While Berlin and Tel Aviv are fighting over the Title of “Startup Capital”, Warsaw is hoping to cradle its own rising star to match the likes of international giants such as Skype or Zalando.
The European Regional Development Fund is the biggest investor in Poland. According to the rapport “Who supports Polish startups” the EU invested more than 786,5€ mln between 2008 and 2013 in about 5938 projects. Startups invested in under this scheme include, Staypoland, ktotomowi.pl or Audioteka. Although some of the project succeeded, it still hasn’t proved the success we have all been waiting for.
Poland certainly has the economic strength, resources and importantly entrepreneurial spirit to build strong startups. According to a study conducted in 2013 a massive 70% of Poles would like to own a company and a large percentage possess engineering talents. Germany, USA, UK or even the Middle East are constantly on the hunt for polish engineers.
So why can’t Polish startups gain a larger percentage of the international market, and how come tiny Estonia has produced a raft of global startups, such as GrabCAD Inc or Erply Ltd, but Poles still struggle?
One of the most crucial points is that the Polish startup scene is lacking ambition. Most commonly young entrepreneurs aren’t aiming to reach foreign markets, let alone regions of east-central Europe. They simply don’t have the vision or drive!
However one online portal, inventures.eu pointed out five promising Polish startups. In particular, Showroom and iTraff Technology sparked my interest. Firstly, Showroom is an online marketplace for independent fashion designers. iTraff Technology on the other hand enables users to take photos of a product and then find it in an online store. iTraff is already operating both in Texas and Poland and aims to enter the US market completely.