Warsaw is connected to three other cities across Europe, Rome, Lille and Stockholm, through the TWIST Digital project, under the Startup Europe umbrella. The organizations involved in the TWIST Digital Project are Fundacja Neo Media and META Polska (Warsaw), Lazio Innova and LUISS EnLabs (Rome), EuraTechnologies (Lille) Media Deals (Berlin) and Springfellow International and Moretime (Stockholm).
Warsaw is truly a unique city and its people prove ambitious in every industry they set their minds to. Poland’s capital was completely destroyed during World War II and that only made the people of Warsaw stronger and more ambitious, managing to rebuild their city from scratch. This ambition has been transformed today into the willingness to succeed in the startup world.
Visitors that are new to Poland might think that its WARSAW would be the most organized and closely-knit place in terms of the country’s startup ecosystem. However, it is precisely the size and diversity of the city that encourage fragmentation, Warsaw is a place where many groups have formed over the years, while representing various tech and startup interests, have only now begun communicating and working together in a broader sense.
Cracow may be Poland’s university centre, but Warsaw is definitely the country’s entrepreneurial hot spot, gathering young people from all the surrounding regions in very creative and productive hubs, accelerators and workshops.
Warsaw’s startup scene, like its economy, is booming. Fuelled by high levels of innovation, relatively low costs and a strong talent pool, the Warsaw has all the necessary requirements and potential to become one of Europe’s digital heavyweights.
To keep the economy growing, the Polish government created PARP: The Polish Agency for Enterprise Development. After Poland joined the EU in 2004, it became the main funnel for €7.2 billion in EU funds aimed at promoting an “innovative economy.” One of its main missions today is no less than to seed an entire startup ecosystem — the full chain of elements needed to nurture a venture from idea to enterprise to the “exit” point when founders and early investors can cash out.
More promising is a €160 million initiative that has funded the launch of 43 business incubators. Staffed by investment professionals, not public officials, the incubators give fledgling companies coaching, contacts and up to €200,000 in seed capital. In exchange, the startups hand over an exorbitant amount of equity—up to 50%—giving both sides a stake in success. The incubators must exit each business within 10 years and reinvest the proceeds in new companies. In essence, they act as small venture-capital (VC) funds; but with free cash up front, they can take more risks.
PARP of the Perspectives 2007-2013 signed contracts with entrepreneurs in the amount of more than 35 billion, including: Incubators/Seed capital, Business Angels Networks, Warsaw Stock Exchange/New Connect Stock Market, Innovation Support Loan Fund.
Measure 3.1 OPIE – This action aims to create a network in Poland seed funds, whose task is to search, selection and capital investments in the most promising business ideas. A number of 4 calls were completed, 78 signed contracts worth PLN 860 mln with 830 founded startups (448 in IT/ICT) with plans of creating 250 more.
Measure 8.1 OPIE – The aim was to provide a grant by the PARP for the startups to the creation or development of e – services. With a total number of 13 completed calls, 2730 signed contracts worth over PLN 1,5bln, the measure was considered a big success.
Measure 3.4 OPIE – The introduction of a system of credit to finance startups. There have been 58 (18 in IT/ICT) signed contracts worth PLN 96 mln, with involved private capital of PLN 50 mln and forwarded funds (as of January 2015) of PLN 64,2 mln. This measure also acquired Business Angels co-investments for 37 projects and VC funds co-investments for other 21 projects.
The sub-measure 3.3.1 OPIE is an action for the activation of individual investors and private investors with the originators which has a number of 2 completed calls, involving 24 signed contracts with a total amount of PLN 96 mln. 1500 seminars, workshops and conferences were conducted and a platform associating investors and originators has been created.
- 19 Accelerators and incubators
- 15 Co-working spaces
- Booming ecosystem: ERDF grants + Angels for web entrepreneurship & startups
- Highly educated tech community
- Google Campus Warsaw opened in 2015
Warsaw – General facts and figures:
- Warsaw is the Capital city of Poland, a country with 38,53 million inhabitants.
- Warsaw has a population of 1,71 million, being the biggest city in Poland.
If you want to participate at events involving or organized by these four cities, please contact the Coordinator of TWIST Digital, or any of the project’s eight partners.