$4.2B in funding raised by AI startups since 2021 — The Recursive State of AI in CEE report

As of today, there are over 900 AI startups in the Central and Eastern Europe region. $4.2 billion in funding for CEE AI companies in the past three years, showcasing a growing interest from top-tier international investors. Bulgarian tech media The Recursive has presented its comprehensive report on the state of AI in the CEE region, providing insights, trends, and analyses to understand the evolving landscape.

AIN.Capital shares the key takeaways, as well as general data per each CEE country featured in the report.

Key takeaways regarding AI in CEE

  • Overall, the AI ecosystem in Central and Eastern Europe has experienced a significant rise in the number of AI companies being founded from the mid-2010s onwards, peaking between 2018-2019.
  • In the period between 2015 and 2023, a staggering 694 AI product companies sprang to life.
  • Between 2021 and 2023 alone, the AI product companies raised at least $4.2 billion. By August 2023, the startup ecosystem had raised approximately $8.2 billion.
  • Within the region, there are over 120 active VCs interested in AI startups.
State of AI in CEE report SWOT
  • Nevertheless, the ecosystem is still in its early seeds. Out of the companies featured in the report, more than a third (40%) had raised pre-seed and seed rounds, while only approximately 13% had later-stage funding. The median funding amount across the stages is $1 million.
  • With over 150 startups, healthcare and life sciences stand out as the industry with the most AI innovation in the CEE region; Also one of the best-funded.
  • A big challenge for the future growth of the ecosystem is that there is a limited number of education institutions in deep tech and AI, leading to local talent often succeeding overseas. Another concern is the absence of a proper national AI strategy in most countries.
  • As of today, there are over 900 AI startups in the CEE region, with 30% having headquarters in other more developer countries.

Data per country

  • Bulgaria — has 77 AI-focused startups in 2023, most prominent are Hyperscience, Payhawk, Quantive, DRONAMICS, and Alcatraz AI. A total of $950 million was raised by Bulgarian AI companies so far.
  • Croatia — has 38 product companies, with the biggest being Rimac Automobil, Infobip, Cognism, Reversing Labs, and Gideon. Croatian companies raised a total of $2 billion to date.
  • Czech Republic — offers 158 AI startups to the world, biggest are Rossum, Resistant AI, Deepnote, Phrase, and Parrot. A total amount of $560 million was secured by Croatian companies.
  • Greece — has 158 AI companies, which raised a total of $765 million. Spotawheel, Causaly, Plum, Netdata, and Balena raised the biggest amount.
  • Hungary — a total of $360 million was raised by 63 AI companies. SEON, Bitrise, Almotive, Turbine, and Commsignia are the most prominent ones.
  • Poland — provides 199 startups to the market, which raised $870 million to date. Silent Eight, Infermedica, Synerise, Nomagic, and Cosmose being the most popular ones.
  • Romania — has 117 AI companies, which raised $2.4 billion, with UiPath, FintechOS, DruidAI, FlowX, and Dexory securing the biggest amount.
  • Slovakia — has 31 AI product companies. To date, a total of $100 million of funding was raised. The most prominent include Brightpick Photoneo Group, Fuergy, Segron, Powerful Medical, Atomontage.