Top-10 Artificial Intelligence Startups in Poland
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As the largest eastern member of the European Union (EU) by population, Poland houses 38 million people in an area roughly the size of New Mexico. Following the end of the Communist era in 1990, the country rapidly transitioned to a free market economy that is now one of the most robust in Central Europe and the only country in Europe to register positive growth in 2009. Even with all her strengths, Poland still faces some challenges concerning infrastructure, the business environment, and a burdensome tax system. Investments in research and development haven’t been particularly strong in the past, and there is a tendency for educated young Poles to leave the country in favor of more developed EU states.
The government held its first round table on the development of a national artificial intelligence (AI) strategy in May 2018 which was attended by representatives from the scientific community. The event focused on policies and tools required to foster the growth of AI in Poland, and outlined strategic areas for the implementation of AI including healthcare, public administration, education, and cybersecurity. We consulted the investment roster of Berlin-based VC investor Asgard Capital and Crunchbase to come up with a list of the ten most funded AI startups in Poland based on disclosed funding.
|Business Intelligence, Fraud Prevention
|Liber Finance Group
|Air Pollution Measurement
|Search Engine Optimization
|Image Processing, AR, VR
Founded in 2012, Warsaw startup Creamfinance has raised $30.1 million to develop a consumer lending platform that utilizes AI-based credit scoring. The startup feeds a mix of online data and traditional credit intelligence to its machine learning algorithms to decide whether a customer is eligible for a loan. Applications are made online and the approval process is automated with the company aiming to become a one-click loan provider. Creamfinance provides short-term microloans and credit lines to its mainly millennial customer base and is present in Poland, Latvia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Denmark, Mexico, and Spain.
The startup has posted an impressive annual revenue growth rate of 84% for the period 2015-2018 with margins between 21-28%. Loans received from the platform have an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 50-240% according to the official company overview, way above credit card loan market rates. High APRs don’t really matter much when almost half of all millennials can’t tell you what interest rate their credit card charges them.
Founded in 2013, Krakow startup Synerise has raised $6.7 million to develop a marketing automation and customer personalization platform powered by AI. The startup’s software consumes customer data in real time to display relevant search results and product recommendations to e-commerce visitors. Algorithms that crunch behavioral data tell users when to launch marketing campaigns, project sales numbers, and analyze the performance of different marketing channels like mobile, web, and physical retail. When you look for a running shoe on the web, it is Synerise that will be responsible for the Nike banner that won’t leave you alone for weeks, the ads for running shorts popping up in your Facebook feed, and the email reminding you of a special discount in a nearby sports outlet. The company has a handful of large corporate clients including Microsoft, Orange, and Carrefour, and is present in America, Europe, and the Middle East.
Founded in 2016, Warsaw startup Nethone has raised $6 million to develop an AI platform for business intelligence and fraud prevention. Nethone’s algorithms record and identify every device interacting with a website and derive actionable insights based on these interactions. These can be customer behavioral analytics, predictions, returning user forecasts, or fraud event detection. Everything a visitor does on a client website is recorded and integrated into the “know your customer” process.
An American airline reference client of Nethone has reported an 80% decrease in fraud levels and a 44% decrease in manual reviews post implementation. The startup promises easy developer integration into any system and you can get up and running within minutes using their Application Programming Interface (API).
Founded in 2015, Krakow startup Elmodis has raised $5.2 million to develop an Internet of Things (IoT) platform for the predictive maintenance of industrial machines. The company offers a combination of hardware sensors and software to monitor the health of machines and flag necessary maintenance work in advance. The application can be used in conjunction with electric motors, conveyors, pumps, and industrial fans, machinery that is present in energy, manufacturing, and heavy industries. Benefits include longer lifetime, lower maintenance costs, and prevention of unscheduled production stops. To put this into context, unscheduled downtime can cost manufacturing companies up to $260,000 per hour. Elmodis is also running a project in partnership with the European Union focusing on the monitoring of power generation equipment.
Founded in 2013, Warsaw startup Applica.ai has raised $3.5 million to develop algorithms that process unstructured text. The company has applied neural networks to language modeling in order to locate, extract, and compare relevant information in large amounts of documentation. By applying Applica’s algorithms, customers can reduce human effort by 75% and human errors by 90% while speeding up document turnover to under one second. The service is used in credit verification processes, customer service claims, and debt collection – all of which require the understanding, classification, and comparison of large bodies of text. Applica’s proprietary machine learning technology requires one-tenth less data for supervised learning when compared to typical machine learning models. This matters because supervised learning is a resource-heavy and costly part of a machine learning implementation. Applica is present in both Poland and the UK.
Liber Finance Group
Founded in 2014, Warsaw startup Liber Finance Group has raised $2.2 million to develop marketplaces that match borrowers and lenders in real-time using big data analytics. Liber Finance uses AI algorithms to find lenders matching borrowers’ required terms, and also performs instant credit scoring based on customers’ social data, online behavior, and interactions with the startup’s lending platforms. The company aims to provide fast and automated loans to private individuals and small and medium enterprises, not unlike Creamfinance.
The difference between the two companies is that Liber Finance only provides the marketplace and the scoring mechanism leaving the loans to be approved and transferred by third-party banks. The startup also uses its big data algorithms to build marketing automation software for banks and has multiple banking partners serving many countries in Europe.
Founded in 2017, Katowice startup Digital Fingerprints has raised $2 million to develop online authentication solutions that use behavioral biometrics. According to Digital Fingerprints, PINs and passwords are antiquated and easy to breach and biometric checks like fingerprints, facial recognition, or iris recognition can also be copied, although they are much more difficult to replicate. This is why the startup has developed algorithms that analyze human-computer interaction, like how a user types, clicks, and uses the mouse, all in real time. The way we interact with our devices is unique, and the algorithms watching this interaction can identify a user in a few seconds.
Think about how you type your name. Every time you’re asked to type your name, the way in which you type it can easily be used as an authentication method. Even the way you wake up your smartphone by touching the screen can be authenticated. Authentication becomes a continuous process which locks out the user any time suspicious behavior is flagged. The technology is similar to how Callsign uses AI for authentication, something we took a look at a few years back. These kinds of behavioral biometric checks will help protect consumers from the massive data breaches that seem to be happening more and more frequently.
Founded in 2016, Krakow startup Airly has raised $1.2 million to develop a platform that monitors and forecasts air quality using sensors and AI. The company currently has 2,500 working sensors located mainly in Poland and a number of big European cities. These sensors measure levels of pollution by looking at air composition in real-time and Airly’s algorithms analyze the data to come up with insights about pollution in areas of coverage.
The startup uses AI to model air quality and predict how pollution levels are going to change. Free access to air quality data is available for anyone interested in developing applications or writing research on the subject. Airly has been working with Cisco on the corporation’s smart cities strategy since the early stages of the startup.
Update 10/02/2020: Airly has raised $2 million in seed funding to scale the company’s air quality product. This brings the company’s total funding to $3.1 million to date.
Founded in 2014, Warsaw startup Senuto has raised $540,000 to develop Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools that utilize AI. SEO is a branch of online marketing where companies craft their digital presence so that they appear at the top of search engine searches which increases their visibility to customers. (It’s because of our SEO capabilities that many companies use our content marketing offering – and you should too.) Senuto’s software-as-a-service provides search result rank tracking, semantic keyword search in all languages, and content planning, optimization, and performance analysis. The company also does custom SEO consulting and big data projects related to SEO. According to Senuto, the basic rules of SEO copywriting are choosing to include the right keywords, delivering informative and error-free content that’s well structured, and refraining from automatic content generation or copying other websites. Services start at $60 a month for freelancers and packages scale according to the extent of usage.
Founded in 2013, Gdansk startup CTAdventure has raised $300,000 to develop tools for image processing and Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR). The startup is involved in four types of projects spanning four different industries. The first application assists doctors performing capsule endoscopy, a diagnostic procedure where a capsule the size of a large pill equipped with cameras slides down the digestive tract and records the inside of internal organs. Machine learning algorithms automatically analyze this footage and reduce the time spent on analysis and evaluation by 70%. The second application, called FashionTagger, detects and classifies apparel on pictures, helping shoppers search e-commerce stores using detailed attributes of clothes like pattern, hemline, and neckline. The company’s VR division delivers interactive training to professionals in the petroleum and energy industries, and soldiers in the army. CTAdventure is also involved in custom mobile and web application development involving AR.
The capital city of Poland, Warsaw, is an excellent place to visit that doesn’t seem to get the respect it deserves on the Polish tourism circuit. It’s not just a great place to wash down some freshly-chopped steak tartar with a Żubrówka and apple juice, it’s also home to half the AI startups on our list which have managed to raise a decent amount of financing on par with Denmark. While Polish AI startups may not be as visible on the global stage as other countries like Denmark, that’s changing as many of these startups expand internationally and become competitive on a global scale. With the launch of an official AI strategy, the Polish government will be able to strengthen their strategic areas of focus and potentially keep some of the educated local talent from leaving for greener pastures, killing two birds with one stone.
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