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From “toxic” to inexperienced: the changing venture capital market of Poland

From “toxic” to inexperienced: the changing venture capital market of Poland

  • Polish VC money used to come with conditions attached that made startups unattractive to foreign investors.
  • The Polish venture capital scene had a storming second half of 2019, with more than 1bn Polish zloty (€235.7m) invested in startups in the third quarter alone.

There is now roughly five times as much venture capital money in the Polish ecosystem as there was five years ago. However, Mathias Pastor of The Family, the Paris-based investor and startup support network, suggested in an opinion piece published by Sifted, that some of this new money has proven “toxic”, with onerous conditions that would make it unattractive for foreign investors to invest in Polish companies.

For example, NCBR (National Center for Research and Development) retains veto rights over what investments are made by the funds — something that some investors find problematic; however, this is used only in cases where the startup does not have enough of a Polish connection or if there isn’t enough of a research and development component to the work.

Seeing how the vast majority of Polish venture capital investment, in any case, comes from PFR Ventures, the fund-of-funds arm of the state-owned finance group, government money may still be the best for early stages. This is because Polish venture capital teams are quite inexperienced, says PFR Ventures’ Maciej Ćwikiewicz. He also says that PFR Ventures is doing what it can to educate the market because there are only between five and seven venture capital teams with long track records of managing more than two funds.

Read the full article at Sifted.