Over 1000 startups raised €2.1B of investments in 2023 — CEE report 2024

Over the last years marked by many challenges, Central and Eastern Europe has showcased unmatched resilience and innovation. The combined enterprise value of startups in the CEE startup ecosystem has grown by 2.4 times in the past 5 years, from €89 billion in 2019 to €213 billion in 2023. Approximately 1,000 startups across over 110 cities raised a combined €2.1 billion capital in 2023.

Vestbee, Uniqa Ventures, Cogito Capital Partners, and Dealroom have created a 2024 report on the region’s startup ecosystem. AIN shares the key notes of the report.

  • In total, CEE startups are worth a combined €213 billion, up 2.4 times since 2019. The regionʼs 50+ unicorns concentrate 60% of the combined enterprise value.
  • Startups from Poland, Ukraine, Estonia contribute 50% of the regionʼs combined enterprise value for startups, contributing €49 billion, €28 billion, and also €28 billion. Нowever, Croatia, Latvia, and Lithuania showed the highest relative growth in values.
  • In 2023, CEE showed a significant drop in funding, especially at growth and late stage. However, in Q1 2024 three startups from CEE already reached unicorn status:
  • The CEE region has 52 unicorns with a value of €129 billion, representing 60% of the total value of the ecosystem. Croatia, Ukraine, and Estonia have have twice the number of unicorns per funded startups than European average.

CEE, with its vibrant ecosystem, is emerging as a hotbed for innovation and economicgrowth in Europe. However, weʼre witnessing a continuous trend of startup founders relocating their headquarters, primarily to established hubs like London and the US, in search of greater access to funding, expansive markets, and the best talent to align with these high-demand ecosystems and accelerate their global growth,

Ewa Chronowska, CEO of Vestbee, stated.

Investment profiles

CEE companies raised €2.1 bilion in VC investment in 2023. There have been over 940 funding rounds across over 114 cities.

  • €900 million as early-stage funding;
  • over 1.2 billion invested in Series B across 340 deals.
  • In Q1, startups raised €630.1 million, in comparison from €566.5 million in the same period of 2023.
  • CEE saw far fewer breakout stage deals (over €15 milllion) in 2023. Just over €1.2 billion was invested post Series B across 340 deals.

Domestic investors play a foundational role, especially at early-stage. 16% of all investment in region involve at least one investor from a CEE. Investors from emerging markets including MENA and Asia showed the growth of their portfolio in CEE.

  • Since 2023, CEE investors have raised $1.9 billion. Top VC and growth funds include Ukrainian Horizon Capital, Polish OTB Ventures, Inovo.VC, and Lithuanian Practica Capital.

Enterprise Software / SaaS remains the key segment in the region attracted 61% and 45% of the dealflow, contributing over €655 million and €1.2 billion. In recent years, the energy sector has become a third of VC investment in CEE in 2023.

Over the past 5 years, logistics & delivery, mobility, and vehicle production startups in CEE raised over €1 billion. Startups with a focus on medical devices raised €77 million in funding over the last year, showing a significant growth after €20 million in 2022.