Overview on startup funding in Romania (January to June 2020)

Here we are at the half of 2020, a tumultuous 6-months also for the startup ecosystem as the crisis shook the ecosystem and the fundraising processes.

Although the general impression is that venture capital fundraising took a hit, looking back we had a sustained activity, totalising approximately €20M in 30 deals, including some grants received as well (to put in perspective, the whole 2019, we tracked 70 funding deals reaching in total €40M).

Besides the venture funding deals, we also spotted a few investments in foreign startups with Romanian founders and multiple grants in tech startups. You can read about them below.

Venture capital funding for Romanian-based startups

Note: we didn’t not take into consideration the incorporation country for the startups, but we focused on the fact that they were founded in Romania and most of their team is working from Romania.

  1. TypingDNA has raised €6.2 million in a Series A round led by Gradient Ventures, Google’s AI-focused venture fund, and included participants such as GapMinder, Credo Ventures, Techstars Ventures, as well as returning private investors. The funding will allow the startup to advance the research and development of innovative typing biometrics technology and to carry out strategic plans.
  1. Beez received an investment, worth €1.2M from RocaX and Gapminder.VC for expansion and growth beyond the existing cashback aspect. Beez offers a cashback service; essentially, if you buy through them you get a small amount of money back (link).
  1. Seedblink launched their own equity crowdfunding campaign on their platform, reaching €500K investment in one day, more than double their initial aim. 
  1. In 2020, through Seedblink, there were 9 other successful campaigns: Kinderpedia, KFactory, Quarks, Code of Talent, Amsimcel, Sanopass, ialoc, Ecotree, Evertoys, supported by various angel investors and funds like Sparking Capital, Gapminder, RocaX, Founders Bridge and Cleverage, totalizing ~€2.5M raised.
  1. CODA Intelligence received €800K in a round by Early Game Ventures, ROCA X and Marius Alexe as an angel investor. The entire amount is aimed at expanding the CODA Footprint product, which is a cyber security platform dedicated to SMEs, on the US market and licensing it (link with details).
  1. Early Game Ventures (EGV) together with a group of business angels (most of them members of TechAngels) announced an investment round of over €700K in Tokinomo, the platform that collects data directly from store shelves and generates immediate sales results.
  1. Docbook, an online platform for medical appointments launched three years ago, has attracted €600K from Next Capital, a financial institution providing factoring solutions.
  2. Machinations, a company that has developed a browser-based platform for the design, balance, and simulation of game systems, announced the closing of a €580k seed round, led by GapMinder Venture Partners, and participation of London-based fund Seedcamp.
  3. Neogen Capital invested €500K in the development of the Avocado.red service which is an integrated platform that connects users with specialists in different fields, such as therapists or life coaches. For now the startup is only focused on the Romanian market but they do plan to extend in Europe in the future (link).
  4. Neogen Capital and several angel investors, committed €500K in the RPA technology startup MissionCritical, which is developing software robots to provide companies with a faster way to automate processes.
  5. Humans raised a funding of €330K from Early Game Ventures, ROCA X, with aim to accelerate development of an innovative technology capable of generating synthetic (AI-created) media. (link)
  6. Flip.ro receives €250K from two investment funds and a group of private investors. The investment was led by the Gapminder VC, financed by V7 Capital and a group of private investors. This is the second round of investments that Flip is raising; the first round, worth €120K, was received in November 2019 (link with details).
  7. Jobful has announced an investment round of €250K. The pre-seed investment was made by private investors, based on a solid growth in the recruitment market (link with details).
  1. Telios, a telemedicine startup, raised $200K from angel investment networks in Romania Transylvania Angels Network, Growceanu and TechAngels, marking the first investment of these networks together.
  2. Early Game Ventures (EGV) announced a round of investments in Milluu, real estate platform, an application that digitizes the entire process of renting apartments. RocaX also participated in the round while the transaction was assisted by the DLA Piper team.
  3. Gumzzz (an online platform through which patients can access dental services and packages from different countries) received a first financing round of €100K from Stelian Bogza, co-founder of BenefitOnline, while being valued at €1M (link).
  4. yeParking, a parksharing application with several thousands users in Cluj, announced a first round of financing, in partnership with Roca X, with aim to use the funds to accelerate the growth of the startup (link).
  5. Swisspod Technologies, a Swiss startup founded by a Romanian, focused on Hyperloop technology, raised funding from a new Cluj-based fund, Something Big, created by six entrepreneurs.
  6. StockBinder, a SaaS platform which facilitates the rapid integration between online stores, suppliers and manufacturers, attracted investment of over €100K from Romanian angel investors. 
  7. The Floria Group has invested €50K in the InstaFlori.ro, an online platform which can deliver flowers for home or office anywhere in the country, in 24 hours. (link with details).
  8. Tully, announced receiving a financing worth €45K. The financing round was done by a group of investors from the TechAngels association, including Dragos Nicolaescu, the founder of Tech Startup School, Niculae Dinca, the CFO of Beez and Emmett King, the founder of Transylvania Angels Network (link with details).
  9. Dan Boabes, co-founder of Citylink, invested €30K in 4mind.ro, a Romanian platform with a network of psychotherapists through which any company’s employees can improve their emotional health. (link).

Funding for foreign startups with Romanian founders

  1. Stellar Health is a US based startup that was founded by Octavian Costache and 3 other partners and it has received a $10M investment from Point72 Ventures. The startup is a platform that keeps the communication between doctors and patients, and since its launch two years ago it has reached $15M investments from 3 rounds (link with details).
  1. OutThink, a cyber security startup based in London has obtained venture capital financing of £1.2m from investors. Flavius ​​Pleșu founded OutThink in June 2015, and he announced the seed funding from a group of investors led by Forward Partners. Other Investors were Paramount Computer Systems and Subatomic Analytics (link with details).

Other financing news

  1. PayByFace (innovative POC-terminals, based on face recognition system) is participating in fintech-focused Visa Innovation Program.
  2. Techcelerator is started its fourth batch after accepting nine startups in the program; at the end of this period a part of the startups will receive pre-seed investment.
  3. Braintronix, Cluj-based company, active in the field of research and development in robotics, will invest €5M in a production unit of industrial robots in one of Oradea’s industrial park. The project involves the construction of a production hall, technological lines where robots will be produced, and offices. At least 40 people, mostly engineers, will be hired.
  4. Acquisition: American cloud recruiting platform provider iCIMS has acquired Opening.io, founded by Romanian founders, located in Ireland, who built a talent recommendation engine for companies (link).
  5. Neurodynamics received a €150K grant from EU for the research project named ”Large-scale platform for motion detection and fluorescence imaging in zebrafish models of neurological disorders”. This is the only Romanian project our of 76 which won EU grants, in total of €11.4M. Neurodynamics works closely with The Transylvanian Institute of Neuroscience (TINS), a private institute of research in neurosciences.
  6. EIT Health InnoStars Awards semifinalists were announced; out of 15 teams that were selected, 4 of them are based in Romania: I’m Fine, OncoChain, MSing with Trauma, Voxi Kids. They will have the opportunity to participate in the final, while each semifinalist gets a grant of €25K, access to mentoring and business training (link with details).
  7. Morphosis Capital announced that it started 2020 with six companies in the investment pipeline. The fund, which is aimed for companies from the Romanian sectors with accelerated growth potential such as consumer goods, medical services, technology and B2B services, has €50M capital with the intention to have them invested by the end of 2022 (link).
  8. Vitosha Venture Partners is a new early-stage venture capital fund in Bulgaria, with also a focus on acceleration. The €20M fund is planned to be invested in a wide range of innovations in our region – from purely tech, to digitally-enabled models, including sectors like retail and foodtech.
  9. Banca Transilvania received funding from IFC to support women entrepreneurs who have micro-companies in Romania. IFC offers $16M for increasing access to finance for micro-companies and for facilitating the financial inclusion of women with entrepreneurial spirit in Romania (link with details).

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