Brno Innovation Hub: Silicon Valley of the Czech Republic | So Good News
Located in the South Moravian region of the Czech Republic, the city of Brno and its surroundings are often associated with a rich wine culture and excellent cycling routes. However, in addition to being a popular holiday destination, the reputation of the Czech Republic’s second largest city resonates particularly well with the innovation community across the country and beyond. From an old factory area to today’s metropolis with high-tech facilities, Brno’s innovation hub has attracted talent and companies from all over the world for more than two decades, turning the city into the “Silicon Valley of the Czech Republic”.
Education meets innovation in Brno
With 13 universities with over 60,000 students in a city of less than 400,000 people, Brno has become an increasingly popular place to study locally and internationally. According to the 2021 report of the JIC Innovation Center of South Moravia, almost half of recent graduates completed courses at the faculties of science and engineering. Moreover, the city is home to a quarter of the nation’s Ph.D. graduates every year, helps future young researchers to develop themselves in the region.
The most important advantage of the Brno region is the concentration of small and medium-sized businesses in commercial and technology-oriented research and development jobs, which opens up many opportunities for cooperation. As a result, the region of South Moravia is also the Czech Republic and Central and Eastern Europe in terms of investment in science and the highest R&D expenditure in the Czech Republic and Central and Eastern Europe. Consequently, the intensity of education in the Brno region is leading throughout the country and can be compared with some of the leading regions of the EU.
Brno is an international innovation hub
From Honeywell, Red Hat, AT&T and Siemens to SAP, Brno has been attracting multinational tech giants for some time. More than 77,000 foreign workers were registered in the region in 2021, nearly a third of whom were skilled workers, the JIC 2022 data report noted. Business specialists make up about 50,000 employees of the region. Moreover, regional high-tech employment of more than 6% is on par with the most developed western regions, such as Utrecht in the Netherlands or Oberpfalz in Germany.
With significant support from the innovation hub and international startup accelerator JIC, a large freelance community and Europe’s largest hub of influence, Brno offers an ideal environment for startups and business growth. According to Crunchbase, the region of South Moravia had 165 startups founded ten years ago or less.
Popular technology companies of the Brno region
Brno’s industry focus is on software development, especially in the fields of Saas, artificial intelligence or e-commerce. In addition to global, well-known corporations, the Brno region is the origin and homeland of many Czech companies that influence international markets.
Here at The Recursive, let’s take a look at some of the famous companies and startups from the Brno innovation hub that are starting to map the ecosystem of South Moravia..
Founders: Oliver Dluhy, Josef Kepesi, Jiri Hlawenka
about: Founded in 2012, Kiwi.com is an online travel technology company with over 800 air and ground carriers worldwide. Kiwi.com employs more than 1,500 people worldwide, processes more than 100 million searches every day and sells more than 50,000 places a day.
Highlights: Kiwi.com is one of the fastest growing Czech companies. The company was acquired by US General Atlantic in 2019 and announced a €100 million investment in 2019 to accelerate growth.
Name: Y Soft
Founders: Vaclav Muchna and Martin de Martini
about: Y Soft is a global IT firm that enables businesses to work smarter with intelligent office solutions. The company develops efficient 2D and 3D printing solutions, document capture capabilities and streamlined automated workflows. Y Soft was founded in 2000 as a student project at the Masaryk University in Brno and currently operates in 17 countries with around 400 employees.
Highlights: The company actively supports the technology ecosystem through the innovation center YSoft Labs and internal fund Y Soft Ventures..
Name: MADFINGER Games
Founder: Marek Rabas
about: As a world-renowned independent game studio with a rich portfolio of award-winning titles, MADFINGER Games has been played by millions of people around the world. The company was founded in 2008 by a team that previously worked at the largest game studio in the Czech Republic. MADFINGER Games focuses on quality visuals, gameplay, and experience and has since released well-known game series such as Dead Trigger, Samurai, and Shadowgun.
Highlights: MADFINGER Games received €5 million funding in 2021 to further develop the team and attract new talent.
Name: ROI Hunter
Founder: Karel Schindler
about: ROI Hunter’s product performance management (PPM) platform helps e-commerce sellers become more efficient by collecting product-level data from seller channels and custom sources. Founded in 2014, ROI Hunter won the Facebook Accelerator competition and became a Meta Business Partner (MBP).
Highlights: The company has offices in 5 countries and has so far received more than 5 million euros in funding, including from Czech VC KAYA. Enterprises.
Founders: Peter Janoszyk
about: Smartlook is a behavioral analytics solution for web and mobile record users on websites and mobile apps. The startup was founded in 2016 and today helps more than 200,000 businesses of all sizes and industries understand user behavior.
Highlights: Smartlook raised $3.8 million in Series A funding in 2020 and was previously backed by Czech Republic’s Reflex Capital. in its initial stage.
Founders: Marek Polczak, Martin Holecko, Vaclav Bittner
about: VRgineers has been offering next-generation virtual and mixed reality pilot training systems for commercial and military clients since 2017. With the highest precision headset and the broadest vision available in the market, the startup employs 50 technical experts and industry professionals. Delivering solutions to clients such as the US Air Force, US Navy, Royal Air Force, Audi, Skoda or Lamborghini.
Highlights: Backed by various Czech investors, including Tensor Ventures and Nation 1, VRgineers has raised more than $6.5 million in previous rounds.
Founders: Milan Šimek and Mr. Lubomir
about: Founded in 2014, Sewio is a real-time location system (RTLS) manufacturer for indoor traffic control in Industry 4.0, retail, sports, entertainment and livestock industries. Their IoT solution enables process visibility, increases production efficiency, simplifies the inventory process and improves safety.
Highlights: The team, which raised $1 million from Y Soft Ventures in 2015, collaborates with partners and clients in more than 30 countries, including Volkswagen, Skoda and Budvar.
Founders: Christoph Hilard and Michal Tresner
about: ThreatMark is a fraud prevention service provider (FPaaS) offering real-time customer recognition solutions that enable banks to build fully reliable and secure online banking systems. ThreatMark has been offering the world’s first anti-fraud platform based on behavioral intelligence since 2015.
Highlights: The cybersecurity solution was named to Deloitte’s Top 50 Technology Fast 50 for CE and has raised more than $6.5 million in funding from investors including Springtide Ventures. and Rockaway Capital.
Founders: Jiri Kobelka and Samuel Shramko
about: Blockchain startup Tatum has been garnering a lot of attention since its founding in 2018 at the beginning of its journey. The team is developing an infrastructure building platform that allows developers to quickly and easily implement blockchain into their products.
Highlights: Tatum is the first Czech startup in the SkyDeck accelerator in Silicon Valley. They closed one of the largest funding rounds of 2022 in the Czech Republic, raising more than $40 million from foreign as well as Czech investors Tensor Ventures and DEPO Ventures..