Exploring Lithuania’s thriving startup ecosystem

13 September, 2023

Last week a group of  EstBAN members – angels and funds visited Lithuanian flagship events – Investor Camp and Startup Fair in Vilnius. It was an insightful 3 days exploring the southernmost Baltic country with a fast growth perhaps soon to surpass Estonia’s?

EstBAN held an Investor Camp pre-event, a morning session on “How to invest into Lithuania”. Sandra Golbreich from Baltic Sandbox Ventures did a thorough overview on Lithuanian booming startup ecosystem put together by Startup Lithuania and Unicorns Lithuania

Lithuania’s startup ecosystem has emerged as a dynamic and promising hub for innovation in the Baltic region of Europe. With a vibrant and rapidly growing community of entrepreneurs, investors, and support organizations, the country has become a fertile ground for startups across various industries. Similarly to Estonia, this small but agile nation boasts a favorable business environment, a well-educated workforce, and a strong commitment to technology and entrepreneurship. 

The #2 fastest growing startup ecosystem in CEE

From Vilnius to Kaunas and beyond, the Lithuanian startup scene is poised for continued growth and global recognition, being the #2 fastest growing startup ecosytem in CEE (after Croatia). 

Lithuania in numbers, 2022: 

  • 1100+ startups 
  • €10B enterprise value
  • €293M+ in VC activity with 8.6x growth 
  • #2 fastest growing staertup ecosystem in CEE (after Croatia)
  • €292M taxes paid 
  • TOP20 companies almost all are profitable and bootstrapping with TOP 5 taxpayers being Vinted, Wargaming, Nord Security, Kilo Health, Oxylabs. 

More than 17 000 people work in the startup sector and the number is growing rapidly. 

Deep tech and dual use tech in focus

In Lithuania during these days the focus is, similarly to Estonia, turned to a few specific sectors. Deep tech in particular, is in on the radar for Baltic Sandbox Ventures. 

As Baltic Sandbox Ventures is focusing on Deeptech and Life Sciences, Sandra gave an overview of their activities and focus. In short – BSV is searching for founders with scientific background and 50% of the pipeline is related to the universities. There is also a strong focus on the emerging dual use tech, which was non-existent a few years ago and has now reached to the attention of both angels and VCs. Dual-use tech focus in Lithuania’s deep tech startup scene reflects a strategic alignment with national security interests, access to diverse funding sources, collaboration between sectors, and the potential for global impact. This approach not only bolsters the country’s defense capabilities but also enhances the competitiveness and innovation potential of its startups on a global scale. The sector is being more explored and vocally discussed as the priorities have shifted with the global situation over the past two years. 

See more about the players of Lithuanian startup ecosystem:
Startup Lithuania – https://www.startuplithuania.com/
Unicorns Lithuania https://unicorns.lt/en
Baltic Sandbox Ventures https://balticsandbox.ventures/ 

Dumb vs smart money

EstBAN’s president Lauri Antalainen participated in the panel named intriguingly – What it takes to be an angel – dumb money vs smart money, with the Lithuanian Viktorija Trimbel, managing director of CoInvest Capital, David Siksnans, Angel Investor & Investment Director in Draugiem Group, and Rita Sakus, a LitBAN& EBAN board member.

The main take aways on how to recognise a good choice for an angel investor were established during the discussion:

  • Good “hygiene”
  • Understands the mechanisms and the risks
  • Ideally has been on the field as a founder or an entrepreneur
  • Understand the industry and is ready to contribute not only financially but with time and network. 

Investor Camp and our time in Vilnius demonstrated the growing interest of international investors in Lithuanian startups as well as a necessity to collaborate between Baltic startup ecosystems and investor networks. 

Looking forward to the innovative and purposeful solutions brought to the table by the global economical and political changes.
EstBAN activities in Vilnius during Investor Camp were supported by Startup Estonia and the European Regional Development Fund.