Top deals seen in Central and Eastern Europe in February
Here is a list of some interesting deals from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), seen in January. Often overlooked by big US and Western European investors, the region offers many good deals, at much cheaper valuations compared to the US market.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a €15 million ‘quasi equity’ financing with Estonia’s Skeleton Technologies, Europe’s leading producer of ultracapacitors and ultracapacitor based energy storage solutions built with graphene-type materials. The EIB loan is guaranteed under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. The EFSI-backed financing will allow the company to finance the R&D for the further development of its products and systems. Skeleton Technologies had previously raised EUR 26,7 million of capital investments and the EIB ‘quasi equity’ financing brings the total financing to EUR 41,7 million.Belarusian startup.
Finnest.com, the corporate finance platform for established SMEs, has successfully financed its very own future growth. An international consortium led by Russian VC Maxfield Capital joins the existing shareholders (like Speedinvest) of the Vienna-based FinTech startup. Finnest was founded by ex-banker Günther Lindenlaub and ex-eBay manager Joerg Bartussek in 2014. Finnest offers successful SMEs a new way of substituting traditional bank loans. It is licensed and active in the entire DACH-region and will expand to non-German markets soon. In a few weeks, the young company is going to open an office in Slovakia.
Belarusian startup Banuba has raised $5 million from Larnabel Ventures and VP Capital.
Poland’s Booksy, an SaaS startup for booking health and beauty services, has raised $4.2 million in a Series A round led by OpenOcean along with German investor Kai Hansen and a number of angel investors. The app is for any business that relies on making and managing appointments but is targeted particularly at businesses like hairdressers and salons. It also allows for other functions like marketing automation, CRM, and inventory management. With this new funding, Booksy plans to build new features including in-app payments and redesign its dashboard.
Morgan Stanley has purchased a 5 percent stake in Belarus-founded offshore software developer EPAM.
Ukrainian-Polish startup CallPage has raised €1 million in funding from Polish venture fund bValue. The investment will be used primarily to develop services in Poland and Western Europe. With more than 1,100 customers around the globe, CallPage helps commercial sites convert page views into inbound sales calls through immediate callback to the real phone numbers. Thus, the startup claims that its clients may “gain 75% more calls, conversion, leads and deals. What’s more, CallPage has developed a scoring system that it claims can predict consumers’ purchase decisions basing on their online behavior. The startup was founded in 2015 by three Ukrainians — Ross Knap (CEO and co-founder), Andrew Tkachiv (CTO) and Sergey Butko (CMO) — in Krakow, Poland. As of today, the team consists of 32 people.
Xsolla, a US-based payment platform with Russian roots, has launched a $30 million VC fund to invest in indie games.
Rockstart, one of Europe’s first multi-vertical startup accelerators, announces its Launchtrack program in Moldova, powered by Tekwill. The program focuses on supporting entrepreneurs, typically first-time founders, with prototypes and ideas, aspiring to launch their product and get selected by an international accelerator such as Rockstart. The entrepreneurs will take part in a 60-day program (March 31—June 2) in the Moldovan center of technology and capital Chișinău, coming from across Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and Central Asia.
Russia’s Baring Vostok and Sweden’s Vostok Emerging Finance (VEF) have invested up to $20 million in two Russian startups: Sorsdata, which is developing a consumer marketing and analytics solution, and Revo Technologies, which offers a crowdsourced microcredit service for online consumers.
Russian VC fund Titanium Investments has participated in a $20 million round in Israeli startup Feedvisor.