Top deals seen in Central and Eastern Europe in January
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.
Oracle has announced plans to acquire Apiary, a Czech-born startup that helps developers design and create documentation for application programming interfaces (APIs). Founded out of San Francisco in 2011, Apiary had raised more than $8 million in equity funding, including a $6.8 million tranche back in August 2015. The company offers a suite of tools for companies to build web APIs at speed, while allowing them to test and monitor those APIs.
After a four-month search, PwC CEE has selected 13 FinTech startups for acceleration within its Startup Collider programme, based in Wasaw, Poland. Startup Collider is a new initiative for nurturing and promoting startups from CEE, with a focus on startups with solutions for the financial services sector in the first cohort. PwC provides the startups with a co-working space, a residence for their accommodation during the acceleration program, highly qualified dedicated mentors and a shorter route to market.
Estonia-based equity crowdfunding platform Funderbeam expands internationally. The “startup stock-exchange of the world” launched three new companies on its platform in three different countries. Sonocase is raising funds for their speaker for iPads and iPhones. The company is the first Latvian startup to launch on Funderbeam, and among the first companies in Latvia to do equity crowdfunding. It is raising €75.000 – €150.000, closing February 22nd. The first company located in The UK also launched on the Estonian platform. The Virtual Technology Cluster Group, VTC, connects startups and corporates to boost collaboration and innovation, and they are now open for investments to anyone through Funderbeam. It is raising £150.000 – £250.000 and closing February 28th. And finally the Estonian startup Frank, which has created a tool for SMEs to advertise themselves more efficiently online, launched their first campaign. Funderbeam was founded in 2013 and is based in Tallinn (Estionia). It stands out from “traditional” equity crowdfunding platforms by allowing investors to trade their investments as soon as the round is finalised. Let’s see what liquidity we will see.
Fitbit acquired Romanian startup the Vector smartwatch. startup, as the wearable giant continues its roll-up. Vector was born in March last year. Combining the engineering talent in Central Europe’s Romania with the business smarts of London and former executives from Citizen watches, the Vector focused on the “affordable luxury” smartwatch sector. Only a year later, Vector has been acquired for an undisclosed price by global wearable giant Fitbit. Founder and CTO Andrei Pitis confirmed to TechCrunch that the company was acquired for its software platform and design team. This does not, however, signal a move into the luxury smartwatch sector by Fitbit.
Snap, the company behind Snapchat, confirmed the $150 million amount it paid for Ukraine’s Looksery in 2015. Snap acquired Looksery last August, which at the time was reported to be for around $150 million. Snap acquired the company as part of its push to create animated lenses — another product that would help further increase engagement and stickiness for the app, which is what the company is pitching to advertisers as its core value.