Polish start-up Photon, a company which produces a robot who introduces children to the world of new technologies through experiences and experiments, has been named the winner of the 2018 CEE-Released Programme. The announcement was made at the European Business Angels Network (EBAN) Annual Congress in Sofia. CEE-Released is the first cross-border programme in Central and Eastern Europe designed to propel companies into an international business angel environment and put them in front of other investors – venture capital funds, private equity funds, investment funds – interested in companies with dynamic, innovative and high-growth potential.
Romania’s 2Performant and Austria’s Unispotter landed, ex aequo, second place. 2Performant is a marketing infrastructure for e-commerce presented to the clients as an easy-to-use, gamified platform where e-shops and marketing specialists work together on a cost-per-sale-model. Unispotter is an application that helps students find the perfect university programme and helps with the application process, for free.
In all there were 10 finalists, which included three companies from Poland, two from Romania and one each from Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Slovenia. They were: Unispotter (Austria); Appzio (Bulgaria); Fractory (Estonia); Monetizr (Latvia); MonitorCR, PerfectDashboard, Photon (all Poland); Carbon, 2Performant (both Romania); and GoOpti (Slovenia).
Each of the companies had a unique opportunity to pitch their business in front of hundreds of business angels, investors, representatives of the regional stock exchanges, potential partners and clients. The quality of the pitch and the viability of the business model were used by the jury members in order to select the winner.
“The CEE-Released project put a spotlight on the best start-ups and scale-ups from the region,” said Candace Johnson, president at EBAN. “We are pleased with the quality of the participating companies and the inspiration and innovation they have brought to the EBAN Annual Summit. We look forward to having them within our network, helping them gain international exposure and access to the much-needed capital.”
“Looking at the companies that participated in CEE-Released as well as those that were recognised in Sofia, we feel proud because we see tangible evidence of the fact that Central and Eastern Europe region is a robust investment territory, with a growing start-up and scale-up scene,” said Ludwik Sobolewski, co-founder and partner at Cornerstone Communications. “The interest generated in this project shows us that it did truly create a bridge between Eastern Europe and the global networks of investors, business angels and even, the media.”
CEE-Released is a pan-regional project, carried out in cooperation with stock exchanges, institutional investors of the public and private markets, and providers of professional services servicing the business. The goal of the annual project is to carry out a search for and to expose as well as train the best CEE-based companies that may be classified as early-stage business and growth companies, representing various sectors of the economy and operating on local or international markets.