István Erényi for Prowly: You Need Constantly Invest Efforts in Order to Stay Competitive

Few days ago – with Chris Sherwood (Allegro Group), Kamil Skramusky (Costlocker), Balázs Mathé (Magyar Telekom), Gábor Vicze (Innomine) and Martin Vician (Mentegram) – we were wondering whether we can we win by playing by Europe’s DSM ‘rules’. Today we are talking with István Erényi, Digital Champion of Hungary. What are the best startup success stories from Hungary? Why innovation doesn’t mean Research and Development? And what features you need to have to achieve success in the digital market?

Prowly: What are the best startups success stories from Hungary?

István Erényi

is Senior Counsellor at the Ministry of National Development in Hungary, Digital Champion of Hungary:

There are several Hungarian startups earning international reputation for their products and business success. It is impossible to select some of them as the bests, so, please take my selection as a subjective and random one. There might be newcomers that I am not aware of; gladly the group of newcomers is steadily extending. Below, you will find a short description of some of the companies’ activities. You are welcome to find more information on their websites.


is probably the most well-known among the globally successful Hungarian startups. The company is known for its revolutionary new type of presentation and storytelling software tool, also called Prezi. The tool allows to present ideas on a virtual canvas. The product is based on a zooming user interface (ZUI), which allows users to zoom in and out of their presentation media, and allows users to display and navigate through their information. The company Prezi was officially established in 2009 by co-founders Adam Somlai-Fischer, Peter Halacsy and Peter Arvai.


is a global company that develops the next generation of navigation and infotainment systems for the biggest automotive companies around the world. The company works with the best map and content providers to improve the lives of people in as many countries as possible. The company’s products and systems are used in over 190 countries, its technologies are offered in 50 languages. Thanks to the business strategy of NNG it earned the prize of the fastest growing company in Europe in 2014.


comes from “Vehicle Mobile Communication”. The services they provide connect the driver and his car using a small VEMOCO device located in the passenger compartment. The device is equipped with mobile communication functionality, shock detector, GPS unit and other features, providing a quasi-continuous connection to the central Customer Service, which is ready to assist in the case of need. The data continuously incoming from the vehicle enables a safer and cheaper driving experience, while maintaining the appropriate driver’s behaviour that reduces insurance premiums, fuel and maintenance costs.


system services are based on the scientific experiences in grape diseases: The services applie leading edge technologies to bring viticulturists the next generation of grapevine protection solution. SmartVineyard™ systems include precision sensors capable of capturing the most accurate weather parameters with other major plantation parameters (from leaf moisture to humidity) that play a key role in the ignition of grape diseases. Understanding vineyard varieties, SmartVineyard™ precision viticulture system is designed to measure micro-zones. The peculiarity of SmartVineyard™ systems is the ability to calculate local grape disease intensity from the data captured by the on-site sensors. These disease related predictions, alerts, forecast can be easily monitored via charts and graphs on your computer or smartphone. Such information on diseases like downy mildew, powdery mildew or botrytis can support viticulturists in planning their grape protection activities.


entered into the business first in the traditional field of security, building and creating safe objects and environments. Present datacentres – storing and processing huge amount of valuable data – demand for increased security; not only IT and network security but physical security in order to survive natural disasters (floods, earthquakes, fires), criminal attacks, power failures, etc. Because of the special features of IT tools and the high value of data very special security requirements should be met: Persecutor – an SME with rich experience in traditional security fields – applying its deep knowledge to the field of new IT areas, like datacentres has earned much esteem whichresulted in building datacentre for the LHC experiments of the Geneva based CERN, the European Organisation for Physical Research.


is active in the field of work-flow and work-force management, e.g. where vast systems have to be cost-effectively and very reliable controlled, error-corrected, operation mitigated. The company grew fast as a result of employing talented software and field engineers, work flow specialist. Today they offer services for many companies in different sectors, with vast physical networks. like telecommunication, transport, energy networks.

Prowly: Why innovation doesn’t mean a Research and Development?


Technological progress, new technologies heavily depend on R&Đ and innovation activities and spending. Hence states and governments and also most of the leading high-technology companies seriously invest in research and development, just like in innovation.

The common sense of the two ideas of research and innovation would often mix these two types of activities or put an equal sign in between them. Certainly there are much common feature in these two deeds, like extensive use of up-to-date knowledge, the request for high professional skills, extensive team-work, etc.

However, when deciding about R&D+I support programs we never have to forget about the substantial differences on the economic and business objectives and the approaches of people engaged in research work on one hand and innovation on the other hand. Research communities use support – including spending financial and manpower investments – for their actions in order to obtain new discoveries, creating new knowledge, understanding better the object and the behaviour of that object, publish technological and scientific papers, etc.. The prize for their intensive work is new knowledge new scientific discoveries, etc.

While innovation activity has the objective of developing, producing a new, better product, better mode of operation, or new services that offers new market success. That means the final objective of innovation is market success, making (more) money.

This distinction does not mean that there may not be overlapping or tight connection between the two activities. A new research discovery, a new knowledge may lead to new innovative products with market success, which – on its own – may generate a new need and support for research, etc.

Prowly: What features EU startups need to have to achieve succsess at the digital market?


There is not a single key to success, not a unique stone of Philosophers. But there are success components which improve the probability of success and help to pave the way to global triumph.

Some of them are as follows:

• Find a real problem, try to use new ideas to solve the problem,
• Discover and grab the opportunity,
Apply new technologies, new ICT tools possibly even there, where they have not been used before,
• Be as innovative as you can,
• Trust your ideas, be confident in their realization: you can make it,
• Find allies – if possible and needed from the field of other disciplines,
• Be prepared to the emerging, new breakthrough technologies,
• Invite into the solution of the problem experts with extensive IT and high-tech skills,
• Multiply your chance for success with multidisciplinarity approach,
• To be successful in ICT field it is not enough to obtain pure ICT knowledge – you need to be an expert in the selected application field, too,
• Act quickly, be (among) the first ambitious market entrants,
• Invite people with entrepreneurial skills,
• Don’t forget that success comes as a result of hard and devoted work,
• Try to identify and meet the potential users’/customers’ needs – if necessary consult/test the customers’ needs,
• Never forget: customers look for the best quality and highest performance/cost ratio of the products,
• Try to find financial backing, investors, etc.
• Be aware that it is not enough to be successful only when entering a new market, but for lasting market success you need constantly invest efforts in order to stay competitive.

*István Erényi is Senior Counsellor at the Ministry of National Development in Hungary and the Digital Champion of Hungary. He works to open up education and close skills gaps.