The days are long but the decades are short | Lithuania tech weekly #5

The days are long but the decades are short | Lithuania tech weekly #5

work in progress

  • Interview with TransferGo CEO Daumantas Dvilinskas and Practica Capital partner Donatas Keras, where they mention a need to grow 2-3 times to hit unicorn status. About $ 50 m raised so far, actively hiring now.
  • Cargo stream has launched a container booking app. They have some French partners, an initial investments by Next Logistics Accelerator, and Algimantas Krasauskas, one of Trafi co-founders.
  • Furniture1 is back with a new market - launching in Spain.
  • Lithuania's big AI hope - Oxipit - signs distribution partner in Eastern Africa, has also secured partnerships in Nigeria and strong foothold in Latin America.
  • HeavyFinance closed 2020 strong, with 1000 users and more than EUR 2 m in issued loans, they are building a marketplace to invest in mortgage loans for businesses in farming, forestry and infrastructure.
  • Jonas Karklys, CEO of NordPass (Nord Security product) shares his management philosophy. Password security is a big market, will PassCamp (linked to Adeo Web) take a sprint, too?
  • "After decades of heavy use, the internet needs a facelift". In an opinion piece Jonas, CTO of Syntropy (former NOIA Network), explains why they are on a mission to x40 the speed of world wide web.

rounds and capital

  • SumUp acquires Lithuanian mobile banking platform Paysolut. Just after two-year run, 70V + Open Circle Capital + angel investments, Paysolut becomes part of the unicorn. More details not disclosed, but teams will continue working together. New chapter in LT's Fintech scene?
  • Inspired by the success, 70V adds NO-CV to their portfolio. Lithuanian MeetFrank?
  • Amberlo - case management software built for legal professionals - announces EUR 1 m investment by Iron Wolf Capital, 70V, Next Road Ventures and Corvus Ventures (last two in Poland).
  • Contrarian Ventures portfolio company, Tallinn-based Hepta Airborne announced the closing of a round of €2 million.
  • Also, 70V's early pre-seed investment in Oveo.io has been topped up with EUR 1 m investment, led by Ole Andersen, PreSeed Ventures, and Vækstfonden. Oveo plans to hire both in DK and LT and scale the business.
  • We failed to mention earlier Attention Insight scoring EUR 285k to expand AI-Powered pre-Launch design analytics. Adobe recommends as one of the XD plugins to test designs and get user feedback.
  • Siena Secondary Fund has been launched, with a focus on making deals in high growth late-stage startups in the Baltics & Finland market (e.g. Bolt, Starship, Vinted, Trafi etc) by acquiring stakes from early investors, founders, employees with a discount. It will provide liquidity for them and provide access to investors into successful startups - enabling to create a kind of "index fund of best startups of our region". More here.
  • Two years anniversary of Startup Wise Guys in Lithuania:
    • 3 accelerated batches
    • 33 investments made
    • more than EUR 2.5 m invested
    • portfolio teams represent 10 different countries
    • and portfolio teams have more than 250 employees.

VC

In recent announcements, Change Ventures and byFounders brought in dedicated team members to work with Lithuanian entrepreneurs and not to miss another Tesonet or Vinted. So we checked what makes them different

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Gabrielė Poteliūnaitė

What makes Change Ventures special in the Lithuanian tech scene?

The supportive, diverse and international team members working in all three Baltic countries, with a kick-ass attitude and unparalleled network are the heart of our fund. We are here to closely help Lithuanian startups shape their global ambitions and grow into next unicorns (...speaking of money, while we are the largest pan-Baltic seed fund, we are far from intimidating!).

Which industries, verticals, technologies excite your fund most?

Purpose-driven teams excite us in both hardware and software industries, varying from FinTech; ClimaTech; InsurTech; EdTech, and the list continues.

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Kipras Daujotas

What makes byFounders special in the Lithuanian tech scene?

We always say at byFounders that we invest in the New Nordics (Nordics plus Baltics). As a result of this, with the help of our Collective (consisting of some of the most successful founders from the region), we can not only connect well with Lithuanian founders but also help them scale faster than other Baltics-only funds.

Which industries, verticals, technologies excite you (and your fund) most?

In general, due to the breadth of our Collective’s knowledge, we have insight into virtually all verticals and are hence sector agnostic. That being said, founders that choose to tackle fundamental and challenging problems excite us the most!

founder guides

  • Recruiting and Branding. Powerful guide how you build on first-principles, not secondary tools. Rules of Arrival:
    • Do not advertise jobs
    • Do not use ATS
    • No careers page
  • Fundraising. Top 60 most active VCs, angel investors, corporate venture investors from Sweden in 2020 (free, need to create an account)
  • PR. How to set up your key messages for PR and marketing
  • Investing. Our (technology) Stack at a $10M Fund

roleplay

insights

  • story behind Pipedrive, the latest Estonian unicorn. It has already given birth to a number of new startups.
    • The story begins 14 years ago when founder Ragnar Sass launched his first startup - Facebook for... dogs and cats
    • That is not the point though. What is interesting, is how this idea got funded by Skype mafia fund, how Ragnar got to meet sales experts in an event later, and when this startup flopped, he was up for building a new CRM. An ecosystem in action.
  • The number of connections a founder has on LinkedIn is very strongly associated with amount of funding their startup raises. Not causal, but networks remain important
  • The Observer Effect - Tobi Lütke, Shopify
  • MailerLite - The 2020 email marketing benchmarks by industry.

ecosystem

Are there more exits in Fintech pipeline? And what does Paysolut exit tells us about the startup ecosystem?

Lithuania's Fintech drive has many aspects, and everyone has an opinion. In terms of attraction - it works, built on regulatory arbitrage and public sector leadership.  It brings recognition in media and rankings. There is also jobs, added value, and exports, though economists are still debating the scale of the effect.

SumUp set up Vilnius office mid-2019 and in last two years has been working closely with Paysolut, leading to a natural acquisition. It signifies how these larger players can create demand for services, help understand the market, and enable entrepreneurs in Vilnius to build relationships beyond the local playground.

A reminder that a vibrant startup ecosystem is not anything static or grand. The most established locations (is it London or the Valley) are known to be extremely fluid, with bi-directional talent movement in and out. People connect with new locations, and they tie-in different ecosystems in a powerful way. Therefore this circulation enables the ecosystem to find opportunities in the global markets and seek whatever resources might be need - is it talent, capital, or knowledge.

This effect will be a big part of Fintech cluster success in Lithuania, as long as it continues. We need to see new companies expanding into Vilnius, and the local ones setting up in London (TransferGo, Ondato) or elsewhere when needed. While most public discourse is often around the "returning" part for Lithuanians, we should be actively encouraging them to leave for great opportunities, too.

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