The Lithuanian Start-up Ecosystem Faces the Stage of Changes
The growth momentum, achievements, and potential of the Lithuanian start-up ecosystem are increasingly attracting global attention, and it is gaining ground on the international start-up map. On the last days of May, Lithuania will not only become the main site of meeting of start-ups but also of the steady and strong investors from 11 countries and of new partnerships – even the start-ups from such countries as Canada and Georgia will attend the event “Startup Fair”, and the world-class investors are serious about exploring investment opportunities.
“Each year we give the event a code name that reflects trends prevailing at that time. Last year the name was “Growth” because the start-up ecosystem was ready for significant growth, and it happened. This year we observe the occurrence of circumstances of major changes. For this reason, “Change” is the main topic of this year’s event. Positive changes take place not only in the Lithuanian legal system. The critical mass of Lithuanian start-ups is growing significantly, and the increasingly powerful players show up. This, therefore, makes us more visible in the world where we start gaining significant position”, – says Roberta Rudokienė, the Head of the Start-up Ecosystem Unit “Startup Lithuania“ of Entrepreneurship Promotion Agency Enterprise Lithuania.
According to R. Rudokienė, recently, the Lithuanian start-up ecosystem went through many positive developments: the Lithuanian Business Angel Network (LitBAN) has been established, the Business Angels Fund II and the Co-investment Fund have been launched, 2 new Acceleration Funds arose that give greater opportunities to attract investments namely for early-stage start-ups. Several new venture capital funds also became operational. According to the Head of “Startup Lithuania”, changes in the legal and regulatory environment are also expected this year: the notion “start-up” is making its way into the Lithuanian legal acts, intense activities take place in the country in order to improve the business environment of start-ups, the program “Startup Visa” intended to attract foreign start-ups and facilitate migration functions successfully, “Startup Employee Visa”, the Procedure for Attracting Talents to Lithuanian Startups, has been recently launched.
“It may be safely said that the Lithuanian start-up ecosystem has already been formed. It is natural that the question when the first unicorn with over 1 billion US dollars in value will appear in the country raises speculations for some time in Lithuanian start-up ecosystem. And even though there are many, not the one, candidates in the Lithuanian system of innovative business, an example of a successful start-up, however, is not just a unicorn label. Not the unicorn status but sustainable business is becoming an ever-increasing trend in the world. Anders Lentell, one of the speakers at the event, Swedish investor and founder of technology start-up DynaByte, will also tell about this comprehensively at the Conference “Startup Fair. Change 2019”, – says R. Rudokienė.
“This year, the forthcoming start-up event “Startup Fair: Change” stands out not only by the number of the registered participants (1700) but also by a large number of foreign investors who arrive to make themselves familiar with the prospects of Lithuanian start-ups and look for investment opportunities. This year we have investors from 11 countries (Finland, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Holland, UK, USA, Latvia, Estonia, Denmark, and Lithuania). We notice that an increasing number of investors from new markets start showing interest in Lithuania, our start-ups and their founders. Lithuania has become visible and known on the international start-up map”, – says Mrs. Rudokienė.
Two famous European accelerators Rockstart from Holland and Techstars from Great Britain will attend this year‘s conference. According to Kartik Varma, the Director General of the latter accelerator, Lithuania not only has many professionals with unique knowledge but also model start-ups with huge potential.
“I am glad that Startup Lithuania works actively in order the international start-up ecosystem would see Lithuanian talents and start-ups with huge potential. I am coming to Lithuania because I hope to get to know this market and to hear the quality and valuable discussions with innovative entrepreneurs and other active participants in the ecosystem”, – says the representative of Techstars.
Start-ups will be also offered an opportunity at the event “Startup Fair. Change 2019” to register to business meetings (B2B) with Lithuanian and foreign investors. Last year alone 280 meetings of start-ups and investors took place. This year, even greater interest is expected.
As every year, the event will host the elections of the best start-up. This year, twice as many start-ups as last year – even 118 start-ups from 25 countries expressed willingness to compete for the best name and investor attention at the competition “Pitch Battle”. 45 start-ups with the greatest potential that on the second day of this year’s conference will compete for the best title have been selected for the competition. The dominant fields of activity of the start-ups: Fintech, Life Science Health Tech, Cyber Security), Software as a Service, SaaS, as well as innovations in Agriculture. The dominant technologies: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain.
Moreover, the participants at the event “Startup Fair. Change 2019” will be offered the opportunity to hear out inspiring presentations made by the speakers on two stages. Lithuanian start-up stars Oberlo, Transfergo, Tesonet, Trafi will share their experience of the impact of changes on the start-ups and technologies developed by them and their team, how this helps grow own innovative businesses and to grow yourself. A large number of foreign speakers are looking forward to sharing with the participants their valuable advice on how to develop correctly a strategy for business development in new markets, how to discover a start-up audience and to sell own idea. They will tell about global start-up trends.
“Startup Lithuania“ has been organizing an international start-up conference “Startup Fair. Change 2019” for 7 years in Vilnius. On the 30-31st of May, the participants of the conference in Vilnius will have the opportunity to take part free of charge at the elections of the best start-up, in individual meetings with Lithuanian and foreign investors, to hear out experiences of the founders of successful Lithuanian start-ups and the lessons they have learned, to learn about the latest trends in innovative businesses and technologies. The venue of the event – Kablys + Club locates at Kauno str. 5, Vilnius.
Startup Fair sponsors: Swedbank, Triniti, Karma.VC, TeleSoftas, Lithuanian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, Tesonet, Koinvesticinis fondas, Startup Wise Guys, Cloudvisor, Power Hit Radio, Tv3.lt, TVPlay, Verslo Žinios, Practica Capital, TransferGo, Startup Division.
Our friends: Lithuanian Business Angels Network, Vilnius Tech Park, 70 Ventures, Kaunas In, Zen PR, Klaipėda Science and Technology Park, Go Vilnius, Invest Lithuania.