Tech News Jan. 29: Ukrainian AI Assistant Startup Secures $500K, Czech VC Firm Invests in Belgian Cybersecurity Firm


🤖 AI Assistant Startup Secured $500K Round

Dataisland, a Ukrainian startup specializing in AI assistants for CRM systems, secured $500,000 in funding from Apercon Consulting Group to fuel its expansion. Founded in 2023, the company’s virtual AI assistant integrates with CRM systems and databases, catering to clients like Milleyson Holdings Ltd and Do&Co. It plans to onboard 50 new clients, expand into new markets, and develop a public version of their product. [Source:]

💰USAID Introduced $10M Grant Program for Ukraine

The USAID Competitive Economy of Ukraine program has launched a $10 million grant initiative to support medium and large processing enterprises, offering approximately 30 grants ranging from $150,000 to $500,000, with applications accepted until March 8, 2024. The grants aim to foster production expansion, innovation, and modernization, particularly in sectors like packaging, food processing, mechanical engineering, textiles, and restoration products, as part of efforts to create new jobs and boost domestic and foreign market sales, according to the Ministry of Economy. [Source: InVenture]

💶 EU4Business Program Offers Grants for 100 Ukrainian Enterprises

Ukrainian micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises can apply for grants of up to $10,868 (€10,000) each to support recovery, development, and sustainability. These grants are part of the EU4Business program, jointly funded by the European Union and the German government, with applications open until February 11th. The initiative targets companies across various sectors, including processing, creative industries, logistics, transportation, and others with export or innovation potential, to bolster economic resilience, growth, innovation, and exports in Ukraine. [Source:]


🖥️ Prague-based VC Firm Invested $542 in Belgian Cybersecurity Company

OutKept, a Belgium-based cybersecurity firm, raised approximately $542,000 (€500,000) in a seed round led by Prague-based Presto Ventures and angel investors to expand its phishing prevention platform globally. OutKept’s platform, employing automated phishing simulations created by an open community of ethical phishers, aims to significantly reduce human cyber risk, boasting a claim of halving interactions with phishing emails within 2 to 3 months. The firm plans to use this investment to scale the platform internationally and bring its approach to new markets. [Source:]

💵 DevOps Company Secured $10M from Prague-based KAYA VC

Better Stack, a solutions provider for developers, recently secured $10 million in funding from KAYA VC as well as angel investors. Led by Czech-based KAYA VC, the round will support Better Stack’s expansion plans with a growing international team and a client base of over 200,000 developers and 4,000 customers that include TIME Magazine, Salesforce, and UNICEF. [Source:]

🧳 Travel Platform Closed $10M Series B Round

Daytrip, a Czech travel platform offering private car transfers, secured a $10 million Series B investment led by Taiwania Capital, with Euroventures, J&T Ventures, and N1 also participating. Founded in 2015, Daytrip plans to expand globally, including into the United States, and strengthen partnerships following its success in providing personalized travel experiences. [Source:]

🩺 HealthTech Startup Closed $4.18M Investment

Hedepy, a Prague-based healthtech startup, recently closed a $4.18 million (€3.85 million) investment round from N1, Purple Ventures, RSJ Investments, Impact Ventures, and other investors. The funds will bolster Hedepy’s online psychotherapy platform, which offers video therapy sessions, self-help tools, and indicative tests across 11 European countries, serving over 100,000 therapy sessions in 2023 to corporate clients like Havel and Partners and Unicredit Bank. The investment will fuel app development and support for corporate mental health care solutions. [Source:]


💰Estonian Plural led a $11.4M Round for a UK-based Biotech 

Estonian venture fund Plural led a $11.4 million funding round for UK-based biotech firm Sano Genetics. Sano Genetics, founded in 2016 in Cambridge, operates as an AI-powered precision trial platform, automating various processes to streamline patient recruitment for clinical trials. The startup plans to utilize the investment to meet product demand and expand globally after experiencing significant growth in 2023. [Source: BalticVC]

🏦 Estonian Venture Fund Raised $433M from US and European Institutions

Estonian venture fund Plural has secured a new $433 million (€400 million) fund from US and European institutions as well as family funds. The fund, which continues to invest from its initial $270 million (€250 million) fund raised in 2022, focuses on supporting European early-stage startups, particularly in AI, frontier technologies, consumer tech, climate, and energy sectors, and has made 26 investments across six countries. [Source: BalticVC]

🔋Estonian Fund To Invest In Early-Stage CleanTech Startups

Estonian fund 2C Ventures, established in 2024 by founders of Startup Wise Guys and others, has closed $34 million (€32 million) for its fund, with $21 million (€20 million) secured from the Estonian SmartCap Green Fund. Focused on early-stage cleantech startups from pre-seed to Series A, particularly those with a hardware component in renewable energy, waste reduction, water management, and circular economy sectors, 2C Ventures aims to provide initial investments ranging from $270,000 to $1.08 million (€250,000 to €1 million), with support for follow-on investments in later-stage rounds, targeting a total fund size of $54 million (€50 million) over a 12-year investment period. [Source: BalticVC]

🌥️ Estonian CleanTech and AgriTech Secured Pre-Seed Investments from Finnish VC

Grid Raven, an Estonian cleantech founded in 2023, secured pre-seed investment from Finnish for its AI weather forecasting model, improving wind speed forecast accuracy by 39%. Additionally, Tallinn-based agritech startup Glafos, founded by Triin Uustalu and Kadri Parikas in 2023, received pre-seed funding from, focusing on using AI modeling and tissue cultivation to accelerate the growth of tree seedlings for resilient and diverse forest ecosystems. [Source: BalticVC]

🕹️Former Google CEO Registered a Drone Startup in Estonia

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt founded Volya Robotics, a Tallinn-based drone startup, in September 2023, serving as financier and defense tech advisor. The company, a subsidiary of US entity White Stork (formerly Swift Beat Holdings), develops AI-driven attack drones for autonomous operations in GPS-jammed environments, with a reported aim to support Ukrainian fighters, according to Forbes. Schmidt, known for his tenure at Google and his role on the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, brings his expertise to the venture. [Source: BalticVC]

🏆 The Winner of sTARTUp Pitching 2024 Announced

The winners of sTARTUp Day Pitching 2024 have been announced, with only four startups out of 322 receiving investments, including Esgrid, which secured approximately $216,000 (€200,000) syndicated investment from the Estonian Business Angels Network (EstBAN) for its ESG data infrastructure. Other recipients include Wayren, awarded around $135,000 (€125,000) by Baltic Sandbox Ventures, and eID Easy, which received approximately $108,000 (€100,000) syndicate investment from Contriber Ventures for its Qualified Electronic Signatures marketplace. [Source: LinkedIn]


🧘 Sport and Wellness App Secured Undisclosed Investment 

ForActive, a Poland-based app developer for sport and wellness services, received an investment from ff VC, Movens Capital, Flyer One Ventures, and angel investors. The amount was undisclosed. ForActive’s app streamlines communication between service providers and clients, facilitates payments for trainers, and addresses overdue payment issues. The investment will support its growth and expansion in the industry. [Source:]

🗒️ eGabinet Secured $597K from Business Angels

eGabinet, a Poland-based startup, has concluded a round of approximately $597,000 (€550,000, PLN 2.4 million) funded entirely by business angels to expand platform functionality and improve solution offerings. Founded in 2020, the company responds to the need for a digital alternative to traditional medical facility registrations, offering intuitive operation and no initial fees, doubling its customer base in the last twelve months, and planning to introduce a financial and accounting module and international expansion in 2024. [Source:]

🏦 180 Funds Invested in Poland in Two Years

In 2023, Poland saw a 50% decrease in foreign venture capital fund activity compared to 2021, with only 3 new Polish VC funds launched, as reported by AIN.Capital based on the ultimate map of the Polish funding ecosystem prepared by Inovo VC. Despite a global slowdown in the technology sector, predictions for 2024 are optimistic, anticipating a rebound with around 40 new funds expected to launch, backed by a global recovery in the tech sector and positive indicators for software companies’ median new ARR. [Source:]


🚀 Incubation Program Helps Startups Implement Projects

Kyzylorda Hub, part of Astana Hub’s initiative, hosts various IT-related events and programs like Startup Joly, supported by the Ministry of Digital Development, to foster regional innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives. Through initiatives like Startup Joly, 57 projects were selected for incubation, with 26 successfully presented at Demo Day, highlighting the growing need for IT specialists and the importance of spreading knowledge and opportunities in technology across regional centers. [Source:]


💰AI-Powered Startups Attracted Investment from Plug and Play Accelerator

PointAI, an Uzbek startup specializing in AI-powered support solutions for online businesses, secured investments from the Plug and Play Tech Center accelerator during the second wave of its acceleration program in Uzbekistan. The undisclosed investment underscores PointAI’s scalability and potential long-term impact, offering high-quality customer support services to reduce wait times and potentially save e-commerce firms up to $150,000 annually through automated resolution of up to 80% of customer queries. [Source:]

💵 Grants of Up to $160K Provided to Boost the Startup Ecosystem

The Business Development Bank offers grants of up to 2 billion UZS (approximately $160,000) for innovative startups, significantly boosting the startup ecosystem and fostering entrepreneurial growth. [Source: LinkedIn]

💰World Bank’s Munis Project Offers Grants for Startups

The World Bank’s Munis project offers grants for startups and SMEs’ research and development efforts. The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, and Innovations of Uzbekistan is hosting a seminar discussing the venture ecosystem, and potential applicants can apply for grants through programs like RCP and BIRD, with deadlines on February 19th and March 20th, 2024, respectively. More information can be found on the websites. [Source: LinkedIn]

Uzbekistan: A Leading Recipient of EBRD Funding in 2023

In 2023, Uzbekistan received over $759 million (€700 million) from the EBRD for 27 projects, with a focus on renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure. Key initiatives included supporting youth entrepreneurship, renewable energy, and modernizing irrigation systems. The 32nd Annual Meeting and Business Forum in Samarkand underscored the region’s growing importance. [Source: LinkedIn]

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