Last Updated on: 22nd November 2023, 09:36 am
The Recursive takes immense pleasure in presenting an all-encompassing report ever done on the state of AI in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region, marking a significant milestone in the realm of artificial intelligence.
“The Recursive CEE AI Report is the first of its kind extensive mapping of the AI innovation ecosystem in Central and Eastern Europe. Our key objective is to point out the strengths and opportunities CEE can leverage to improve its competitiveness on the global map, but we have also observed the bears on the road and potential threats that the region needs to mitigate to realise its full potential as an AI power hub,” remarked Zornitsa Stoilova, Editor-in-Chief at The Recursive and one of the report’s authors.
Legacy of Innovation
Long before the recent worldwide surge in AI prominence, the CEE region had already birthed some of Europe’s most iconic AI enterprises. Names like UiPath, Rimac Automobili, SEON, Causaly, Infermedica, Silent Eight, and Dronamics are not merely tales of success but serve as a testament to the region’s innovation potential and technological prowess, which it has generously bestowed upon the world.
At present, the CEE region boasts a staggering count of over 900 AI startups. The report’s data indicates a significant shift from sporadic success stories to a more systematic and replicable model of achievement. In line with this evolving trend, over 75 AI companies from the region have collectively secured funding exceeding $10 million, with 24 AI startups successfully raising $50 million or more.
Focus on Industries
The healthcare and life sciences sector emerges as the focal point for AI innovation in the CEE region. With a substantial cohort of over 150 companies actively engaged in developing AI tools, this sector has collectively attracted nearly $600 million in funding, excluding exceptional outliers. The applications span a wide spectrum, encompassing diagnosis and therapy, optimisation of medical data and process management, patient care enhancement, advancement in research and drug development, and the empowerment of patients to proactively manage their well-being.
Other industries experiencing noteworthy AI activity include finance, marketing, sales, customer service, and a noticeable uptick in cybersecurity.
The past three years have proven pivotal for AI enterprises in the CEE region, with an astounding total funding surpassing $4.2 billion—an unprecedented surge, surpassing all previous historical funding combined. However, a substantial gap still exists between startups that secure seed funding and those that progress to Series A.
On a positive note, the region boasts over 120 venture capital firms actively investing in AI startups, albeit with fewer than 30% specialising in AI or deep tech. The presence of top-tier international investors, such as Sequoia Capital, Accel, Index Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Dawn Capital, and Atomico, participating in local startup investments, has been consistently on the rise, underlining the region’s growing appeal in the global AI landscape.