Checking in with Grzegorz Borowski, Co-Founder and CEO at InfoShare and Polish tech ecosystem expert!
Keep reading to learn about his journey with Infoshare, and hear about some key investors and startups in the Polish tech ecosystem.
Talk to us about Infoshare.
Could you tell us a bit about the Infoshare journey?
Infoshare started as an IT conference with the big idea to share up-to-date knowledge among the Polish tech community. We started with 250 people to reach an international crowd of 6,000+ in 2019 (that we kept also in 2020 that might be a turning point for the event industry). In 2014, the startup chapter became a second crucial part of the event with a startup contest offering 20K€ in cash for the best project. Since then, Infoshare started a kind of new journey to be something more than just one more conference focused on tech & business. We call it “the Infoshare family” – one logo gathering a lot of different activities; of course always with technology in the middle.
So what happens at Infoshare?
Meetups, thematical conferences, job fairs, reports, acceleration programs, blogging, matchmaking, startup ecosystem database, and - hopefully soon - a lot more. We really believe that technology is changing the world and each aspect of our lives. So we care about and share what is worthy to educate and inspire people. And we connect people, startups and companies to help them grow.
Speaking of growth...
Why do you think Poland could be Europe’s new tech hotspot?
I suggest we change the perspective from “having a chance to be” to instead “is becoming” one of the Europe’s tech hotspots. And it is not just a wish! We have a great tech talent pool including well-known areas and rising stars like AI, quantum computing or blockchain.
Can you give us any data to back that up?
According to the Stack Overflow report 2019, Poland has the largest pool of developers in CEE, which is over two times the size of second Romania. This shows that the Polish startup ecosystem is growing. Based on the Polish Investment Fund and Dealroom report from 2020, we have 2,200+ startups & scaleups, 100+ accelerators and workspaces, almost 100 VC funds and 1,600+ funding rounds & exits. What's more, the average size of a seed round is increasing, and the number of seed rounds has exploded in Poland, including a great interest from foreign investors. In 2019, according to the PFR & Dealroom report, 69% of rounds had a foreign investor participating. We also have a track-record of important exits, e.g. Base CRM (acquired by Zendesk) or pizzaportal.pl (acquired by Glovo). And just to show that it is all happening when it comes to Poland rising to the level of European tech hotspot, we are close to naming our own first unicorn; there are few strong candidates and the winner will be named shortly.
Why is Poland attractive to startups? Investors?
Being the organizer of the biggest tech event in the CEE region connecting startups and investors, I might sound not objective, but Poland has its time to use, and should do it, now. Why? We have a big domestic market, that might be a trap for Polish startups as it seems “enough” at the beginning, but the same time it is an opportunity to all others coming to test it. Talent pool is also an advantage, and it is not just empty words, but status confirmed by big players locating their R&D centers here. There is also an interesting pool of startups (backed by both Polish and foreign investors, including the key players) and we have more and more mature VC landscape what creates a trust for co-investments.
Poland is a great place to live and work, we are located in Gdansk, which also aspires to be one of the startup cities, but the list of tech-business locations is long. If you consider relocation, Poland should be on your radar.
And key players?
What are some key players in the Polish tech scene that our international audience should be aware of?
It depends what you are looking for! If you are a startup interested in Polish market then of course investors active on Polish market will be worth to check.
A few examples would be:
- Movens Capital with almost 13M€ to invest in early stage projects in Poland
- Inovo Venture Partners with 54M€ to invest in Polish and CEE ambitious founders
- Market One Capital with total capitalization at almost 33M€ and previous investments DocPlanner and Brainly (both competing to be the first Polish unicorn).
Ok, and for the startups?
A few examples of Polish startups getting lots of attention recently include:
- Booksy with round C closed at 70M USD.
- DocPlanner with 130M€ investments in total - confirming its potential.
- Brainly – the winner when it comes to investors trust and 80M€ in the last round.
Those 3 projects are really close to becoming crowned with the title “the first Polish unicorn,” it will be really interesting to see who takes it. Investors (being the most knowledgeable about the subject) suggest to also follow ICEYE, Cosmose AI, NoMagic and Uncapped. I will personally also suggest checking out Genomtec enabling fast and cheap identification of pathogens, Infermedica with AI engine for patient triage and preliminary medical diagnosis and Symmetrical giving employees flexible access to their salaries. All seems really relevant these days.
Want to learn more about the Polish ecosystem? Register now to join us at Sesamers on Tour: Poland on May 25th 👉 tour.sesamers.com/
Cover Photo by Andrea Anastasakis on Unsplash