The Estonian-founded accelerator, Startup Wise Guys, was named the “Top VC fund of the year” in Central and Eastern Europe at the CEE X-Tech Awards in Warsaw, Poland.
Startup Wise Guys was founded in Estonia in 2012 by successful tech entrepreneurs. In 2016, the accelerator expanded to Latvia and in 2018 to Lithuania, currently being the only pan-Baltic startup accelerator.
“We are very honoured to receive this prize. First, because the competition was so tough. Secondly, we see it as an acknowledgment of our investment activity, which sometimes goes unnoticed, as people recognise us more as an accelerator with strong mentoring programme,” Cristobal Alonso, the global CEO at Startup Wise Guys, said in a statement.
“Our investment portfolio has grown to 145 startups, mostly from CEE and we have just celebrated second major exit; the first one was Estonian agriculture-tech startup VitalFields.”
Staying true to its mission
Alonso said that while many top accelerators in Europe moved further from the early stage investments, and the risk associated to it, Startup Wise Guys was staying true to its mission – helping tech founders become successful entrepreneurs. “And yes, it comes at a high risk and cost – as usually we are the first believers, making an investment. But even if they fail, we see that as an immense impact on the ecosystem – as the gained knowledge and experience will result in more startups being formed,” he said.
Estonian startups comprise the largest part of Startup Wise Guys portfolio – there are 34 Estonian companies, including VitalFields, RebelRoam and Fractory. There are 20 investments in Ukrainian, 15 in Latvian, ten in Lithuanian, five in Hungarian, three in Czech and three in Polish companies. The accelerator’s most recent exit was the Lviv, Ukraine-based startup called StepShot.
Cover: A representative of Startup Wise Guys accepting the award at the CEE X-Tech Awards in Warsaw, Poland.