In 2023, the startup investment scene has been a rollercoaster of highs and lows, bringing its fair share of global economic challenges. Despite this, our focus remained steadfast on supporting our portfolio founders, providing them with both business and personal guidance to navigate these turbulent times. It’s a year that underscored the importance of perseverance and adaptability in the startup world.
As we wrap up 2023 at Startup Wise Guys, we’d like to take a moment to share our key highlights. It’s time to look back and celebrate the significant milestones and achievements of this past year. So let’s delve into some (not boring) numbers and revisit our most cherished moments that made this year truly special.
1# A Year in Review: 2023 Through Numbers
Here are some more numbers to showcase this year’s growth and achievements:
- Fundraising Success: 35M EUR raised by Startup Wise Guys funds.
- Investments: A total of 6.69M EUR was invested in 86 startups.
- Diversity Milestone: We saw a 33% increase in female-founded startups.
- Community Expansion: Our network now includes 400+ companies, over 700 founders, and 550+ mentors and investors.
- 11 batches running this past year (4 ending in 2024)
- 86 startups join our portfolio
- Founder Support: 100+ founders benefited from our equity-free pre-accelerator.
Our portfolio achievements – 2023
Our portfolio companies have been at the forefront of innovation and success:
- Exits: Celebrated two major exits, including Trapmine and Sense of Space.
- Funding Rounds: Our startups raised 77.5M EUR in total, with Skeleton Technologies securing a 50M EUR in Series E round.
- Employment Impact: Our portfolio startups employed 8290 people, a significant contribution to the job market.
- Global Expansion: We welcomed startups from new countries, broadening our global reach. (Perú, Tanzania, El salvador, Chile).
Standout investment rounds in 2023
Skeleton raised 500M in Series E. Fractory secured 3M EUR, valuing the company at 33M EUR. OTA Sync got 500K in seed funding, reaching a 6.5M EUR valuation. Novus advanced with a 500K raise. Teklifim Gelsin closed a pre-series A round at 14M EUR pre-money valuation.
Finmap raised a 1M EUR round in February led by SMOK Ventures. Formaloo closed a 2M EUR Series A round. GoRamp closed a 2.7M EUR seed round led by Lead Ventures and joined by Startup Wise Guys, Presto Ventures, and Willgrow. Future Fashion, after a year-long effort, has raised a total of 2.1M EUR, including a recent 500K EUR from Fondo Sici.
We are beyond proud of our portfolio companies, their resilience, tireless dedication, and passion for their pursuits are not just inspiring but also a powerful testament to the significance of our collective mission
2# A Year in Review: 2023 Through Moments
A new face says it all
2023 for us started with a big bang – after nurturing this project internally for almost a year, right on February 16, our 11th birthday, we launched our refreshed brand. From an anonymous mafia guy, our logo changed to a smiley human face with a crazy hairdo. It is a tribute to the bumpy journey of startup founders and entrepreneurs seeking growth and success. It was a new start, to a new journey! Read more about our rebranding journey HERE.
Best Accelerator Globally and in Ukraine
This year has brought us many reasons to celebrate, but the two most visible and important recognitions have been winning the Best Accelerator category at the Global Startup Awards in early 2023, and adding the most recent feather to our cap the Ukrainian Startup Fund prize for Top Accelerator in Kyiv.
The award highlighted not just our role as a leading accelerator in the country, but also paid special attention to the – Growth Ukraine program. This initiative, runs in partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Taiwan Business, has been instrumental in providing Ukrainian startups with the tools, resources, and guidance they need to thrive in today’s competitive landscape.
The Power of Community: Startup Wise Guys’ Getaway
After multiple years online, we finally managed to bring our portfolio and LP gathering – Startup Wise Guys Getaway – back on site. To our knowledge, it is probably the biggest onsite portfolio meeting of European VCs.
What an event it has been! 200+ participants, inspiring speeches about multiple topics from exits to AI, from neurodiversity to networking. Celebration of our best-performing portfolio startups at the Red Hoodie Ceremony. And lots of fun and gastronomic pleasures outside of the conference room. What else would you expect in the foodie paradise Bilbao.
Forging the future entrepreneurs
2023 Startup Wise Guys’ – Young Entrepreneurs Program was a resounding success, attracting 600 applicants globally. It featured a blend of online and onsite training across two cities, Tallinn and Cluj-Napoca. The program catered to 350 online participants, with a notable 43% female representation, and included 25 hours of training and 10 hours of live mentorship. The onsite phase saw 50 participants from 19 nationalities engaging in a rigorous 90-hour training regime, which encompassed workshops, lectures, and a hackathon. They even got a visit from the president of Estonia itself!
Exploring new frontiers
Despite all challenges, such as team changes and economic uncertainties, we successfully expanded our offerings. This year we introduced two new verticals: Web3 and Proptech. The Web3 program has already started and its base is Lisbon in Portugal, whereas the Proptech program is still in preparatory and fundraising mode. Launched three equity-free, Pre-revenue programs in Fintech, Extended Reality, and Sustainability.
We also launched two entirely new products – Founders Club and Angels Up Academy. The Founders Club program made significant strides with seven cohorts, involving 150 participants, 40% of whom are CTOs. Notably, two startups from this program have already been funded by investors from over 30 different nationalities.
We’re also immensely proud of our Angels Up Academy, which launched three unique programs, attracting over 30 participants from 9 countries, with 58% being women. The academy focused on teaching newcomers to angel investing and those new to startup investments, aiming to turn theory into practical skills. The result was exceptional, receiving an average feedback score of 9.2 out of 10.
Forward to 2024
But what about the future? We are riding into this new year, with even bigger plans, with goals to invest in over 100 startups, and run multiple acceleration programs, and continue our impactful work through the Young Entrepreneurs Foundation. As we gear up for this new adventure, our promise to you remains steadfast. We’ll continue to challenge the status quo, support our founders fiercely, and keep the fun in everything we do.
To our community – our founders, mentors, partners, and readers – Thank you – your support and enthusiasm have been the cornerstones of our success. Your feedback, engagement, and trust fuel our drive to be better, and bolder and put a speck of fun in everything we do.