OTB Ventures raises $100m for Central and Eastern European tech start-ups
OTB Ventures, the Polish investor focused on the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), has raised a $100 million (€92.4 million) fund to support the region’s technology start-ups.
Dubbed “the largest venture capital fund in CEE”, OTB’s nest egg is backed by the European Investment Fund (EIF) which provides finance to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). OTB says it is focusing on start-ups with “unique intellectual property (IP) and disruptive ideas” in each of these areas “with strong regional footprint[s] across CEE”.
The early growth technology fund will focus on post-product start-ups working in industries spanning fintech, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, cloud and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
“We believe in companies with strong technological capabilities and global aspirations,” says OTB’s managing partner and co-founder Marcin Hejka. “CEE is a cradle of talented engineers and IT specialists, pioneering innovative companies. We see a huge investment potential in these companies with up-and-running products and initial business traction in international markets. The purpose of our fund is to discover, develop and realise this potential on a global scale.”
Aiming to fill its portfolio with 16 companies by 2022, OTB has already invested in eight CEE companies. These include the Polish start-up Cosmose which is quietly tracking 1.1 billion mobile phones, part-Romania based start-up FintechOS which creates front-end digital products for financial institutions, and Finnish start-up ICEYE – the backer’s biggest investment to date at $10 million – which builds a satellite-based service that provides “near-real-time” imagery from space.
With a long-term investment of up to 10 years, the fund will be split into pockets of $15 million and OTB will acquire a stake of around 10-15% in each of the invested start-ups.