Presto News | Q1 2024

VC news and updates on the CEE+ startup market and all things Presto

From competitors to team-mates. Persoo and Luigi’s Box are joining forces to become a search optimization powerhouse.
From competitors to team-mates 🤝 Persoo and Luigi’s Box are joining forces to become a search optimization powerhouse.

Dear partners & friends of Presto,

2024 has started with a bang 💥 In January, we celebrated our first full Presto exit – with more exciting news coming very, very soon. 

And although the macro numbers suggest we aren’t out of the woods just yet, we’re happy to see our portfolio companies successfully raising new rounds. The investment activity in the region is picking up, investor confidence is growing once again, and we remain optimistic about the potential of the local startup ecosystem. 

To back it up with some numbers, we’ve been nose-deep in data lately – check out Presto’s Stepping Up Survey among founders, Startup Investors Report by DEPO Ventures, or the SmartMarket Report by StartupJobs and J&T.

Without further ado, feel free to jump to the sections that interest you the most:‌‌
1. Highlights
2. New Presto investments ‌‌
3. Portfolio fundraising‌‌
4. Market insights ‌‌
5. Brainfood ‌‌
6. #MeetPresto‌‌
7. Department of memes

⭐ Highlights

  • Persoo, our portfolio company, joined forces with Luigi's Box, together becoming a formidable force on the European search optimization market. Congratulations! For Presto, this deal is extra special, as it marks our first full exit from Fund I  🎉
Luigi’s Box acquires Persoo. The deal marks the first full exit for Presto Ventures
Fast-growing Slovak company Luigi’s Box has announced the acquisition of their Czech competitor, Persoo. The multi-million deal will strengthen the company’s position as the search optimization leader in the Czech and Slovak markets. Luigi’s Box…
  • Choice, a B2B SaaS platform for restaurants, closed a $2.5M late-seed round. After leading the previous seed round in 2022, we’re excited to see them grow at such an impressive rate. Looks like betting on orange was the right Choice 🧡 Congrats, Alex and the team!
Prague-based Choice raises €2.3 million to help restaurants digitize their customer base and increase customer retention | EU-Startups
Choice, a B2B SaaS platform for restaurants, raised €2.3 million in a new investment round. J&T Ventures, a Prague-based venture capital fund, became
  • The results of our 2024 Stepping Up Survey are in 🆙 In line with our mission to elevate the startup ecosystem, we set out to find out what really matters to Czech and Slovak startups. Big thank you to the 117 founders who shared their insights! Check out the highlights in Czech and English.
Stepping Up Survey 2024 | Key Findings
The state doesn’t help, but hinders. Emotionally capable founders succeed. New startup and investment projects will have the wind in their sails.

🔔 New Presto investments

We’re excited to welcome the newest members of the Presto Fund II portfolio family 👋🏼 A few more names will be unveiled soon, stay tuned.

🇨🇿 Lakmoos | €300k pre-seed | Presto Ventures
🇧🇪 OutKept | €500k seed | Presto Ventures, BAN Flanders
🇬🇪 Wempler | $330k pre-seed | Presto Ventures, angel investors

💸 Portfolio fundraising | Selected companies

  • Getpin | $500k ARR | B2B SaaS | All-in-one solution to manage customer experience on 3rd party online platforms
  • Trusted Twin | Early revenue | B2B SaaS | Customer data marketplace
  • Slise | $480k annualized revenue | Marketplace | Google AdSense for Web3
  • RedTrack  | $2.1M ARR | B2B SaaS | Digital ad tracking and attribution platform

➡️ 14 of our portfolio companies are currently fundraising or about to start. To learn more, please visit the Presto showroom.

💡 Market insights

‌‌Global and European market news

  • Venture funding totalled USD 66B, up 6% QoQ but down 20% YoY. Globally, 19 new unicorns emerged. 
  • Mega-rounds made a comeback, growing 30% QoQ to 105 (45% of total funding in Q1 '24). In Europe itself, there were 42 rounds over USD 100M, the most since Q2 '22.
  • Funding to European startups reached USD 11.8B last quarter, up marginally QoQ and down ~10% YoY. Around 18% of global venture capital was allocated in Europe, North America represented ~50% of quarterly activity

Impact on startups

  • Several VCs have started making portfolio sales in a haste. This surge is driven by VCs’ need to generate liquidity for their LPs at a time of muted IPO markets and dwindling exits. Known as ‘strip sales’, it’s an attractive way for VCs to return some capital to their LPs right now, and a way to de-risk the fund.
  • For startups, customer acquisition has become more difficult due to reduced company budgets. Since the ability to demonstrate traction is really valuable, fundraising has become more challenging for startups.
  • On a positive note, investment appetite remains high going into Q2 '24 – when asked whether they will continue to invest in technology companies this year, 86% of investors answered positively.
  • According to the Investors Survey conducted by DEPO Ventures in Czechia, among the 93% of GPs who plan to invest, 33% claim they will invest even more than in the previous year. That said, finding sufficient quality startups remains their primary concern, as reported by 43% of them. 

For a deep-dive on these market highlights 👆🏼 follow these resources 👇🏼

🧠 Brainfood

‌‌In-house thoughts worth sharing 🙌🏼

  • GrowCast #10: Metrics | Vojta Rocek & Nik Pantovic 
    Who said metrics have to be boring? 🎧 Listen to a VC partner and a CRO-turned-founder talk about startup tracking: learn about attitude vs. aptitude, the North Star Metric, and much more. 
  • Success must be earned: How investors think about startups | Premysl Rubes
    The founder’s path is not for the faint of heart ❤️‍🔥 In the third part of our Finmag series ‘Billions on the Move’, Premysl walks us through the decision-making process of an investor.
  • New ESOP regulations: A missed opportunity, says expert | Vojta Rocek
    “ESOP isn't optional, it's a must – without it, hiring the best people is impossible, or soon will be,” says Vojta. And we agree. The most recent Czech legislative update was a big letdown. Luckily, a re-do we proudly support is in the works 🤞🏼

More VC thoughts to feed your mind 📚

  • A Scientific Approach to VC | Omri Drory, Ph.D. 
    Omri delves into the psychological and strategic elements that influence VC investment decisions. He highlights the importance of startups having clear growth potential, unique business models, and effective teams.
  • Tackling product-market fit: Tactics and frameworks for new and future founders | Christine Deakers 
    The Bessemer folks outline effective strategies for achieving product-market fit, emphasizing the importance of customer feedback and strategic adaptation. They discuss specific successful tactics from companies like Atlassian and Box.
  • Is the ‘Modern Data Stack’ Still a Useful Idea? | Tristan Handy 
    Tristan critiques the term ‘modern data stack’ as it's become ubiquitous and vague in the context of cloud-based analytics. He suggests reassessing the terminology to better reflect the evolving landscape of integrated data tools.
  • The truth behind any business: Cohorts | Yannick Oswald
    Yannick highlights the importance of cohort analysis – which groups users based on a shared characteristic or experience within a defined period – in understanding the true performance of any business, particularly in the context of subscription models with good retention rates.

👋🏼 #MeetPresto

Event season 2024 is in full swing! Look forward to meeting new friends and connecting with familiar faces. Follow our #PrestoAdVentures on LinkedIn. ‌‌‌‌

🇸🇮 Podim | May 13-15 | Maribor, Slovenia
🇧🇬 Digitalk | May 14 | Sofia, Bulgaria 
🇨🇿 0100 Conference CEE | May 14-16 | Prague, Czechia
🇵🇱 Infoshare | May 22-23 | Gdansk, Poland
🇪🇪 Latitude59 | May 22-24 | Tallinn, Estonia

Other Q2 events worth checking out – and who knows, the Presto team might make an appearance:

🇫🇷 VIVA Technology | May 22-25 | Paris, France
🇬🇪 DeGameFi | Jun 15-16 | Tbilisi, Georgia
🇷🇴 Unchain | Jun 19-20 | Oradea, Romania
🇷🇴 Techsylvania | Jun 26-27 | Cluj-Napoca, Romania

🤓 Department of memes

VCs explaining things.

That's it from Presto. ‌‌
‌‌Stay tuned for the next issue ✌🏼

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Jamie Larson