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MAPPING POLAND’S TECH SECTOR:

A Network Analysis of the Entrepreneurship Community

By Endeavor Catalyst
Sponsors Mobile
Research By:
Insight
With Support From:
BCG
BNP
PWC

Endeavor Insight partnered with Endeavor Poland to study the entrepreneurship ecosystem for tech companies in Poland. The purpose of the study is to provide insights on the sector’s current state, evaluate its strengths and weaknesses, and enable decision makers to better understand and support local tech entrepreneurship.

Mapping Poland’s Tech Sector

March 2024
About the Data
The findings are based on 94 interviews with Polish tech entrepreneurs between May and September 2023, and data on 700 companies and their founders. In addition, data was collected on over 1,100 support organizations, investors, and mentors that support the local tech community.

When successful founders support other entrepreneurs, the ecosystem thrives.

Network mapping shows entrepreneurial companies and how they are connected to one another through former employment, mentorship, investment, and serial entrepreneurship. The size of each bubble represents the relative influence of that company’s founders on other entrepreneurs in the ecosystem.

Poland’s tech sector was historically driven by companies that bootstrapped their growth.

The rise of companies in specialized subsectors began in the early 2000s, and now makes up a majority of the tech sector.

Public money boosted the local VC market beginning in the mid-2010s, benefiting a wave of VC-backed firms.

The network has numerous employee spinouts (blue arrows), but formal mentorship and investment (orange and green arrows) among founders is relatively rare.
Jump to Interactive Map

Polish founders of scaleup companies are having a global multiplier effect.

Docplanner and Booksy demonstrate the global multiplier effect that successful founders can have by providing mentorship, investment, and employment to people who go on to found their own spinout companies. The founders of these two companies have impacted entrepreneurs outside Poland, such as in Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Docplanner
Booksy

Scaleup entrepreneurs are the engine of the economy, but increased support is needed so more companies can scale faster.

Businesses that grow rapidly to 50 or more employees will do the most for the economy. Poland’s tech sector is predominantly made up of smaller companies, but businesses that grow larger are driving the vast majority of job creation.

Tech companies that are “international first” have high growth potential and position Poland to become more globally competitive. Poland needs to foster a new generation of companies that are expanding to other markets so that they build a larger consumer base, attract more capital, and bring greater value to the Polish economy.

Wiktor Schmidt Netguru
“The Polish startup ecosystem is currently at a critical juncture. It has a lot of potential and innovation, yet it stands at a point where greater integration with the global entrepreneurial community could be immensely beneficial. This phase requires not just local support but also an openness to global perspectives and practices.”
Cofounder of Netguru and Chair of Endeavor Poland

Tech founders in Poland face several barriers to growing their companies, but scaled companies face different challenges.

The top challenge for Poland’s tech founders is access to qualified managerial talent, especially among founders of scaled companies. Other major barriers include access to customers among B2B companies, the unpredictable taxation system, and a lack of conducive legal frameworks. Access to capital is a more pronounced challenge for smaller companies.

Poland’s VC landscape has not kept pace with tech sector growth.

Bartek
“I’m all about building trust between founders and their support crew to drive entrepreneurial growth in Poland. It’s about entrepreneurs inspiring, supporting, and investing in one another based on their experience and success. The ‘Mapping Poland’s Tech Sector’ study is sparking some real talk about the future of our ecosystem, and I’m all in for it. Let’s strengthen and multiply existing founder-to-founder relations.”
Managing Director, Endeavor Poland

The leadership role of Poland’s tech founders is crucial to the future of the ecosystem.

Endeavor Insight recommends the following strategies for decision makers in Poland to foster a more globally competitive and self-propelling entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Maciej Noga Pracuj
1
Focus resources on companies with the most potential to scale rapidly.
“I would like to see more organized development around going abroad and scaling. With Endeavor, I think we can provide this. We can put our entrepreneurs together with founders in other countries to help in ways like creating enterprise sales and exchanging ideas. Such an international structure would really help.”
Cofounder of Grupa Pracuj and Board Member at Endeavor Poland
1. Focus resources on companies with the most potential to scale rapidly.
Maciej Noga Pracuj
“I would like to see more organized development around going abroad and scaling. With Endeavor, I think we can provide this. We can put our entrepreneurs together with founders in other countries to help in ways like creating enterprise sales and exchanging ideas. Such an international structure would really help.”
Cofounder of Grupa Pracuj and Board Member at Endeavor Poland
Mariusz Gralewski
2
Increase local and global connectivity among Polish founders.
“Organizations like Endeavor connect people with people from other countries with proper experience. Joining those kinds of initiatives and being exposed to people with proper experience is a way to go.”
Cofounder and CEO of Docplanner
2. Increase local and global connectivity among Polish founders.
Mariusz Gralewski
“Organizations like Endeavor connect people with people from other countries with proper experience. Joining those kinds of initiatives and being exposed to people with proper experience is a way to go.”
Cofounder and CEO of Docplanner
Cofounder and CEO of Docplanner
3
Provide more tailored support to address the challenges of scaling businesses.
“The number of initiatives connecting entrepreneurs has been growing, but more is needed around mentorship. One-on-one mentoring that is structured and organized is evolving, but it is not used by startups to the extent that it could be.”
Cofounder of Albrecht&Partners
3. Provide more tailored support to address the challenges of scaling businesses.
Cofounder and CEO of Docplanner
“The number of initiatives connecting entrepreneurs has been growing, but more is needed around mentorship. One-on-one mentoring that is structured and organized is evolving, but it is not used by startups to the extent that it could be.”
Cofounder of Albrecht&Partners

Poland’s Tech Sector
Interactive Network Map

For the full results and methodology download the report.

About Endeavor

We are the leading global community of, by, and for high-impact entrepreneurs — those who dream bigger, scale faster, and pay it forward. Driven by our belief that high-impact entrepreneurs transform economies, Endeavor has been on a mission to build thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems in emerging and underserved markets around the world since its creation in 1997. Endeavor was established in the Polish market in 2022. Contact [email protected] to get involved.

Endeavor Insight is the research division of Endeavor that provides data-driven analysis and visualizations showing what makes entrepreneurial ecosystems thrive. Our research team of economists, data scientists, and policy analysts specializes in understanding the needs of high-impact entrepreneurs and evaluating the networks that enable them to scale up and pay it forward to the next generation of entrepreneurs. For more information, contact [email protected].

About BCG Poland

BCG collaborates with business and societal leaders to address critical challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. Our approach integrates advanced technologies and flexible methodologies, helping businesses, including startups and entrepreneurial ventures, remain robust amidst uncertainty. In 2019, we established a technology Hub for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in Poland – BCG Platinion and BCGX, providing technology-related services and solutions to businesses. This includes areas such as digital transformation, cybersecurity, data analytics, and technology strategy. BCG also contributes to the startup ecosystem through research, thought leadership, and partnerships with accelerators, incubators, and venture capital firms.

About BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas Bank Polska S.A. has been listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange since 2011. It is part of the BNP Paribas Group, which is present in 64 countries. The bank supports Polish startups on three levels. First, it integrates their technological solutions to support the bank’s digitalization and operational efficiency. Second, it invests in startups that can be effectively scaled not only within the bank, but also among its clients and partners. Third, it offers a unique suite of expert-led banking services that supports world-changing companies in setting up their first legal entity, opening accounts abroad, and raising international capital rounds.

About PwC

PwC is a network of companies providing business, strategic, technological, tax, and legal consulting and audit services. Polish PwC companies employ almost 7,000 people, including approximately 2,000 in technology teams. PwC has experience in cooperation with startups and scaleups, including an acceleration program and comprehensive support in terms of transactions, technology, and expansion into global markets. Thanks to cooperation with venture capital and private equity funds, we can also help startups obtain financing. At PwC, we combine technological innovations with human capital – the knowledge and various competences of our experts. Through our actions, we actively shape the future of business and the environment in which we operate.