After spending a part of my summer holidays exploring the Lithuanian startup ecosystem I feel like I’ve met most of the key players. Here’s a summary to help you find your next partners.
Funding and acceleration
Most of these are actively investing into early-stage companies, aiming at hald a dozen to a dozen new investments per year. Ticket sizes are typically between €50-500k.
Contrarian Ventures – Specializes in energy-related use cases
Iron Wolf Capital – Ticket size up to €1.6M
LitCapital – Later stage, €2-5M tickets into companies with proven traction. Approx. two deals per year
Open Circle Capital – Portfolio is almost full, not actively seeking new investments. Will seek co-investors for later rounds from Q4/2020 onwards.
Baltic Sandbox – Multiple batches per year, each with a different focus
Katalista Ventures – Focuses on sustainability (triple top line), invests into best participating startups
Startup Wise Guys – Multiple batches per year, operates across Baltics, invests into best participating startups
70 Ventures – They help B2B companies grow their sales by hiring, training and funding a sales team in Lithuania. Initial tickets €50k (sales team for half a year – year), followed with €200k+ into companies that perform. They do approx. 20 investments per year and are seeking more quality deal flow from e.g. Finland.
Coinvest Capital – A co-investment fund, investing alongside three or more angels or VCs who are not backed by public money. Participating up to 70% of the round. They cap their returns at 6% annually, with the excess given to the others in the syndicate. The investments have to benefit Lithuania (e.g. company has to have/open an office with employees there).
LitBAN – Lithuanian Business Angels’ Network, organizing pitch events for half a dozen startups a month. Compared to those in other Baltic/Nordic countries, Lithuanian startups tend to have lower valuations, benefit from excellent governmental financial leverage (e.g. Koinvest) and public grants, and a large, qualified talent pool in e.g. business and IT sectors with a lower salary level. The angel investment scene is still young and can offer excellent opportunities for international angel investors, especially experienced lead angels.
Hubs in Vilnius
Rockit – In the west side of old town, at the end of Gedimino street. At the entrance is a cafe that’s open for everyone to visit and enjoy the startup atmosphere. Private rooms of members are behind a gate at the back of the cafe. Has a slight emphasis on fintech and sustainability.
Talent Garden Vilnius – In the center of old town. Modern vibe. Need keycard to enter. Private offices are fully booked, but got dedicated or open seats available. Good premises for hosting events for up to 200 people, with top-line technology included. Interested in event partnerships for relevant audiences.
Vilnius Tech Park – 10 min drive from Vilnius center. The area used to be the gardens of a palace, and is great for walking and thinking. There are multiple cafes and restaurants in the area. Tech Park is interested in partnerships in relevant areas such as education, logistics, security, media, fintech, and corporate cooperation. They’re opening a couple of new hubs and rebranding some, and I’ll update this once that has happened
Bank of Lithuania – They play an active part in the booming fintech startup sector. Lithuania has the highest number of new banking licenses granted in EU (was second only to UK pre-brexit). They’re shaping their approach to be very startup-friendly and support the ecosystem’s development. Many international startups have found it practical to apply for PSD2 and other banking licenses in Lithuania instead of their home countries.
Changemakers’ON – An acceleration network for social impact startups, organizing bootcamps, events, mentoring and other programs especially in Kaunas and elsewhere outside Vilnius.
Civitta – A consultancy company that plays a big part in organizing a lot of the innovation and startup ecosystem activity in Vilnius. They compete for and organize projects with public funding, including but not limited to hackathons. They also consult many public officials on the topics.
Go Vilnius – The other of the only two organizations on this page I haven’t met yet. I’ll update this after I connect with them.
GovTech Lab – Drives the innovativeness and startup cooperation of Lithuanian public sector in general. Organizing multiple pilot calls this and next year, first of which will be announced soon.
Ignitis – Energy sector innovation organization. The other of the only two organizations on this page I haven’t met yet. I’ll update this after I connect with them.
Invest Lithuania – Helps corporations expand into Lithuania.
Mobility Innovation Center – Drives the innovativeness and startup cooperation of Lithuanian post, railways, and road maintenance organizations. Contact them if you have an innovation you’d like to sell to these organizations. They’re also organizing multiple pilot calls together with GovTech Lab, which will be announced soon.
Startup Lithuania – Organizes the startup visa, provides ecosystem information, has created an extensive online course on how to make a successful startup, and supports the startup ecosystem in multiple other ways. They work together with embassies’ commercial attachés to support startups interested in moving to Lithuania or opening a sales/R&D/other office there.