Karolina Urbonaitė – a new Head of Startup Lithuania
Apr 02

Karolina Urbonaitė, who has gained experience in the US Silicon Valley, will take up her position as the new Head of Startup Lithuania on 2 April this year. She will replace Gintarė Narakienė, who has been the acting Head to date.  

“The startup market continues to grow actively. In the near future, it will not only be catalysed by the funding instruments and acceleration programmes developed, but we will also take several important steps: we will cut red tape, increase the globalisation of startups, and actively work on raising investment. Therefore, I’m very pleased that Karolina, who already has experience in both internationalisation and investment raising, will take up the position of Head of Startup Lithuania. She also knows the startup ecosystem well, is aware of their expectations, and comes to her new position with a clear vision of how she can emphasise the value created by Startup Lithuania and increase the competitiveness of Lithuanian startups,” says Romualda Stragienė, Director of the Innovation Agency.    

Ms Urbonaitė shares that she is very happy to join the talented and competent Startup Lithuania team.   

“It’s going to be a really exciting time, with some important challenges that I have no doubt we will address with the whole Startup Lithuania team. I’m coming with the aim to nurture and grow the Lithuanian startup ecosystem and strengthen the role of our country as a regional leader. The main priorities we will focus on are improving the quality of startups, promoting internationalisation, and attracting foreign investment to startups,” says the new Head of Startup Lithuania.  

Ms Urbonaitė gained her experience working at the Innovation Agency and later moved to Plug and Play in Silicon Valley. There, she worked with all startup life-cycle stages and with the country’s largest corporations such as Nike, Colgate, IGT and others.  

“I think that the experience gained in Silicon Valley in developing the startup ecosystem will be very useful in Lithuania. While working in the US, I was able to gain knowledge about finding startups, analysing them for potential investment opportunities, mentoring startup founders, and organising various events. I’m glad that I have already got acquainted with the Lithuanian startup ecosystem by inviting them to visit Silicon Valley, and I have also learned more about how the startup system works there and what they could apply in their businesses,” shares Ms Urbonaitė.   

The Innovation Agency together with Plug and Play, an accelerator from the USA, is currently implementing a three-year programme, during which the renowned Silicon Valley company plans to grow as many as 60 innovative businesses in Lithuania, to transfer expertise to the country’s start-ups, and to help them establish contacts with foreign investors and large corporations. This year will also see the launch of specialised accelerators for Lithuanian start-ups in GameTech and EdTech. In addition, the Innovation Agency invites start-ups to benefit from a grant of EUR 150,000 to fund travel to international technology events.  

In total, more than 20 million Euros have been allocated to the Innovation Agency to encourage the startup ecosystem from The Recovery and Resilience Facility funding instrument.