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vc funds from western balkans by vestbee
16 November 2022·5 min read

Katarzyna Groszkowska

Editor, Vestbee

Top VC Funds In The Western Balkans To Finance Your Startup

Western Balkans is a region singled out from the Balkan peninsula, that includes six countries - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia. The VC and startup ecosystem in these countries is underdeveloped, especially in comparison to the EU member states, which benefit strongly from favorable economic collaboration and integrative policy regulations. Western Balkan countries are plagued by the consequences of their turbulent economic environments, arising from both external and internal factors such as high inflation, direct effects of the war in Ukraine, steep and unpredictable energy prices as well as general market uncertainty. However, the economic growth and innovation in the region seem to expedite lately, with many public and government projects (often sternly subsidized by the EU bodies), that stimulate entrepreneurship and the development of capital markets in the region. There are more and more interesting startups popping up in this part of Europe and new financial opportunities follow them as investors start to look more favorably at Western Balkans. 

In this article, we cover the 5 most interesting and promising Venture Capital funds (or government-led projects aimed to subsidize venture capital markets) in the Western Balkans region. 

South Central Ventures

Geography: SEE
Preferred industries: sector-agnostic
Investment ticket: around €500K and up to €5M target investment per company 
Company stage: early-stage

South Central Ventures is an early-stage VC fund, that has been active in the SEE region since 2008. It operates out of three offices, located in Zagreb, Belgrade and Skopje, investing in tech companies that disrupt the industry and create solutions addressed to a global client base. SCV’s goal is to facilitate international expansion and help its portfolio companies scale effectively. The fund is interested in backing seed-stage companies, with capital up to  €500K, as well as early- to growth-stage companies, with tickets ranging from €500K to €5M.

TS Ventures

Geography: Serbia
Preferred industries: sector-agnostic
Investment ticket: up to €25M
Company stage: pre-seed to early-stage

TS Ventures is the first Corporate Venture Capital fund in Western Balkans, set up by Telekom Srbija company in 2021. It is aimed at companies at all stages of development - even those at pre-seed that don’t have an MVP or recorded traction yet. Innovative companies that develop leading-edge technology or business solutions in the region are welcome to apply to not only receive a financial injection to further fuel their growth but also the invaluable support of the industry experts and access to their experience and know-how. 

Serbian Innovation Fund

Geography: Serbia
Preferred industries: sector-agnostic
Investment ticket: €20k - €300k
Company stage: early-stage

Serbian Innovation Fund is an initiative developed by the state of Serbia, with the aim to stimulate innovation in the region and manage the funding and supporting activities of key players in the innovation sector. The main goals of the fund include strengthening the link between science and business, establishing new companies, and increasing the capacity of regional start-ups and available resources for their growth. Serbian SMEs can count on support from the Innovation Fund provided to them through many different channels and programs such as grants, aimed at young entrepreneurs and enterprises in need of significant financial resources for commercialization and R&D or so-called Innovations Vouchers, concentrated on improving the competitiveness of Serbian products on the market. Moreover, private Serbian investors can also benefit from the solutions put forward by the SIF, with Serbia Ventures Program - created to stimulate venture capital spending in Serbia, and incentivize private investors, high-net-worth individuals, and institutions to engage in financing startups with high growth potential. 

Macedonian Fund for Innovation and Technology Development

Geography: Macedonia
Preferred industries: sector-agnostic
Investment ticket: from €30k to €324k
Company stage: early to growth stages

Macedonian Fund for Innovation and Technology Development is a leading government institution that supports the innovation ecosystem in the Republic of North Macedonia. It is mostly directed towards young up-and-coming entrepreneurs from the region, and so far have co-financed more than 685 projects (half of them being startups). Its main priorities include improving access to financing sources for originative businesses and stimulating technical development in the country. It also organizes the national startup council, coordinates three main accelerators in the region, and encourages collaboration between private investors and startups, with a special focus on investments in the digitization of agriculture and public institutions.

ICT Hub Venture

Geography: SEE
Preferred industries: software
Investment ticket: from €30k to €50k
Company stage: pre-seed to seed

ICT Hub Venture was created in 2017, as a capital arm of ICT Hub - one of the pioneering startup incubators in Serbia. Its mission is to strengthen the regional startup and VC ecosystem and directly contribute to its development, by supporting promising local startups with investments of up to 50,000 euros in exchange for a 5-15% stake in the companies. The fund is ready to back pre-seed or seed startups, developing software solutions in the SEE region, with a team of no more than 5 members, a developed MVP (or a prototype), a client base, and market knowledge. In turn, ICT Hub provides capital, mentorship programs with industry experts, networking capabilities, guidance, and dedicated support through all development stages of its portfolio companies. 

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