January 25, 2020

The American Connection: 37% of Serbian Startups are USA Oriented

Above average connectivity of Serbian startup founders with global leaders – but there is still room for improvement. 

Digital Serbia Initiative (DSI), EY and PwC have published a study called Startup Scan that should provide a more expanded and detailed overview of the Serbian startup ecosystem than the one featured in Startup Genome. DSI was also the organization that initiated the inclusion of the Belgrade and Novi Sad ecosystem on the world startup map. Here is a short overview: 

The American connection 

Authors of the report found that over 37% of Serbian startups are oriented towards the USA, and that over half of startups in Novi Sad and Belgrade have clients outside of Serbia. 

They mapped a significant connection between repats, people that returned from abroad to found a startup in Serbia, and strong networks in global circles. Repats built those connections by working with entrepreneurs in London and Silicon Valley. The report says that the top ranked global ecosystems represent a valuable source of experience and knowledge for Serbian business models and startups, which have the potential to become global leaders.. The strength of the connections between Serbian founders and global leaders is stronger than average, but there is still room for improvement. The report suggested that these founders could be better integrated into the Serbian ecosystem. 

Areas to work on

Serbian startups have gathered more than $169.03 million (€143 million) of investments, but over 80% of those investments found its way to only 2 companies. More than 50% of Serbian startups are bootstrapped, working without external financing. The size of seed investments for startups in Belgrade and Novi Sad is around 90% smaller than the global average. Median for seed round of investment in Serbia is $23 640 (€20 000).

Age and gender of Serbian Founders

The average age of Serbian founders is 33 years, which is significantly less than the global average of 37 years. Another indicator that Serbian entrepreneurs are young tells the fact that one third of them are younger than 30. Female participation in founding startups is similar to the global average, as around 12% of founders in Belgrade and Novi Sad are women. 

Decentralisation and dispersion of the startup ecosystem 
“Startup scan” counted 3 hubs and over 10 coworking areas in Belgrade, and 1 hub and 2 coworking spaces in Novi Sad. However, decentralisation in this area is on its way, because more than 10 cities in Serbia have their own hubs or spaces that offer support for startups and technology. 

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