Krakow, Poland – Central Europe is famous for many things. The red roofs of Prague, the hot springs and thermal spas of Hungary, and the beautiful square in Krakow. All the countries in the region also have a reputation for serving up delicious food, including pierogi, Lečo, and plenty of other delicacies.
But there is far more to Central Europe than what the tourists see and do. It’s packed with history and plenty of strong industries.
Visegrad Group countries have, quite famously, a strong manufacturing capacity, with dozens of car plants and other similar facilities scattered across the region. Agriculture is another major part of Central Europe’s economic eco-system, with Poland alone exporting €32 billion each year.
What is sometimes less well known is that the countries that sit at the heart of the continent are also major players in the tech sector.
Silicon Valley along the Danube
Silicon Valley is, by far, the most advanced region when it comes to technology companies. But the companies that made it famous, including Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have had to look far and wide to get the best talent.
As a result, they’ve opened offices right across Central Europe with the intention of securing the services of the tech-savvy people from the likes of Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary.
For example, Microsoft has offices in Prague, Warsaw, Budapest, and Bratislava, but it is by no means a special case.
Real estate and salaries are astronomically high in California as a result of the high competition among tech workers. So it makes sense for the companies from Silicon Valley to move some of their operations to regions like Central Europe where wages are lower.
Not only that, but since these companies have customers all over the world, regional offices provide them with access to a huge pool of native speakers for these local languages. This is a much cheaper and easier option than trying to find huge teams of Polish, Czech, Slovak, and Hungarian speakers in California.
Impact on the iGaming industry
It isn’t just the companies that created the smartphones we carry with us every day, the email services we use, and the social media apps that consume hours of our days that have set up shop in Central Europe. The iGaming industry has also gotten in on the action.
Today, most leading brands like Betway offer a wide range of live casino games for their players to enjoy. They work by having human dealers broadcast over the internet to the player’s screen. The dealer will talk to the camera, telling players when to place their bets and announcing winners, as well as engaging in general chat like you’d expect at a land-based venue.
While they might be played in English, many of the studios that these games are streamed from are based in Central and Eastern Europe, taking advantage of the lower overheads, multilingual workforce, and communications infrastructure.
Central Europe is ripe with entrepreneurial talent, leading to the creation of many international tech companies in the region.
Some examples of this include Prezi, an online presentation platform that was created in Hungary; Avast and ESET, two cyber-security companies that were set up in modern-day Czech Republic and Slovakia respectively; and Sugester, a software company that combines communication channels into one easy-to-manage flow for businesses hailing from Poland, which also stands as one of the fastest-growing gaming powerhouses.
The vast majority of these local companies sell to customers beyond the borders of their respective countries, helping to drive capital inflows into the region and create the conditions for others to follow in their footsteps.
Having a thriving entrepreneurship community is also a great catalyst for creating even more start-ups. This is because these local entrepreneurs help to inspire others and encourage them to also set up technology-based businesses.