Almost half of the AI start-ups that want to attract funding in the next two years aim for amounts of over one million euros, mainly to expand internationally, to increase the team and to launch new services and products, according to the second edition of „RO AI MAP 2022/2023” report, conducted by Techcelerator and Google for Startups to promote Artificial Intelligence start-ups in Romania and South-Eastern Europe.
The report had two objectives: the first was to identify and map artificial intelligence start-ups in the region, and the second objective was to collect information about their evolution starting from 2022 (development stage, attracted or targeted funding rounds and future goals).
A third of survey respondents said their main goal for this year is to attract more customers. Other important objectives of founders are to attract a new round of investment, to increase their team, to enter new markets or to launch services and products.
The biggest challenges of AI start-ups
More than half of the responding entrepreneurs have already attracted investments, and a third of the already funded start-ups obtained rounds between 500,000 and one million euros. More than 10% attracted amounts between 50,000 and 100,000 euros. Less than one third of participants did not attract investment.
The biggest challenges startup founders face is that they can’t find the right employees, they can’t attract the financing they need, and they can’t secure the cashflow they need to operate. They also consider it difficult to expand internationally and they find the bureaucratic process difficult in Romania and in other countries where they are present.
„Even in the face of adversity, Romanian AI/ML startups continue to secure substantial funding rounds. As per a recent study by Activize, of the €69.2M accumulated by Romanian startups in H1 2023, the three highest contributions came from AI/ML enterprises: FlowX with a €35M Series A, Kubeark with a €2.7M pre-seed, and Techcelerator graduate Veridion with a €5.5M late seed round. This strongly suggests that companies in this sector, including those established as recently as 2020 like Veridion, are successfully reaffirming their worth”, said Cristian Dascălu, Managing Partner of Techcelerator and Partner of GapMinder.
The “RO AI MAP 2022/2023” report is available at https://techcelerator.co/ai-report/.
RO AI Map is an initiative of Techcelerator, the most active acceleration program for technology start-ups in Romania, in partnership with Google for Startups, a program launched by Google to support start-ups, and aims to identify and promote as many start-ups in the region as possible in order to be able to map the ecosystem not only in Romania, but also in the region. The first report was released in 2021.
Techcelerator is the SEED accelerator program targeting technology start-ups in Romania and South-Eastern Europe. Based in Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca, Techcelerator is an accelerator and investment partner for seed-level hi-tech start-ups in the acceleration and post-acceleration phase. Young innovative companies with high potential for development and expansion at the international level, from growing industries such as: artificial intelligence, cyber security, FinTech, B2B SaaS, eHealth, PropTech, digital transformation and more are targeted for acceleration and investment. Techcelerator benefits from the strategic support offered by GapMinder, Google for Startups and also collaborates with other local and European investors to support the tech ecosystem in Romania and South-Eastern Europe.
Techcelerator has successfully supported more than 200 start-ups during previous acceleration rounds, but also through various support programs, organized by it or in partnership with other entities in the ecosystem. Since launch, companies in Techcelerator portfolio have benefited from a total investment of more than 20 million euros from the investment rounds attracted so far.
Google for Startups is an initiative that supports startups in development and scaling through the programs, products and resources offered. Startups are engines of economic growth, facilitate job creation and stimulate innovation. Whether they’re starting out, growing their business, expanding into new markets or pivoting to solve new problems, Google for Startups connects them with people, products and best practices to help them scale and grow.
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