Hungary’s economy has come a long way in a relatively short time. Since joining the EU in 2004, the country has become intimately more connected with leading manufacturers across the globe from a range of sectors, from the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Audi in the automotive market, to Samsung in consumer electricals.
Equally, the news is good for home-grown Hungarian businesses, with Budapest climbing the rankings as a start-up hotspot on the continent. In particular, Hungarian start-ups appear to be driving innovation around the marketing, software development, automotive and fintech sectors, making the nation one of the most appealing investment opportunities in central Europe.
While this strategy and adopting a broad investment portfolio appears to be working well for Hungary, other peripheral markets on the continent are taking a different tact. The small Mediterranean island of Malta, for example, has in recent years increasingly sought to pivot away from utilising tourism as the leading driver of its economy by seeking to become a global leader in online gaming.
As of 2022, there are now around 300 iGaming companies in Malta with more applications pending. While it can be a risky strategy to specialise in a certain sector, Malta’s success is a key example of this strategy paying dividends.
Elsewhere, Poland has increasingly distinguished itself as a key market for video game development, both in the form of hyper-casual mobile titles, and leading console games like the recently released Cyberpunk 2077.
That Hungary has adopted a broader approach is perhaps reflective of its historic position in Europe as a gateway between East and West and the terminus of the Silk Road – ultimately Hungary may simply find itself better predisposed to eclecticism rather than specialisation.
This is not to suggest that the nation of some 10 million people and a GDP of $194 billion is lacking in focus or drive when it comes to producing unicorn ventures.
Below we’re going to look at just a couple of the leading examples of brands that took root in the fertile business conditions to be found here, both in Budapest and further afield.
One of the greatest success stories to emerge from Hungary in recent years is SEON. Like many viable products, SEON came about through necessity when its owners found themselves at the mercy of scammers when developing their own Central European cryptocurrency exchange.
To counteract this, they began in 2017 to develop SEON, a robust fraud-detection protocol that utilises data-mining to verify suspicious users and customers by their digital trail. With cybersecurity concerns on the rise globally, SEON quickly found outside investment and is now among the leading fraud-detection suites available in the world today.
The race towards true self-driving vehicles is very much underway, and one of the current leaders in the pack is Hungarian start-up AIMotive. By going down the route of what they call “vision first” self-driving, their ambition is to utilise camera technology in combination with sophisticated AI to create the next generation of autonomous vehicles.
Where their technology is thought to have an edge over competitors is that it offers the future prospect of being retrofitted to vehicles that were never designed with self-driving in mind.
With 3D printing on the rise, and the growing demand for affordable 3D modelling in the wake of the coming metaverse, any company that can offer a more accessible and modern update to the CAD modelling software sector is welcome.
At the moment, Shapr3D is the best in that class with a fresh take on 3D design that can be used intuitively with touch controls on your iPad.