In the past, a whole range of Czech companies managed to make a significant mark in the history of the international technological and business scene. Prusa Research, DoDo, Kiwi.com, Driveto, Livesport and FTMO have grown an order of magnitude faster than other companies since the beginning of their existence.
They also have in common that their rocket growth has taken them to the top of the Technology Fast 50 list. For 25 years, the consulting company Deloitte has announced the fastest growing technology companies in the Central and Eastern European region.
Czech companies traditionally do well in this comparison. “The technology sector in the Czech economy is growing at a very interesting pace. When we look at the results of this year’s program, we see that Czech companies are once again extremely successful. 123 of them signed up for the program, and on average all of them grew at a rate of approximately 1,600 percent over the past four years,” says Kateřina Novotná, a partner at Deloitte who is in charge of domestic companies in the Fast 50 program.
The Czech platform FTMO, which tests and searches for traders on the financial markets, even broke all previous competition records in this regard last year. Its growth of 40,000 percent is quite an exceptional phenomenon, moreover, FTMO won the Technology Fast 50 CE last year for the second time in a row.
Overall, the share of Czech companies in the program stands at a third, which is admirable compared to four times the size of Poland or three times the size of Romania.
“It is even more striking in the fifty fastest growing ones. I can reveal that this year there are the same number of Czech companies as Polish ones,” revealed Kateřina Novotná on the eve of the announcement of the new ranking results. It is good that, in addition to the international ranking, Deloitte has been compiling the purely Czech Technology Fast 50 for three years now.
Czech startups are truly extraordinary. They have unique products that the whole world is interested in. The founders have a shot at goal and a desire to expand.
The main criterion for the success of companies in the Technology Fast 50 ranking is revenue growth. It is therefore appreciated how the products or services of the given company are evaluated by the customers themselves.
“It is precisely the simplicity and objectivity of this criterion that the participants of the competition have been appreciating for a long time,” says partner at Deloitte Czech Republic Jiří Sauer. The conditions for nomination to the main ranking are four years of company existence, operating revenues of at least 50,000 euros in the last three years and at least 100,000 euros in the current year.
When evaluating this year’s edition, sales growth between 2019 and 2022 was assessed, when the growth of companies was influenced by major geopolitical and economic events. Jiří Sauer, who leads the Technology Fast 50 program for Central and Eastern Europe at Deloitte, offered a brief overview.
“Significant growth was recorded by companies from the field of energy. An example is the company Woltair or Flowbox, which bring solutions in the field of energy saving. Companies operating in the field of cloud solutions and AI are also doing well. And the interest in companies that deal with cyber security is still growing.”
According to Sauer, a slight slowdown in growth is already visible in the field of biotechnology, companies from this environment are again looking for their “place in the sun” after covid. And the wave on which the entire e-commerce or software agencies were sailing also receded. “But it’s still true that if you have a good product, neither geopolitical events nor economic shocks will affect your growth,” reminded Sauer.
He also offered an interesting observation. What can be an apparent disadvantage for Czech, but also Slovak startups, namely the fact that, unlike startups from developed or simply large countries, they automatically have to count on the fact that they will not only support themselves from the domestic market, in uncertain times it becomes clear as a big plus. “Startups from small countries are used to having to target global markets from the start, and thus diversify the risk of various economic or geopolitical phenomena.”
When it comes to penetrating foreign markets, the markets of the USA and Great Britain are especially interesting for Czech and Slovak companies due to their size and mainly maturity.
“Of course, it depends on the specific business model of the given company. For example, e-commerce companies first go to neighboring countries, such as Poland, Germany or Hungary,” explains Kateřina Novotná. However, the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 results also show that if a company has a really good product, it can go all over the world with it.
A good example is the mentioned FTMO, which is already a truly global company, Prusa Research, for example, has a similar story behind it.
This year, among other things, we were interested in companies that develop solutions for the defense industry. Such appeared rather sporadically in our program in previous years.
If Jiří Sauer found similarities in Czech and Slovak startups, Kateřina Novotná saw this comparison from another perspective. “The Czech startup scene has several advantages that have moved it further compared to the Slovak one. We had several successful exits that started investments and launched a number of companies onto the global market. Overall, the tech community here is bigger than in Slovakia, even though we see a number of interesting companies there as well,” says Novotná.
He names, for example, Gerulata Technologies, which develops AI-based analytics software to combat disinformation, hybrid threats and propaganda.
Who is also worth watching
In addition to the main category of the fastest growing companies, “secondary” categories will also be announced this year. However, this does not mean that they are not interesting at all.
Companies to watch there are also booming companies, moreover, young companies. They do not meet the condition of four years of existence, and therefore cannot enter the competition in the main category. However, experience suggests that it is in this category that the Fast 50 stars of the coming years can be looked for.
Special price Impact Stars awarded by Deloitte to companies that have developed an innovative product or provide a new service that has a highly positive impact on the environment in which the company does business. Among the Czech companies that aspired to this award in the past were, for example, Devinn, a company developing technologies for processing hydrogen as the fuel of the future, the online platform Hedepy, which mediates psychological and even psychiatric care at a distance, or the medical startup Stimvia.
The youngest category of the Fast 50 ranking is Tech Rocketship. It recognizes young companies that have developed high-quality, yet widely applicable solutions suitable for interested parties or customers, regardless of region or language.
A mirror of microeconomics
The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 program has been confirming for years how important it is to integrate technology into everyday life. It also shows which technological fields are currently on the rise and can predict to a large extent what the trends will be. “Essentially, it can be a kind of mirror of the economy and, in a certain sense, of society in Central Europe,” thinks Jiří Sauer.
The festive evening, at which we will find out the new Technology Fast 50 ranking for this year, will be broadcast by Nauzal live from the Archa Theater in Prague.