Lithuanian start-ups were able to quickly cope with the challenges appeared during the pandemic, as well as discover and take advantage of new opportunities. As many activities and communications migrated into the digital space, the technologies developed by startups became even more popular, e.g., remote meetings that facilitated access to foreign investors.
The head of Startup Lithuania says that in 2021, performance of the startups also demonstrated record growth in sales, exports and employee numbers: in the first half of 2021, the sales and export figures of Lithuanian startups were almost 3 times more than last year, while the number of employees increased by 15 per cent and there are currently more than 16,000 people working in the Lithuanian start-up ecosystem at the moment.
According to Versli Lietuva, the total sales of Lithuanian start-ups amounted to EUR 1.33 billion in the first half of 2021. Compared to the same period in 2020, it increased by 162%, i.e. 2.6 times. Meanwhile, exports of goods and services created by Lithuanian start-ups in the first half of 2021 demonstrated the best results and reached EUR 966.8 million limit, which is 192%, i.e. 2.9 times more than in the first half of 2020.
In 2021, the Lithuanian startup ecosystem had an unprecedented growth; it is likely that in the near future it will grow even more, and by the end of 2022 we will have heard about new investment deals, and there will be new records and new deals for purchase and sale of startup companies.
Lithuania—Land of start-ups
Have you ever wondered why the number of startups operating in Lithuania (both local and foreign capital) has already exceeded a thousand? There are several reasons for this. In particular, Lithuania has favourable environment for business financing and has bodies responsible for supervising the startup ecosystem. In terms of funding provided by the government to start-ups, Lithuania surpasses even Scandinavian countries. Support for start-ups on relocation, business development and legal issues is provided by such institutions as the Innovation Agency, Go Vilnius and the Bank of Lithuania.
In 2021, startups merged into the Unicorns Lithuania association, which currently unites more than 40 Lithuanian startups. The Association has an ambitious goal of having created an ecosystem of 2,000 startup communities working in Lithuania by 2025, and the salary to be paid for 30 thousand employees, which added 375 million euros annually to the national budget in taxes.
In 2019, Lithuania’s startup community gave birth to the first unicorn(a startup worth over 1 billion euros), which was Vinted. In 2022, another unicorn Nord Security appeared in Lithuania. (https://nordsecurity.com/)
Anyway, Vinted and Nord Security are not the only attractions of the Lithuanian startup ecosystem. Many other pioneering companies, works and developed solutions, of which make Lithuania known abroad, deserve to be mentioned.
- Trafi is the startup founded in 2007, developing mobile solutions in more than 10 countries and with branches in Paris and Berlin (further plans lead to South America and Asia). The company’s technology already serves more than 50 million people in cities around the world who commute daily by public transit. Trafi mobile app promotes the public transport sharing economy and helps both locals and visitors to get on the best route.
- Vinted is the first Lithuanian unicorn, which is currently worth more than 3.5 billion euros. Aim of the company is promoting fashion and selling products worldwide. The platform is used by users from 15 European countries. The startup also introduced a parcel delivery service in 2022.
- Tesonet is one of the largest Lithuanian startups with the largest number of employees in Lithuania (almost 2 thousand). Tesonet has launched into the world not only a whole series of IT products, but also several equally successful companies such as Nord Security. The newest member of the family is CyberCare, the company that grew out of Customer Service in 2021 and provides services for cybersecurity products.
- Nord Security has more than 15 million users worldwide. The best known products of the company are virtual private network Nord VPN, password driver Nord Pass, document encryption software Nord Locker. The company has offices in Vilnius, Kaunas, and Berlin.
- Kilo Health is a healthcare technology company ranked in the top 50 fastest-growing technology companies in 2022 by Deloitte, an international accounting firm, and is ranked second in it every year. The startup currently employs 600 people and has developed 15 products.
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