EIT Digital together with Slovenian-based innovation partner, ABC Accelerator, is publishing the first-ever South-East Europe Startup Report.
After scanning hundreds of candidates, the report depicts in detail the most promising Startups and Scaleups of the region and the state of the innovation ecosystem in 8 countries (Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania).
In all eight countries of the region, startups, supporting institutions, interesting technology, and founders with an ambitious mindset work on day to day to make this part of Europe globally successful.
In 2017, there was evidence that this is indeed the case, with Outfit7, a family-entertainment company pioneer in the field of digital entertainment, has been sold for 1 billion USD to a Chinese investor in January, thus becoming the first “unicorn” founded by entrepreneurs in the region.
The most comprehensive and in-depth overview of the Startup Ecosystem of the Balkans
Ales Pustovrh, co-founder of ABC Accelerator said about the report: “No other organization has yet been able to put together such a comprehensive and in-depth overview of the startup ecosystem of the Western Balkans. Southeast Europe is a hidden startup scene for many, even in Eastern Europe.
However, that does not mean that its startups do not have much potential. In 2017, they have shown that founders in this region can also create unicorns, and much more could follow in the future.
Huge potential to turn Balkans into the next Baltics
While fragmented, the startup ecosystem in Southeast Europe is open, collaborative and successful, creating a role model for future co-development of the regional economies also in other industries. Its mix of public and private partners, startup and scaleup companies, researchers, technology experts and young entrepreneurs with global ambitions, is perfectly balanced to help support startup development. With small improvements, especially in attracting more equity investors, it has the potential to turn the Balkans into the next Baltics.”
While the SEE startup ecosystem is relatively small and under-developed, it still holds great potential for creating fast-growing startups. In particular, the report recognized the following areas of the startup and innovation ecosystem with the greatest potential:
- Opportunity for commercialization of innovation and research from academia and public research organizations in the region.
- The emergence of a strong outsourcing software development community in all countries of the region.
- Accelerators and/or incubators connected to scaleups prove to be the focal points of the local ecosystem.
A series of successful Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) by a new generation of startups has raised more funding in 2017 than the total combined value of public financial support in the whole region – in the last decade.