In terms of innovation potential, the Czech startup scene definitely has something to offer. According to the domestic Investment and Business Development Agency CzechInvest, approximately 800 startups are operating on the Czech market and many of them are very promising acquisition targets for foreign buyers.
This is also evidenced by, for example, the most recent European innovation scoreboard for 2020, which ranks the Czech Republic in 16th place, the highest ranking out of all of the Visegrád Four countries. The Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA 19 ranking indicates that Czech technology firms are the fastest growing in Central Europe, thus occupying eighth place in a Europe-wide comparison.
Have a look at the top startup exits according to CzechInvest:
The technology startup Integromat offered to the market a tool for automation of human work. The company likens its work to the glue of the internet. It combines online applications and services that do not normally communicate with each other and transfers data between them. Integration can thus be carried out without knowledge of programming for a fraction of the price of a custom integration solution. Thanks to its solution, Integromat has under its belt one of the biggest exits in the history of Czech startups. The company received the first offer during its stay in the United States, where it took part in CzechInvest’s three-month CzechAccelerator programme. In the end, Integromat came to an agreement with the Munich-based firm Celonis. The value of the acquisition was more than USD 100 million.
The American company Cisco Systems finalised its merger with the originally Czech startup Cognitive Security, which it acquired at the beginning of 2013. The company focused primarily on cybersecurity and protection against hacking attacks. Using Cognitive Security as the foundation, Cisco established a centre for cybersecurity and artificial intelligence in Prague and initiated research collaboration with one of the country’s most important institutes of higher learning, the Czech Technical University. With CzechInvest, the startup was one of the first to take part in the CzechAccelerator programme in the United States in 2010.
David Miklas, founder of the startup Be3D, invented a fully enclosed 3D printer for printing models and prototypes. The company participated in CzechInvest’s three-month CzechAccelerator programme in San Francisco. In 2017, the startup was bought by Ysoft for several million euros. To this day, David Miklas remains one of CzechInvest’s most popular mentors and was recently responsible for the CovMask project involving anti-COVID masks made from snorkelling masks.
The startup Netcope Technologies was focused on the development of a high-speed programmable network card that resolves the problem of insufficient performance of today’s servers in network applications. The company participated in CzechInvest’s CzechAccelerator programme for startups in Silicon Valley in 2018. Part of the company was purchased by processor manufacturer Intel. The other part was acquired in 2020 by the software company Kemp Technologies.
The state agency CzechInvest offers a range of programmes aimed at supporting domestic startups that intend to expand abroad. These include the three-month CzechAccelerator programme, the one-week CzechMatch programme and the CzechDemo programme, which ensures startups’ participation in international trade fairs. CzechInvest’s portfolio also includes the CzechStarter programme, which offers mentoring in areas such as human resources, law, marketing and finance, as well as assistance with protection of intellectual property and obtaining patents.
Furthermore, as part of its Czech Republic: The Country for the Future strategy, the government approved the Technology Incubation project, in which CzechInvest will distribute CZK 1 billion to startup companies in seven key areas including future mobility, artificial intelligence and IT, the creative industries, sustainability and eco-innovation, space technology, nuclear and particle physics, and smart crisis-management solutions.