CZECHIA, THE CENTRE OF INNOVATION


You must have heard about them. You saw them in other people's mailboxes, or you use them yourself. We are talking about the Avast and AVG antiviruses, the industry’s global leaders from small country in central Europe. How did Czech companies manage to surpass their worldwide competition? Where does their uniqueness come from?


CONTENT

01. SUPERHEROES FIGHTING BUGS: HOW THE CZECHS PROTECT THE WORLD

02. WORLDWIDE SUCCESS OF NEW COMPANIES, WHAT DO THEY DO AND WHY ARE THEY SO SPECIAL?

03. WHAT NAMES WE SHOULD REMEMBER?

04. WHO SUPPORTS STARTUPS AND INNOVATIONS? WHERE THE MYCELIUM FROM THEIR BIRTH IS BEEING CREATED?

Czechoslovakia ceased to exist as a country on New Year’s Eve 1992. Ten months after the Internet was introduced in the small country. Despite the relative novelty of both the country and its connection to modern technology, it became the birthplace of companies protecting hundreds of thousands of Internet users, and which rule the world markets in their fields. According to Metadefender , a whole third of Windows users in the world protect their computers against malware with the help of Czech and Slovak companies. These “Czechoslovak” antivirus companies are even more dominant in other statistics and indexes.


1988

The history of Avast, the largest one, begins in 1988, when Pavel Baudiš, then an employee of the Institute for Mathematical Machines, wrote a programme which laid the foundations of many security solutions of the future company. He and his colleague, Eduard Kučera, named the antivirus Avast, an acronym. At the time they had no idea that it also was a nautical (and pirate) expression for “attention” or “stop”.



It was only at the beginning of the 90s, that computers found their way into common

people´s living rooms. As western software was rolling to the east, Avast took the opposite direction -- and charged westwards. And it succeeded. Its key product, Avast Free Antivirus, was offered to people, eponymically, for free. “It was a paradox but we really started to make money after we started offering Avast for free,” founding members of the company have summed up in an interview for Český rozhlas. They built up their business plan on a freely spreading antivirus for the end users, and additional products, mainly for companies.

At the beginning of the last decade, Avast became one ofthe biggest players in the industry, and, later, its leader. Last year, what seemed the next logical step for Avast was finally announced officially -- the acquisition of the company’s childhood rival, another Czech company, AVG from Brno. Their stories are quite similar. The rivalry, like the companies, started almost three decades ago.



AVG also became successful due to offering its product free, with the AVG AntiVirus Free Edition. There is one major difference between the two though: AVG went to the stock exchange, and their entering NASDAQ in 2012 was the first time a Czech IPO had a presence on a big foreign market.


400 + MILLION USERS

The AVG sticker is on Wall Street no more, a result of their merger with Avast.

“We thought we would be in a stronger positions against the new Chinese competitors, and Microsoft,” explained the boss of the “new” Avast, Vince Steckler. The merger created a company with 714 million dollars in income and 353 million dollars of profit.


130 MILLION ATTACKS

Other numbers from 2016 are interesting too: Avast products have prevented 130 million blackmailing attacks, saving users 64 billions dollars.

Both the Avast founders are now among the richest Czechs, but they don’t rest on their laurels. They dedicate their time to new startups now. Besides buying a few of them for Avast, ( the Czech Inmite, the American Remotium, Secure.me or Jumpshot) they also invest as through Credo Ventures fund.

The biggest hit created via Credo was Cognitive Security, a company which develops artificial intelligence, monitoring security threats in networks as a whole. In 2013 it was bought by Cisco.



A LOT OF BIG COMPANIES HAVE THEIR RESEARCH CENTRES HERE.

WHICH ONES? WHAT DO THEY DO HERE? AND WHY ARE THEY HERE?



The third biggest centre for research and construction of modern vehicles (railway and city public transport)



Countrywide: research and developmepment for Siemens 600 experts (Prague, Brno, Pilsen, Ostrava)



Research, development and production of technologies for ignition and diesel engines.



The biggest R&D centre of Bosch in Europe and a world competitive centre.



Research, development and production of technologies for ignition and diesel engines.



Prague & Hradec Králové: thinking about testing engines at the HK airport: only 5 existing centres like that in the world.



Development center for Skype.



Prague - 250 developers

MORE

COMPANIES



Development and creation of software for industrial automatization, industry 4.0, artificial inteligence and cyber safety.



Prague: centre for research and development in eastern Europe



Development of web and mobile applications for control and intervention of communication with the user.



Prague: building up research and development centre, new products and smart solutions for Smart Home, Start Cities, Smart Energy, Automotive - one of a kind in Europe.



Business, localizing and technological centre, expansion of cloud technologies.



Prague: local development centre for Java. Brno: NetSuite: development centre of cloud technologies for companies.



Research and development of medical treatment for breast cancer, using IBM Watson technology for data analysis.



Prague: one of the five IT service centres in the world, 500 employees.

02. WORLDWIDE SUCCESS OF NEW COMPANIES

WHAT DO THEY DO AND WHY ARE THEY SO SPECIAL?

You know them, and if not, you will get to know them soon. These are the four most successful young companies from the Czech Republic which give the scare even toworld leaders. Please meet them.



USE: AIRTICKET BROWSER

ESTABLISHED: 2012

PLACE: BRNO

FOUNDER: OLIVER DLOUHÝ

EMPLOYEES:

1 100

He was confident. Oliver Dlouhý believed from the beginning that his company had a chance to succeed all over the world. Today - just five years later - it already is among the biggest browsers and vendors of air tickets in the world. And it is not enough for Oliver. His Kiwi (formerly SkyPicker) aims at becoming a global player in the tourist trade. Everything started very furtively: with a trip to Portugal.

Oliver, who is only 28 years old, found a connection himself and paid only a fraction of the usual internet prices. This experience was a foundation for the birth of a company with an estimated turnover of roughly 1 bln. CZK this year, making it the fastest growing technological company in Europe.

What is different about Kiwi? In contrast to its competitors, Kiwi´s unique algorithm is able to combine flights from companies that do not . That’s why the service is most valuable when one has to do transfer flights. The most prominent markets for Kiwi are North America, Asia and Europe these days. Due to its fast expansion, the company will have branches in the Philippines, South Africa and China. A Barcelona branch is already open and a new development centre is being built in Prague, where artificial intelligence for communication with customers should be developed.



USE: SOCIAL NETWORKS ANALYSIS

ESTABLISHED: