Lithuania’s Fintech Sector Aims to be No 1
Lithuania has earned global fame for being a go-to destination to establish a FinTech business. Due to the overly successful Startup Visa program, most of the ICO’s in Lithuania’s market are run by foreign entrepreneurs while the locals are somewhat lagging behind. Major event for startups in the Central Europe “Startup Fair. Growth” happening on 16-17 of May in Vilnius will offer more opportunities to learn about the ever-growing Lithuania’s Fintech ecosystem and get spot-on business insights from the top-notch entrepreneurs and investors.
“Lithuania has developed a legitimate and a very firm base for the sector of financial technologies. Determined to improve the environment for FinTech businesses and with the support from the Bank of Lithuania and governmental authorities, Lithuania has become one of the major European centres for financial technologies. We have a developed sector of information technologies, cooperation between state authorities and businesses, regulated activities of financial technologies and a simplified procedure for foreign startups to enter the country, called ‘Startup Visa’,” claims Roberta Rudokienė, Head of Startup Lithuania.
According to Roberta Rudokienė, initiatives of foreign investors contributes a lot into the development of Lithuania’s FinTech ecosystem and enable to learn global practices from the best.
“It should be admitted that the Lithuanian environment of FinTech business is being mostly used by foreign companies, however, local startups have good opportunities to develop their competences by following the best examples,” claims Mrs. Rudokienė.
Darius Kavaliauskas, Head of Rise Vilnius, “Barclays” workspace for innovations and cooperation with FinTech startups, notes that the interest of FinTech companies from all over the world in Lithuania has been growing over the recent years. According to him, many foreign companies are willing to set up a business in Lithuania and they actively join Lithuania’s FinTech ecosystem.
“Comparing Lithuanian and foreign FinTech startups established in Lithuania enables us to see the differences in their maturity and at the same time observe the great potential of Lithuanian startups. Compared to Lithuanians, foreign companies are more likely to use the favourable conditions that Lithuania offers for FinTech companies. This is the result of their maturity, financial capacity and the ability to adapt in the international market. It could be explained by the fact that the number of Lithuanian people with no fear of risks and with good understanding of this market as well as with the ability to develop a business plan is growing very slowly. The fact that we had no risk funds to invest and support new ideas for a very long time is also the determining factor. The situation is changing, and foreign investors will come together with foreign companies, and they will contribute to the growth of the number of startups and development of world-class products in our country,” says Mr. Kavaliauskas.
According to the data of the Bank of Lithuania, starting e-money, lending platforms and payment institutions were the most popular activities of FinTech companies last year. As Darius Kavaliauskas claims, activities in such promising fields as cyber security, blockchain technology application, artificial intelligence and data analysis were not widely performed in Lithuania.
Mr. Kavaliauskas highlights the favourable regulatory environment, simplified Startup Visa procedures and a more rapid processes of issuance of licences for banking and monetary operations as the main strengths of the Lithuanian FinTech sector. “I could also mention good infrastructure, talented people, active community of the FinTech ecosystem, various initiatives and events. All these factors encourage people to choose Lithuania. In the future, FinTech companies will further develop due to geopolitical decisions, such as Brexit, and due to our country’s active, unified and purposeful attitude,” he notes.
“Although Lithuania offers a favourable business environment for FinTech companies, attraction of investments – considerable shortage of specialists in the market delay the rapid development of the sector,” Mr. Kavaliauskas claims.
As a number of operational challenges for entrepreneurs in FinTech are yet to be resolved, a great deal of attention will be dedicated to the issues that entrepreneurs face at this year’s major startup event “Startup Fair. Growth”.
During the part dedicated exclusively to FinTech, “ShieldPay”, that was hugely successful at the last year’s “Techstars” accelerator in London, will talk about the real-life challenges they faced before becoming one of the ten best London startups.
Visitors will also find out what do big companies want. Richard Thomson, “Barclays” vice-president responsible for innovation attraction, will share his insights from his own experience. You will also get to meet the representatives of the most successful companies and have a live discussion about the state of FinTech.
“Startup Fair” is aiming to develop and foster Lithuania’s startup ecosystem, familiarise international investors with promising startups and represent Lithuania as an exceptionally welcoming country for startups on an international scale.
The extensive programme of “Startup Fair: Growth” will be dedicated to four themes: Growth, Venture Capital, Financial Technologies & Blockchain Technologies, and ICO where more than 20 international speakers will deliver speeches.
Already 6th in a row, “Startup Fair” is free of charge and will take place on 16-17 May in Vilnius Tech Park. Read more about it here: www.startupfair.lt.