Tech News April 1: UK VC Firm Launches Fund to Invest in Ukrainian Startups, Estonian VC Firm Backs UK’s AI Recruitment Platform


🔥 UK-based 1991 Ventures Launched $18.9M Fund to Invest in Ukrainian Startups

British investors Venrex and Samos Investments back the launch of a new venture fund, 1991 Ventures, focusing on investing in startups led by Ukrainians in Ukraine and Central and Eastern Europe. Founded by Ukrainian brothers Denis and Viktor Gursky, known for their previous support of over 200 startups through programs like Social Boost Incubator and 1991 Accelerator, the $18.9 million (£15 million) fund aims to provide early-stage funding to Ukrainian founders and facilitate their access to global funding opportunities, particularly in the UK market. [Source: InVenture]

📑 Notary Platform Raised $5M in Investment

Ukrainian startup OneNotary secured a $5 million Series A round led by Jackson Square Ventures, joined by DocuSign founder Tom Gonser and existing investors. It also announced a strategic partnership with DocuSign. The funding boosts OneNotary’s valuation to $20-25 million and will fuel marketing, sales, partnership strengthening, and further development of its suite. Plans include integrating OneNotary into DocuSign’s line of notary solutions to enhance the document certification process for millions of users globally. [Source: InVenture]

💵 AI Monitoring Startup Raised $50K to Help Idenify Fakes

Mantis Analytics, a Ukrainian startup part of the Lviv IT cluster, raised $50,000 from ZAS Ventures, a fund founded by Ukrainians Andrey Zinchuk and Artem Volkhonsky with offices in the USA and Kyiv. The artificial intelligence-based platform monitors and analyzes the information space, identifying manipulations and fakes, and collaborates with government agencies such as the National Security and Defense Council. [Source: InVenture]

🏅Climate Innovation Voucher Winners Announced by EBRD and the EU

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union have selected ten Ukrainian companies as winners of the third wave of the Climate Innovation Vouchers grant program, providing grants totalling around $477,000 (€442,000) for the development and implementation of green technologies. Each recipient will receive up to $54,000 (€50,000) to support innovative solutions aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing energy efficiency, and combating climate change, covering 75% of the costs involved in developing and implementing technologies throughout the business cycle. [Source: TechUkraine]


📝 Estonian VC Firm Invested in UK-based AI Recruitment Platform

Plural, an Estonian-based VC, led an investment in London’s AI-driven note-taking platform for recruiters, Metaview, as part of a $6.9 million (€6.4 million) round. Metaview, founded by ex-Uber and Palantir leads, offers recruiters automated note-taking, analysis, and summary generation, promising to save time and enhance decision-making. With the new investment, the startup plans to scale its engineering team and product development efforts. [Source: BalticVC]

🇪🇪 EstBAN Invested $14.3M in Startups in 2023

In 2023, members of the Estonian Business Angels Network (EstBAN) invested around $14.3 million (€13.32 million) in startups, slightly lower than the previous year. The syndicate supported a total of 120 startups last year. The majority of investments were made in Estonian startups (75%), primarily in fintech, business software, DeepTech, space, health, and biotech sectors. [Source: BalticVC]

🌱Estonian Sustainable Car Rental Startup Entered Polish Market

Tallinn-based sustainable mobility startup Beast, known for its electric Tesla car rentals, is expanding its operations into Poland and further European markets. Founded in 2020, Beast offers a seamless rental experience through its mobile app, focusing on environmentally conscious travel and reducing CO2 emissions by 464 tons compared to traditional vehicles. The startup has plans for continued growth and innovation in the shared mobility sector. [Source:]

🏀 Estonian VC Led $3.8M Funding Round of Sports Media Company

Yolo Investments, an Estonian firm, led a $3.8 million (€3.6 million) funding round for sports media company Basketball Forever alongside US-based Andover Ventures and others. Basketball Forever, founded in Australia in 2011, plans to expand into North American sports betting market following a recent partnership with Dabble. Yolo Investments, founded by Tim Heath in 2017, focuses on gaming and fintech investments, launching a $108 million (€100 million) fund for similar ventures. [Source: BalticVC]

⚡Estonian EV Charging Network Developer Raised $5.4M for Regional Expansion

Tallinn-based EV charging network developer Eleport secured around $5.4 million (€5 million) from Helsinki’s Gren and Estonian investment firm Ambient Sound Investment (ASI), which already owned 53.47% of Eleport. Founded in 2016, Eleport plans to expand its charging points across the Baltics and Poland, aiming for 1,350 by year-end, focusing on B2B market penetration and team growth. It is backed by the founders of Skype through ASI. [Source: BalticVC]


🏦 AvaFin Acquired by South African Retail Bank

Polish fintech with Latvian roots AvaFin, originally founded in Cyprus, has been acquired by South African retail bank Capitec, increasing Capitec’s stake to 97.69% after purchasing 57.03% of AvaFin for around $28.4 million (€26.3 million). With operations across multiple countries, AvaFin offers non-bank consumer loan products and boasts a diverse team of over 350 employees. [Source: BalticVC]


🩺 Latvian VC Invested in Croatian Biotech Startup

Latvian-based LongeVC-backed Zagreb-based biotech startup Ani Biome, offers a subscription platform focusing on gut inflammation improvement through the personalized fermented product AgeBiotics. Ani Biome, founded in 2019, utilizes machine learning models and generative AI technology for daily gut health scans and emotional state approximation. LongeVC, established in 2016, supports early-stage startups across the US and Europe with a $37.8 million (€35 million) fund. [Source: BalticVC]


🚆Rail Transport Service Provider Startup Raised Almost $3.2M

Polish-based SP Tech Solutions secures nearly $3.2 million (€3 million) in funding from Vinci HiTech to bolster its Raily suite, aiding rail transport firms in optimizing planning and reducing costs. Founded in 2019, the company’s comprehensive IT system enhances efficiency and execution in the railway sector. With the new investment, it plans to expand internationally and develop AI-enabled technology. [Source:]

🧳 Innova Capital Acquired Stake in Industrial Automation Provider

Innova Capital, a Polish private equity firm, has acquired a significant minority stake in Dimark, a leading provider of industrial automation solutions, as part of its newest Innova/7 fund. Established in 1994, Dimark specializes in Baggage Handling Systems (BHS), facilitating seamless luggage movement in airports across 4 continents, with a majority of revenue generated outside of Europe. [Source:]

♻️ Recycling Startup Secured $1.29M in Funding

Rzeszów-based startup Maas Loop, specializing in recycling equipment, has secured around $1.29 million (€1.2 million) in funding led by Aper Ventures, along with investments from AIP Seed, ASP Capital, and other business angels. Founded in 2020, Maas Loop develops devices that enable restaurant owners to crush glass, plastic, and metal containers, aiming to enhance recycling efforts while promoting sustainability and responsible business practices. The funding will support the startup’s expansion plans, including optimizing waste management processes and entering foreign markets. [Source:]


🔥Purple Ventures Launched New $43M Fund

Brno-based Purple Ventures has launched its second fund, which totals around $43 million (€40 million), focusing on startups from the CEE region with teams in the EU. Led by co-founder Jan Staněk, Purple Ventures’ Fund II aims to invest in emerging segments such as Digital Health, SaaS, EnergyTech, and more, with plans to deploy the first $15.1 million (€14 million) this year and offer continued guidance to startup founders as mentors and advisors. [Source:]

🛡️Credo Ventures Joined $12M Seed Round for US-based Defence Tech Startup

US-based defense technology startup Picogrid has secured a $12 million seed round led by Initialized Capital, with participation from Giant Step Capital, Domino Ventures, Alumni Ventures, and Credo Ventures. The funding will accelerate product development and facilitate the opening of a second factory in Lawton, Oklahoma, as Picogrid continues to revolutionize defence operations with its integrated technology platform, Legion, used by military forces worldwide, including the Pentagon and the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. [Source:]

🚌 Inven Capital Co-led a $14M Round in All-Electric BusCompany

Scottish company Ember, specializing in all-electric intercity bus networks in the United Kingdom, has secured $14 million (£11 million) in a Series A round led by Prague-based Inven Capital, London-based 2150, and Berlin-based AENU, with Contrarian Ventures and Pale blue dot also participating. Founded in Edinburgh in 2019, Ember operates electric buses equipped with CCS (combined charging system) electric vehicle (EV) charging systems. With the investment the company aims to expand its network across Scotland and the broader UK market, focusing on scaling the network and enhancing the passenger experience. [Source:]


🤝 Kazakh AI Platform Included in NVIDIA Program

Aldente AI, led by CEO Laura Taganova, joins the NVIDIA Inception technology startup development program, gaining access to advanced technologies and expertise to enhance their AI platform for surveillance camera data analysis. Through the program, Aldente AI will utilize NVIDIA GPUs to boost the performance of their computer vision algorithms, enabling real-time processing of video data and swift decision-making for businesses seeking process optimization recommendations. [Source: DigitalBusiness]

🎉Astana Hub Opened Drone Tech Center

The Drone Tech Center launched at Astana Hub on March 27 aims to drive innovation in drone technology in Kazakhstan, offering educational programs and facilitating collaboration among industry participants. The event, organized by Astana Hub and AARDVARK, showcased practical drone applications and highlighted the potential for industry growth, emphasizing community building and industry advancement. [Source:]


🆕 South Korean Startup Hub Plans to Open Office in Uzbekistan

South Korean startup hub D.Camp plans to invest in Uzbek startups and assist them in entering the Korean market, aiming to bolster the startup ecosystem in Uzbekistan. D.Camp’s involvement was discussed during a meeting with Technopark officials, where collaboration opportunities, including joint webinars and potential office openings in Uzbekistan, were explored to facilitate knowledge exchange and technology advancement. [Source:]

🌟 Sturgeon Capital Closed its Second Fund 

Sturgeon Capital, an emerging markets VC, announced the successful first institutional close of its flagship VC fund, Sturgeon Emerging Opportunities II (SEO II), focusing on early-stage technology companies in Central Asia, the Caucasus, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, backed by anchor investors International Finance Corporation (IFC) and SBI Ven Capital. The firm’s strategic partnership aims to develop business interests in the region, particularly in FinTech and Uzbekistan, with plans for a second close including other institutional investors. [Source: Sturgeon Capital]