Wroclaw has finally woken up, looked around, and realized that its not just about the tech. For years, groups of techies have bandied together to build wonderful tech just because they can and then done nothing with it. The startup scene finally moved away from the cargo cult culture where they tried to emulate Silicon Valley without understanding how Silicon Valley actually worked. Instead the ecosystem, lead by TechSaturdays, embraced the pay it forward concept sharing knowledge, contacts, experiences and of talking about failures as well as successes.
The pivotal change that snared success was a moved to ensure that funding was aimed at bridging the lack of commercial experience and bringing on board people that had significant market access – this cost neutral approach led to companies pivoting before spending time creating code or products which would never be used.
As an ecosystem it has started to mature, early successes in SAAS from live chat and in outsourcing from SMT spawned a host of me-too companies, building products and solutions to other people and selling time to companies which produced their own scalable products and solutions.
The focus on bridging the commercial gap filled in the missing part of the jigsaw. Long renowned for its research and development establishments and technically gifted developers, Wroclaw emerged as a new powerhouse creating companies that were as innovative commercially as they were technically, with a focus on creating clusters and complimentary companies that could access international lucrative markets.
How Did Wroclaw Do It?
How did Wroclaw win? It’s simple, really. International expertise has been bought in, with mentors and founders with diverse backgrounds. More female founders have emerged as leaders, as well as successfully capitalizing on the diaspora – those who had successful carved out careers abroad and came back with that wealth of experience and, more importantly, contacts. As a result a new wave of successful startups was created with experienced entrepreneurs, diaspora, and developers.
So maybe not that simple.
There are also a few shining stars in Wroclaw’s firmament.
Brand24 now provides an AI assistant which proactively guides you in social media usage. Not only does it warn you about real-time events but it also suggests ways of dealing with them
A cluster of nanotech companies has sprouted up around Saule Technologies and XTPL , with IOT companies focusing on revenues and accessing customer markets with BleBox , OORT and Datarino – analytics for off line retail- all experiencing rapid growth
Explaineverything continues to dominate the educational sector and has brought along other partners to this sector
Pilab have blazed a trail in fintech successfully acquiring significant clients in this high ticket space having creating an overwhelming advantage against their competitors and successfully derisked implementations to its customers, having invested significantly in its sales channels to reflect its superb technical team.
In the VR market VRglobal have lived up to their name, successful riding the wave of augmented and virtual reality by focusing on how to effect large scale buying decisions and then in turn using their proven expertise to take advantage of the emerging markets.
Finally Infermedica are now the go-to tool for triage diagnostics , and by using AI along with patient records they provide “House MD” diagnostics to general practices in UK and US.
An important change happened in the past few years here in this Polish city. At last startups realized that getting grants wasn’t validation of their idea and neither was investment. They finally came to understand that getting paying customers and increasing traction brings investors to the table. It was a hard and confusing lesson to learn.
Wroclaw has long been a technical city. It’s colleges and offices held countless genius-grade thinkers and it has endlessly lapped less tech-infused CEE burgs. But for decades the city sent its thinkers abroad or simply coded for other people. No more.
At last Wroclaw’s almost unlimited technical talent is being harnessed generating new products and solutions rather than being hired out by the hour. It’s a refreshing change.