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Opinion Piece for Forbes Polska – Dr. Marcus Erken – English Summary


Polish entrepreneurs and VCs are talking about their first unicorn, DocPlanner. This is a step in the right direction, but the startup ecosystem is still in its infancy.

Let’s put things into perspective. More than ten unicorns have come from the German university I went to, WHU, alone. So, there’s much room for growth in Poland. Ideally, we’ll reach a point in the future where every talented founder can choose from several capable investors.

The Polish startup ecosystem is growing quickly. According to the latest report by PFR Ventures, Polish startups raised PLN 600 million in the third quarter of 2021. Since the beginning of the year, it has been over PLN 1.76 billion.

There are many reasons for this growth. The interest of international VCs is one of them. Many in the ecosystem are starting to think that Poland is becoming the place to be for Silicon Valley VCs looking for upcoming regions. I believe that is only partially true. Why? I don’t think many international VCs are exclusively interested in Poland. However, I do think that many are keen on learning much more about the whole CEE region, and Poland plays a critical part in this region.

International investors look at many data points before deciding to enter a market systematically. Valuations and exit values play a big part. Suggesting to enter a market that is still in its early days might pose a career risk for the employee that makes that suggestion. Once more established players are going, and success stories are starting to occur, this risk switches. It now becomes a career risk not to analyze this market systematically. That’s an exciting turning point for any market, and I think we’re close to it in Poland.

But it’s not just the valuations that make an ecosystem attractive for international VCs. Many critical components still need to be built so that the Polish startup ecosystem can realize its full potential. What are those components?

You can read the whole article on Forbes Polska:

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