How To Web’s Report Sums Up 2023 Venture Trends and Activities in CEE

  • How To Web’s Venture In Eastern Europe Report 2023 covers venture activities and trends in the whole CEE region over the past year
  • If previously the authors dedicated their attention to Romania exclusively, this year they covered the entire region for the first time
  • Venture In Eastern Europe project will additionally include an event that will take place on October 1st 2024

On February 13th, the renowned Romanian organization How To Web issued its annual report on venture activities. How To Web has been preparing such reports as early as since 2019, but what set 2023’s report apart is its scale. If previous reports specialized on Romania, this time it covers the entirety of the CEE region.

From Romania and All Over the Region

All the way from 2009, How To Web has been building and providing a means for IT people, startup entrepreneurs, and venture investors to connect and share insights in Romania. Since then, the steady progress of the organization and its flagship event, How To Web Conference, has led both the organization and the event to surpassing national borders and growing into a CEE- and even Europe-wide event.

This trend can well be illustrated by How To Web’s Spotlight competition for startups. With the main prize of as much as EUR 885K in venture investment, it was 2023’s biggest startup pitching competition in CEE and second biggest in the EU (after Slush). How To Web Spotlight 2023 winner was the Serbian startup Collabwriting.

In line with this international expansion, How To Web’s 2023 report is called Venture in Eastern Europe and covers venture deals and trends in the whole CEE region. Interestingly, the authors decided to include Greece and Cyprus.

‘The analysis of Romanian venture deals was our inception with performing thorough analyses of the venture market. One of the reasons we did this is also tied to the fact that we started the How to Web Conference from Romania and we’ve been operating it from Romania since 2009. With the How to Web Conference addressing the whole Eastern European scene of technology and innovation the expansion of the report was only natural. We aim to surface the deals behind the entire Eastern European region to draw insights into how the industry in this part of the world is shaped and is finding its edge, making it one of the world’s startup powerhouses,’ How To Web’s CEO Alexandru Agatinei tells ITKeyMedia.

Some Figures

Alexandru Agatinei, CEO at How To Web

The report is now live. The key takeaways are as follows:

  • In line with the European level dynamic, the overall investment volume dropped by 57% compared to 2022 and reached EUR 1.85B+.
  • EUR 1.23B or 75% of it were Series A and B investments.
  • 78.5% of it were the follow-on round, demonstrating the trend for VC loyalty to persistent startups.
  • Meanwhile, first round investments were mostly in Poland, Romania, and Estonia, with these economies comprising 80% of the first round investments in the region.
  • Almost 50% or EUR 900M were raised by the top 20 startups of the region, with the Polish R. Power Renewables and its EUR 150M leading the way.
  • Poland, Greece, Lithuania, Czechia, Estonia, and Romania exceeded EUR 100M in investment volume.

The research also includes country-by-country insights, with special attention to Romania.

‘Romanian venture deals surprised. For a third year in a row, they are among the 6 countries with investment volumes of more than EUR 100M, alongside Poland, Greece, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, and Estonia. Besides, Romanian-born startups seem to have the stickiness factor for international VCs as the total volume of investments made exclusively by international VCs in Romania-born startups in 2023 reached EUR 29.1M, growing by 141.9% compared to 2022’s levels,’ Mr Agatinei comments.

Here, it is important to specify that most Romanian fund managers are not registered in Romania, therefore the report only refers to the fact that the scope of their investment has to do with Romania-born startups. It considers any source of venture capital, equity crowdfunding included, especially SeedBlink which for a few years has had a European outreach.

‘Specifically for the transactions data, we computed the total amount for each deal, regardless of how many investors participated in the round,’ Mr Agatinei clarifies.

More detailed information about the rules and principles for filtering and labeling the data are to be found at the end of the report, along with a link to the transactions list (2023 for CEE and 2017-2023 for Romania) and a list of the new VC funds raised in 2023.

2023 and Onward

‘2023 wasn’t quite the cup of tea of many. The venture deals volume dropped by half in comparison to the previous year’s volume and this happened across the board – Eastern Europe, Europe, worldwide. 2023 posed challenges for startups worldwide, but Eastern Europe seemed to weather the storm more gracefully. Eastern European-born startups raised their first rounds or follow-on rounds throughout 2023 and thus the aggregate volume of venture deals reached north of EUR 1.85B,’ Mr Agatinei concludes.

Finally, the described report is only the first half of How To Web’s Venture in Eastern Europe project. The second half is a dedicated event that will take place on October 1st 2024 as a side event of How To Web Conference 2024. Mr Agatinei hints that future reports will be accompanied with fully-fledged presentation events.


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