8 Czech VCs on green shoots, pandemic impacts and 2021 opportunities – TechCrunch

by Joseph K. Clark

While London, Paris, Berlin, and Stockholm regularly feature tech coverage, the rest of Europe has been busy. The Czech Republic may be better known for beer, hockey, and the sights of Prague, but its entrepreneurial community is as ambitious as any. Pipedrive is an EU-based CRM company with offices in eight countries, but it has a Czech co-founder in VP of Product, Martin Henk, one of several founders to emerge from the ecosystem.

Then there was Integromat, which did not raise any external capital but sold for around 2.5 billion crowns ($114 million), making its seven Czech founders into multimillionaires. Prague’s Memsource is valued at approximately 1.3 billion crowns or $59 million. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

green shoots

To unpack this rare gem of Europe’s startup scene, we spoke to eight area investors. Among the trends they identified are startups in B2B, business automation processes, e-commerce, AI, SaaS, and COVID-19-related solutions, and “smart” everything: factories, cities, offices, etc. Other themes included cybersecurity, AR/VR, remote work, and cybersecurity.

Saturated areas included cryptocurrency, blockchain, fintech and martech. The people we spoke to said they see travel, dating apps, and others traditionally based on physical interaction as weaker segments. Still, new opportunities are popping up in remote work, psychedelics and wellness. Use discount code CZECHIA to save 25% off a 1-year Extra Crunch membership. This offer is only available to readers in Europe and expires on April 30, 2021.

Respondents said they invest around 50% inside Czechia and 50% across Central and Eastern Europe. At the same time, some are more focused across CEE, with some percentage of the fund supporting startups that have scaled to the U.S.

Most said their investments hadn’t been significantly impacted by COVID-19, but future uncertainly is a concern. The advice is to “be frugal to accommodate to the new situation and roll on.”

As far as green shoots, COVID-19 has “played a role of an accelerator for innovation in many business areas and even e-government and other rigid/conservative industries,” said one. D2C startups have benefitted and “Zoom selling” now seems “totally plausible.”

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