Lithuanian And Latvian Business Angels Have Invested in Walking Startup “Walk15”, Whose Value Increased 5 Times
Lithuanian startup “Walk15”, established in July 2019, which administrates the walking application “#walk15”, started the new year by attracting almost 270,000 euros in investment. The startup, founded by Vlada Musvydaitė-Vilčiauskė, attracted the interest of well-known Lithuanian business angels such as Vladas Lašas, Arminta Saladžienė, Donatas Dailidė, and chairman of Latvian Business Angels Association board “LatBAN” Helmuts Lejnieks, who decided to make an investment in record 45 minutes.
The “Walk15” team has provided organizations with innovative step challenges’ – a solution to take care of not only their employees’ health but also of the environment they spend their time in. The startup with more than 260k users, founded by Vlada Musvydaitė-Vilčiauskė, allows companies to engage their employees and target audience in health and sustainability topics through walking. Over the past year, more than 400 international companies not only in Lithuania but also around the world have used this solution.
“First, we grew up as a team. Many thanks to 70Ventures Investment Fund and especially to its manager, Per Moeller, who helped shape our strategy. Over the past year, we have established international cooperation, gained strong strategic partners, started expansion in Denmark, and with this investment, we will seek to strengthen our product and sales teams. Over the next six months we will strive to find an investment fund that will help us grow in the field of sustainability,” says Vlada Musvydaitė-Vilčiauskė, the CEO and founder of the app.
The rapidly growing startup received a lot of attention from investors at the meeting of the Lithuanian business angel network LitBAN.
“It’s great that business angels spend less time when considering where to invest. In the past, it used to take 3-4 months for business angels to come up with a decision and finalize the deal. In the case of the #walk15 startup, the investments were attracted in less than a month, which is lightning-fast. This is a great motivation for startups who need financial help to grow,” said Justinas Pašys, Managing Director of LitBAN.
The value of the “Walk15” has increased five times
After establishing strong strategic partnerships with international brands and implementing unique projects in the global context, the value of UAB “Walk15” has increased five times since its beginning and today it reaches 5 million euros.
The startup, which last spring attracted an investment of 240k euros from the 70Ventures Investment Fund, met the new year with a new investment of almost 270k euros. This time, the company’s potential was seen by Vladas Lašas, Chairman of the Board of the Lithuanian Business Angels Network LitBAN, Donatas Dailidė, Head of the DOJUS Group, and its shareholders Justina Dailidaitė-Vildžiūnienė and Pranas Dailidė, investor Arminta Saladžienė and Chairman of the Board of the Latvian Business Angels Association LatBAN Helmuts Lejnieks.
“The startup’s motto “Worth a walk” is very simple, but it reflects our challenges today: living in the midst of technology means less and less movement because almost everything can be solved remotely. Although we all know that only by being active will we remain healthy, there is usually not enough time. I was fascinated by the startup’s phenomenal ability to invite and motivate thousands of people of all ages and attitudes to take time for walks, playfully combining participants’ personal initiative with organizational goals, giving them a technology platform to create routes, overcome challenges and win prizes,” said V. Lašas, an entrepreneur and chairman of the board of the Lithuanian Business Angel network LitBAN.
According to V. Lašas, one of the main reasons for the rapid growth of “Walk15” is the discovery of a formula for reconciling the social idea with the business aspirations.
“The startup’s team has a big load of energy and enthusiasm. From a social initiative, they have been able to create a sustainable, revenue-generating business. With their idea, they were able to infect others and grow their business rapidly. Today, “#walk15” is already entering wider markets outside Lithuania. I am convinced that this is just a good start, and I am very happy to join the team as a business angel and to be able to help this start-up grow,” says the Chairman of the Board of LitBAN.
The fastest investment – in 45 minutes
Helmuts Lejnieks, Chairman of the Board of the Latvian Business Angels Association LatBAN, decided to invest within 45 minutes. According to H. Lejnieks himself, this is the fastest decision to invest he has ever made. The potential of the startup, the determined and motivated team that administrates it, and the value created by the product – solution to significant health and sustainability problems – helped to decide.
“This startup solves a very important problem – it encourages you to engage in activities that help you take care of your health. This has become the main reason for me to invest. Secondly, I have worked with the 70Ventures fund before, so I believe that if they decided to become a major investor in the platform, this decision is worth it. I am convinced that in the future, this project can be a great success and expand not only in Europe but also beyond its borders. Considering that very respectable business representatives were investing with me, it was not difficult for me to make this decision,” says the Chairman of the Board of LatBAN.
Lejnieks notes that the value of the functionality of step challenges created by “Walk15” is important for companies all over the world.
“In order to show good results at work, we all need to have a balance gained from different activities. We can’t just sit and work. In my opinion, people today pay too much attention to their work, often forgetting to go for a walk. For this reason, it is very important for companies to have a tool that encourages employee activity,” says H. Lejnieks.
On the waves of mega world trends
Dailidė, the head of the DOJUS group of companies agrees with V. Lašas and H. Lejnieks. The “Walk15” product caught the entrepreneur’s attention back in spring when a group of companies he manages participated in the steps challenges.
“First of all, we are a happy and satisfied customer. We ourselves participated in the step challenge in our own group of companies and saw the benefits of both employee motivation and involvement, also health. I believe that companies and organizations need to bring together employees and encourage them to engage in health and environmental activities. Secondly, the climate tech sector has great potential. There is a strong focus on sustainability in various areas today. Implementing sustainability also requires technological tools, which is what “#walk15” provides. We really believe in the whole startup team with Vlada’s energy and enthusiasm at the forefront. I believe that this team is able to make “#walk15″ a benchmark for meaningful walking in Europe and beyond,” says Donatas Dailidė, Head of the DOJUS Group.
The app developed by UAB “Walk15”, which counts steps collected by users on a daily basis, has been supplemented with several exclusive features, thanks to which the platform created by the startup in 2021 was recognized as the best innovative health solution in the country, winning the opportunity to represent Lithuania in the international “World Summit Awards”.
“In order to contribute to climate change mitigation, we need to start by changing our habits. We want to encourage people to walk more and use cars less. In this context, we are pleased that the “Katalista Ventures” Investment Fund is advising us on sustainability issues,” says V. Musvydaitė-Vilčiauskė.
Together with its partners, “Walk15” aims to educate about health and sustainability. In the stores of the “IKI” retail chain, the steps can be exchanged into discounts for fruits and vegetables, and together with the partner ERGO, the world’s first step oak grove was planted in October.