This is a guest post by Maciek Laskus, one of the organisers behind Startup Safary.
The Polish tech scene has largely remained under the radar, partly due to the fact that there have been no major exits or startup celebrities emanating from Poland. But with Estimote making a splash in Silicon Valley, Mike Sadowski leading the Websummit competition and the Applicake team building Base, that’s slowly starting to change.
And Poland is certainly a country to keep an eye out for – it can be a gateway to Central and Eastern European markets, which the Allegro Group has already proved by expanding to the region and beating eBay with its online auctions in many of these places.
Finally, not a single month has passed since I moved to Berlin where somebody hasn’t asked me how to attract developers from Poland. Well, the simple answer is to network with Polish developers. Usually this is not very helpful advice, but this weekend, it’s different: more than 150 entrepreneurs, investors and other startup community members will be in town for Startup Safary Berlin. You can also meet them at Betahaus on Saturday during a special meet up called Berlin Meets the Polish Startup Scene (it’s free, but spots are limited).
In order to help you be better informed, I compiled a list of the top ten movers and shakers from Poland that you can meet this week in Berlin:
Rafał Han, investor, Krakow
Rafał has built and sold a number of businesses. He is an active angel investor and has invested in DuckieDeck, Vocabla, Startup Compass and iTraff Technology among others. He was also the lead investor in Estimote, which recently graduated from Y Combinator.
In addition, he is the founder and CEO at HanBright SA, a company building ‘edutainment’ projects for kids. One of them, ciufcia.pl, became the largest Polish website with edutainment games for preschoolers. Right now he is focused on Chance – Startup Academy.
Marek Przystaś, entrepreneur, DuckieDeck.com, Krakow (recently moved to Berlin)
Founder of Duckie Deck, which provides educational games for children in over 180 countries, and which can boast of more than over eight million toddlers and preschoolers who have already played its games. Marek also co-founded a 600 square-metre co-working space in Krakow.
Krzysztof Bełech and Michał Łukaszewski, investors, SATUS Venture
Krzysztof is the president and Michał the managing director of of SATUS Venture, one of the largest and most active VC funds in Poland, headquartered in Krakow.
Marek Kapturkiewicz, investor, Innovation Nest, Krakow
Co-founder, investor and partner at Innovation Nest (seed/VC fund) and co-founder and board member at SPIN Entrepreneurship School; previously the long-term executive board member, COO and senior vice president of the Onet.pl (the largest horizontal portal in Poland and one of the biggest in Europe).
Marcin Jaśkiewicz, founder and presenter, Webshake.tv
Marcin is the founder of ISTV Media, the company behind Webshake.tv, a lifestyle TV network that features shows dedicated to startups. Marcin is not only the founder of the company, but also appears in front of the camera.
Andrzej Targosz, event organiser, Krakow
Andrzej is the co-founder of some of the most important conferences in Poland, including BitSpiration in Krakow, e-innovation and the Atmosphere conferences in Poznan. He also organises Krakow Startup Weekend.
Jasiek Stasz and Michał Juda, entrepreneurs, shwrm.com, Warsaw
Founders of SHOWROOM, the current poster child of Warsaw’s startup scene. After taking investment from HardGamma Ventures and Hubert Burda Media, SHOWROOM is growing like crazy and is being nominated by many as the top candidate to become the first big exit from Poland. As the largest platform for independent fashion in Poland, it team is getting close to 20 and they are preparing to expand into the German market next year.
Michał Białek, entrepreneur, Wykop.pl, Poznan
COO of Wykop, the “Polish version of Digg” with over 7.5 million monthly unique users. Wykop was recently acquired by Allegro Group (the “Polish eBay”), the largest Polish internet company.
Wiktor Schmidt and Kuba Filipowski, entrepreneurs, netguru.co, Poznan and Warsaw
Wiktor and Kuba founded netguru, which is a leading Ruby on Rails software house in Poland with currently more than 40 developers. There are ambitions for a headcount of 100 in the very near future. Apart from running netguru, they created Humanway, a company building recruiting process management tool, which they sold to Pracuj.pl (the “Polish version of Monster.com”).
Arkadiusz Senko, entrepreneur, Red-Sky (FilesTube.com), Szczecin
Arkadiusz is the co-founder of Red-Sky, the company builder behind FilesTube and many other online brands. Red-Sky has offices all over Poland but is headquartered in Szczecin with over 100 people on the team and more than 130 million users across all websites.
Who did I miss? Let me know in the comments – and I’ll see you on Saturday!