Ukrainian startups in Poland: challenges, state of funding, and plans — research

Every year, the Polish fund of funds PFR Ventures presents a comprehensive study of the venture capital and startup ecosystem in Poland. This year, AIN.Capital, Techosystem, a Ukrainian union of tech ecosystem players, and Movens Capital jointly conducted a new survey on Ukrainian startups in Poland. The gist of the report has been included into the PFR report 2023 a full version of which can be found here.

During December 2023 — January 2024, we jointly conducted primary and secondary research among founders of Ukrainian startups. For the primary data acquisition, Techosystem and Movens Capital conducted a survey of more than 100 founders who showed doing business in Poland. AIN.Capital conducted secondary data examination on Ukrainian companies from open sources. Main takeaways include:

  • A total of 62 Ukrainian companies established legal presence in Poland.
  • There were 11 pre-existing Polish operations in firms before January 22, 2022.
  • Out of 43 startups which completed the survey, 24 managed to get financing in the amount of $18.07 million.
  • 14 companies raised funds from private investors only: $15 million, among which $4.7 million from Poland.
  • 10 companies received grant funds in the amount of $3,22 million, $0.78 million of which in Poland.

You can read the full research here.

Additionally, during the research, PFR Ventures discovered that in 2023:

  • A total of 399 Polish companies managed to secure investments.
  • The investment amount raised by Polish companies reached nearly $524 million (PLN 2.1 billion).
  • During the year, 210 funds were involved in the investment processes in Poland.
  • The numbers show a -42% decrease in the value of financing in 2023 compared to 2022.
  • The average transaction value also decreased, currently amounting to $1.02 million (PLN 4.1 million), compared to $1.65 million (PLN 6.6 million) in 2022. 

The capital from Polish VC funds predominantly goes to healthtech companies. This has been a tendency for the last 4 years now, with SaaS (subscription model) being the most popular business model, which is applied in over half of the companies.

The labor market in startups also slowed down:

  • 9 out of 19 companies that obtained the majority of VC financing in 2019-2023 reduced the number of full-time positions.
  • At the same time, the total number of employees in all of the surveyed companies remained at the same level.

The largest investments rounds in Poland during 2019-2023 were:

  • Vue Storefront, with PLN 88 million.
  • ElevenLabs, with PLN 79 million.
  • Kyp AI, with PLN 79 million.
  • Blank., with PLN 70 million.
  • Contec, with PLN 70 million.

Why is it important?

Since the start of the full scale invasion, Ukrainian startups have begun moving westwards, opening offices in neighboring countries. Particularly, the Polish ecosystem was one of the most desired destinations for Ukrainian founders to implement their plans for expansion, managing to get investments from local and foreign funds. This trend already shows remarkable numbers which will most likely continue to grow as the cooperation between the Ukrainian and Polish ecosystems strengthens.