Made in Emerging Europe

Made in emerging Europe: Trace.Space, Kombinat Konopny

Emerging Europe’s technology and innovation 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, events and accelerators, each week Emerging Europe brings you a round-up of the region’s tech, investment and start-up news.

Latvia’s Trace.Space nabs 1.5 million euros pre-seed to build AI-fueled software for engineering product development

Latvian SaaS Trace.Space has raised 1.5 million euros in pre-seed funding to build AI-enabled, API-first software for complex engineering product development. It will provide industrial and automotive product manufacturers with AI-powered tools for managing 80 per cent of the product development lifecycle, helping them build and deliver new products to the market faster.

To date, this is the largest ideation stage investment raised by Baltic founders. The round was led by Fiedler Capital, with participation from Nebular, Tiny VC, Foreword VC, Microsoft’s former GM Charlie Songhurst, and Change Ventures. The funds will be used to grow the team and launch the first iteration of the product.

In a world with modern productivity tools, such as Slack, Miro, or Figma, real-world engineering projects still mainly run on outdated enterprise software with outdated UX, monolithic architecture, and hefty annual license fees. Trace.Space uses the most recent technologies to help engineering project management catch up with the modern rate of innovation.

The first iteration of the product is scheduled for launch in Q2 of 2023. The first functionality to be made available to users will be requirements management for engineering teams – the process of collecting, documenting, and validating requirements for the product being built. In many industries, this is mission-critical and requires special tooling, whereas this tooling often requires special training.

Trace.Space’s requirements management solution integrates the leading technologies, such as the GPT algorithm, from the start. This will help engineering teams document and revise requirements 10x faster, simplifying the burdening task and improving their engagement in requirements authoring. As a result, consumers can expect higher-quality products with shorter time-to-market.

“The tools used by engineering teams for requirements management are outdated, inconvenient, and cumbersome,” says Janis Vavere, Trace Space co-founder and CEO. “It’s a billion-dollar market that has been neglected because it’s invisible and unsexy, while software for later steps of product development has already advanced. Trace.Space will start with modernising the basics, requirements management, and eventually, plans to do the same with further steps of product development.”

Trace.Space was founded in 2022 by Vavere, Mikus Krams, and Karlis Broders. The founding team has a proven track record of building and scaling venture-backed B2B SaaS companies, including start-ups Chili Piper and Lokalise.

Polish hemp firm Kombinat Konopny raises one million euros through Crowdway

Kombinat Konopny, a Polish company growing and processing fibre hemp, has raised a further one million euros on Crowdway, a leading Polish equity crowdfunding (ECF) platform. It is the third time that the firm has used Crowdway to raise money.

Kombinat Konopny focuses on fiber hemp, legal throughout the European Union, from which it produces CBD oils as well as non-woven hemp fabrics, cosmetics or products for animals. The company’s founder and president, Maciej Kowalski, has more than 20 years of experience in the hemp business.

Kombinat Konopny will spend the money raised on a technological line for processing hemp fibre, as well as marketing to strengthen its position in the Polish market and sustain sales growth. The firm will also look to further develop its range of herbal products and expand warehousing.

“We intend to put even more emphasis on marketing and hope to be even more visible,” says Kowalski. “As for textiles, the second part of our business, more machines are already coming to us, and now we are focusing on organising employees and contracting raw materials from local farmers.”

Michal Stanek, vice president of Crowdway, says that the successful Kombinat Konopny campaign shows that the Polish crowdfunding market is now ready for an increase in funding limits to 2.5 million euros and then to five million euros. The current crowdfunding limit is one million euros.

“Although the deteriorating geopolitical and economic situation may slow down the dynamics of crowdinvesting campaigns, the ECF market still has very good prospects,” he says. “We expect that next year will bring new record-breaking issues thanks to the increased funding limit.”

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