I’ve been updating my Quora list of hottest Polish startups since 2011 and frankly this became a bit too much work for me to keep it fresh and stay unbiased. So I decided to change my approach this year and come up with a fully biased, personal list of my favorite startups that I also believe have a chance to become some of the hottest companies in the world in the coming years.

Even though the list is subjective, I did use some criteria to filter out companies. I’m only listing:

  • private companies that are still controlled by their founders…

Big vision, successful repeat founders and technology that can literally save lives. There’s a lot to like in MX Labs, our most recent investment at SMOK.vc. Let’s break it down!

The Vision

In company’s own words:

Most people around the world don’t have access to up-to-the-minute and readily-available diagnostics. Instruments are expensive and the healthcare systems are overloaded. Yet, almost everyone has cellphones. MX Labs turns mobile phones into mini diagnostic systems to prevent health problems from happening or stop before they get serious.

I find this vision very appealing. Access to health care used to be a genuine problem globally even…

SMOK Ventures launched in 2019 to disrupt early stage venture capital investing in the Eastern bloc by connecting top local founders with VC and tech leaders in Silicon Valley and Asia. Now the fund is expanding to Ukraine and the Baltics and we’re looking to add first team members outside of the founding group. Someone like you, perhaps?

Break into Venture Capital in Central Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus)
Break into Venture Capital in Central Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus)
Break into Venture Capital in Central / Eastern Europe with SMOK.vc, a leading seed fund!

Who is behind SMOK?

We are a team of entrepreneurs and community leaders with the aim to help early stage startup founders build multi-million-dollar global software enterprises from Central and Eastern Europe.

We’re led by Paul Bragiel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Bragiel), entrepreneur turned investor. He has advised or invested…

I’m proud and excited to announce that SMOK Ventures co-led the $1.5M seed round of Vue Storefront. Read the full article to find out why.

Vue Storefront team after signing the investment agreement with SMOK and Movens.

What is Vue Storefront?

Vue Storefront is setting the new standard in e-commerce by providing shopping experiences like native apps while boosting site performance. Technically it’s a headless frontend that works with all the popular backends like commercetools or Magento. With Vue you can upgrade your dated e-commerce store’s look & feel without the need to migrate all your products and the backoffice. Vue Storefront is currently the world’s fastest-growing open-source e-commerce frontend.

What do you mean open source? Do they give the software away for free?

Yes! And it’s beautiful :)


Poland is the seventh largest producer of games in Europe and 23rd worldwide. Two days before the release of Cyberpunk 2077 we’re bringing you the ultimate map of the game ecosystem in Poland.

The Map of Polish Gaming Ecosystem 2020 was mapped in collaboration between SMOK Ventures and Inovo VC. The map is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

Can you see something weird on the map? Let us know!

We’re working to fix any inconsistencies on the map here (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_31WI98XLiMKYTbrm0wHuJbYslgiHPfLuVCtLvuz84s/edit) and will update the map once every few days so please ping me at borys@smok.vc if you see an error that’s not listed in the Google Doc. Thank you for helping us making the map better!

How to read the map?

  • Unicorns are companies (public or private) worth more than 1B PLN (~250M USD).
  • Wolves are companies (public or private) worth…

12 months ago we launched SMOK Ventures, an early stage venture capital fund bridging Central European startups to Silicon Valley and Asia. I’d like to give you an update on how we’re doing.

Year 1 in Numbers

  • We’ve reviewed just under 1000 startups and made twelve investments, eight of which are public as of today.
  • We’ve covered many business models from game-dev studios (Exit Plan Games, Nibble Games), saas-enabled marketplaces (HiPets, inSTREAMLY), regular saas (Smarthotel, Authologic), direct-to-consumer (Sunroof, Gaminate) and enterprise.
  • Industry-wise we’ve invested agnostically. We’ve funded startups in hospitality, esports, foodtech, energy, pet services, proptech, ecommerce, game development, fintech and digital health.
  • An…

Since launching SMOK in 2019 I’ve only had one goal in mind — to invest in every single globally successful startup founder coming out of Poland. We’ve reviewed about 1 thousand startups in the first 12 months of operation. inSTREAMLY is our third investment. What makes me believe they are one of the above?

The inSTREAMLY founding team with early employees. And a dog :)

What is inSTREAMLY?

inSTREAMLY automates the process of displaying content on multiple live stream channels, making live streaming more accessible for brands and media industry.

Brands can partner with hundreds of streamers simultaneously and display content on all the channels through one dashboard.

Streamers can effortlessly cooperate with brands…

Yay! We’ve just made our first deal as SMOK! We invested $520k in SmartHotel, a smart new way for guests to interact with hotels or Airbnb hosts through Messenger chatbot and SmartTV app.

Here is why.

SmartHotel and SMOK teams minutes after signing. From the left side:: Damian, Paula, myself, Maciej and Diana (yep, sleepless nights show!). Palace of Culture and Science in the background.

1. The People

I could actually start and end here. This investment is first and foremost about the team. And the team is amazing!

  • Maciej Prostak (CEO) is a serial entrepreneur who successfully built and sold his two previous companies. After MoneyZoom got acquired by PMPG, he built HotelOnline, one of the fastest-growing tech startups in Africa, which he fully exited this year following a merge with…

If entrepreneurship is a state of mind that forces you to follow your dreams no matter what, my grandfather Roman Kala was a true entrepreneur, probably the largest I know.

The story begins 90 years ago, in a small village, Miedzyrzec Korecki, Poland (now part of the Ukraine). I don’t know much of his childhood — he never talked about this period. When he was 15, the Nazis came and killed his father, along with other 1500 countrymen. He fled with his mother and the only brother to nearby Równe, but stayed there only for two years. When the Soviets…

Update 9.5.2021: Note that an updated version of the list is now available: What are the hottest Polish tech startups in 2021?

I’ve been constantly updating my list of hottest startups in Poland over the last decade on Quora and I finally decided to make it into a blog post as well, so here you are — I’m presenting the list of the most valuable, interesting, groundbreaking and popular Polish startups as of September 2019.

I only included the startups (and scale-ups) that work globally on a product, which eliminated some very successful local companies providing services to the home…

Borys Musielak

I invest in early stage startups in Poland via SMOK.vc. Prev CEO Filmaster sold to Samba TV, co-founder ReaktorX, Startup Poland. Filmbuff. NBA lover.

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