, Infermedica (it will be big) and LiveSession.

How are the technology investors in Wroclaw? What is their goal?
Pre-seed / seed, strongly mobilized with public funds.

With the switch to telework, do you think people will stay in Wroclaw or will they move? Are others going to move in?
They will stay but will work remotely.

Who are the key start-ups in your city (eg, investors, founders, lawyers, designers)?
Tomasz Szpikowski, Rafal Sobczak, Tomasz Karwatka, Wojciech Mróz.

Where do you think your city’s tech scene will be in five years?
It will undoubtedly be oriented towards more mature companies; more software projects and Industry 4.0.


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