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Seven Polish startups that succeed abroad

The Polish market of startups becomes more and more notices and has a vision of going beyond its native backyard. The number of Polish startups situates itself at the level of 2.4 thousand of entities. Their activities are focused primarily on software production for mobile applications industry, e-commerce and online services. Many entrepreneurs seek foreign investors and business angels. Few, however, have been successful on an international scale. Here are a few of these, which have succeeded:

 1. Ivona

This is a speech synthesizer, which originally was to serve the blind and partially sighted. Soon, however, it also become a tool for news reading and support for call centers and hotlines. Ivona stands out in that it has a natural, warm voice and is devoiced of a flattened voice effect alike Darth Vader mask. Before, Ivona got acquired by Amazon in 2013, it had won many awards and distinctions. Ivona speaks 17 languages in 44 different voices.

 2. Brand24

The company is involved in monitoring the Internet and social media. Its tool collects all mentions feed of products, brands and other keywords from websites, forum discussions and social media. It helps to spot problematic issues before they escalate to protect your company image.  The tool is used by: IKEA, the History Channel, H & M and… the White House. Brand24 belongs to a group LARQ, which is listed on the stock exchange. Last year, the company’s revenue increased by 88%.

  1. LiveChat

The company focuses on actions in the model of software as a service. It opened a branch in the USA. Nearly 80% of the more than 10,000 customers are foreign companies and corporations, such as: Bosch, LG, Samsung, Orange, Adobe, Pizza Hut, Ryanair and Stanford University. The most known product is LiveChat – software for sales, consulting, customer service and website support.

 4. Estimote

The company produces beacons – sensors for precise geolocation, mainly indoors. These solutions uses in its stores, for example, Apple. In 2013, Estimote acquired $ 3,1 million of funding, and in 2016 it acquired $ 10,7 million.

  1. Brainly

It’s a website where students ask questions about specific homework assignments and wait for response from other students or experts in the field. Currently, the service has more than 60 million users and 80% of them use Brainly every month. In May 2016 the company received a $ 15 million funding from Naspers. Earlier, in two rounds of investment, it had managed to collect $ 9.5 million.

  1. Codility

The software allows to quickly assess technical skills of candidates to work in IT. In 2009, the it won the competition for start-ups organized by Seedcamp in London. Today Codility can boast a list of nearly 1100 clients, among them: Amazon, PayPal, eBay, Samsung, Nokia, Harvard University.

 7. Booksy

This is a tool for businesses, service providers and their customers, which allows you to quickly and easily sign up on the calendar, for example to the hairdresser or beautician. Instead a phone-call, you need just a few clicks in the application, which means that a visit can be arranged even in the middle of the night. So far, the company has managed to acquire a total of $ 4 million funding  in two rounds of investment. Booksy operates in over 80 countries around the world.

New video subscription services introduced to Africa

Usually, Africa absorbs all the innovations with at least a few years delay and most of the local startups is a copy or a modified form of that, which is already known to us in Europe, Asia, USA, and the Middle East.

Similarly, it is with startup Afrostream. This portal’s business model is SVOD – subscription video on demand. Afrostream gives access to video resources (films, comedies, documentaries, TV series) to people from all over the world, who are fascinated by the culture of Africa. On the African continent there are over one billion people, out of which 300 million have access to the Internet. This is a huge market which is ready for this type of solution, that is a clone of Netfilx – the largest Internet SVOD service in the world. In October 2015, Afrostream acquired an undisclosed amount of money from Orange. Due to the lack of adequate resources in Africa, the project was developed in France. It is based in Paris. The startup is focused primarily on the African market, whose potential is estimated at 10 million of regular customers per month. This is 3% of Internet users. For € 6.99 per month, Afrostream offers access to all its resources. In contrast, Netflix’s lowest subscription fee is 7.99 €.

In contrast to Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, which offers you hundreds of thousands of videos, Afrostream puts quality over quantity (or at least their PR states so). The American e-commerce giant, Amazon, has launched Prime Video in 51 African countries, including Nigeria, South Africa and South Sudan. It offers access to digital movies and TV shows with a monthly membership. It has introductory price €2.99 for the first six months, starting with a free 7-day trial. Viewers can watch videos anytime, anywhere thanks to the Prime Video app for Android/iOS, Fire Tablets, LG /Samsung Smart TVs or online at the website. It is also possible to download all videos and watch them offline at no extra payment.  Prime Video is available in: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote D’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt and Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Amazon beat Google in the race for the domain “.buy”

Amazon trumped the company Google on a domain auction and bought the exclusive use of the domain “.buy”, paying $ 4.6 million for it. Google also failed to buy the domain “.vip”.

At a special auction of ICANN, the organization that controls domain names around the world, it issued four of them: .buy, .tech, .vip and one more domain representing the word “information” in Mandarin.

Bidding has attracted attention of many companies, which include Amazon and Google. Both tried to trump their bids in the auction for the domain “.buy”. Ultimately prevailed Amazon, which paid 4,6 million dollars.

Google also lost in another auction, which was held for the domain “.vip”. It was bought by it Minds + Machines, an Irish company operating in the domain name market. It can therefore be expected that this particular domain will change its owner sooner or later.

Amazon is giving up free shipments to Poland

The British branch of the online store Amazon announced that from now on all consignments carried to Poland will have to be paid for.

Amazon has announced the shipping fees to Poland and also to several other European countries. Among them are: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Gibraltar, Iceland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Sweden. Each order will now be associated with an additional cost, which in the case of Poland will be about $ 25.

package

Free shipping present has been available in the store  from October 2010 under the name of Free Super Saver Delivery. It pertained to orders with a value greater than £25. Amazon has not revealed its official reasons for changing these rule. Probably economic issues are hidden behind this decision.

The change seems to be surprising especially because in September last year Amazon announced opening of a logistics center in Poland. It is supposed to employ  about 6 thousand of Polish employees.

Amazon arriving to Poland

Amazon, the American giant and one of the world’s biggest internet trading networks, plans to open three large logistics centers in Poland by 2015.

Within three years of their creation, Amazon will create 6 thousand of new workplaces. The company has just started to recruit for so-called ‘fulfillment centres’ and it is hiring production workers who will be responsible for the receipt of goods, warehousing and packaging. They also also team leaders and managers, computer scientists and engineers.

The ‘fulfillment centres’ are large warehouses where products are picked, packed and sent out to consumers. One Polish centre will be located in Sady (near Poznan) and two centres near the city of Wroclaw. Each centre will cover the area of 95.000 m2 and employ 2.000 people. Periodically, each centre will employ additional 3.000 people. In comparison, so far the largest distribution centre in Poland has belonged to UK supermarket chain Tesco, which covers an area of 60.000 m2.

The Polish logistic centres will be supporting Amazon’s retail operations all over Europe, particularly in Germany.