Ahoy CEEfarers! We summarize the most notable events in venture capital in CEE and news from the team at KAYA VC. Enjoy the read!
In 2023, we did 14 investments, about half of which were first time investments (into new companies). Our main focus remains on investments in bold founders from Czechia, Poland and Slovakia, living at home or abroad.
💸 Early-stage rounds in CEE
During the previous three months (November and December 2023, January 2024) more than 60 CEE startups successfully raised their early rounds with an aggregate deal value of €79.7m (€1.33m per deal on average). Key rounds:
- 🇨🇿 Digitoo (Reflex Capital; €2.3m)
- 🇵🇱 LiveKid (Inovo VC; €3.1m)
- 🇵🇱 Quesma (Heartcore Capital, Inovo VC; €2.3m)
- 🇪🇪 Arbonics (NordicNinja VC, Tilia Impact Ventures, Plural Platform; €5.5m)
*Early stage round = publicly disclosed round prior to Series A
Even if it is not an early stage round, we would like to give a big shout out to the new unicorn in CEE - ElevenLabs. Congratulations to Mati Staniszewski and Piotr Dabkowski (PL-born) on raising well above-standard Series B led by a16z with participation of others, such as Sequoia, and their early backer Credo.
📸 Portfolio in the news
- We are truly excited to announce our follow-on investment of $10 million into Better Stack — helping them accelerate the growth and achieve their goal to continuously build better products for developers to ship faster and cheaper. Great job Veronika & Juraj!
- On the occasion of the investment, Veronika also spoke about current biggest challenges at Better Stack and her own journey to tech and startups (in Czech)
- Tomas sat with Zosia Wanat from Sifted and discussed his experience navigating Rohlik in the complex space of grocery industry.
- We are also thrilled to share that Digitoo has successfully raised additional funds! Empowering their mission to continue enhancing digital accounting solutions, making them faster, and cost-effective for businesses worldwide. Cudos Karin!
📚 What caught our eye
- Czechia and Poland recorded the lowest unemployment rates among all European countries, reflecting robust economies.
👌Book recommendation by Vasek
Every day gives us an opportunity to speak with our friends, family, partners, colleagues, or people we only barely know, and to everyone, it feels pretty normal. We have developed our own patterns and communication styles based on our previous experiences and existing relationships. It is also fairly normal that we do not think about the communication that much because it would require a lot of energy that we could potentially use for planning, making important strategic decisions, etc.
The thing is, most of us do not spend much time dissecting our own communication styles and the thoughts that go through our heads when we are engaged in conversations. This is because we usually think that we have a certain stance or truth and we just want to convey it to the other side because they must be perceiving it wrongly or just do not have enough facts that we possess.
This book really helped me to build a simple but effective framework on how to look at (difficult) conversations by dissecting them into not only the events that happened but also feelings and personal identities. Needless to say, even after knowing about these best practices, it is still sometimes really difficult to keep your head cool when you are overwhelmed with emotions or when you feel this particular situation may for some reason require a different approach because you just felt that way in the moment.
And it is absolutely normal. The important thing is to be aware of it, actively try to improve, and approach every conversation as an opportunity to learn more about the other person rather than having an urge to come out of the conversation as a winner.
🚗 Where to meet us
If you or someone you know plan to attend the following events, please feel free to reach out!
- 🇺🇸 San Francisco (14th-22nd February) - Karel, Martin
- 🇨🇿 Velvet Innovation (Brno, 15th February 2024) - Vasek
- 🇵🇱 CEE VC SUMMIT (Warsaw, 19-20th March 2024) - Pat, Karel, Martin
- PS: We are organising a private dinner for this event. If you would like to know more, ping someone from the team :)