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Zesty, the UK-based startup co-founded by the former head of marketing at Badoo Lloyd Price has just announced raising $2 million to further expand its healthcare appointment booking service. The backers are the Ukrainian TA Venture and Russian ABRT in addition to Mangrove Capital Partners that was the original seed investor.
The good news is that Ukrainians and the Russians are working together even though elsewhere in Ukraine the anti-Russian sentiments are so strong, they have launched a new social network for Ukrainians called Druzi.
The bad news is that the money from the region are being invested in the West – where the risk is lower and markets are larger. So I am getting this feeling that our innovation train in the CEE region is hitting a wall.
Yes, there are hot startups from nearly every country in the Central and Eastern Europe – Estimote, UX Pin, GrabCad in the region that are raising later rounds and moving to the US or Western Europe. Yes there are 3TS Partners, MCI Management, Credo Ventures and occasional new funds that are still popping up in Russia.
But nonetheless, existing seed VCs are not announcing new funds, and fewer startups are pitching their new launches. The publically visible deal flow has certainly reduced to a trickle.
The startup accelerators – Startup Yard in Prague, Startup Wise Guys in Tallinn are focusing on B2B space, as do many VCs. Hopefully that means less excitement about yet another photo sharing app (although Slovenian Povio that has managed to innovate even this crowded space and made it to Y-Combinator) and more work behind the scenes on the B2B models.
So if you noticed that I am not posting as much any more it is because there are fewer stories to tell for now. The seeds have been planted, and now they need to grow. I keep posting when I discover new stuff. Stay tuned.
As for Zesty, Lloyd Price tells me it is not going to the CEE region any time soon. There is a UK and then there are Nordic markets they want to tackle first. Polish DocPlanner will not be challenged. Yet. Here is more about Zesty strategy.
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vita at goaleurope dot com