December 26, 2023

Which startups could be CEE’s next unicorn?

Six startups are in the running to pass the $1bn valuation threshold

Sadia Nowshin

3 min read

Image: Unsplash

Startups based in Central Eastern Europe (CEE) set the bar high in 2022, raising $4.1bn, 29% more than the year before.

But that's a bar the ecosystem has struggled to match this year. So far, in 2023, the total raised by CEE startups is $1.2bn.

Not that it has been a terrible year for CEE startups: there are expectations of a coming “tsunami” of startups ready to scale and even Elon Musk is getting in on the Balkan action. 


Meanwhile, Dealroom data has six companies that have valuations teetering on the edge of becoming the next unicorn of the region. 

Below, Sifted unveils CEE’s soonicorns. 

(Note: All companies have to be founded after 2005 and have a valuation of at least $500m to be considered for the list.) 


HQ: Poland
Launch: 2014
Valuation: $500m 

Cosmose uses AI to power a global platform that helps brands with physical stores to understand how customers might shop and behave offline, by tracking each user’s location to within a 1.6m range. It allows the app to feed back on granular details like which aisle a customer shopped in or whether people who go to a fitting room buy anything. The data can then be used by the brand to target adverts to shoppers who visited their stores, or those that visited a competitor. 

Z3 (formerly TOKHIT)

HQ: Romania
Launch: 2021
Valuation: $412m—618m

Z3 offers a blockchain-powered gamified social network app where users can monetise their content through NFTs. It raised €93.6m in 2023 according to Dealroom, but did not disclose its investors. It raised €108k in seed funding in 2021. 

Venice Swap

HQ: Lithuania
Launch: 2021
Valuation: $400m—600m

Venice Swap is a crypto exchange platform for users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies and keep track of their portfolio performance. In April 2022, it raised $100m from GEM Digital, a digital asset investment firm based in the Bahamas. 


HQ: Lithuania
Launch: 2018
Valuation: $400m—600m

Climate tech startup PVcase builds software that can be used to design, monitor and optimise solar power plants. In June 2023, it acquired US-based Anderson Optimization, which offers a mapping platform that evaluates potential solar sites; then, in July, it raised $100m from investors including Highland Europe and US-based Energize Capital. 


HQ: Hungary
Launch: 2017
Valuation: $389m—575m

SEON offers a customer identification and evaluation service to protect financial firms against online fraud. Clients include financial services company Revolut and NFT fantasy football startup Sorare. It raised a $94m Series B round in April 2022 from Creandum, Institutional Venture Partners and PortfoLion. 


HQ: Slovakia
Launch: 2011
Valuation: $374m—561m 

Greenway provides access to  electric vehicle charging stations across the CEE region, with the option to buy or rent a station for personal or company use and the installation services needed to get them up and running. In February 2022, it raised €85m from investors including Neulogy Ventures, Janom and Helios Energy Investments.

Sadia Nowshin

Sadia Nowshin is a reporter at Sifted covering foodtech, biotech and startup life. Follow her on X and LinkedIn