- Sophia Tupolev-Luz
Last Week in Baltic Tech and Startup News (May 29-June 7, 2021)
Labs of Latvia culled a list of 16 Latvian startups to watch from the winners of TechChill’s
2021 50 Founders Battle, insiders reveal the reasons they think Brexit has positioned Lithuania as the top European fintech capital, Asya joins DigitalWell Ventures as their first Baltic and deeptech company, CopyMonkey.ai has automated copywriting product descriptions for e-commerce stores, TWINO hosted talks about the future of investing and fintech, Nordigen’s free banking API raised 2 million euros, and the commission free investment platform Lightyear raised 1.2 million pounds.
The Baltic startups and scaleups to watch in 2021
Sifted is out with a list of the Baltic startups to watch, like BTV portfolio companies Kedeon and Asya.ai.
Check out the full list here.
16 Up-and-Coming Latvian Startups You Should Know
To cull a shortlist of Latvian startups to watch, the winners of the 50 Founders Battle at TechChill 2021 are listed below, keeping you at the forefront of the ever-changing ecosystem.
Typbot- Fintech, Founded 2019, intelligent chatbot used for marketing/sales, including customer onboarding and leadgen, with a focus on fintech and insurtech
Snapio- Fintech, Founded 2020, contextual shopping with an optimized checkout process
Fintelligence- Fintech, Founded 2020, automated “know your customer” software that utilized AI for media screening and analysis
Longenesis- B2B, Founded 2017, shortens the amount of time needed for clinical medical trials by optimizing comms and processes
GetFocused- B2B, Founded 2019, remote meeting management software, also provides organizational structure and data to streamline process
CopyMonkey.ai- Ai+ML, Founded 2020, writes product descriptions for e-commerce stores
My3Dcloud- Ai+ML, Founded 2017, online workspace for 3D project collaboration, claims to speed up process by 30%
Sharentic- Sustainability, Founded 2020, helps people rent/rent out belongings
Extratique- Sustainability, Founded 2020, blend natural ingredients to help improve gut health, flagship product is CannSynBiotic
Empyrio- Sustainability, Founded 2018, compact micro-incinerator to turn organic waste into energy
VReach- Sustainability, Founded 2017, VR to treat autism and improve rehabilitation by bringing together diverse specialists
Cellbox Labs- Hardware and IoT, Founded 2020, build miniature organs with a complete environment at the cellular level to help create treatments
HackMotion- Hardware and IoT, Founded 2016, identifies swing of golf players and suggests improvements
BeeSage- Hardware and IoT, Founded 2020, smart beehive that monitors the health and activity of the swarm remotely
Z-Triton- Hardware and IoT, Founded 2019, amphibious vehicle and camper for individuals
Adventum Tech- Hardware and IoT, Founded 2020, smart engineering with products to collect and analyze data for better building
How Brexit fuelled Lithuania’s ambitions to become Europe’s fintech capital
Experts like the Vice-Minister for Finance, Vaida Cesnuleviciute, and Bank of Lithuania Board Member, Marius Jurgilas, both credit official policies, encouraging experimentation and innovation, and embracing ease of entry for companies for the growth.
The 2020 Global Fintech Index from Findexable found that Lithuania is the 4th most powerful fintech hub behind the US, UK, and Singapore, with over 200 companies based in the country
Much of this is due to internal work, with players including the Bank of Lithuania, learning institutions, corporations, accelerators, startups, and investors collaborating
Some of the policies include ease of licensing, freedom for tech development, the regulatory sandbox, remote customer onboarding, and a central banking platform
Younger professionals are also encouraged by specialized school programs and working in a more innovative and global environment, thanks to a decade of international finance and banking giants working within Lithuania
Additionally, Brexit has made working within the UK more difficult for both corporations and individuals, opening a gap for companies and pulling more skilled workers home
Asya joins DigitalWell Ventures accelerator
Asya, creators of an AI based app that analyzes audio and video for emotional tells called “Closer to you”, have just joined the DigitalWell Ventures accelerator.
Used to help couples have more positive, deep, and meaningful interactions by providing feedback and topics to discuss while avoiding fights with the machine-learning embedded in the app
Co-founder Ariel A. Tabaks, who built the app with his brother, says “It is almost like a fitness app that gives you data so you can train and improve”
The company is DigitalWell’s first Baltic and first deep-tech based startup ever
Asya focuses on ethical AI, and is now looking to launch in Sweden and Nordic countries, bringing a communication solution to couples that’s a cheaper and simpler step to take before attending marriage counseling
CopyMonkey.ai Creates Product Descriptions for Online Stores
CopyMonkey.ai is an AI solution that writes product descriptions for e-commerce sites that’s looking to expand internationally and add more languages to the platform.
Founders claim that it is 90 times faster than humans, and it’s certainly cheaper, turning out copy in as little as 30 seconds and said to be 95% usable on the first go
The company is currently focuses on SMEs and product descriptions, and have just added English as well as Russian to the available languages
While based in Russia and working in Russian, they’re working with Overkill Ventures’ Latvian startup accelerator
Company was founded in September and raised 60,000 euros in March of 2021
FinTech Talks by TWINO: A new era of investing
An official TechChill side event that’s the first of its kind discussed a “new era of investing”, pulling a number of diverse field experts in to discuss the future of fintech and its role in how and where investments will be made.
Hosted at TWINO in Riga, experts including Kristjan Kangro, Founder & CEO at Change Invest, Kaidi Ruusalepp, Founder & CEO at Funderbeam, Thomas Kralow, Trader at ThomasKralow, Liene Dubava, Member of the Management Board, Head of Baltic Issuer Services at Nasdaq Riga, and Pauls Miklaševičs, Chief Asset Management Officer at BlueOrange Bank
Topics included the effect 2020 had on current investment trends and possible future market directions
Markets were mainly saved from Covid impacts by centralized financial institutions, and even as crypto rises, it highlighted the importance of centralized finance and national institutions
Household expenditures went down, more investments can move to digital with no issues and it’s become globalized and more accessible for ll
Millenials and Gen Z are starting to move into retail investment, while there’s growing interest in investment education
Also touched on the negative environmental impact of cryptocurrencies
Top tips from the investors include: Taking time to explore the scenery, knowing yourself and your opportunities, and diversifying and investing in what you care about
Free open banking API Nordigen raises 2 million euros
The first ever free banking API platform in Europe, Nordigen has expanded their network of banks and nabbed 2.1 million euros in investments to further democratize access to banking data.
Nordigen works within a freemium framework, offering developers access to banking insights and analysis of banking data, whereas competitors tax users for information that’s free to access in a clunky and outdated way
The amount of API users has quadrupled in the past few months, and they’ve moved from supporting 300 bank APIs to 1,000 in only a few months
Investors include: Black Pearls VC, Inventure, Highgoal Capital, ID4 Ventures, Superangel, and Calchas Holding
Angel investors include: Artis Kehris, Henry Nilert, Gerri Kodres, and Riivo Anton
Nrodigen aims to democratize access to banking data and make it a more seamless and hassle-free experience
Lightyear, a stock trading app created by early Wise employees, lands €1.2 million
Based in London and Tallinn, Lightyear is a stock-trading and investment platform that’s completely commission free and plans to open in Q3 of 2021 for business.
Individual investments were made by Taavet Hinrikus, a co-founder of Wise, Stem Tamkivi, a co-founded of Teleport, and Jaan Tallinn, a co-founder of Skype
Angel investors include Ott Kaukver, Wander Rutgers, and Kaarel Kotkas
The founders are Martin Sokk and Mikhel Aamer, early employees of Wise that saw a gap in the market, and have brought on former Robinhood, Revolut, and other Wise employees onto the team
The company aims to open the field of investing up to “normal” investors across the globe by providing more open information and charging fewer and lower fees
The app is expected in Q3 of 2021 for use