In March 2018, RPA software provider UiPath became the first Romanian start-up to acquire the status of a so-called “unicorn” – a privately held start-up company valued at over $1 billion.
UiPath has served as an inspirational role model for many other Romanian tech start-ups, several of which have also now achieved unicorn status. The country’s largest online retailer eMag (pictured), aka “Amazon” of Romania, became the second in December 2018, followed by Elrond, a blockchain start-up, in early 2021. Elrond has developed a new blockchain technology that can process more than 15,000 transactions per second, compared with just 7 and 14 transactions per second by Bitcoin and Ethereum (the world’s top two cryptocurrencies).
“Many Romanian entrepreneurs have told me that the story of UiPath has inspired them to dream bigger. Until recently, many talented Romanian entrepreneurs, unlike their American counterparts, did not allow themselves to think big, which really limited their success. The success of UiPath has also helped to put Romania on the global tech map, which has opened doors for other companies.”
UiPath’s Chief Strategy Officer Vargha Moayed
Founded in 2018, DRUID is another Romanian AI start-up rapidly making a name for itself. The Bucharest-based company has developed a “no-code” chatbot design platform to help organizations with planning, developing, and deploying chatbots. It has so far raised nearly $7M and has more than 100 customers across the world. In 2020, UiPath partnered with DRUID to offer clients a platform integrating the capabilities of DRUID chatbots and UiPath’s software robots.
“The AI start-up scene in Romania is young and small, but it’s expanding rapidly. The first local venture capital funds were established just three years ago, but tech investments reached 60 deals (worth 31 million euros) in 2020, up from 40 deals in 2019. Seed funding doubled year-on-year to 22 million euros in 2020.”
Constantin Pelehra, Senior Project Manager at Horváth & Partners in Bucharest
On the back of such growth, Horváth & Partners expect investments in AI startups to reach at least 50 million euros by 2025.
“Romania’s AI start-up ecosystem is still in its infancy, but it has an increasingly bright future ahead of it. The country is in a solid position to triumph in cybersecurity, enterprise software, fintech, and AI-based engines, and it’s a pretty safe bet we’re going to see more Romanian unicorns in the near future.”
Andreea Plesea, Chief Revenue Officer, According to DRUID’s