Warsaw is bursting with ambition when it comes to fostering a thriving ecosystem of innovative tech start-ups.
For much of the 20th century, Poland’s capital city often found itself at the crossroads of history and at the centre of tumultuous events not of its choosing.
As the second decade of the 21st century draws to a close, the city is in complete command of its destiny as a European powerhouse of science, innovation and culture.
This is most telling in its world-class start-up ecosystem, characterised by ambitious, groundbreaking start-ups focused on everything from fintech and software as a service (SaaS), to digital content and hardware.
Like many cities in Europe, it has its own vibrant events scene, with key events such as Aula Polska, Agile Warsaw, OpenReaktor and the Bitspiration festival. The array of events taking place across Poland can be discovered on the Polish Startup Scene Facebook page as well as Crossweb, Spotkania-IT and the Startup Insider Calendar.
The city is home to a tapestry of co-working spaces, including: Art Cluster, CoLegal, IdeaHub, Mindspace, Reaktor, Business Link, Noa Cowork, Google Campus Warsaw, Centrum Przedsiębiorczości Smolna, Targowa Creativity Centre and In Płock, to name a few.
Funds and accelerators active in the Warsaw scene include: ReaktorX, Huge Thing, Founder Institute, GammaRebels, Startup Hub Warsaw, MITEF, AIP, Hedgehog Fund, Experior Venture Fund, Inovo, MCI Capital, Protos and Giza Polish Ventures.
And so, here are 14 start-ups from Warsaw to watch in 2018.
ACR (Advanced Cinema Robotic) Systems creates equipment such as stabilisation technologies for filmmakers and cinematographers. Products include the Beast Gimbal, an advanced digital 3-axis camera stabiliser, and the BeSteady mini gimbal. The company was founded in 2017 by Max Salamonowicz and Justyna Wodzyńska.
— AzimoLabs (@AzimoLabs) December 13, 2017
Azimo, which also has offices in London, is one of Poland’s best-known fintech players, with more than 1m users worldwide. Azimo is an online international money transfer company that lowers costs and provides attractive exchange rates. Founded by Marek Wawro, Marta Krupińska, Michael Kent and Ricky Knox, Azimo has raised $46m in funding to date, with the most recent round of $15m coming from Rakuten.
— Pawel Surgiel (@PawelSurgiel) September 24, 2017
Bivrost develops tools for enabling the production and capture of live video in 360-degree format, including professional camera rigs, power and control management utilities, and stitching software. Founded in 2015 by Pawel Surgiel, the company raised a seed round from Arkley VC.
An online healthcare platform that enables patients to find local physicians online and book appointments, DocPlanner was founded in 2011 by Luca Puccioni, Lucjan Samulowski and Mariusz Gralewski. DocPlanner has raised $50.8m in funding to date, including a recent €15m Series D round led by existing shareholder Enern Investments and joined by investors including Target Global and One Peak Partners.
— Growbots (@growbots_) January 16, 2018
Fast-growing SaaS player Growbots, which also has offices in San Francisco, is behind an all-in-one solution for driving predictable revenues. The key to this is an AI platform that is used by more than 450 customers to generate leads and reach hundreds of thousands of potential customers within minutes. Founded by Adam Mazan, Greg Pietruszyński and Luke Deka, Growbots has raised $4.2m to date, including a $2.5m round from Lighter Capital and Buran Venture Capital.
Ifinity is the creator of Geos, an operating system for businesses and governments to enable smart navigation and manage smart sensors. Founded by Adam Jesionkiewicz and Michał Polak, Ifinity has raised $1m in funding from SpeedUp Venture Capital Group.
A web-based editor that empowers anyone to build custom mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, Kinetise was founded in 2013 by Piotr Pawlak. Using an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, users can create feature-rich native apps without having to write a single line of code.
Migam enables businesses to interact with deaf people by using video connections with sign language interpreters via web browser and mobile app. The company also offers training for companies in managing and supporting deaf workers.
— Packhelp (@packhelpcom) January 8, 2018
An online platform for creating and ordering custom-branded packaging, Packhelp was founded in 2015 by Maciej Woźniczko, Patryk Kabaj and Wojtek Sadowski. The start-up is active in all EU countries and makes it easy for anyone to order custom-branded packaging for e-commerce and retail. Packhelp last year raised €350,000 in a seed round led by Kogito Ventures and Movens Ventures.
— Rafal Salak (@rafsalak) January 15, 2018
An application designed to help PR professionals connect with top opinion leaders, Prowly was founded in 2013 by Joanna Drabent and Sebastian Przyborowski. Prowly raised $1.1m in 2016 in a round led by MCI Capital and Bluerank.
Shoplo is a web platform for helping small businesses to sell globally. It helps to enable multichannel selling via platforms such as Etsy, DaWanda and Amazon. Founded by Grzegorz Lech and Patryk Pawlikowski, the company raised $660,000 in a seed round last year led by bValue Venture Capital.
— Survicate (@Survicate) December 5, 2017
Survicate provides tools to conduct surveys and collect feedback from customers online and via email. Solutions include targeted website surveys, feedback widgets, Net Promoter Score surveys and in-message surveys. The SaaS player has users in more than 70 countries and was founded in 2013 by Kamil Rejent and Lukasz Anwajler. It raised $1m in funding in a round led by Aria New Technologies, Newberg Investment and business angels.
Telemedi.co is on a mission to build an international medical platform that connects medical personnel with patients on any device. The start-up was founded by Pawel Sieczkiewicz and Piotr Slomian, and has raised just under $120,000 in seed funding.
Customer automation software player Unified Factory helps businesses to use AI for customer service and sales. Tools include customer service automation; agent and campaign management; chatbots, email bots and social bots; as well as text mining.
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