Launch In The Polish City Of Business: Poznan

Published on:

Poznań has a growing startup community with a perfect location between Berlin and Warsaw. Learn more about the startup scene in Poland's city of business.

The best-known Polish cities in the world are probably Warsaw (the capital) and Cracow – the most touristy location, with the beautiful old town and an interesting history. It’s likely that not many of you have heard anything about Poznań. Well, it’s high time!

Poznań is the fifth largest city in Poland with a population of about 550.000 people. If we talk startups, the most important thing about our town is the fact that a quarter of inhabitants are students. Poznań is widely known in Poland as a city of business. It’s all thanks to the long tradition of the local World Trade Centre. Businessmen and entrepreneurs of all possible branches have been coming here regularly for decades to do business, network and present their companies. We believe that this tradition should be followed by the development of a strong local startup scene!

Pros And Cons Of Starting Up In Poznan

Of course, if it was up to us, we would list only the pluses of starting a business in Poznań, but to provide you with a complete overview we’ll be honest with you guys.

Let’s Start With The Good Stuff:

  • Location: We would say that it’s one of the most significant strengths of our town. We are 2:30h from Warsaw and 2:30h train ride from Berlin. This means you don’t have to rely only on Poznań funds or events. Jump on the train in the morning, spend an afternoon pitching in Berlin and be back for late dinner at your place in Poznań. All in one day.
  • Students: There are 6 public and 1 private universities and numerous private academies here. This includes one of the best technical universities in Poland (commonly known as Polish „Politechnika”) and the University of Economics – great sources for startup employees. Let’s not forget the University of Arts, the School of Form with the amazing young graphic designers and the Adam Mickiewicz University with great soft-skills graduates and hundreds of people speaking any language you can imagine.
  • Low costs: Like in most Polish towns, life is a bit cheaper in Poznań than in Western European cities. This means lots of good things for your business too: low costs of office-rental, lower wages for your employees, lower costs of programming and a cheaper lunch (but we’ll get back to that in a sec!).
  • Field for improvement: As we said, the startup scene here is still a bit fresh. But we consider this to be an advantage. There’s still lots of work to be done, not that many competitors, lots of potential employees ready to jump into the startup world, lots of events to be organized. People will love you if you share your experience and spread the international startup spirit here.
  • The town itself: Just have a look at this amazing video by Poznan I Love You team to discover the beauty of our city.
  • Great food: This might be seen as a little off-topic but for us food is the most important thing in life (right after our amazing jobs OBVIOUSLY). Almost every week some new amazing lunch spot opens. Let us list our favs: Pod Nosem, Ę Rybę or Pizza a Pezzi (only 3-4 EUR).

Things To Consider:

  • VAT: relatively high standard VAT (vallue-added tax) rate: 23%
  • Formalities: Get ready for the paperwork. If you have any doubts about the documents you need in order to kick off with your biz, look for help of co-workers rather than counting on some reliable info in English on the governmental websites.
  • Non English speaking clerks: While in the startup world you’ll meet lots of great English-speaking peeps, don’t expect too many of those in the offices when registering your company. This can also be a problem at the cash points at railway stations etc. Fortunately, more and more things in Poland can be done online, so you can skip the difficult part of explaining  yourself face to face.
  • EU money everywhere: You will find out more about it in the next sections of our guide, but we found it problematic that the majority of Poznań startup funds are EU based. There’s still some work to be done to improve the investors’ environment and build real venture capital to support the startup scene in Poland.
  • Mentality: People here are creative as hell and have an amazing work ethics. But many of them often lack the boldness to make their work at startups more fun and successful. Still, you will find great, hard-working employees here, who would however benefit from a more enthusiastic approach to what they do.

The Upcoming Startup Environment Of Poznan


Every month there are some new events that are really worth checking out. Keep your eye on Meetup and Crossweb to make sure you don’t miss anything. Startup meetups are also listed in the online calendar run by Poznań City Council on the Startup Poznań’s website.

Poznań’s location makes it easy to head to Berlin anytime you need more inspiration or money. Being only a 2:30h train ride away, we recommend keeping up with the Berlin event calendar too.

Regular Startup Events In Poznań Include:

  • Hive61 – 21st edition of Poznań Hive took place in June 2015. Hive61 meetups are dedicated to everyone with an entrepreneurial drive. Every event consists of a few 20-minute presentations in English, followed by Q&A sessions and networking. Hive61 takes place in one of the most significant buildings in Poznań, in Stary Browar.
  • Poznań Startup Weekend – this event is all about the innovation and technology. This 54-hours meetup gathers not only the Poznan startup community, but also people from other cities. The last Startup Weekend took place in June and revolved around the topic “Smart City”. Participants focused on the ideas created to improve the urban environment and lifestyle. Everything started with a pitching session. Participants voted for the best ideas, then formed the teams. During three days of workshops they created concepts of apps and different solutions that could change our cities. The event was supported by a bunch of mentors (representatives of Microsoft, IBM Poland and Orange among others) and the Poznań City Council as one of the main partners.
  • Startup Poznań 2015 – is a conference organized by Poznań City Council that most likely will be repeated next year. Besides numerous presentations by entrepreneurs from different branches, the participants had a chance to use the advisory zone. Here some specialists from various institutions were helping them with inquiries regarding the formalities, taxes, law, business plans, marketing etc.
  • KickAss – Poznan has had two editions of KickAss so far. It is an event about motivation, inspiration and the entrepreneurial spirit. The organizers invite founders and co-founders of successful startups from Germany. The speakers talk about their companies, business approaches and ups and downs that happened on their way to success. The goal is to give the young aspiring entrepreneurs a “kick” to start their own business, inform about different management approaches and how to obtain the investors’ interests. The last KickAss’ speakers in June were Mohammadi Akhabach, the co-founder of Delivery Hero and a business angel, and Gen Sadakane, the co-founder of EyeEm. This event is free and open to anyone interested in the speakers’ stories. Next edition will be held in Sopot, but KickAss will return to Poznań in 2016.
  • FuckUp Nights Poznań (FUN) – this event was created in 2012 in Mexico and the concept has quickly spread worldwide. FUN Poznań started in May 2015 and takes place every two months. During every FUN three stories of failed businesses or projects are presented. Every speaker explains the reason of their failure, what they have learned from it and what they would do differently. The idea of FUN is to find courage to talk not only about the success, but also the moments when everything goes wrong. FUN attracts mostly the startup crowd, but is open to anyone.

Other events in Poznań, where you will definitely meet some startuppers:

Effective Places To Work In Poznan


Although the coworking concept is still developing in Poland, you will find quite a few great workspaces for temporary and long-term rent in Poznań. Some are also part of universities-based incubators, but we will focus on them in the next section.

The prices for using coworkings in Poznań vary, but it’s quite easy to find a nice and pretty cheap place to work. You can rent a desk for a month at between 10-100 EUR. Renting a flat as office might also be a good idea; the rents for studio apartments start at around 300 EUR.

There are over 15 coworking spaces in Poznań, but let’s just list a few:

  • Biurcoo has recently celebrated its 1st birthday. This place was founded by Fernando, a Spanish guy living in Poland for a few years. He himself has taken care of the design so you can find the most incredible workspaces here. Thanks to Fernando, this place is super-international so you can communicate in four languages: Polish, English, Spanish and Italian. You don’t have $$ to rent a desk? No problem. Your work for others at Biurcoo can be traded for workspace too. The rates are super flexible.
  • YouNick – this ultra-modern space is a part of the Nickel Technology Park, located in the suburbs of Poznań. It provides amazing research facilities, including a lab. YouNick also runs an investment program, read more in the next section.
  • coworkingness provides some micro-offices, dedicated desks and hot desks in the heart of Poznań. The owners declare this spot to be very open towards foreigners (e.g. the website is in English only). Besides workspaces coworkingness offers multiple services: Hiring an assistant at a fair price is one of them. Their concierge services can be helpful while installing your new business in Poznan.

Also StartUs has a list of co-working spaces which is still growing. Note: in a few weeks DESK.WORKS – a new, Poznań-originated startup will kick off. DESK.WORKS is a mobile app that helps finding a temporary workspace worldwide, also in Poznań, so keep your eye on it.

Budget Development Opportunities In Poznan


The investment ecosystem in Poznań is not very developed yet. The good news is – as pointed out earlier – it only takes 2:30h to get to Berlin or Warsaw to talk to the investors there. Here are some doors you may knock on in order to get money for your startup. At the same time in the StartUs Ecosystem you can search for investment companies, incubators and accelerators all over Europe.

Note: many programs from the following list are co-funded from EU grants, mostly as parts of the Innovative Economy Operational Program. We marked them with stars*.


  • Akademicki Inkubator Przedsiębiorczości (Academic Incubator of Entrepreneurship) – there are two AIP locations in Poznań, one at the University of Economics, one at Adam Mickiewicz University campus Morasko. AIP provides support with the basic needs at the very beginning of your business. They help you starting a company and finding the seed funding (AIP Seed Capital*).
  • InQubator – located in the Poznan Science and Technology Park it was created by Adam Mickiewicz University Foundation. It provides support mostly for the students and graduates interested in the fields of chemistry, biotechnology and IT.*
  • High Technology Incubators Complex – you won’t necessarily get the money here, but you can apply to use the research facilities of the Technology Park for very low rates. There are numerous labs and research devices dedicated to those interested in developing biotech startups. It is run by the Adam Mickiewicz University Foundation.*
  • Nobel Tower Incubator – plug&work system provides a friendly environment for the startuppers in the city centre. Being quite a recent initiative, it’s hard to judge the possibilities and outcomes of their activities.*
  • YouNick – we already mentioned YouNick in the coworking section. They also offer funding possibilities (BioMed program) for startups in the following branches: biotechnology, ICT, medicine, renewable energy, and environmental protection.*


Business Link – a network of accelerators located in 10 Polish cities. BL aims to provide the perfect environment for startups. If you join the BL community, you will be able to use the facilities in 10 towns (including Poznań), count on the support of BL mentors and varied financing programs BL partners with. BL organizes numerous events in all the locations, and every BL also runs a coworking space.*

Other Investment Opportunities:

SpeedUp Group – SpeedUp currently runs four funds:

  • SpeedUp IQbator (seed stage, up to 200’000 EUR, supported by the EU*)
  • SpeedUp Investments (seed/early stage, main focus: IT, renewable energy, biotechnology, healthcare; supported by EU*)
  • LMS Invest (seed stage, main focus: new technologies for marketing and sales, supported by EU*)
  • SpeedUp Innovation (early growth stage, main focus: digital ICT; supported by EU and The National Capital Fund*)

SpeedUp supports numerous startup events in Poznan and other Polish cities.

punk internet – a company builder with private equity. Builds it’s own startups but also offers funding and mentoring, mostly for projects at an early stage. Thanks to it’s extended network, punk internet can help startups with finding investors outside of Poland at the further development stages. Punk Internet is an organizer of KickAss and FuckUp Nights Poznan.

We also recommend having a look at the recent report on VCs based in Poland by Bartek Pucek. Although the report is in Polish, you can use the links to read information directly on funds’ websites or contact Bartek if you need some further advice.

Look For Additional Information In Poznan?


As Bartosz and Chris wrote in Kraków Startup Guide, everything is still a bit raw and orthodox here. There are no formal institutions ready to help foreigners to establish their businesses in Poland. I believe, however, that even though the startup community in Poznań is relatively small, you can seek their help and feedback if you decide to explore business opportunities here.

If you have some specific questions, you can join some FB groups, where people are often glad to give their feedback. Try Rozmowy o startupach, Startup Poznan and Polish Entrepreneurs.

Some people see Poznań as a Polish startup capital. While we are a bit skeptical and see the city rather as “work in progress”, the environment in our town can soon become very entrepreneur-friendly. The startup scene is still emerging, so it is a perfect moment to join and co-create it.



Last updated: July 29th, 2016

The guides are like startup communities – they constantly change and grow. Make sure to check for updates and if you have something to add or want to publish one for your city, get in touch right away! And don’t forget to enrich the startup ecosystem by creating your company profile at StartUs!

Sharing is caring!