Made in Emerging Europe

Made in emerging Europe: Werk, Cyscale

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.

Werk: Estonian start-up bringing transparency to the world of cross-border blue collar contracting

Werk, a platform that enables companies to hire skilled and vetted migrant construction workers, handling everything from recruitment, verification, and relocation, has raised a 1.3 million euros pre-seed round led by Change Ventures, one of the leading early-stage funds in the Baltics.

Co-founded in Tallinn, Estonia in 2020 by Martin Kalamees (CEO), Marion Kallakas (COO), and Markus Tarn (CTO), Werk will use the investment to further expand its team, focus on product development and marketing. 

Werk brings transparency to the often exploitative world of cross-border blue collar contracting; supporting workers relocating to other countries by automating paperwork and visa documentation, and only works with companies that guarantee they will provide workers with the same payment terms, treatment, and protection conditions as they would if they were a local.

For contractors, once they input the skills they require on-site, the platform uses AI to match them with suitable, high-skilled workers who have been vetted by industry experts. Once the worker has been hired, Werk handles HR and payroll too. 

With recent 20 per cent month-on-month growth, the start-up has already reached over 2,000 verified and vetted construction workers and has customers within Estonia, Finland, Sweden and Denmark.

“Our platform solves two major, and growing, global problems,” says Martin Kalamees, co-founder and CEO of Werk.

“Firstly, skilled blue-collar migrant workers are being taken advantage of by unregulated agencies and contractors, which sometimes operate illegally.

Secondly, construction companies face labour shortages because of the difficulties in sourcing workers from abroad, and of course the devastating situation in Ukraine. We are helping to connect skilled workers with contractors in a legal, transparent, and safe way.” 

“From travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, to the war in Ukraine cutting off labour supply networks, there are a number of uncontrollable elements affecting skilled migrant workers looking for construction jobs,” adds Rait Ojasaar, investment partner at Change Ventures.

“Werk is providing a valuable service for businesses that need labourers, as well as a safe platform for those looking for jobs outside of their native countries. We are delighted to lead this first round of investment.” 

Cyscale: Romanian cybersecurity start-up raises three million euros

Romania’s graph-based cloud security analysis company Cyscale has raised three million euros of new funding to grow its team and enable international expansion, with a special focus on the UK.

It is Cyscale’s third raise and brings the start-up’s total funding to 3.5 million euros since it was founded in 2019.

Cyscale aims to build a comprehensive “security knowledge graph” for organisations, ingesting data from multiple sources and generating an in-depth contextual analysis for their cloud assets. The company has built a compliance module that helps security leaders track gaps between any policies they’ve defined and their technical implementations in the cloud.

“Most cloud security tools analyse cloud infrastructures by running through sets of configuration best practices and verifying them against each cloud resource,” says Manuela Țicudean, a co-founder of Cyscale.

“The problem with this approach is the rate of false positives. Looked at in isolation, a resource may be misconfigured, but there are other contextual factors that determine the actual danger for a business. False positives create noise and keep security engineers from focusing on the highest-risk issues.”

The start-up currently has 15 employees but will now increase this number fast.

“Through this funding, we want to increase our team in Romania and the UK next year. We have open jobs in both countries,” says Ovidiu Cical, CEO and co-founder of Cyscale.

“By the end of this year, we want to exceed 25 people in the engineering area and recruit ten more people for other positions. We are still focused on developing Cyscale’s cybersecurity platform, but we understand that the team needs to grow in operational and commercial areas. We want to be present globally in the next three years and the team to exceed 250 people by then.” 

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