Tech Wrap Oct. 30: Albanian CTO of OpenAI, Lithuania’s Innovation Ministry Allocates $67M to New Accelerators


👩 Albanian CTO of OpenAI Featured in Fortune’s Most Powerful Women List

Fortune’s 26th annual Most Powerful Women list has been released, highlighting international figures and significant firsts, such as the first openly transgender CEO. OpenAI’s CTO, Mira Murati, graces the cover, leading the charge in developing impactful AI, while Karen S. Lynch, CEO of CVS Health, retains her position as the most powerful woman in global corporate history. [Source: LinkedIn]


🚀 Lithuania’s Innovation Ministry to Allocate $67M for New Accelerators

Lithuania’s Ministry of Economy and Innovation plans to distribute nearly $67 million (€63 million) for new acceleration programs in partnership with US accelerator Plug and Play. Plug and Play will invest $6.24 million (€5.9 million) in 45 Lithuanian startups over three years, while committing worth of $9.94 million (€9.4 million) to run five acceleration cycles for 60 Lithuanian startups by March 2026, aiming to triple the number of startups in Lithuania and significantly increase their value and employment. [Source: BalticVC]

🌱Latvian Algae Startup Raised $634K

SpirulinaNord, a Latvian biotech company founded in 2017 and specializing in growing spirulina algae in a controlled environment and plans, has secured $634,000 (€600,000) in funding from an undisclosed private investor, the Latvian hardware and IoT startup accelerator Buildit, and the aquaculture grant program of the Latvian state institution Rural Support Service. The startup plans to use the investment to expand production capacity and potentially license its technology for others to produce algae. [Source: BalticVC]

🏘️ Estonian VC Invested in Short-term Rental Service for Owners and Managers

Trind Ventures, an Estonian venture firm, has backed Your.Rentals, a Danish platform for short-term rental property management, as a part of the $2.85 million (€2.7 million) funding round that also involved London-based crowdfunding platform Seedrs. Your.Rentals offers property managers ability to manage marketing, bookings, operations, and payments for short-term rentals. The company plans to use the investment to expand its business and launch a mobile application for iOS and Android. [Source: BalticVC]

🎲Latvian Escape Rooms Marketplace and Immersive Adventures Raised $2.2M

Morty, a Latvian startup marketplace for escape rooms and immersive experiences, secured $2.2 million in funding led by US VC ProtagonistXYZ, with participation from California-based investment firms along with other US-based investors. Morty connects owners of immersive attractions with players and provides a platform for sharing experiences, leaving reviews, messaging, and group bookings. The platform aims to facilitate user data export in case of project closure. [Source: BalticVC]

💰Metaplanet Fund Invested in Israel-based Blockchain Startup 

Metaplanet, an early-stage Estonian investment firm having 163 companies in its venture investment portfolio, invested in Israel-based blockchain startup Fhenix in a $7 million seed round, alongside Multicoin Capital, Collider Ventures, Node Capital, Bankless, and others. Fhenix specializes in blockchain technology using homomorphic encryption (FHE) for secure transactions within Smart Contracts, aiming to introduce end-to-end encryption for Web3 applications through their platform. The investment will support Fhenix in launching its public Testnet, a beta version of the blockchain network designed for testing it, and advancing ecosystem application development next year. [Source: BalticVC]

🚗 Estonian Venture Fund Invested in AdTech Startup

Change Ventures, an Estonian venture capital firm, invested in London-based adtech company Drovo, which connects vehicle owners with advertisers, in a $3.63 million (£3 million) round led by venture capital trust Maven Capital Partners. Drovo offers a platform for displaying advertisements on vehicles to generate passive income and provide data on road and air quality to local governments and NGOs. The investment will help Drovo in scaling its operations, expanding staff, acquiring hardware, and improving dynamic digital rooftop screens for vehicles. [Source: BalticVC]

🎨 Estonian Accelerator Invested in AI Tool Content Creation and Analysis Startup

Startup Wise Guys, an Estonian accelerator, has reinvested in Turkish AI tool Novus, developing an AI-powered content creation and analysis tool focusing on SEO, using NLP technologies for original, verified text creation, with a $500,000 round led by Inveo Ventures and joined by The Venture Lane and Aegan Ventures. The company plans to utilize the investment to further develop AI solutions, expand globally, and grow their team.          [Source: BalticVC]

🤖 Estonian Investment Firm Led a Pre-seed Round of AI Meeting Assistant Startup

Trind Ventures, an Estonian investment firm, led a €330,000 pre-seed investment in AI meeting assistant Wudpecker, focusing on extracting key information from various digital sources like including meetings and emails, with participation from Danish VC Accelerace and Finnish Sofokus Ventures. The startup intends to utilize the investment to further enhance its product, enabling users to gather information across diverse corporate digital platforms.

[Source: BalticVC]


📈Growth Ukraine Program Launched By Startup Wise Guys and EBRD

Startup Wise Guys, backed by the EBRD and TaiwanBusiness Fund, launches the Growth Ukraine program to support 12 Ukrainian startups aiming for global expansion without financial investment. The four-month accelerator offers tailored strategies, focused on strategy assessment, sales and marketing, team management strategy and finance and fundinn. Furthermore, the accelerator plas to provide connections for these startups to enter the European market, aiding economic growth amidst ongoing war challenges in Ukraine.

[Source: TechUkraine]

🏆Sigma Software Labs and Ukrainian Startup Fund Launch Startup Contest

The UNICORN startup contest, organized by Sigma Software Labs and the Ukrainian Startup Fund, is open for applications until November 1, 2023. The contest welcomes early-stage startups from Ukraine and the EU in B2B sectors. Organizers offer educational webinars, networking events, and pitching opportunities. Projects within certain tech fields and having raised less than $528,975 (€500,000) are eligible, and selected winners will receive grants ranging from $1,057 to 3,173 (€1,000-3,000). [Source: TechUkraine]

📖 EdTech Startup Opened First Office in the United States

Preply, the Ukrainian-founded EdTech company, expanded its operations to the USA, opening its first office in New York and appointing two key executives. The company aims to grow its team to over 25 employees by the year-end, following a significant workforce increase across 30 countries and recent funding rounds totaling more than $120 million to strengthen its presence in the language learning market, as the company intensifies its competition with other popular platforms like Duolingo, Babbel and Busuu. [Source:]

🛡️War Risk Insurance Changes Investment Environment In Ukraine

The ongoing Russian invasion severely impacts Ukraine’s economy, emphasizing the need for increased investment and expanded war risk insurance coverage. The $9.1 million MIGA-backed insurance for Lviv’s M10 industrial park, financed by the SURE trust fund, serves as a model for investors, while entities like the DFC and European organizations actively provide insurance and financial backing to investors in Ukraine, fostering a significant increase in exports and drawing support from various international bodies to ensure investments against political and war-related risks in the country.

[Source: Ukraine Business News, Atlantic Council]


💰Silkway Accelerator Raised $400K In Investments

The success of Kazakhstan’s Silkway Accelerator program was evident in the combined valuation of $400 million among startups, with $7.5 million raised during the acceleration program. Gocare, a Mongolian startup offering the user to earn rewards and also providing the opportunity to receive cash, discounts and benefits for goods and service, has secured $300,000, exceeding a $3 million valuation, while Kazakh startup, enabling financial institutions to underwrite loans to customers with limited or no credit history received $100,000 during the Digital Bridge 2023 forum. Both of those projects are emblematic of the program’s impact in launching and supporting startups.[Source:]

 ​​💲Enegix Launched First Global Mining Pool Integrating Government Services

Enegix, a major digital mining hosting provider, has introduced the world’s first accredited mining pool,, in line with Kazakhstan’s new regulations on digital assets. The pool integrates with government services through SmartBridge, providing transparency and fair taxation, with its computing power currently at 5.3 Exahash, equivalent to about 1.5% of the global Bitcoin network capacity, demonstrating its pioneering role in the industry.



🛍️ Kyrgyzstan’s Ambitions to Become Central Asia’s E-Commerce Hub 

During the e-Commerce EXPO 2023 forum, Deputy Minister of Economy and Commerce Nazarbek Malaev highlighted the Kyrgyz Republic’s potential to become Central Asia’s logistics and e-commerce hub. He emphasized the government’s efforts in policy optimization and institutional improvements to foster e-commerce development in the region and stressed that e-commerce growth in Kyrgyzstan signifies a significant shift in the modern economy, prompting the need for defining boundaries and establishing analytical parameters for this market’s assessment. [Source:]


💵 UZTELECOM Allocated Grants to Startups during ICT Week 2023

During ICT Week 2023, UZTELECOM, Uzbekistan’s major telecommunications company, supported startups and innovations with grants, awarding winners of the UZTELECOM Pitch Day competition. The company allocated a total of 200 million soums, distributing grants among the top three projects—The Point AI, Mohir.AI, and Sugurta Bozor. These grants are aimed at fostering the implementation of innovative projects and advancing digital technologies in Uzbekistan. [Source:]


🚀 Vestbee Annouces Annual CEE Startup Challenge

Vestbee’s CEE Startup Challenge, which is open to Central and Eastern European startups until November 17, 2023, grants access to over 200 VC funds, potential $264,487 (€250,000) investments, and essential infrastructure credits. The winners also secure invitations to the CEE VC Summit 2024, offering resources such as AWS and Stripe credits, media coverage, and a chance to connect with over 250 GPs from the region and Europe. [Source:]

☕ Sustainability Startup Secured $7.4M In Funding

EcoBean, a Warsaw-based sustainability startup, secured a $7.4 million (€7 million) investment round through the European Funds for a Modern Economy (FENG) program, supporting its initiative to transform used coffee grounds into sustainable bio-based raw materials. This funding will facilitate the establishment of EcoBean Technology Center (ETC) for processing up to 1,000 tons of coffee grounds annually, expanding its high-margin bio-raw material production and furthering technological advancements for specialized applications.



🌿Maintance Management Startup Secured $719K Investment

Fabrico, a Bulgarian maintenance management startup, has concluded its investment round at $719,000 (€680,000), backed by Vitosha Venture Partners, Sofia Angels Ventures, and Innovation Capital, as well as a group of angel investors. Fabrico’s cloud-based CMMS system optimizes maintenance processes in production plants, aiming to reduce equipment downtime, enhance efficiency, and integrate AI technology while targeting international market expansion with the secured funds. [Source:]


🩺 MedTech Startup Secured $3.18M For Development of Digital Therapeutics

Vitadio, a Prague-based medtech startup, secured a $3.18 million (€3 million) investment led by Theras Group and Jafam Holding, supporting the world’s first prescription digital therapeutics for type 2 diabetes with full reimbursement coverage in Germany and integration with pharmaceutical companies in the Czech Republic. The company plans to use the funding to amplify sales, develop new therapies, and broaden geographical reach to transform care for lifestyle-related conditions while expanding their platform to enable a life free from chronic ailments. [Source:]


📉 Investment in Startups Decreased Ten Times Over the Past Year 

According to data from the Russian platform Dsight, Russian startup investments plummeted by over tenfold, dropping from $287 million to $27 million in the first half of 2023. This decline is primarily driven by decreased funding from private, corporate, and public investors. Experts also say the economic situation is responsible for this drop, with some funds shifting focus to purchasing foreign companies at discounted rates. This trend signals a lack of priority for venture investments in projects targeting the Russian market. [Source: InVenture]

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