Stepping Up Survey 2024

What did the pilot survey among Czech and Slovak founders reveal? The government doesn’t help startups, and often hinders them. Emotionally capable founders will be the ones who succeed. New startup and investment projects will have the wind in their sails.

We can't improve what we don't measure. Thanks to founder insights, we can elevate the entrepreneurial environment together.
We can't improve what we don't measure. Thanks to founder insights, we can elevate the entrepreneurial environment together 🙌🏼

We're excited to share with you the results of our pilot Stepping Up Survey, conducted among Czech and Slovak startups at the beginning of this year.

What did we learn?

Things like:
🔹 For 56% of startups, raising capital is now more challenging
🔹 83% would use the investment to support sales and marketing
🔹 79% are calling for a meaningful ESOP legislation

... and many other interesting insights (detailed results in Czech).
We've synthesized the findings into three key themes:

⚖️ The state doesn't help, but hinders
Startups are primarily interested in a conducive business and tax environment without legal uncertainties:
84% would appreciate more favourable tax conditions for startups and investors
79% call for simplification and digitization of administrative requirements
37% perceive startup-related legislation or regulations negatively, another 36% say that such legislation doesn't even exist (in Czechia)

"Our survey confirmed that startups aren't particularly keen on subsidies or technological hubs. They'd prefer to see legislative changes that would, once again, make Czechia a country that attracts and supports innovations. As things currently stand, why should young entrepreneurs set up their company here, when they can choose Estonia or Delaware instead – and instantly operate in a legal and tax environment that's ready for their business? Yet, such scenario represents a multi-level loss for our country, as it leads to the outflow of intellectual property, capital, and taxes. Startups are the bearers of accessible technologies and the ones who will transform Czechia from an assembly-hub to a brain-hub," summarizes the first survey conclusion Vojta Rocek, partner at Presto Ventures.

👑 The reign of developers is over
With every technological revolution, the barrier to entry lowers. Increasingly, EQ > IT. To succeed, ambitious projects will need to build and motivate talented, emotionally capable teams:
83% of startups would use new funding to support Sales & Marketing
58% consider access to their investors' network as key
41% are concerned about the lack of skilled employees

Premysl Rubes, founder and managing partner of Presto Ventures, explains: "With every technological revolution, the barrier for entrepreneurs who want to develop a globally successful product drops by an order of magnitude. First the rise of the internet, then the emergence of cloud solutions, now artificial intelligence. With the adoption of AI, product development and business operations will be less and less dependent on developers and their scarcity or cost in the labor market. Many more people will be able to launch a tech startup. That said, the path to success will mainly open up for emotionally capable founders who understand real customer needs, build strong and authentic relationships, and know how to get people excited."

🚀 On the upswing
Despite negative macro perceptions of the 2023 market and capital conditions, 83% of startups rate last year rather positively in terms of business – and plan to keep growing:
70% of companies are already raising or planning to raise in 2024
66% expect investors to help with further fundraising
56% of startups say raising capital is now more difficult

"In 2023, everyone was talking about a crisis – but I've never been more optimistic. Startup and investment projects that have launched in the past year or so will have the wind in their sails. A distorted market built on overblown valuations and an endless flow of cheap capital wasn't healthy, and its aftermath continues to complicate the lives of founders and investors to this day. Together, we now stand at the beginning of a new economic cycle, conducive for both startups and investors. Let's take advantage of it," comments the outlook Vojta Rocek.

You can find the highlights, press release, and full results of the survey below (in Czech) – choose your own adventure 😎

What did the survey yield?

The voice of startups has contributed on several fronts:
🔹 At Presto, we know which ecosystem activities to focus on first
🔹 Publicly, it's succeeded in highlighting what really matters to the local founders, and how to change things for the better

We’re stoked the survey results got picked up by top business media, amplifying the voice of young tech companies in the public sphere 📣

📰 Forbes | Subsidies? Would prefer simpler taxes. The government is holding us back, startups say in a survey.

📰 Ekonom | The government is hindering us, startups say. But after a period of downturn, they expect a year of recovery.

📰 iDNES | The state isn't helping, but holding us back, startups say. They call for a legislation change.

📰 E15 | This country isn’t for startups. The state is hindering their development, a survey reveals.

📰 Finmag | Not necessarily subsidies, but more conducive tax conditions. The government is holding us back, startups complain.

Who participated in the survey?

A total of 117 startups:
🇨🇿 83% are based in Czechia
🇸🇰 15% in Slovakia
👥 91% have a team of up to 50 people

A big thank you to our respondents for the time and energy they contributed to the Stepping Up Survey. Their insights will help guide everyone's focus and efforts in the right direction 🧭

Got a question or an idea for improvement? Are you a founder who'd like to participate in our next survey? Let us know at

The Presto Team

PS: Behavio, a cutting-edge research platform and one of our portfolio companies, walked us through the survey methodology and data collection from start to finish 💪🏼 From campaign testing to brand tracking, don't hesitate to contact them for any of your strategic research needs!

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Jamie Larson