- Sophia Tupolev-Luz
Last Week in Baltic Tech and Startup News (June 8-June 15, 2021)
The Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is promoting the development of a startup friendly environment, Fixtender finishes at Overkill and moves to the prestigious Alchemist accelerator, 6 of the 8 startups at the EIT Digital Venture program come from Latvia, Estonian Edumus ed-tech startup raises €180K, Latvian startup Cenos and IT enterprise WinGo Deposit win BOWI Grants, Tallinn’s crypto investment platform Change raises €3.7 million from crowdfunding round and is now valued at €175 million, Mintos ends 2020 with €10.2 million in revenue, and solopreneur platform Xolo bags €3 million and launches localized service in Spain.
LCCI Startup Council to Promote the Development of Startup Environment
The Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry joins the LIAA, Latvian Ministry of Finance, and others in helping the country develop an environment more amenable to startups.
While most of the work is targeting startups specifically, the LCCI Startup Council also recognizes that more traditional businesses are also digitizing and could benefit from the frameworks
The big draw for them is that startups foster innovation and exportable products with high-paying jobs, all while providing added value
While there are already a number of startups in the country, they want to help speed up their development by changing the conditions in which they operate and bringing in more international investors
Some of the changes include improving their communication channels and beginning the annual Business Angel Program, which will educate both current and future investors
The council included: Gatis Bērziņš(co-founder of AgroPlatforma.lv), Salvis Roga(Chairman of the Board of the Kurzeme Business Incubator), Renāts Lokomets(strategic partner at the Venture Faculty), Imants Martinsons(project manager of the Green and Smart Technology Cluster), Marija Ručevska(co-founder of Helve), Māris Avotiņš(board member of Fiqsy), Marta Matisone(executive director of SmartLaws), Tīna Lūse(board member of the Alternative Financial Services Association of Latvia), and Agnese Veckalne(board member of Startin.LV)
Fixtender – the first Latvian startup at the prestigious Alchemist accelerator
One of the world’s most prestigious accelerators alongside YCombinator and 500 Startups, the Alchemist accelerator has just welcomed Fixtender, their first Latvian startup ever.
Alchemist is a startup accelerator jointly based in both San Francisco and Munich
Fixtender, both a SaaS provider and a marketplace for holding tender and contractors, has recently finished at Overkill and was accepted to Alchemist after multiple applications
Founder and CEO Vitaly Petrov worked in the construction and contracting industry for over 14 years, and saw a need for a simpler solution rather than using multiple convoluted spreadsheets to track work and expenses
The cloud-based platform offers both simplification of data and a marketplace for contractors to bid, and is currently live in Germany, Latvia, Sweden, and the US
While the industry is a difficult one to break into and resistant to innovation for the most part, Petrov is both optimistic and determined, looking to be the top player both in Europe, and then globally
Latvian startups enter EIT Digital Venture Program
The EIT Digital Venture program offers all participants financial support, one on one mentoring, and other consulting services, and six of the eight companies this year hail from Latvia
Each company that joins automatically receives 5,000 Euros in cash to get started, and has the ability to earn up to 20,000 if they hit certain KPIs along the way
Startup Wise Guys also provides participants with one on one mentoring with industry professionals from across the world, before incorporation
The EIT is an educational organization for entrepreneurs that aims to foster digital innovation and drive Europe’s digital transformation, supporting teams from 20 countries
Adorney (Estonia) – A platform for facility management and maintenance contracts that digitizes their creation, negotiation, and agreements
ALTERmail (Latvia) – Provides blockchain-based email
B.Focus (Latvia) – A productivity app
FittyAI (Lithuania) – Bridges the gap between online fitness and in-person training through the use of AI
HOOP (Latvia) – Marketplace for fashion rental connecting customers with suppliers
MakeItFast (Latvia) – A mooring equipment tool
Estonian-founded Edumus raises €180K to tackle global teacher shortage
A female-founded company looking to ameliorate the global teacher shortage, Edumus connects working professionals with local schools for part-time positions.
The educational startup recently raised €180K from renowned Estonian and Finnish angel investors to help facilitate its growth and expansion, looking to address the teacher shortage worldwide while enriching secondary education
Working as both a marketplace and a platform, it allows professionals to sign up, get matched with a school, facilitates communication between both parties, offers contract signing, and also provides professionals with resources on teaching methodologies
Professionals are given a single subject, which they teach to one grade over a single year, and is launching in both Estonia and Ukraine
Estonia has ranked #1 in education by PISA, and the company expects to send out 240 professionals to schools by September
Latvian startup Cenos received BOWI grant
The BOWI (Boosting Widening Digital Innovation Hubs) project looks to implement and encourage digital innovation throughout Europe and promote cooperation, offering help to startups from across the EU to foster just this.
Cenos, founded in 2017 in Latvia, allows engineers to test their ideas more easily and cheaply with a 3D simulator to help them hone ideas
They have received a €60,000 grant to help them with expansion and development, which they will use to create an API so that Cenos can interface with third-party platforms
The company currently works in 14 countries and 3 continents, and one of their goals is to “Create a community which not only uses our products but helps to improve them,” according to the co-founder Mihails Ščerpinskis,
Cenos hopes to become the next Latvian unicorn and work in electromagnetic products in the future
Latvian IT enterprise WinGo Deposit received BOWI grant
The second company to win a €60,000 grant, WinGo Deposit builds machines to help with waste sorting using AI and a neuron network to help with green sorting and recycling.
WinGo Deposit already has machines being tested and improved in Latvia and elsewhere across the EU, and paired with the UK Ministry of Waste to internationally distribute the machines, starting in Southeast Asia
The machines take in materials and packaging, including glass bottles, cans, PET plastic, and batteries, recognize them, and sort both crushed and uncrushed pieces, and are able to sort items even without a barcode
The company has already won the Creative Business Cup in 2020
Their ultimate goal is to sort a wider array and higher volume of both materials and products and facilitate communication between individuals and companies
Tallinn-based crypto investment platform Change closes €3.7 million crowdfunding round, now valued at €175 million
A crypto investment platform looking to stand out for its intuitive simplicity, charge-free crypto trades, community-driven change, and independent funding closed on another €3.7 million in their latest round of crowdfunding.
*Funds came from 50 private investors, and Change says the fund was oversubscribed in 48 hours, and many were return investors
They stand out by now having 85,000 verified customers and 850 million Euros in assets traded on the platform
They’ve already bagged €18 million in funding and the backers are made up of 7,000+ private investors
Mintos concluded 2020 with €10.2 million in revenue
Mintos, an alternative investment platform for investment loans, was founded in 2015 and has already funded €1.6 billion in loans, with investors’ interest earnings reaching the rate of €53.3 million.
While Covid marked a downswing in investments and delinquent loans, Mintos had over 80% of their fund stay strong or recover, putting Mintos at the head of the pack
They state this is because investors are again growing confident and because they spent the past year focusing on optimization and adding to the platform itself rather than simply growing the business
They launched a mobile application as well as creating their own risk analysis tools, and managed to win AltFi’s Peoples’ Choice Award for the fifth year running
Mintos offers investors the chance to invest in loans offered by lenders to both individuals and small businesses, and they want to raise the rate of investments in loans worldwide
They plan to be licensed as an Investment Firm and Electronic Money Institution later this year
Tallinn-based EU solopreneur platform Xolo raises €3 million, launches localized service in Spain
Formerly known as LeapIn, Xolo offers both compliance and business administration for independent-location freelancers working alone.
This latest edition of funding puts Xolo at a total €11.2 million, with investors including Karma Ventures, Vendep Capital, and angels Wise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus, Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn’s Metaplanet Holdings, and former LexisNexis CEO Andrew Prozes
The platform provides almost anything a freelancer could need, including taxation, invoicing, compliance, and banking
With more people than ever before working remotely, Corona has skyrocketed their business, and Xolo can claim over 75,000 customers in over 200 countries with an ARR of €4 million