How Lithuania’s Startup Ecosystem Is Pushing Forward Fintech and Mobility
Lithuania is an attractive country for both entrepreneurs and investors alike. Its startup ecosystem has low-cost access to talent from universities such as Vilnius University and Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, and the country is strategically located in Central Europe with access to both Russian and European markets.
With a startup ecosystem value of roughly $156 million, according to our 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report, Lithuania is seeing particular success in sub-sectors such as Mobility and Fintech.
In the area of Fintech, The Bank of Lithuania offers a promising Fintech regulatory sandbox that allows startups to have access to 34 different countries through the CENTROlink system. The CENTROlink system provides access to the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), and are able to issue their own IBANs through Bank of Lithuania APIs. This type of support from local organizations is one of the reasons why Lithuania saw a 45% increase of Fintech companies in 2018.
One noteworthy Lithuania-based Fintech startup is TransferGo, a global monetary transfer company that helps support immigrants who want to send money back to relatives without paying high bank fees. The company raised $17.6 million in 2018. Apart from local startups, several global players including Revolut and Earthport have a strong presence in the Lithuanian ecosystem.
As for Mobility, the car-sharing startup CityBee raised $124 million in venture funding in 2018. CityBee is also developing a scooter-sharing system. Additional local players in the scooter market include Flash, MyScoote, Swop and Unicorn Scooters. Trafi, a mobility service app, raised $7 million in Series B round and launched the world's first mobility-as-a-service in Vilnius in 2017. Trafi was also the official travel planner app for public transportation at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. In addition, Dana Incorporated, a supplier of powered vehicles and machinery engineering, is opening a service center in Lithuania.
In our 2019 assessment of the Lithuania startup ecosystem, we also highlighted:
- Lithuania is ranked as a top 10 global ecosystem for affordable talent.
- It takes just three days to start a business in Lithuania.
- The Funding Growth Index in Lithuania is ranked at 9 out of 10, showing large growth in total startup creation, calculated on an annualized growth rate.
Our local member in this ecosystem is Startup Lithuania, powered by Enterprise Lithuania, a governmental institution that aims to support business and entrepreneurship. Startup Lithuania acts as a bridge between the government, venture capital funds, accelerators, enterprises, and small businesses. They are improving the startup ecosystem in Lithuania by educating and consulting current and future entrepreneurs, providing access to a vast network, organizing events, and publishing ecosystem news.
“We have a growing and vibrant startup ecosystem — the number of startups is constantly growing, Lithuanian startups attracted record investments in 2018, and new players are engaging in the ecosystem,” Roberta Rudokienė, Head of Startup Lithuania, told us.
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