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-up news.
Yera: Team engagement start-up raises 535,000 euros in seed investment
Yera, an Estonian-based start-up that aims to boost team engagement in routine work with custom rewards and unique experiences, has raised 535,000 euros in seed investment. The round included world-class industry experts and renowned angel investors, such as Veriff founder Kaarel Kotkas and the former Director of Engineering at Wise Alvar Lumberg.
Yera offers a fully automated SaaS platform for increasing the performance of teams in the workplace, which encourages recognition, and employee engagement in essential work processes. The platform does so by leveraging gaming elements, such as earning points for completing routine tasks that the team members can exchange for meaningful rewards they can choose from. With Yera, workplace teams – customer support, sales, developers, and others – can significantly improve their quality of support, upsells, on-time delivery, time tracking, and other critical processes that underpin successful results.
According to Kaarel Kotkas, the founder and CEO of Veriff, “The way Yera helps to connect people with their progress through ongoing feedback in the form of performance-based rewards is unique. This approach perpetuates a motivating work environment that fosters productive teamwork and supports superior business results.”
Yera enables seamless onboarding by providing integration with a wide range of workflow management tools, such as Slack, Zendesk, Trello, Jira, and Azure DevOps. It is the only all-in-one engagement and reward system, and its full automation sets it apart from other employee recognition apps on the market, such as Bonusly, Guusto, and Centrical. Yera provides a one-stop shop for earning points and redeeming awards with its customisable Perk Store that hosts a catalogue of rewards that can be upgraded with custom motivation packages.
Janno Siilbek, the co-founder and CTO of Yera, says, “The rules of the economy have changed. A new generation of young people has grown up playing computer games. According to research, almost 90 per cent of employees say that gamification makes them feel more productive and happier at work. Gamification is considered a remarkably potent flow state trigger that can play an essential role in employee retention. Our product successfully combines elementary processes with gamification elements to turn repetitive work tasks into engaging activities.”
Founded by an Estonian-Brazilian team with diverse experience from Skype, Veriff, Swedbank, Inbank, and others, the company is piloting partnerships with global digital innovation companies, such as Helmes and Ambev Tech. The investment will support the growth of the company’s customer-centric product development team and expansion to new markets in Europe, South America, and Asia.
Talkie.ai: Polish AI customer service platform raises 2.6 million US dollars
Polish start-up Talkie.ai, which offers Artificial Intelligence solutions for customer service automation, has raised 2.6 million US dollars (12.5 million złoty) from a Polish-Austrian consortium of VC funds.
Talkie.ai will use the funds to further specialise in creating technology for healthcare industries and to expand its customer base in the United States, from where more than 20 per cent of Talkie.ai’s customers already come. Supporting healthcare industries with specialised off-the-shelf solutions is driving Talkie’s next phase of operations.
Talkie.ai offers fully automated customer service solutions for organisations where the leading channel of contact is a telephone hotline, such as the healthcare industry.
The firm, founded in 2018, says that challenges such as the growing or seasonally varying volume of calls from patients, the need for 24/7 availability of medical registration, or the necessity to offer multilingual telephone-based patient support, have great potential for being automated with its AI voice solutions.
The company also offers automation services for optimising other common hospital and clinic processes, such as allowing callers to make and manage appointments as a self-service, order prescriptions, and provide information on pricing and availability of services, or basic medical triage. The Talkie platform also integrates with patient appointment management systems, as well as with a number of the largest providers of call centre systems on the market.
“We intend to use the financing to further develop our healthcare offering and expand overseas, primarily in the US, from where we already derive more than a third of our revenue,” says explains Pawel Lipinski, CEO and one of the founders of Talkie.ai.
“Given the scale of the healthcare market in the US, we see the greatest growth potential there. We also anticipate further expansion of our team, as well as the introduction of off-the-shelf offerings for other industries, tailored to their specific needs.”
The global market for conversational Artificial Intelligence is expected to reach 16.2 billion US dollars in 2024. By 2027, in the healthcare sector alone, the market for virtual assistants is expected to be worth 2.83 billion US dollars. Currently in the United States, 80 per cent of patients contact their healthcare providers by phone, but only four per cent of those providers use automation capabilities.
Talkie.ai raised its first round of funding in 2020, which enabled it to validate its product and business strategy, and accelerate growth. In early 2021, the company launched operations in the United States. It currently serves dozens of customers in Poland, the UK and the US.
The current funding round for Talkie.ai included the following funds: 4growth VC (consortium leader), NIF ASI (co-investment with 4growth VC), Satus Starter, FundingBox, Gateway Ventures (Austrian VC fund) and Movens (follow-on to an earlier investment). In addition, shareholders include the LT Capital fund, which invested in the company at an earlier stage of its development.
Better Stack: 18.6 million US dollars for Czech start-up building a better internet
Prague-based Better Stack last week raised 18.6 million US dollars in a Series A round from leading European early-stage investor Creandum, a backer of Europe’s best tech companies including Spotify, Klarna, and SEON.
Joining the round are Susa Ventures, K5 Global, Credo Ventures, Kaya.vc, Lachy Groom, Ryan Petersen (founder of Flexport), Michael Stoppelman, Emil Eifrem (founder of Neo4j), Zach Sims (founder of Codecademy), Madhu Muthukumar (CPO at Notion), Tim Soulo (CMO at Ahrefs), Oskari Saarenmaa and Hannu Valtonen (founders of Aiven), Lucek Samulowski (co-founder of Docplanner) among others.
Better Stack’s mission is to help developers build a better internet by making powerful observability tools that are beautifully designed and a joy to use, making it easier to ship better and more reliable software faster.
Major outages of companies like Atlassian and Cloudflare in early 2022 showed that software reliability is still an unsolved problem. Better Stack says it helps developers with this challenge.
Since its launch in 2021, Better Stack is now used by over 70,000 developers and 1,400+ customers. Teams from enterprises including ESET, Decathlon, Time Magazine, and Accenture; start-ups like Brave and Drata and indie hackers such as Plausible or Buy me a coffee already rely on Better Stack. The Series A investment will support Better Stack’s continued growth and allow it to scale the product at a faster pace to help more developers around the world.
“We lived the daily struggles engineers go through at our previous jobs and with Better Stack we decided to solve at least some of them. We are simply engineers making the tools we always wanted to use,” says Juraj Masar, Better Stack CEO and co-founder.
Better Stack combines monitoring, logging, incident management, status pages, and more into a single platform. It’s roughly 10x cheaper yet 10-100x faster than the alternatives and customers are able to keep data in hot storage for longer, thanks to the ClickHouse database.
It’s intuitive to use for engineering teams as it leverages SQL for data querying. Better Stack’s focus on Figma-like collaboration also allows developers to work together in real-time.
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