Tech News Jan. 22: AI Voice Generator Startup ElevenLabs Raises $80M, Becomes Poland’s First Unicorn


🦄 AI Tech Startup ElevenLabs Secures $80M, Marking Poland’s First Unicorn. ElevenLabs, which was founded by founded in 2022 by ex-Google ML engineer Piotr Dabkowski and an ex-Palantir deployment strategist Mati Staniszewski, has raised $80M in Series B funding, which gives it Poland’s debut unicorn status. They won over quite a roster of investors: Andreessen Horowitz, former GitHub CEO Nat Friedman, Daniel Gross, along with Sequoia Capital, Smash Capital, SV Angel, BroadLight Capital and Credo Ventures. The company, which has offices in Warsaw, London and New York, has a range of products across publishing, entertainment, creator economy and education industries. [Source: ElevenLabs]

💵 Movens Capital and Cognito Capital Partners Join $7M Sky Engine AI Round  Sky Engine AI, a London-based synthetic data cloud platform, has raised $7 million in a Series A funding round led by a Waswa-based Cogito Capital Partners, with participation from Edge VC, Taiwania Capital, Movens Capital, and HTGF | High-Tech Gründerfonds. The investment will support the growth of Sky Engine AI, which provides a generative simulation and deep learning platform for training AI computer vision algorithms with fully annotated synthetic data, serving applications ranging from AI drones to military simulation. [Source:]

🏨 CRM Platform Raised $745 from Business Angels Embargo, a CRM platform provider for the hospitality industry, has secured approximately $745,000 (€685,000; PLN 3 million) in funding from prominent business angels, including Paweł Fornalski, Pierre Decote, Aleksander Przetakiewicz, and the Opoka fund. The UK and Poland-based startup, founded in 2017, has experienced substantial growth since entering the Polish market in 2022, with a revenue increase of over 300% and an expanded user base to 1,500 venues. The platform will use the money to further product development and increase sales teams in Poland and the UK. [Source:]

🖌️Graphic Developer Secured $1.20M in Seed Round Gotiva, a graphic developer startup based in Warsaw, has raised approximately $1.20 million (€1.11 million) in a seed round led by SMOK Ventures, with co-investors Anton Gauffin and Movens Capital. Gotiva’s mobile app, Jigsaw Puzzle Universe, allows content creators to distribute digital images, such as AI-generated content, to users through jigsaw puzzles, enabling them to earn money from user engagement. [Source:]


🔋Lithuanian Fund Invested in Spanish AI Energy Startup

Contrarian Ventures, a Lithuanian fund investing in climate startups from Europe and Israel, has invested in Barcelona-based AI energy software startup Delfos, contributing to the $6.8 million (€6.3 million) seed round. The also included American Headline, Brazilian DOMO.VC, and Portugal EDP Ventures. Delfos, founded in 2016, has developed real-time virtual engineer software using AI and big data for automated performance and reliability management in renewable energy estates. The funding will support its European expansion and entry into the US market in 2025. [Source: BalticVC]

📚Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs Opens in Estonia for Ukrainians

Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs, an EU-supported program has opened applications for the “Eye to the Future Ukraine” project in collaboration with Estonia’s Startup Wise Guys Foundation. The initiative is open to Ukrainian residents in Estonia planning to start or have recently launched a business to gain knowledge and international experience in the EU, in addition to financial support from the European Union covering travel and living costs during the exchange period. [Source:]

🔌 Estonian Firm Invested in English Freight Platform 

Metaplanet, an Estonian investment firm, allocated $34 million to Vortexa, an England-based real-time data and analytics platform founded in 2016 specializing in energy and freight industries. The funding, led by Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital with participation from existing investors, will fuel Vortexa’s international expansion, technology enhancements, and customer service efforts as the AI-driven platform continues to provide real-time data and advanced analytics for various energy and freight markets. [Source: BalticVC]

🧠 Azerbaijan Platform Won the Estonian Startup Wise Guys’ Contest

4You, an Azerbaijani platform offering online sessions with professional psychologists, secured approximately a $14,500 (€13,400) investment after winning the Estonian Startup Wise Guys program, where it competed against 10 teams in the finals. As part of the victory, the team will now participate in the Global Acceleration program at Azerbaijan’s LTC Innovation, with founders Arzu Garaeva, Nadir Huseynov, and Vugar Aliyev leading the startup launched back in 2012. [Source: BalticVC]

💶 Latvian Company Invested in Estonian and Latvian Startups

Capitalia, a Latvian investment firm, has invested around $92,300 (€85,000) in Estonian property technology startup Rendin and approximately $54,300 (€50,000) in Latvian-founded virtual reality (VR) startup Giraffe360. Rendin, based in Tallinn, offers a rental platform with a deposit-free renting model and comprehensive digital agreement processes, providing added protection for landlords, while Giraffe360 specializes in manufacturing cameras for shooting high-resolution real estate images, enabling the creation of interactive virtual tours. [Source: BalticVC]

💶 Estonian Financial Company Raised $326K in 2023

Bilance, an Estonian financial services company, raised approximately $326,000 (€300,000) in a funding round at the end of 2023, with investment from Estonian Specialist VC and Thorgate Ventures, along with participation from Alvar Lumberg, co-founder of Estonian startup Grünfin. Bilance, an AI-powered mobile app facilitating automatic tracking of spending habits, plans to use the funds for international growth and expanding its technical team. [Source: BalticVC]


🚗 British-Ukrainian Fintech Raised $19.6M

Carmoola, a London-based fintech specializing in direct-to-consumer car finance, has secured approximately $19.6 million (£15.5 million) from investors, including QED Investors, VentureFriends, InMotion Ventures, AlleyCorp, and Kyiv-based Carmoola, launched in March 2022, aims to transform the car finance market by empowering buyers and eliminating knowledge imbalances associated with traditional lending models, with a Trustpilot rating of 4.9 out of 5 from over 1,100 customer reviews. [Source:]

🇬🇧 UK-Ukraine TechBridged Launched to Fortify Mutual Tech Collaboration

The UK-Ukraine TechBridge, a collaborative platform, has been established to strengthen the partnership between Ukraine’s tech sector and the United Kingdom’s tech sector. Focusing on trade development, attracting investments, fostering innovation, and implementing global IT educational programs, the platform aims to facilitate collaboration, exchange of experience, knowledge, and resources among professionals from both countries, providing access to markets and opportunities for investment in Ukraine’s tech sector. [Source: TechUkraine]

📱Marketing Technology Provider Received Investment from Horizon Capital 

Horizon Capital’s Growth Fund IV has invested in Viseven, a Ukrainian marketing technology provider in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries, although the investment amount remains undisclosed. Viseven, founded in 2009, develops content and digital services for brand promotion, serving over 50 customers, including top pharmaceutical companies. The funding will support the company’s growth as part of its high-growth journey. [Source:]


👥 Customer Data Platform Raised $3M in pre-Series A Funding

Czech-founded and Singapore-based startup Meiro, a developer of customer data platforms, has raised $3 million in a pre-Series A round led by Wavemaker Partners and featuring participation from Angel Central. The funding will fuel Meiro’s global expansion, product development, team growth, and entry into new markets, including establishing a branch in Dubai in 2024, as the company aims to enhance brands’ engagement with customers and maximize marketing efficiency. [Source:]


📶 Cyberhate and Misinformation Startup Secured $543K to Improve Internet Safety, a Bratislava-based startup dedicated to combating cyberhate and misinformation, has secured approximately $543,000 (€500,000) in funding from the Slovak CB ESPRI Impact One fund. The investment will support’s mission to protect media and public institutions on social networks by leveraging a combination of technology and human moderators to promptly identify and remove inappropriate and hateful content. [Source:]

📞 Call Center Software Raised $28M 

CloudTalk, a Bratislava-based call center software developer, has closed a $28 million Series B round, co-led by KPN Ventures and Lead Ventures, with support from existing investors Point Nine Capital, henQ, Presto Ventures, and Orbit Capital. The investment will fuel CloudTalk’s growth and product innovation, particularly in enhancing its AI-powered cloud phone system and contact center solutions, as the company aims to support sales and customer service teams globally further. [Source:]


✏️ Bulgarian EdTech Startup Acquired By UK-based Company 

Shkolo, a Bulgarian school management platform, has been acquired by UK-based Juniper Education, though the exact deal amount remains undisclosed. Shkolo, founded in 2016, provides administrative and management software for schools to streamline processes and enhance engagement among teachers, students, and parents. The acquisition will support the development of the edtech product while enabling Juniper Education to expand its foreign expansion. [Source:]


🍕Dodo Brands Board of Directors Approved Change of Jurisdiction in Kazakhstan

Dodo Brands CFO, Lina Naumova, has announced the board’s approval for the transfer of its holding company’s place of residence from the British Virgin Islands (BVI) to the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC), with an absentee vote scheduled before January 26, 2024. The announcement did not provide a reason for the change. Dodo Brands, which owns brands like Dodo Pizza and operates with over 250 developers in its IT division, is set to hold an online meeting with shareholders on January 30. [Source:]

💰Kaspi to Raise Around $900M in USA IPO, a Kazakhstan-based company, plans to list shares on NASDAQ with an estimated volume of $873 million, according to Bloomberg. Selling shareholders include Chairman of the Board Vyacheslav Kim, CEO Mikhail Lomtadze, and Asia Equity Partners Ltd., while Kaspi’s current market value is reported to be $18.79 billion. [Source:]

📈 Astana Up by 25 Positions in Global Startup Ranking

Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, has climbed 25 positions in the global startup ecosystem ranking by StartupBlink, securing the first position in the Central Asia regional ranking and reaching 318th place globally. Astana Hub, a leading innovation hub, received the Startup Ecosystem Awards, acknowledging its achievements, and Bagdat Musin, Minister of Digital Development, Innovation, and Aerospace Industry, sees this recognition as an opportunity to attract global investors and establish leadership in startup innovation. [Source:]


🚘 inDrive Makes the Top 5 List in Global Travel App Ranking

In 2023, inDrive, a Russian-founded global IT and transportation platform, secured the fourth position in the global travel app ranking based on downloads, surpassing major competitors like and Airbnb, while also maintaining its position as the second most popular ride-hailing app worldwide. Despite having significantly less investment than Uber, the company claimed the top spot in 13 countries and is actively expanding its presence by launching in Miami and South Florida and introducing electric vehicles to its fleet. [Source: LinkedIn]


💰AngelsDeck Global Ventures Opens an Opportunity to Raise Funds

AngelsDeck invites all startups seeking funding opportunities to apply for the prestigious AngelsDeck Startup Assembly (ADSA) scheduled for February 19, 2024. This exclusive event is crafted to showcase innovative ideas and visionary startups that are shaping the entrepreneurial landscape, drawing inspiration from the success stories of previous winners, money pool and Soula. Apply by February 4th to secure investor spotlight, networking opportunities, tailored support, and crucial funds. Source: LinkedIn]

💰Updated 2023 CEE SaaS Index Shows Global Slowdown in VC Funding

The CEE SaaS Index for 2023, updated by Vestbee in collaboration with Warsaw Equity Group, reveals that the market capitalization of Central and Eastern European SaaS companies remained stable at $1.90 billion (€1.75 billion), with a median revenue multiple of 3.30x annualized revenue at the end of 2023. The index highlights a global trend of the market slowing down, as reflected in the lower VC funding levels in 2023 compared to previous years. [Source:]

🦄 Unicorn Pitches for Startup Hosted by SilkRoad Innovation Hub in January 2024

The UNICORN STARTUP PITCH & TOP VC FUNDS event is set to take place on January 25, 2024, at the Silkroad Innovation Hub in Palo Alto, CA. The global startup pitch contest will bring together renowned international VCs and business angels with exceptional startups from around the world, providing funding and networking opportunities. [Source: LinkedIn]

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