Since 2010, the Hungarian ecosystem of startups has been developing rapidly. Ninety-four new startups are founded, averagely, every year in the country of Central Europe with 80% of the ecosystem members making its appearance within the last 10 years. All this growth has come from both European and Hungarian financial initiatives.
Hungarian startups, according to international reports, are 1.500, whereas 1.135 of them are marked as active. In Hungary, 64 investors, 57 incubators and accelerators are active, and 942 million € have been allocated to funding.
The data on Hungarian startups were given to Greek journalists during a meeting, that was jointly organised by the Hungarian Embassy and the Hungarian Export Promotion Agency (HEPA) Athens office on Friday 22/11, as part of the Innovation Conference "Smart Cities and Sustainable Energy Management", which was carried out the same day by HEPA in collaboration with Found. ation.
The information came from a relevant report, in which it was emphasized-as mentioned above-that 2017 was a significant year in which a considerable increase in the number of startups was established, mainly due to the creation of Hiventures, the Hungarian state venture capital, and 11 incubator receiving partial European funding.
Which are the activities of Hiventures and what are they looking for
Based on the report given to journalists by the representative of Hiventures, the VC fund focuses on early-stage startups (pre-seed and seed), due to the country’s gap in surrounding the funding of newly-created enterprises on early stages. After all, for Hiventures, if a brilliant idea exists, funding can be received even before an established startup.
Hiventures funding value starts from 50.000 euros and can reach up to 3 million euros, although most of them reach 1.5 m euros. The Fund manages a total of 320 m euros, with 200 m euros to be directed at early-stage startups and the rest to other types of businesses.
Other, Hiventures funding, business, are more "classic" examples of business. A major problem, as mentioned in the report, that exists today in Hungary is related to businesses that started after the fall of communism. Their founders are now close to retirement age and most of them want to sell out. Hiventures, offers this process through buy-in or buy-out management.
It was noted that the fund, which met with Mr. Yiannis Tsakiris, the Greek Deputy Minister of Development and Investment, although not focused on a specific business sector, is more interested in innovation related to the technology sector. For example, the industry benefiting from the highest investment value so far is Medtech.
Concerning their visit to Greece, Álmos Mikesy, Deputy CEO of Hiventures, mentioned that the Greek ecosystem and economy are unknown to them, and they want to discover and learn more. At the same time, he noted that there is an opportunity in our country, for the Hungarian companies through collaborations with Greek accelerators and incubators.
He underlined that although Hungarian companies are active in countries such as Germany and Great Britain, these markets are highly competitive, so Hungary should be "open" for possibilities offered in other areas. So "why not" in Greece, which can be an opportunity for companies of the portfolio of Hiventures.
Also, reference was made to the opportunity for the Greek startups, who are trying to enter the Central European market where, for example, could proceed in the establishment of an office in Hungary, where Hiventures could provide Financial incentives and support to the process.
Hungarian Ambassador’s point of view
The Hungarian Ambassador in Greece, Mr. Erik Haupt, referred to the Hungarian Government's attempt to increase foreign investment with a friendly tax system. He also mentioned the area of Bilateral Trade between Greece and Hungary, noting that annual exports to Greece are reaching 364 million €, while imports from Greece are at the level of 92 million €.
Greece is the second most popular tourist destination for Hungarians and every year more than 200.000 Hungarians choose Greece for their holidays. Additionally, 50.000 Greek visitors arrive in Hungary every year. Hungary's goal is to multiply the number of Greek visitors to the Central European country.
The Ambassador referred to Hungary's interest in the sector of Smart Cities and Innovation in Greece, while he recognized many opportunities for business partnerships between Greece and Hungary in environment-friendly solutions as well as opportunities for business partnerships in the tourism industry. The aim is to strengthen all these efforts through the support of partnerships between enterprises from the two countries and through the conduct of business forums in Hungary.