Over the last 20 years, Krakow has become one of the most important tech hubs in Central and Eastern Europe. Alongside a talent pool of approximately 50 000 IT specialists and big, international companies, the Krakow tech ecosystem boasts a vibrant start-up landscape attracting talent and funds from all over the world. Read on to learn more about the Krakow start-up ecosystem and discover the 15 most successful start-ups born in Krakow.Check out also: Krakow IT Market Report 2022
Krakow, dynamic start-up city
There are at least 150 companies in Krakow that meet the criteria of a start-up. And Krakow holds the first place in Poland in terms of start-up funding over 10M PLN ($2.6M). Two factors explain this leading position in investments: First the existence of a truly connected start-up ecosystem, including incubators, mentors, investors, and organizations collaborating with start-ups, such as the Foundation Supporting #OMGKRK or the Krakow Technology Park. And second, the international exposure of the new ventures operating in Krakow, putting Krakow on the map together with key tech hubs such as London, Paris, and New-York.
What do Krakow start-ups specialize in?
There are three very specific areas where Krakow start-ups specialize.
- The first group of start-ups are IoT ventures which includes Silvair, EMBETECH, Airly, SEEDia, Husarion, Findair, Estimote, Elmodis or Kontakt.io.
- The second group focuses on Sales & Marketing tools/services. The list here includes Zendesk Sell (formerly BASE), CallPage, Codewise, Synerise, SALESManago, FreshMail, Edward or edrone.
- And the third group, Game Studios. Over 20% of Polish game studios are based or have offices in Krakow, including Infinity Ward/ Activision (Call of Duty), CD Projekt RED (The Witcher, Cyberpunk 2077) and Gamesture (Questland).
The Top 15 Start-ups born in Krakow
These are the 15 most successful start-ups born in Krakow, ranked according to their respective Crunchbase ranking (CB ranking: Jan 2022). Together, these companies have raised over $400M in total funding since their creation. Although originally from Krakow, some start-ups such as Estimote, Kontakt.io or Silvair now have their headquarters located in the United States while continuing to run and grow they R&D centers in Krakow.
After browsing this ranking, make sure to check out the Krakow IT Market Report 2022 to learn more about Krakow’s tech ecosystem, key players and newcomers in 2021/2022, salary trends, cost information, business practices and expert opinions from 20+ tech leaders and ecosystem representatives.
Edtech | CB ranking: 1 088 | Founded in 2009 |
Total funding: $148.5M
Brainly is the place to learn, for students, by students. The world’s largest social learning network with 350 million unique users monthly. brainly.com
Software, Sales, Marketing | CB ranking: 6 830 | Founded in 2011 | Total funding: $7.7M
SALESmanago operates a cloud-based online marketing automation platform used by over 10 000 customers in over 40 countries. salesmanago.com
Software, Sales. Marketing | CB ranking: 12 160 | Founded in 2013 | Total funding: $19.2M
Synerise produces a Big Data and AI platform that allows users to process data in real time from various sources based on proprietary database systems and AI algorithms. synerise.com
IoT | CB ranking: 14 953 | Founded in 2013 |
Total funding: $8.3M
Kontakt.io builds secure and configurable beacon hardware and software to power competitive proximity-based solutions. kontakt.io
IoT | CB ranking: 16 501 | Founded in 2012 |
Total funding: $29.6M
Estimote is a technology start-up, building a sensor-based context and micro-location platform for mobile developers. estimote.com
CRM, Marketing & Sales automation | CB ranking: 17 044 | Founded in 2014 | Total funding: $5.9M
edrone is an autonomous e-commerce CRM platform that provides advanced marketing automation solutions. edrone.me
IoT | CB ranking: 17 527 | Founded in 2016 | Total funding: $6.4M
Airly specializes in providing hyper-local data about air pollution. It empowers individuals and communities with knowledge about the air they breathe. airly.eu
#8 Talent Alpha
Software, HR | CB ranking: 19 788 | Founded in 2018 | Total funding: $5M
Talent Alpha is a human cloud platform that connects global enterprises with European software houses, offering tech talent as a service. talent-alpha.com
Software| CB ranking: 28 397 | Founded in 2015 | Total funding: $0.7M | New entry!
Onteon is a software stack to orchestrate, scale, communicate and manage modern applications and legacy ones in an efficient and effortless way. onteon.com
Software, Sales | CB ranking: 30 473 | Founded in 2011 | Total funding: $6.7M
CallPage s an ICT SaaS company that converts website visitors into sales calls. callpage.io
EdTech | CB ranking: 31 331 | Founded in 2017 | Total funding: $2.4M | New entry!
LiveKid is the most popular system for kindergartens and nurseries in the EU and includes tools for communication with parents, settlements and documentation. livekid.com
#12 HCM Deck
Software | CB ranking: 42 427 | Founded in 2017 | Total funding: $4.2M | New entry!
HCM Deck empowers enterprise business and HR management to deliver employee development experience at scale, thanks to enterprise-grade solutions embedded into user management, roles, and permissions. hcmdeck.com
Software | CB ranking: 39,839 | Founded in 2002 | Total funding: $29.7M
Mobiltek is a software house specialized in online and mobile payments. mobiltek.pl
3D Printing | CB ranking: 46 250 | Founded in 2014 | Total funding: $3.7M
Sinterit Sinterit specializes in the development of SLS 3D printers. sinterit.com
IoT | CB ranking: 48 287 | Founded in 2013 | Total funding: $23.3M
Silvair is a turnkey smart lighting platform enabling manufacturers to provide an enhanced lighting experience. silvair.com
#Unlisted – Zendesk Sell
Software, Sales | CB ranking: 1 106 | Founded in 2009 | Total funding: $85.5M
Zendesk Sell (formerly BASE) is a service-first CRM company that builds software designed to improve customer relationships. zendesk.com/sell
An attractive place for foreign tech companies to scale-up rapidly
The Krakow start-up ecosystem does not only consist of Polish start-ups, but also includes foreign businesses that have decided to set up offices in Krakow, such as Karhoo (Mobility / UK), Kitopi (Food Tech / United Arab Emirates) or Revolut (Fintech / UK). Why do foreign start-ups come to Krakow to set up tech teams? With its large IT talent pool of approximately 50 000 IT specialists and competitive salaries, Krakow offers foreign companies great potential for rapid scale up of their IT teams. Often, these companies decide to set up a subsidiary in Poland or opt for a Build Operate Transfer model (BOT) with a local partner.
Learn more about what foreign start-ups have achieved with their Krakow tech labs by downloading the Krakow IT Market Report 2022.
10 unicorns with R&D centers in Krakow
While a Polish-born company hasn’t yet made the unicorn list, the dynamic growth of companies like eObuwie (an online footwear retailer) and Docplanner (MedTech) suggests that we won’t have to wait too much longer. For now, Brainly (EdTech) is arguably the best bet for the title of first Krakow-born unicorn.
Despite the current lack of a Polish-born unicorn, the unicorn scene is well represented in Krakow, with ten such organizations currently operating in the city and tapping into the city’s pool of IT talent and expertise. 7 out of the 10 unicorns in Krakow are Fintech companies.
- Kitopi (Foodtech – Dubai, UAE)
- Kaseya (Software – Dublin, Ireland)
- Relativity (Software – Chicago, USA)
- Zilch (Fintech – London, UK)
- Revolut (Fintech – London, UK)
- Bitpanda (Fintech – Austria, Vienna)
- Spoton (Fintech – San Francisco, USA)
- Zepz (Fintech – London, UK)
- BlockFi (Fintech – Jersey City, USA)
- project44 (Supply chain – Chicago, USA)
If you are interested in setting up your presence in Poland contact us at MOTIFE to learn more.
If you are looking for interesting job opportunities in tech companies in Krakow and remote, check out open roles at motife.com/jobs.