AND THE WINNER IS…
Following a very dramatic voting of CVCA and SLOVCA members, winners of the 3st edition of the Czech-Slovak were awarded at the ceremony in the Grand Mark hotel in Prague.
At the beginning of the year, members of both associations have nominated their favourites in the competition in a total of eight categories. Some categories were common Czech – Slovak, some categories were only national. At the beginning of May, an independent jury, which members included representatives of the EIB, the EIF and major players in the Czech and Slovak PE and VC markets, selected three finalists in each category. As a last step, members of CVCA and SLOVCA voted on the winners online.
The Special Award for contribution to the PE and VC market went to Jaroslav Horák. He is practically the founder of private equity investing in the Czech Republic, he co-founded Arx Equity Partners in 1996. He participated in number of important deals in the last thirty years, e.g. Czech On Line, VUES, Cenega or Hungarocamion. Jaroslav is also the chairman of the board of directors of the Independent Press Foundation, which is the majority owner of Deník N. Together with his wife Silke, they are also intensively involved in other philanthropic projects and have succeeded in building the billion-dollar publishing company Albatros Media, which they have owned since 2008.
The CVCA & SLOVCA Awards are organized by the Czech Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (CVCA) together with the Slovak Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (SLOVCA). Both associations bring together venture capital and private equity funds, financial institutions, and private equity service providers in the Czech Republic. CVCA and SLOVCA were established with the similar aim of developing and supporting PE/VC sectors and representing their interests in cooperation with Czech, Slovak and European authorities.
FINALISTS IN CATEGORY PE DEAL – CR
GEVORKYAN (Versute Investments, Limerock)
GEVORKYAN is a global technological leader in the field of metal components manufacturing using innovative powder metallurgy processes with unique know-how and top research and development. The cooperation with VERSUTE and Limerock is an example of a successful growth story completed last year with the IPO on the PX START market of the Prague Stock Exchange. It became the largest IPO in the history of the PX START market and the largest IPO of the entire Prague Stock Exchange in 2022.
Advisors: Havel & Partners
ICON Communication (ESPIRA Investments)
ICON is a contact centre in Prague that provides services supported by technologies for international clients in Europe and the USA in more than 35 languages. As part of a management buyout, ESPIRA Investments partnered with three managers led by a female CEO. Originally a predominantly internal call centre was successfully transformed into the independent call centre with a clear strategy and its own sales team, which led to an expansion of the client portfolio. Last year, ESPIRA has exited to yoummday GmbH, the marketplace and technology platform that matches independent entrepreneurs with companies needing customer service talent.
Advisors: Noerr, Kinstellar, Ernst & Young
Stangl Technik Holding (Genesis Capital Equity, Avallon MBO)
The company is a leading player in the CR (TOP 3) and Poland (TOP 4) in the field of installation services for mechanical and electrotechnical equipment of buildings with the ability to cover their entire life cycle. The company achieved sales of EUR 67 million in 2021. Genesis with the Polish fund Avallon MBO, acquired a majority stake in the company in 2018. The experienced management team that led the Polish and Czech company since its foundation in 2010, became a minority shareholder and played an indispensable role in the successful transformation..
Advisors: KPMG Poland, DLA Piper, Ernst & Young, Baker McKenzie
FINALISTS IN CATEGORY PE DEAL – SR
GEVORKYAN (Versute Investments, Limerock)
GEVORKYAN is a global technological leader in the field of manufacturing metal components by innovative powder metallurgy processes with unique know-how and top research and development. The cooperation with VERSUTE and Limerock is an example of a successful growth story completed last year with the IPO on the PX START market of the Prague Stock Exchange. Last year, this IPO became the largest one in the history of the PX START market and the largest IPO of the entire Prague Stock Exchange.
Advisors: Havel & Partners
Green Fox Academy (Sandberg Capital)
A leading player in IT education in Hungary, Green Fox Academy focuses on retraining courses, additional education programs and corporate training programs, providing courses for junior programmers and Salesforce specialists. The company currently employs 113 people and has provided training to more than 4,000 IT specialists. Thanks to Sandberg’s entry, the company plans to strengthen its positions in existing markets and expand into new ones.
Advisors: Szecskay Law firm, Impact Advisors, KŠB
MTBiker (Eterus Capital)
MTBiker is the largest cycling portal and e-shop in Central Europe, it registers more than 200,000 users who form a living community. It had sales of app. EUR 11 mil. in 2021, last year app. EUR 14 mil., the plan for 2023 is EUR 17 mil. The company is profitable on EBITDA as well as net profit level, has a long-term built community with repeated purchases and attractive customer acquisition costs. Eterus Capital joins the company with the aim of consolidating the sector in the CEE region.
Advisors: Accace, Aldertree legal, Advokátska kancelária MCL
FINALISTS IN CATEGORY VC DEAL – CR
Better Stack (KAYA VC, Credo Ventures, Creandum)
Unexpected technical outages cost companies a lot of money, and finding an available developer to identify and solve the problem as quickly as possible is often difficult. This process is significantly simplified by the Czech-Slovak startup Better Stack, which automatically monitors the availability, status, and changes of web services. In the event of a defect, it connects developers, helps to find the causes of the problem, and facilitates cooperation to solve it and inform customers. BS´s clients include in particular: ESET, Rohlík, ePojisteni, Sygic, Applifting,Český rozhlas and Sme.sk.
Mews (Orbit Capital)
Mews provides accommodation facilities with a system for managing reservations, registering arrivals, or handling guest requests. The system can also accept payments or deal with the complete management of the hotel, including staff. The solution is currently used by roughly two thousand accommodation establishments in 85 countries. The company is headquartered in Prague. After last year’s investment round of USD 185 million, the company’s valuation is approaching USD 1 billion, and it has a chance to become the next Czech unicorn.
Advisors: Clifford Chance, Eldison
Productboard (Credo Ventures)
The second Czech unicorn with a valuation of USD 1,725 billion. Productboard creates online platforms, which help product managers develop individual products thanks to the greatest possible understanding of customer needs and correct setting of strategies. Zoom, Microsoft, Volkswagen, Disney and more than 4 thousand other companies use the services of this Czech startup for their product development planning. The startup was founded by Hubert Palán and Daniel Hejl in 2014.
FINALISTS IN CATEGORY VC DEAL – SR
Assetario (Credo Ventures)
Assetario is like a smart salesman in a store. Inside mobile games and apps, it will show the user what they might be interested in. It has two core products – predicting what a customer would like to buy from a catalog and predicting long-term revenue at the individual user level. It predicts how a given player of a mobile game or app will behave. It is interested in what he would be willing to spend money on and how much he would be willing to spend. Assetario raised four million dollars in 2022. The investment round was led by the Czech fund Credo Ventures and the British investment fund Hoxton Ventures. The startup was founded in 2020 by Jakub Chudík and Matěj Novák.
Advisors: Cytowski & Partners
Minit, a company established in 2017 in Slovakia, in 2022 sold to Microsoft. Minit develops process mining solutions, which is a fast-growing segment. Prior to exit, Minit went through 5 investment rounds involving investors like Early Bird, Target Global, OTP, Salesforce Ventures. The only shareholder is Microsoft, which has integrated the Minit solution into its system.
Advisors: Reed Smith, Ernst & Young, Dentons, Majerník & Miháliková, KPMG
Powerful Medical (VFF, Bpd Partners, Crowdberry)
Powerful Medical is a certified medical device manufacturer and a deep tech research company developing AI-powered products empowering healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat cardiovascular diseases with higher accuracy and confidence. Zero Gravity Capital was the first investor in Powerful Medical in 2020 and was gradually joined by VFF, Arieli Capital, CB Espri, and bpd partners. Together, these investors have enabled Powerful Medical to become the first certified class IIb medical device under EU MDR on the market.
Advisors: Kinstellar, Mazars
FINALISTS IN CATEGORY IMPACT DEAL
Munch (Tilia Impact Ventures, Fiedler Capital, Silicon Gardens)
Munch is an international marketplace allowing restaurants, supermarkets and food manufacturers to sell food products nearing their expiry date to the end customers, at significantly discounted prices (50 % or less of the original price) in order to reduce food waste. One third of all food produced is wasted. This is a global issue for the environment, for the economy and for society. Thanks to the Munch marketplace, food waste at the retail level is significantly reduced while the overall food security of the population is improved.
Advisors: Mavericks Legal, Dr. Tanács Law Firm, Bóné Law Firm
Powerful Medical (VFF, Bpd Partners, Crowdberry)
Powerful Medical is a certified medical device manufacturer and a deep tech research company developing AI-powered products empowering healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat cardiovascular diseases with higher accuracy and confidence. Zero Gravity Capital was the first investor in Powerful Medical in 2020 and was gradually joined by VFF, Arieli Capital, CB Espri, and Ppd Partners. Together, these investors have enabled Powerful Medical to become the first certified class IIb medical device under EU MDR on the market.
Advisors: Kinstellar, Mazars
The Village Network (Credo Ventures, 500 Emerging Europe, Movens Capital, Tilia Impact Ventures)
The Village brings an innovative approach to pre-school care and early childhood education, with a vision that all pre-school children have access to quality education. The Village is a SaaS-enabled EdTech marketplace with an end-to-end solution to set up and run a micro-school. The platform enables parents who want to start pre-schools while offering a solution for parents looking for quality early childhood education for their children. The platform content has been developed in collaboration with Harvard University and emphasizes key competencies needed for life in the 21st century – social and emotional skills. With their concept, The Village supports female micro-entrepreneurship, their professional development and fosters gender equity.
Advisors: Kondracki Celej, B2RLaw
FINALISTS IN CATEGORY PE FUND MANAGER
ARX Equity Partners
The private equity fund manages more than EUR 300 million in four consecutive funds, which has made a total of 33 investments in several Central European countries during its 26-year existence. In 2022, ARX completed the acquisition of three companies – Brebeck Composite in the Czech Republic, Doors in Slovenia and Klient Holding in Hungary.
ESPIRA Investments is a PE fund that invests in small and medium-sized enterprises in Central Europe mainly in the form of growth capital. Part of the investment strategy is the support of companies in which both men and women hold management positions. ESPIRA supports businessmen and businesswomen who successfully run their business and maintain enthusiasm for further growth.
Genesis Capital Equity
A PE fund company, established in 1999 with more than EUR 300 million raised distributed over five funds. GC provides capital for the financing of acquisitions and supports the development of small and medium-sized companies in the CR, SR, Poland, Hungary and Austria. Genesis completed fundraising for its latest GPEF IV fund, reaching a target size of EUR 150 million. Significant deals in recent years include: Borcad CZ, Hecht Motors and TES Vsetín.
A private equity fund focused on investment in small and medium-sized companies in the growth phase primarily in the following sectors: information technology, agriculture, retail, telecommunications, and education. Sandberg Capital currently manages two funds. Significant deals in recent years have included: Green Fox Academy, Quantox Technology, Phase.
FINALISTS IN CATEGORY VC FUND MANAGER
A leading central European venture capital fund focused on investments in early-stage technology startups. Credo Ventures has raised more than EUR 250 million since 2010, and currently invests from its fourth fund sized EUR 75 million. With more than 70 investments. Credo is one of the most active venture investors in the region. Significant investments include: Productboard, UiPath, Apiary, Displate, Deepnote, Gamee, Around and Cera.
VC fund based in Prague, which has been active in the technology start-up market since 2011. The fund primarily invests in the early stage with a focus on the CEE region. In the current generation of the fund, it has EUR 90 million at its disposal within the actual generation of funds. Significant investments in recent years include: Rohlík, Better Stack, Docplanner, Woltair.
Nation 1 VC
With ten new investments in 2022, Nation 1 is the most active VC investor in the Czech Republic. It focuses on technology startups that are reshaping traditional industries, especially in finance and health. Some of their significant investments in recent years are Vitadio, Hedepy and NutritionPro.
Venture to Future Fund
Venture to Future Fund is a unique fund in the CEE region established on the joint initiative of the EIB and the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic through Slovak Investment Holding. It is historically the first fund in CEE which obtained funding from the EIB. VFF aims at high-tech startups with innovative solutions and always invests alongside independent private co-investors based on the pari-passu principle. VFF´s total AUM exceed EUR 40 million. It´s latest investments have been: Powerful Medical, Photoneo, Spaceti and Nexineo.
FINALISTS IN CATEGORY ADVISORS
Consulting firm providing transactional and financial consulting, one of the four Big 4 consulting companies. They help clients to solve business issues, investments realized through M&A, divestments, reorganizations or litigation.
Deals 2022: TESCAN ORSAY HOLDING (Carlyle), Acquisition BORCAD (Genesis Capital Equity and Integral Venture Partners)
Ernst & Young
Consulting group focused on transactions, audit, tax and law. It is among the Big 4 consulting companies. EY strives to create a long-term value for clients, employees and society through its expertise and services, thereby building confidence in the capital markets and investment environment.
JŠK provides a comprehensive range of legal advisory services related to transactions and businesses of commercial companies. JŠK operates in the field of private equity, venture capital, real estate, insurance and others. JŠK is the founding member of a unique network of commercial law firms called PONTES, which includes law firms from most of the CEE countries.
Deals 2022: TESCAN ORSAY HOLDING (Carlyle), Alsendo (Abris Capital)