Accelerators’ guru Jon Bradford gives advice to Lithuanian Startups
“80 % of growth in UK economy comes from 6 % of businesses which are essentially early stage high growth businesses. If one is really interested in creating growth within the economy, it’s important to support early stage businesses, startups,” encourages Jon Bradford, Managing Director at TechStars accelerator in London.
– How would you shortly describe Lithuanian startup ecosystem?
– There are more startups, people are much more interested in startup and there is growing awareness what a startup looks like. These are very positive signs, because three years ago there was lack of activity here.
Today I met some startup teams, who are participating in StartupHighway accelerator and the general feel for the teams is that they are much more orientated towards customers. They are much more orientated towards real problems. I see that the quality of startups is increasing ant they are progressing well.
– What are Lithuania’s advantages compared with other countries in the field of startups?
– A good thing is that people are willing to invest in technology and infrastructure. The advantage that Lithuania genuinely has compared to a number of other countries is that it has very strong software engineers. I think that’s a hangover of the past, since historically the universities have always been very good and had very strong culture of mathematics and engineering. But that is shared with other Baltic countries.
-Which sectors are the most perspective for creating a startup?
– There are many different areas, where technology could be used. There is a lot of potential in finance system, because we’re still using the same bank system we did for the last 20 years. Also there are smarter ways how we can do transportation; public services could be used better by bringing them online and spending less time in queues. Underlining all of that, there is a lot of data available from the public services, so one just have to figure out what we could do with that data, that could benefit for everybody.
– What would be your general advice for Lithuanian startups?
– Fix real problems and speak to potentially real customers. A problem which exists with most engineers is that they like building stuff and they don’t like talking to people. But they could spend more time talking to people and getting their feedback before start building stuff.