Experts Advise How to Take Advantage of the Crisis and to Develop Businesses

Although e-commerce is growing very fast in the world and in 2019 alone consumers spent nearly 3.5 trillion US dollars on it, preference is still given to traditional trade, especially in Europe. However, these tendencies are strongly shaken by the coronavirus – normal business models are no longer effective, traditional business comes to a standstill, and only those who manage to quickly rearrange processes and exploit alternative channels survive. Experts say that we have all the conditions necessary for these changes, it is important to act now and to take competitive positions in the market.

After the extreme situation was declared in Lithuania and, later, the country was placed under quarantine, the Public Institution Enterprise Lithuania, which was established to promote entrepreneurship and foster export, received a lot of requests on how to relocate its own business to cyberspace. “In the current situation, business is turning to e-commerce. However, business entities understand that they do not have the necessary tools and skills for that purpose. Some entities are able to refocus quickly and start developing their activities in a new way, while others don’t know where to start, don’t even have an idea how to change their business model to make it successful online“, – Daina Kleponė, the Managing Director of the Public Institution “Enterprise Lithuania”, presents a problem that is currently of particular importance for Lithuanian business.

According to Elijus Čivilis, the Vice-Minister of Economy and Innovation, this crisis is a period of transformation. “It is like a tsunami that will wipe out all businesses that will not be inclined to adapt to alternative opportunities. And today business faces a double challenge – how to create demand on new channels and how to retain its own customer”, – says he.

According to the Vice-Minister, the crisis will force both businesses and consumers to change. The current restrictions and challenges will move the entire society to a higher digitization level, they will encourage learning new things and introducing a growing number of innovative solutions to everyday life. After the crisis, consumer behavior will be different – the new things learned will become usual, and the discovered alternatives will take root and will continue to be used.

Creating an online store may take only one day

New technologies are very far advanced, and therefore can offer many opportunities for traditional business in terms of how to digitize and move quickly to a virtual space.

According to Mindaugas Ubartas, the Head of Lithuanian Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Industry Association INFOBALT, creating an online store may take only one day. “Nowadays there are many Lithuanian and foreign platforms, where own website can be created quickly and fairly cheaply – the price ranges from 5 to 15 euros per month. Certain platforms offer pre-integrated functionalities for e-commerce – delivery, payment options”, – explains the specialist.

He notes that in choosing a platform, it is important to know in advance which market is of relevance. If foreign trade is planned, then it is best to choose a foreign platform that offers integrated international payment methods. If the target is a Lithuanian market, then the platforms that are linked to the banks of our country are more suitable.

Own online store vs an e-commerce platform already in place. Which is better?

Some businesses have hitherto been successfully engaged in trade on international marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay, etc. In the current period, these businesses are experiencing significant growth. However, is it an attractive sales channel for those who are just starting e-commerce?

“Trading through a well-known electronic marketplace, which is reliable and has its consumers, can often be faster and more efficient than an individual online store. But now the situation is more complicated: the high demand for such platforms resulted in their increased busyness, restrictions apply to the admission of goods to the warehouses. Those, who are starting from zero, would have to deliver the goods to the customers by themselves, and this would slow down the delivery speed and increase costs”, – Vytautas Vorobjovas, e-commerce consultant, identifies the pros and cons of electronic marketplaces.

According to V. Vorobjovas, sometimes simpler tools, that allow reaching the user very quickly, are also suitable for business. He suggests considering using such channels as ad websites, forums, various groups on social networks – to be where the user is.

What should be done to make consumers aware of the transition to e-commerce?

Having an online store is not enough. It is important that consumers are aware of it and buy through it. One challenge is to understand what or who makes up the target audience of the business, and another challenge is how to reach it through the Internet and what advertising tools to choose.

Remigijus Kuliešius, the Head of digital marketing company “Raibec”, also the mentor of “Enterprise Lithuania” Business Mentoring Network, says that advertising tools very much depend on the specifics of the business. But, first of all, each company must refine its business processes, single out its competitive advantage and form a unified communication and marketing strategy that could be measured.

“Businesses make a big mistake when they start using many and varied advertising or publicity tools. In such a case, it is difficult to achieve long-term goals and to grow the business consistently. If, for example, consumers already know about the product, are looking for it, then the advertising tools that will help to find it faster are the most important. If the purchase of the product is in most cases driven by emotions, then other advertising channels that can excite the consumer’s desire to buy are effective”, – says R. Kuliešius.

According to him, now is a good time to strengthen marketing and communication, since, during the crisis, certain businesses, that occupied a large part of the information field, are stopping or reducing their advertising campaigns. This leads to falling prices in various advertising channels. Broader opportunities open up for new businesses and for those that move to cyberspace.

A record of the live stream of the expert discussion “Coronavirus opportunities for online business: Consult Expert” can be found here.

Surround Yourself With Those Who Are Better: Advice From A Man Who’s Built An Ecosystem

Rokas Tamosiunas, Entrepreneur and Investor, Lithuania (Vladimiras Ivanovas “Verso Zinios” photo)

Lithuanian Rokas Tamosiunas has built an emerging ecosystem in his home country from scratch, into an established, even if small one. When Tamosiunas co-founded Startup Highway, a Baltic accelerator and early stage fund in 2011, it was the first of its kind in Lithuania and one of the earliest in CEE (Central and Eastern Europe).

Tamosiunas was a pioneer in the tiny Baltic country when he founded his first startup, with a successful exit in 2010. “The words ‘startup’ and ‘mentor’ were not even in the national dictionary,” Tamosiunas recalls. He and his colleagues learned everything they could from Seedcamp and Techstars.

The idea to begin Startup Highway was inspired by the talent emerging from Lithuania, Tamosiunas says. “We noticed a trend – there was a Lithuanian in several of the top startup teams around Europe, so we decided we should create our own accelerator.”

None of the building blocks for an ecosystem – from mentorship to idea-sharing to angel investment, existed. Tamosiunas and his colleagues constructed the foundation for the ecosystem that exists in Lithuania today.

Tamosiunas is now expanding his vision, with a recently structured regional VC fund, called Open Circle Capital, with partners in Lithuania, Finland and Denmark, due to launch next month.

Building an ecosystem from the ground up, in a country with a population of less than 3M has provided Tamosiunas with great insights for startups operating in other small markets:


I don’t even compare Lithuania with Athens or Belgrade. I compare us to Amsterdam, which is a bigger, more mature market. The only way to get smarter is to play a smarter opponent. To be the best, surround yourself with those who are better.


Our country is too small a market, but when smaller countries band together, they can be seen as one market. Working with startups in neighboring countries, where cultural differences and distances are small, and skill-set compatibility is high makes sense. *For example, many working for startups in Slovakia and the Czech Republic regularly make the four-hour train journey between Bratislava and Prague.


Low rent and government incentives can attract startups, particularly regional ones, but when a startup grows faster than the ecosystem, the location can be challenging for recruiting talent. Consider keeping HQ local, with small offices or workspaces in other places where it’s easier to tap skilled people. Bring them to HQ once a month to share knowledge and team-build.


Big companies bring more than employment. Many Scandinavian companies, particularly banks, set up shop in Lithuania because of our focus on FinTech. They base here, use talent here, and in return, they raise the quality of the local labor pool by educating them on the Western markets. Many go on to start up their own businesses.


Don’t be afraid to go after big fish VCs in other markets. In less mature markets, many entrepreneurs go after big VCs out of necessity. But, often startups in more established markets are discouraged from pursuing large VCs in other geographies.

5 Quick Tips For Meeting With Investors From Startupbootcamp

Startup Fair is on the horizon which means startups taking part at it and working hard on their pitches and preparation to meet the investors. Marc Wesselink, the general partner at Startupbootcamp in Amsterdam, was among the mentors who were instructing a dozen of startups this Monday. 

We asked him for five quick tips about what startups should keep in mind when meeting the investors.

  1. Do your due diligence. Always check who you have in front of you. This will help to personalize the conversation.

  2. Make the connection. I have seen many startups talking for 10 minutes without doing any introduction and making a connection with me. However, establishing a connection is of huge importance.

  3. Keep it short. Make a very short story about a) the problem, b) the solution, c) the team.

  4. Keep it stupid simple. Don’t make things too complicated. I have heard many startups mentioning seven different problems they are trying to solve and, at the end, I have no idea what they are talking about.

  5. ‘Stay sexy at the bar’. Just be yourself and don’t try to show your underwear. Just know who you are, have an idea who are you talking to, have a clear picture of your business and your business proposal. Stay cool.

Keynotes From The Seminar On The Importance Of Global Thinking

Focusing on why, instead of what and how, looking for relevant ideas and be willing to list – these three keynotes can distinguish a successful global startup from the rest. Startup Lithuania and Enterprise Lithuania organized the first educational seminar about the importance of global thinking for startups and wannabe startups on July 9th in Vilnius. Three experienced and well-established entrepreneurs came to present the recent trends in the startup world and the key elements that one needs to become successful.

Rockstart Founder & CEO Oscar Kneppers is a successful serial entrepreneur and a celebrated internet publisher, launching several cross-media brands since 1998 – that all focused on new media and technology. After selling his media businesses in 2002 and 2008, Oscar founded Rockstart accelerator in 2011. 

In the seminar, he presented the five mantras that can lead a startup to success:

  1. Step up. Start
  2. Team up. Do it
  3. Stop Talking. Start Building
  4. Learn. Pivot. Start over
  5. Keep up. Keep going

Watch this video for more advice from Oscar:

Founder and CEO of Nextury Ventures Ilja Laurs advised to look for relevant ideas. A serial entrepreneur since 1999, Ilja has launched over 10 successful projects prior to GetJar, as diverse as Lithuania's largest hotel reservation system, mobile payments service MicroPay and mobile games studio Midas Mobile. Passionate about 3D photography, Ilja is also famous for his photo blog He suggested global thinking as a key strategy to building a successful startup in today’s market.

Ilja praised Lithuania for playing the top role in the following areas:

  1. E-city/ government
  2. Banking/ fintech
  3. Gaming
  4. Mobile

CEO of InsideWarehouse Tadas Deksnys was recently a participant in the accelerator program – the Alchemist. He spent over 10 years developing web-based solutions for successful eCommerce and Online businesses, founded His success story was built upon the convergence of Content, Community, and eCommerce, when they started pioneering a solution that turned user-generated content from social networks into actual sales. In the event, he emphasized the significance of aiming to become the top-pier communicator and discussed 7 things that great founders in Silicon Valley do (that good founder, unfortunately, don’t).

Tadas also presented how the change in one’s attitude can make a difference in this business:

  1. The background is not relevant
  2. Listening is the key
  3. I’m willing to unlearn things
  4. I’m willing to ask for help

Overall, the keynote of the event was to come up with ideas that could bring meaning to this world. Attendees were encouraged to not only think about the global market from an entrepreneurial point of view but also take a consumer’s look at what else is needed.

Rethinking Business Models for a Sustainable Future

Value is at the heart of the business model for every venture. How value is created, delivered and captured defines the growth and long term success of a business. So what it is that we should better understand about value and how could we develop a deeper understanding of value to create new economic, social and environmental benefits in this time of transformation.

  • Place sustainability at the hear of value– A healthy economy can not exist without being embedded into a healthy society and a healthy society can not exist without embedded into a healthy eco-system. To place sustainability at the heart of value, businesses need to understand and unlock the direct and indirect benefits from all their stakeholders. This includes not only customers, partners, shareholders but also considering society and the environment as a stakeholder.
  • Commit to social motivation – To commit to a socially driven purpose as part of the vision of a business could contribute not only to achieve long term financial sustainability but to solve large scale societal problems emerging from this current economic transformation.
  • Align with social impact – To achieve long term sustainability and transparency, value, mission and governance of the business needs to be aligned.
  • Embrace partnership logic – The complexity of problems such as poverty, obesity, climate change is all characterized by their unique, interconnected, complex nature. In order to solve these type of problems businesses require to adopt a systemic view and embrace a long –term view on building partnerships.
  • Encompass all three sectors - To build bridges between the public, private and third sector as a long term strategy for sustainability lead to knowledge exchange between places that have surplus or under-used knowledge and places where knowledge is most needed.
  • Practice the power of co-creation - Entrepreneurship is no longer a solo act, therefore entrepreneurs need to think beyond the boundaries of their businesses, identify strength and weaknesses and build their own eco-system for sustainability.
  • Run micro-experiments – To build small projects with different users and customers and to practice experimentation for capturing value would foster resilience and enable small projects to take root and fulfil their potential to achieve positive change and build sustainability.
  • Build agility – It is important to validate markets outside the core market segments and to build continuous feedback loops from customers outside your focal market as part of the customer validation process.
  • Transform the quality of conversation – We have two ears and one mouth therefore we should use it in that proportion. Businesses should spend more time listening to what the clients are saying and learn from it.
  • De-couple your idea from your ego – Businesses should build communities of purpose and harness the power of local communities.

The article is written by Orsolya Ihasz. She is a researcher, educator and advocate for social change and holds a position as Enterprise Technology Lead for Cranfield University, UK. The article is empowered by KTU, knowledge-empowered entrepreneurship network (KEEN).

Cracking the Silicon Valley: Work Fast, Embrace Failures & Network

Short blog story from Startup Division team about their mission to Silicon Valley - expectations vs reality and the power of networking - what impressed the most?

There’s no shortage of expectations when visiting the Silicon Valley. Many companies famed or failed in this gold rush state and we wanted to know everything they learnt along the way. Visiting Facebook, UC Berkeley, 500 Startups were definitely the highlights of the mission, but what surprised 44 Soft-Landing mission participants—10 startups (from Lithuania too) and 30 ecosystem builders from Europe—was how everyone we met although had a unique experience, communicated the same vibe and culture. In general, the pace was fast, food expensive, conversations short, and people helpful—the full Silicon Valley experience.

Startup failed? Congratulations!

We sat down for a chat with Andra Bagdonaite of Startup Division, an entrepreneurship support organization that is leading Soft-Landing project activities and the mastermind behind this mission.  

“What surprised us the most is the difference in mentality when it comes to risk-taking. European startups are still rather risk-averse, they tend to spend a lot of time perfecting the product whereas startups in the Silicon Valley are very quick to release and validate the product. If it doesn’t work, they move on to the next one.”

Mark Searle, Managing Director at Innovation Acceleration Group, UC Berkeley was kind to share his personal path filled with successes and failures. He noted that Silicon Valley, and Berkeley in particular, have the culture of viewing these “downs” as experience and they are considered a very valuable experience.

“That mindset that it is ok to fail is culturally accepted, and to a big degree is the Silicon Valley’s success factor.”

Success, then, often means resilience and ability to get back up again, and that experience helps you create a prosperous business.

Another difference in perspective is startups’ ability to think big.

“Startups there have a very global mindset, they are not geographically attached, when they create a product they create it for the whole world, and investors are keen on investing big and finding that next unicorn."

People will help but don’t fail at networking

Another thing that happens fast in the Valley is networking.

“People network all the time. They are very friendly and willing to connect you to others that might be of help. But you’ve just got one shot with them. If they like you, all doors will open wide. But if you failed, you will not have another chance with that person.”

Another golden rule for networking is to follow up fast.

“If you don’t connect on LinkedIn and follow up the same day or the next day, you will be considered impolite. Following-up after a few days or a week is a no-gamer in the Valley.”  

What do we take home with us?

Mission participants brought back a number of contacts and ideas how to improve their ecosystems.

“The Soft-Landing mission has enabled participants to create new partnerships, expand mentor network, connect European and American investors, provided with direct contacts to help European startups scale to US and find partners who could help test their products. Hope this will allow us to bring some of that American mindset to home countries and power up our ecosystems,” notes Andra.

“The Soft-Landing Mission to Silicon Valley was an eye opener for me. Everybody who works in startups and innovation should at least be once in the Valley to see what is going on in the Champions League of world scaling tech!” adds Kamil Barbarski, Entrepreneur and Innovation Hacker at


Why Do We Fear to Become Entrepreneurs?

FACE Entrepreneurship, a European Commission (EC) project born to promote information and communications technology (ICT) entrepreneurship, carried out a study that identified the most common fears entrepreneurs face when starting up.

They concluded that “fear of failure is an inherent aspect of a startup that needs to be acknowledged, accepted and can have various positive outcomes” and that the concept of failure needs to be understood as “a necessary and positive event that helps the entrepreneurs learn and become a much stronger and better entrepreneur.”   

The main fears identified in the study were financial, career, and social ones, followed by self-preception fears, "feeling of losing it all" and fear of losing personal freedom.

According to the study, common consequences of the fear of failure are that prospective entrepreneurs delay their startup often for long times or never start. The entrepreneurs end up over-analyzing, overthinking or wait for the perfect idea which normally never comes. They may also start the venture only part-time due to their fears which could reduce the chances of making the venture work. If they start the venture, they may further end the venture too soon due to the Fear of Failure or not take the necessary decisions and lack of energy to make the venture a success. Absorbed by a Fear of Failure the entrepreneur is generally not able to persuade and motivate employees, investors or customers. If their venture failure fails, they may not start over again due to a Fear of Failure and remain with psychological problems such as self-doubt and feelings of regret.

However, many experts also associated positive consequences to Fear of Failure as long as Fear of Failure does not become excessive. Positive consequences are the creation of a sense of urgency and push. One respondent captured this idea as: “Fear of failure is a driver to do everything to gain success.” Given the social reputation fears, an entrepreneur might also work harder to proof to potential nay-sayers that one is capable of making a specific business idea work. Respondents also said that is was in fact very important that entrepreneurs are aware that failure is a likely outcome to better plan their efforts, plan the resource dedication, consider alternative plans and minimize potential risks.

Also, perceived capabilities and opportunities to startup a business in Europe are lower than in any other continent, according to the “Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report”. Moreover, 39.1 per cent of the adults with entrepreneurial intentions in Europe stated that they would be prevented from starting up a business because of fear of failure.  

Fear of failure is one of the main reasons why lots of great ideas have not yet been developed in Europe. This makes it essential to boost entrepreneurship by working through key aspects such as risk aversion, resilience and the current concept of failure.

6 Critical Factors That Will Make or Break Your (Life Sciences) Startup

Nowadays it is not enough for a scientist or student with an ingenious idea to create a successful startup, cooperation with investors and a fundamental understanding of business is required.

Here are some of the most important factors that must be addressed properly for your life sciences startup to develop successfully, and if ignored, could become detrimental to your company. These factors are marked out according to research done by Karolis Dumbrovas, life sciences coordinator at Enterprise Lithuania, on life science startups in Lithuania.

1. Financial Constraints

Financial Constraints have the most effect on a startup’s success or failure. Without proper funding startups are unable to pay their employees, develop products, and commercialize their ideas. It is therefore imperative that startups understand how to properly commercialize their innovations and share needed information to attract funds from:

a. Investors
Business angels
Venture capitalists
Bank Loans
Government funding

2. Managing R&D and its costs

Research and development is an important part of a life science startup and its costs begin to increase as a company ventures into an unexplored market. Managers should strive to reduce R&D costs by:

a. Defining concrete R&D goals and distinguish between fundamental and industrial research.
b. Prioritizing different aspects of R&D projects to asses which areas need more human resources and funding.

3. Managing human resources of a startup

It is imperative that startup managers employ the right amount of people and effectively motivate and train their staff to maximize productivity. Managers can ensure productivity by:

a. Creating a work environment consisting of open communication, a sense of community, and trust based relationships.
b. Cultivating a sense of empowerment in employees by assigning them big responsibilities allowing them to contribute, learn about the company, and introduce innovation.
Evaluating the environment of the workplace and setting goals that remain in line with overall company vision.

4. Management’s impact on overall motivation in employees

Keeping employees feeling motivated is crucial for a successful life science startup as the company relies on ingenuity and innovation. Motivating factors that could boost productivity include:

a. Ensuring employees feel interested and challenged by their work; creating a less bureaucratic environment so employees could feel free to innovate.
b. Providing employees with adequate compensation as salaries are positively correlated with increased sales.
Research presentations would inspire workers to think outside the box and come up with innovations for how to develop, promote, and sell the startup’s products or services.

5. Unforeseeable Uncertainty

Unforeseeable Uncertainties are inabilities to predict all variables that might affect the startup, its management, and performance in the future; it is important that managers assess market opportunities correctly and adapt operations accordingly. Often traditional managerial approaches do not work when a startup is initiating innovation and venturing into a new market; it is rather suggested to use approaches that feature.

a. Trial and error (learning and experimentation)
b. Selectionism methods (setting targets and deadlines)
Considering whether there are any knowledge gaps and identifying how many possible different variables can have an effect on various decisions in the future (complexity and risk management plans)

6. Knowledge management

It is important that managers understand how to properly distribute knowledge, making it available to the right people at the right time. Technologies should be utilized to create an open environment where employees have adequate understanding and are able to communicate ideas and solutions.

It is evident that much understanding of business and planning ahead is needed for a startup to function successfully and to properly commercialize inventions. The task of introducing all these factors into your business can be difficult especially if you are already busy developing your own innovations.

Written by Jacinta Sherris

10 Lessons of the Startups You Should Learn From

Challenges are the main theme of this year's Startup Fair. And not by accident - they give a lot of valuable experience that helps every startup to grow and, of course, not to repeat previous mistakes. Why shouldn’t you avoid challenges in your path and how to use them to your advantage? Lawyer Giedrė Čiuladienė shared some valuable insights on the topic during one of the online Startup Fair sessions.

Giedrė spent many years working with startups and shared some lessons of the startups you should learn from. Why should we talk about mistakes in the first place? Giedrė gives three reasons:

  1. It gives us a quicker start;
  2. It is easier and cheaper to learn from others’ mistakes;
  3. The theory is summarized practice – you can learn a lot from practice.

Let’s get to the main problems that startups face. Giedrė starts by pointing out that founders always want their customers to be happy, BUT the creation of their product is usually based on their own experience and they don’t really understand the needs of potential customers. What could be the solution? Let your customers test your product before launching it. Talking about legal stuff, you should always keep your confidential information safe – always sign a confidential information agreement.

The second mistake, according to Giedrė, is being a feature freak – when you are trying to put as many features as you can. Always remember: your product has to solve a real problem and too many features may confuse your consumer. Better make the first version very simple and minimal and develop it with time. And yet again – be sure to keep your intellectual property safe and legal.

Giedrė points out that 99% of successful startups don’t end up being the products they thought in the beginning. And it’s OK! Never stop analyzing what your customers want and keep changing the product until THEY are happy.

Fourth mistake – hiring wrong people. Take only those who have the same mindset. On the legal side, choose the right type of employment contract, give a new colleague a probation period, and set correct and adequate goals.

Not launching the product early can also be a problem. Founders always think about launching the product and making it GRAND, says Giedrė. Startups may have the wrong thoughts that nobody cares in the beginning and that first negative feedback will have a very bad impact on the brand. Talking about the legal side, no company starts its activities from complete legal documentation and it has become a big headache to the lawyers. It is exciting to launch your product, but the paperwork is also crucial.

Sixt common mistake, according to Giedrė, is not researching your competition. Why? Competitors validate the market for you. If there are none, it raises questions: does the problem really exist? If it does, is it wide enough so that you need to create a new product?

Furthermore, startups expect to raise A LOT of money right away. But the reality is often different: firstly, you have to convince the investors that your product is worth the money. So, prove that there’s a market demand for your product and get a greater valuation. And remember the wider scope of obligations the investors have, the more rights they own.

Also, handling money incorrectly may become a problem too. So, here are a few mistakes you should avoid:

- hiring a ton of people;

- unnecessary expenses;

- insufficient reserve for unexpected changes;

- no or delayed payments from the clients.

And so… the investor backs out. Also, keep in mind that violating the investment agreement may result in a refund or penalties.

The final important thing – don’t neglect legal protection. According to the lawyer, you should: set up a company with correct shareholding, have a shareholders’ agreement, as well as employment agreements, intellectual property rights protection, and proper privacy policy.

So, what lessons did we learn together with “Triniti” lawyer Giedrė Čiuladienė? Make yourself sure your product is needed, work with smart, yet passionate people, and never stop learning! And, most importantly, remember - mistakes are not something that should stop us. They are the challenges that let us grow.

Startup and Corporate Partnership: Practical Guide

What benefits corporations should expect to get from innovative businesses and how to maintain good relationships? What are the ways to approach corporations and continue building customer portfolio? We tried to find answers to these questions during one of Startup Fair discussion sessions. Six specialists who work with both corporations and startups guided our way to useful insights and shared the best practices from different organisations across the globe.

Talking about current market situation, all of them notice that COVID-19 definitely affected a lot of companies and also created a lot of uncertainty for many organisations – at the moment, we have no idea, how the future will look like. A lot of projects got postponed, and yet we can see a lot of room for new initiatives and corporations are focusing on good relationships with startups they already have connections with instead of starting new ones.

Some corporates had a long response time during COVID-19 and no new engagement. At the same time, in some countries, things got quicker, especially when startups offered useful products, thus solving urgent crisis. For example, Carolina Alex and her teammates from 27 pilots started a platform called Startups Against Corona and noticed that over 60 organisations have registered during the three months. Corporates from different industries: retail, food, health and so on are interested in the solutions that startups can offer.

She also saw an excellent push for digitisation, like contactless paying and so on – businesses understood it would be difficult to survive in the market if they didn’t digitise their business in a crisis like this. Talking about Lithuanian market, Arvydas Plėta from Katalista Ventures the economy was booming for some time and a lot of corporates were over self-confident, thinking they don’t need any help or new solutions. But after the crisis, the tables have turned, and a lot of them are looking for innovations.

So, let’s get to the essential question: what are the benefits of such relationships between startups and corporations? As specialists mentioned during the “Startup Fair 2020” discussion, on the corporate side, there is a need for a solution. Remco Temmink, from The Unknown Group, says it is essential for corporates to stay relevant, so that’s why it is vital to bring new solutions. It’s about gaining a competitive advantage. What is interesting, sometimes even the biggest corporations forget about the competition and start to work together to solve their problems. According to Arvydas, we, Lithuanians, are working with quite small corporates and small startups, so for the startups one of the biggest benefits is that they can have success cases, connections and also sometimes corporations can become their development partners.

Let’s say you have a startup and want to develop a connection with a corporation. What are they looking for these days? Well, usually they are searching for mature startups that can offer practical products – they are not coming with only a demo, but with an actual, perfectly functioning product or its prototype. So, the pilot is enough at first – to see if it’s working as expected and then you can decide together what steps to take. Also, it is better if the startup already has funding, so they need to have an investor. But... what if your startup is at the early stage? How can it grow to a partnership with a corporate? Firstly, Remco Temmink from The Unknown Group says, you have to think which corporate would fit you and what kind of problem can you potentially solve?

It is also crucial to understand that every corporation and government has its system. There are two ways to enter. One is when they notice a problem and are actively looking for a solution. Another is that YOU approach the organisation – this road is rougher. In both cases, you have to have a prototype. An idea is not always enough – it has to work technically. Corporates also want to invest in innovations; for example, they can invest in a platform that will connect them to the community.

Arvydas notices that in the beginning, every company is speaking about attracting startup and what they really mean is the need for unique solutions. That means every startup has to adapt – the willingness is essential – as long as startup wants to change something, it’s easy to get in a relationship with a corporation. Also, companies sometimes expect to get a solution… for free. What to do in that case? Arvydas says he notices that it is good for startups to give something for free or with a significant discount, but use the corporate as a playground. Remember – corporates are searching for reliable partners for a lot of years. It may seem it’s a long journey, and it’s not worth it, but remember – one you’re in, you’re there for a long time.

What we can see today is that new opportunities have opened up and also the corporations are more open for innovations than before. Maybe it is your time to shine and put big clients in your basket? Probably yes! But remember: always offer only what you can achieve. Also, you have to understand that when you want to act fast, the corporates usually prefer to take it slow. So… don’t push, give your clients space to think about your proposition and, hopefully, succeed!