For the third year in a row, CIVITTA and BULBA VENTURES have prepared a startup ecosystem report. One of the main achievements for this year was the launch of a startup survey which helped learn of new startups in the market and to understand how startups evaluate their macro-economic environment as well as their target markets.

“Belarus startup report 2021” starts with the introduction of the Belarusian startup ecosystem concept. The first chapter communicates the vision of the ecosystem and its key elements, how the ecosystem’s visibility is assessed, and how it is viewed by its own internal actors. The most valuable part of Belarus’ startup ecosystem is its people, both talented entrepreneurs and skilled personnel. Besides that, the taxation is quite favorable too, but there are still many underdeveloped areas such as financial institutions and governmental support. 

Over the past year, Belarus navigated intersecting crises — a global pandemic, economic uncertainty — all in an increasingly polarized political environment on both local and global scales. The crises influenced all the areas and the startup industry was not an exception. Investment activity has declined: this year only 26 visible investment deals have been counted, compared to 42 in 2019. 80% of the startups were influenced by the political crisis significantly: the motivation and the productivity of personnel decreased, and startups are actively relocating their teams.

The analytical report highlights that Belarus has a vast potential and space for growth since it still lags behind its neighboring countries by the number of startups overall. The number of visible startups in Belarus amounted to 339 by the end of 2020 with  52 startups founded just in 2020.

The most common sources of financing are founders’ own funds and revenues, whilst only 35% of startups received external financing. In 2020, the 10 largest rounds alone accounted for 161.2M USD – 99% of total capital invested in Belarus throughout the year. However, the top 3 rounds of Behavox, PandaDoc and Profitero are equivalent to 150M USD showing the impact of mega deals on such small ecosystems as a Belarusian one.

The review systematizes and reveals the industries in which Belarusian startups operate. The majority of startups formed during 2020 were part of the Health & Wellness, Food delivery, Education industries. Overall, this reflects how COVID-19 escalated the growth by changing the needs of our socially distanced world.

Quite often Belarusian startups prefer to register their headquarters abroad. Approximately two-thirds of Belarusian startups have their HQs located in Belarus (~64%). The 2nd most popular location is the USA (18%) because of its active and well-developed market, access to investment, growth opportunities as well as stability. As the Belarusian internal market is very small, Belarusian companies have to develop their products for worldwide markets from scratch which can be seen as one of their success factors. The majority of startups are operating within the European and North American markets, and for 35% of the startups, the global markets serve as the sole source of revenue.

In "Belarus startup report 2021" you can learn more about:

  • CIVITTA & Bulba ventures vision of the Belarusian startup ecosystem

  • A closer look at Belarusian startups

  • Investment in Belarusian startups and the size of the Belarusian ecosystem

  • TOP-10 rising startups

  • Gaming in Belarus

  • Progress made by startups mentioned in the prior year’s report

Enjoy reading!