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27 March 2024·3 min read

Lisa Palchynska

Editor-in-Chief, Vestbee

Poland hosts 3,300 startups. What does the acceleration market look like, and what challenges do they face — research

Antal and Akces NCBR, in partnership with Vestbee, The Heart, Innovations Hub Foundation, MamStartup, Youth Business Poland, Startup Academy, InCredibles, Hello Tomorrow created a report outlining Poland's startup support ecosystem, with a focus on categorizing and assessing its acceleration environment. Based on the recent PFR Ecosystem Map, Poland hosts over 3,300 startups, and the current research tracks the development paths of these companies, their needs, and the solutions available to address them. Below, we highlight the key findings of it.

Poland’s startups portrait

  • In Poland, there are over 3,300 startups, with most of them operating for up to five years, with nearly 20% exceeding this timeframe. Despite this, only 3% of startups have persisted for over a decade.
  • The majority of Polish startups, over 50%, typically have fewer than 10 employees. Around 30% have teams exceeding 10 members, while 16% of startup owners operate without employing anyone.
  • Startups in Poland primarily specialize in software, medtech, AI, hardware, and deeptech. New technology-focused activities dominate, with 39% of startups engaged in SaaS, 36% in web applications, and 26% in mobile solutions. 
Images: Report on acceleration market in Poland by Antal and Akces NCBR
  • While men predominantly found startups, 67%, there's a notable rise in women founders. Initiatives like Shesnnovation are emerging to support women founders in the Polish startup scene.

Funding sources and challenges

  • In 2022, NCBR led the highest number of startup funding transactions (216), followed by PFR Ventures (120) and private Polish capital. Private international capital accounted for the largest share (48%) of transaction value, followed by PFR Ventures (31%).
  • By the Q2 of 2023, €99.5 million (PLN 429 million) flowed through the Polish VC market, with 116 Polish innovative companies benefiting from Polish and foreign fund investments. Support for startup development includes funding from programs for young entrepreneurs, with accelerators contributing 30% of capital sources. 
  • The Polish startup market is growing dynamically at around 6% per quarter, as per the PFR Ecosystem Map. However, despite the value placed on innovative ideas, entrepreneurs encounter significant challenges, including securing investments and operational funds, and meeting implementation investment needs.


Startup support system in Poland

  • Startup acceleration provides support to entrepreneurs through additional knowledge or financial backing, facilitated by both public and private accelerators. Examples of public accelerators include the Akces NCBR acceleration program, the EIC Accelerator program, and the DIANA accelerator. Meanwhile, private accelerators such as the Poland ClimAccelerator and Youth Business Poland (YBP) also play significant roles.
  • Apart from acceleration, the startup ecosystem provides diverse forms of support for ideas at various growth stages. Support for innovative ideas is provided at universities, in technology parks and incubators by Venture Builders.



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