Business

Made in emerging Europe: GreenGroup, Eurora Solutions, Vercom, DriveX, GoRamp

Emerging Europe’s start-up scene is thriving: new money and new ideas are coming onto the market all the time. To keep you up to date with the latest investments, innovations, movers and shakers, each Monday Emerging Europe brings you a round-up of the region’s start-ups which recently closed financing rounds, sealed partnerships, or dropped new innovations.


GreenGroup: Romanian recycler set for accelerated growth following 127 million euros raise

GreenGroup, the largest integrated recycling group in Central Europe, has raised 127 million euros in a funding round led by Abris Capital Partners to accelerate its growth and support the surging demand for recycling and sustainable products in the region.

The financing will allow GreenGroup to build on its successful growth and accelerate plans to scale up its operations across the region, developing unique solutions to recycle previously discarded materials and to penetrate new segments.

The funding will allow the group to quadruple its rPET capacity to 28,000 tonnes and almost double its glass and WEEE recycling capacities to reach 150,000 tonnes and 73,000 tonnes respectively. In addition, GreenGroup will expand into electrical motor recycling and residual derived fuel production, as well as investing in various ESG programmes including several photovoltaic projects.

The funding was raised through a syndication of banks including UniCredit and Raiffeisen as coordinating banks, as well as BCR, ING and OTP.

Abris first invested in GreenGroup in 2016, and since then the business has expanded rapidly, and now has the capacity to process 280,000 tonnes of waste per year, including PET, electronic equipment, lamps, batteries and glass, at 10 production facilities across Romania, Slovakia and Lithuania.

In addition to its organic growth, GreenGroup has pursued an ambitious M&A strategy across all its divisions in Central Europe. The group expanded at the end of 2019 into Slovakia and Lithuania, where it operates two modern PET recycling facilities, and in 2020 Abris acquired a 100 per cent stake in Eltex Recycling, one of the leading industrial waste management players in Romania, allowing GreenGroup to take one more step towards a circular economy model.

“This is an important step towards boosting the circular economy in the region, as we are now ready to reinforce our successful model in new markets. Sustainable financing is the key to accelerating circularity and we are grateful to our financial partners for their commitment to playing an active role in sustainability in the region,” says Constantin Damov, GreenGroup’s CEO.


Eurora Solutions: Cross-border commerce platform compliance made easy

Eurora Solutions, an Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning-backed (AI/ML) cross-border e-commerce compliance platform, has closed its oversubscribed Series A round at 40 million US dollars.

Amsterdam based Connected Capital led the round, with existing investors, including Change Ventures, Equity United and Eurora’s founder Marko Lastik also participating. 

Tallinn-based Eurora already has over 200 paying clients worldwide, including some of the biggest e-commerce players in Asia, such as JD.com, Yanwen and Topyou. These three companies alone process around one billion parcels per year and deliver to more than 120 countries.

The new funding will be used for geographical expansion in the UK, the US, and the Middle East, where rapid and high growth in the sector is expected, and product development and potential add-on acquisitions. In the past decade, global parcel shipping volume has tripled, and by 2026, this market is expected to reach over 260 billion parcels delivered.

Eurora’s proprietary AI/ML-based platform automates tax, compliance and customs services. It assigns e-commerce products an appropriate HS code, calculates the applicable VAT and duty amounts, and automatically creates electronic declarations for EU duties and taxes via simple API integration.

“The number of different declarations, codes, reports, records and tax calculations required in the international shipping business is ever increasing,” says Eurora founder and CEO Marko Lastik. “By using Eurora’s platform, merchants can make deliveries faster and at lower costs, which results in increased customer satisfaction and trust.” 

Shaffy Roell, investment manager at Connected Capital, adds: “We are excited to lead the investment into Eurora and support the team in scaling the platform globally. The founder and the full management team have impressed us with their quality, domain expertise, and vision for the company.” 


Vercom: Polish tech co buys MailerLite

Vercom, a Polish tech company providing CPaaS (Communication Platform-as-a-Service) solutions has bought MailerLite, a global provider of tools for email communication, which will enable the company to nearly triple its number of clients and ensure a presence on 180 markets.

The transaction is worth around 400 million złoty (84.13 million euros), making it the largest acquisition of a foreign entity by a Polish company this year.

“We are consistently implementing a strategy that aims to strengthen our presence on the international market. Our aim was to find a reliable partner, thanks to whom we could significantly accelerate implementation of these plans,” says Krzysztof Szyszka, CEO of Vercom.

“MailerLite is a recognisable brand that enjoys great popularity among business customers around the world. It has a diversified portfolio of customers, dominated by entities from the attractive markets of the US and Western Europe.”

In April 2021, Vercom successfully launched an IPO on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, in which it raised 180 million złoty. In July 2021, the company acquired two companies for a total of around 40 million złoty: FreshMail – a leader of the Polish email marketing market and PushPushGo – a leader of push communication market in the CEE region.

Thanks to these transactions, Vercom has significantly increased its customer base and strengthened its product portfolio. The investment in MailerLite completes the stage of investing the IPO funds, and begins a new phase in the development of both entities.

DriveX: Estonian vehicle inspection start-up raises one million US dollars to disrupt insurance market

DriveX, a tech startup that aims to save billions for car insurance and mobility companies, has closed a one million US dollars investment round led by DEPO Ventures. The round included Silicon Valley’s notable venture capital fund Plug and Play Ventures.

Additional investors in the financing round include Fund Fellow Founders, Startup Wise Guys, and leaders in the insurance sector market in the region. The company’s fresh investor circle includes a number of renowned angel investors, including founders, executives, and early employees of Wise, Skeleton Technologies, and Katana. 

Founded in 2019 by Rauno Sigur, Kentti Koppel, and Valter Läll, DriveX is digitising vehicle inspection processes with AI-assisted technology. The company is currently focused on the auto insurance industry, which is estimated to be worth more than 880 billion Us dollars worldwide, and is automating pre-inspection processes, saving insurers up to 90 per cent of inspection costs. The image recognition technology of the DriveX platform ensures the quality and reliability of the input provided by the insurance applicants about the condition of their vehicle.

Developed by a team experienced in driving innovation for Cleveron and Swedbank, DriveX claims to stand out in the inspection technology space with its ease of use. Companies can implement the DriveX web-based solution without having to write a single line of code, and customers can easily take real-time photos through the platform. The digitised process allows insurers to give immediate feedback to customers and automatically activate or deny the insurance policy.

DriveX is working with the largest international insurance corporations across the Baltics, Croatia, and Romania. The company’s customers include BTA from the Vienna Insurance Group, ERGO from Munich Re, and BALTA from the PZU Group. The new investment will catalyse DriveX’s efforts in expansion across Europe and beyond, and will support the emergence of new use cases in vehicle rental, leasing, and sales processes. 

“We are creating the next market standard for remote vehicle inspections. With two billion vehicles in the world, there is great potential for understanding their condition and history at any given time. DriveX strives towards total transparency of vehicle inspection and vehicle history worldwide,” says Rauno Sigur, the co-founder and CEO of DriveX.


GoRamp: Lithuanian logtech start-up raises 1.5 million euros for Western Europe, US expansion

GoRamp, a Lithuanian logtech solution, has raised 1.5 million euros from international venture capital funds and the community of business angels/founders from companies such as UPS, Shopify, and Infoscout. The investment will be used mainly to expand sales and marketing team for Western Europe and US markets.

GoRamp, which founded three years ago, offers service-as-a-software (SaaS) which enables manufacturing, retail and production companies to digitise their logistics operations through sourcing, planning and monitoring transportation shipments.

According to the data provided by GoRamp clients, the system eliminates 70 per cent of operational work, increases warehouse loading efficiency 20 per cent and reduces logistics costs by up to 25 per cent.

“When capacity expansion is no longer possible, operations have to be streamlined and more has to be done with the same resources,” says Jevgenij Polonis, CEO and co-founder of GoRamp.

“Digital solutions are irreplaceable and ours helps customers eliminate more than two-thirds of operational manual labour, save time, streamline supply chain operations and do up to twice as much work with the available resources.”

GoRamp says that its business volumes tripled in 2021, and now operates in 18 countries.

The new investment will be targeted at increase business levels in Europe, where product sales are already showing promising results (the UK, Benelux, Poland, Germany) and to enter new markets (France, Spain, Italy) while gaining more traction in the US.


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