Presto News | Q4 2023

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

After raising the largest Series A round in CE in 2023, the Keboola founders have a good reason to smile. Congrats!
After raising the largest Series A round in CE in 2023, the Keboola founders have a good reason to smile. Congrats! 🥂🚀

Dear partners & friends of Presto,

2023 year-end data from all over CEE, Caucasus, and Central Asia revealed a steep drop in the volume of investments. Yet, launching a startup at the beginning of an economic cycle makes a lot of sense, as one might be selling or going IPO during the next peak.

At Presto, we see this time as a once-in-a-decade opportunity to ride the next economic cycle – together with startups and investors 📈

It’s the right time to pay attention to the CEE+ region and jumpstart the next successful chapter.

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

  • Keboola raised $32M, the largest Series A round in CE in 2023. The capital will fuel their 2024 expansion plans that include Continental Europe, the UK, and the US. After leading the Seed round in 2022, we couldn’t be more excited for this next chapter! Learn more at
Pavel Dolezal and Petr Simecek of Keboola
  • Every year, CzechCrunch maps the Czech startup scene, bringing invaluable data and insights. Last year, the 3 largest rounds were secured by Keboola ($32M Series A), IP Fabric ($25M Series B), and Woltair (€20.5M extended Series A). At Presto, we’re extremely proud to call all three our portfolio companies 💙
Přes 700 milionů pro Keboolu, půl miliardy pro IP Fabric. Největší loňské investice českých startupů
Kdo i v době padajícího trhu přesvědčil o tom, že má potenciál? Prohlédněte si, kteří zakladatelé během roku 2023 nasbírali nejvyšší částky.
  • Blindspot Technologies secured €1.4M in Seed funding. This round, led by Presto and joined by Gi21 Fund and IT company Prozeta, will be used to enhance their cloud-based DDoS defense technology, scale up operations, and enter new markets. Welcome to Presto!
Czech Cybersecurity Startup Blindspot Technologies Raises €1.4M to Enhance DDoS Protection
Only have 1 minute? Here are 3 key takeaways from the piece: Czech cybersecurity startup Blindspot Technologies, specializing in advanced DDoS

🔔 New Presto investments

Over the course of 2023, we’ve concluded 15 new investments, bringing the Fund II portfolio count to 40. Excited to share more names with you soon.

🇨🇿 Blindspot Technologies | €1.4M Seed | Presto Ventures, Gi21 Fund, Prozeta

🇷🇸 / 🇪🇪 OTA Sync | €1.3M Seed | Presto Ventures, Katapult Accelerator, TS Ventures Fund, DSI Group of Business Angels, Startup Wise Guys, California Expert Fund DOJO

💸 Portfolio fundraising | Selected companies

  • Behavio | €600k ARR | B2B SaaS | Subconscious measurement of brand marketing ROI made affordable and easy
  • Outfindo | €300k ARR | B2B SaaS | AI-powered platform for a simple product guide creation 
  • Spenfi | Early traction | B2B SaaS | Company expense management SaaS
  • | Early traction | Automated Market Maker | Hedging and insurance products for crypto options trading

➡️ More than 10 of our portfolio companies are currently fundraising or about to start. To learn more, please visit the Presto showroom.

💡 Market insights

‌‌Global market news

  • In 2023, global startup investment reached $285B – marking a 38% decline YoY, down from $462B invested in 2022.
  • After an era of abundant market liquidity during the ultra-low interest rate phase following the Great Financial Crisis, the deflation of the VC bubble was inevitable in 2023.
  • Seed-stage valuations have either remained constant or have increased. However,  early-stage deal counts have declined dramatically, and the same applies for late-stage deals.
  • Since 2021, the size of late-stage deals has decreased by approx. 50%. The median late-stage deal size is now $21M, far from the 2021 median of $50M.

European & CEE landscape

  • By the end of 2023, startups received $45B in funding, with Europe being the only region where such figures increased by 18% from 2020 levels.
  • Even though VCs were writing fewer checks in 2023, they still have the largest amount of dry powder in European history.
  • In the Czech Republic in 2023, we saw a 75.5% decline in the total amount of money raised by startups (~$500M). That said, the number of invested startups decreased only by 11%, from 110 in 2022 to 98 last year.
  • Many investors in the region are increasingly focusing on acyclical sectors like deep-tech, as well as those like healthtech or cybersecurity, which are less susceptible to market circumstances.

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

🧠 Brainfood

‌‌In-house thoughts worth sharing 🙌🏼

More VC thoughts to feed your mind 📚

  • The AI-First Marketplace | Pete Flint
    Pete discusses the transformative impact of AI on marketplaces, highlighting how AI redefines supply and demand, enhances user search experiences, and fosters innovation in marketplace structures.
  • Christmas Vibes | Yannick Oswald
    The article highlights the optimism in the VC market as of late 2023. Yannick highlights the recovery in software markets, mentions stable valuations, predicts increased M&A activity, and notes the influence of central bank policies on the investment landscape.
  • The next big thing in 2024 will be... | Nikhil Basu Trivedi
    The forecast focuses on AI's growing influence in business productivity, software development, and consumer technology. Nikhil highlights the shift from AI experimentation to large-scale deployment and integration into diverse industries like healthcare and the ‘real economy’.
  • What Does It Take To “Do Things That Don’t Scale” For Your Startup? | The Venture Crew
    This piece dives into the early grind of startups like DoorDash and Airbnb. To get the venture off the ground, it's all about the gritty, hands-on work necessary to understand what customers truly need – and a lot less about automation.

👋🏼 #MeetPresto

Event season 2024, here we come! Look forward to meeting new friends and connecting with familiar faces. Follow our #PrestoAdVentures on LinkedIn. ‌‌‌‌

🇦🇿 Baku ID Demo Day | Jan 15-16 | Baku, Azerbaijan
🇪🇪 sTARTUp Day | Jan 24-26 | Tartu, Estonia
🇸🇰 CESAwards | Feb 1 | Bratislava, Slovakia 
🇵🇱 CEE VC Summit | Mar 19-20 | Warsaw, Poland
🇨🇿 Startup Night | Apr (date tbd) | Prague, Czechia
🇱🇻 TechChill | Apr 17-19 | Riga, Latvia

🤓 Department of memes

Have a laugh on us.

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

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Jamie Larson