COO at TechChill
Lauma Sīle is a part of the team at the Latvian Startup Association, the central startup support organization in Latvia, as well as TechChill foundation, the leading tech conference in the Baltics. Alongside all of that, she is developing some of her own initiatives to educate and inspire others to develop their interest in tech. Examples include creating the “Podcast of Things” by Techie Foundation.
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Disclaimer: all content within the Startup Ecosystem Summary and Editor’s Guide sections is written by and reflects the personal perspective of the guest editor. The guest editor is not responsible for content within the Country Snapshot and Community sections, as much of this content is compiled from external sources and does not necessarily reflect the guest editor’s view.
Latvia is a relatively small country by population, however, it takes this characteristic as a great source of adaptability and agility for growth. The term “startup” has been used more and more recently and we even have a name for it in Latvian: “jaunuzņēmums.” Currently there are more than 400 startups with most focusing on the SaaS, FinTech, and DeepTech sectors. The main organization that unites all startup communities in Latvia is the Latvian Startup Association, which works closely with other significant representatives, such as TechChill, TechHub Riga, Startup Wise Guys, Helve, Change Ventures, EIT, Buildit Latvia, and many more.
The fundraising scene in Latvia’s startup ecosystem has shown that startups here can adapt to any situation and are ready to grow despite the global situation that 2020 has brought upon us. In 2020, our biggest success stories include Juro (EUR 5 million), Lokalise (EUR 5 million), and Giraffe360 (EUR 5 million). The past few years have shown a steady growth trend in investment and we are ready to support and celebrate even more successes in 2021 and beyond. More detailed information and analysis can be found in the Baltic Startup Funding Report by Change Ventures here.
Significant support is also offered by the government, primarily through the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia. LIAA collaborates with the majority of ecosystem representatives to foster the common goal of entrepreneurial development in Latvia. The Investment and Development Agency also takes part in organizing startup visas to invite foreign founders to start their business here, gives out innovation vouchers, and coordinates the support for a newly amended startup law.
The startup scene in Latvia has experienced rapid development in recent years. Now more than ever, we hear about our startups becoming success stories and creating products that are disrupting many industries around the world. Although we do not have our own unicorn just yet, we have noticed some very potential candidates that may just break through in the near future.
The investment scene is also showing a steady growth pattern by an increase in total investments received by Latvian startups despite the circumstances that we have experienced in 2020. There is a significant number of startup organizations in Latvia that are currently working alongside the government to make regulations and support mechanisms more efficient. We have already had some great successes by having, for example, the passage of the Startup Law, Startup Visas, Innovation vouchers, etc.
Editor’s choice of the country’s top 10 emerging tech startups.
Editor’s pick of which ‘Featured Startup’ is especially worth following and why.
Editor’s choice of the industries with the most potential for technology disruption and growth.
Editor’s perspective of the maturity level of talent in the ecosystem.
Editor’s commentary on how the country’s culture and history have impacted the ecosystem.
Latvia has always embraced technology and innovation, which can be observed both in historical events and current ecosystem traits. For example, jeans, the first spy cameras, the tradition of having a Christmas tree all originated in Latvia. We have always been a solution-oriented population, creating solutions to make our everyday life easier and more efficient. Another interesting characteristic is that as a country, we follow global trends and adapt them to our own ecosystem. Due to the relatively small population, we can adapt or resolve errors very quickly and efficiently when needed to make these international tendencies work for us here. It is also typical that many Latvian entrepreneurs do not start by dominating in the local market, but go international from the start because their ideas that are too big for the local market.
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Birojnīca (Riga): Birojnīca – for your events and meetings. Presentations. Workshops and training. Lectures and discussions. Media conferences. Events. Source: Birojnīca
OraculeTang Space (Riga): Coworking space in the heart of Riga Old Town. Some of the professionals we expect are freelance creatives, entrepreneurs, start-ups and small business of all interested areas.
TechHub Riga (Riga): TechHub Riga is a community of new technology startups who can meet, work, learn, and collaborate! They are the home of 20+ startups and a host of various events.
Teikums (Riga): Coworking and event spaces located at the smart Jaunā Teika district. An open and vibrant space for flourishing of businesses, personalities and ideas.
The Mill Riga (Riga): Coworking and event space for creative minded people to collaborate and create greater value and fast growing businesses.
Venture Faculty (Riga): We build the community where startups, investors, and corporates could find a partner, a client, an investor, an opportunity. Source: Venture Faculty
Workland Riga (Riga): Provides an alternative to traditional office space rental where any kind of working style is supported, be it short term or long, fixed or flexible, although the focus is on the latter of these.
Innovation Voucher Latvia: Innovation Voucher by the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia drives industry and research communities together to support one another and foster entrepreneurial development.
Startup Law Latvia: Offers support for early-stage companies to decrease social tax and co-finance highly qualified talents.
Startup Visa Latvia: Supports foreign founders that want to develop their business ideas in Latvia.
Latvian Startup Association: Unites Latvian startups and the startup communities around common values in order to represent joint interests, speak in one voice and educate society about startups in Latvia.
TechChill: Helps Latvian and Baltic startups succeed in the world by filling the gaps in knowledge, skills, and network. In practice, TechChill invites the best people from different fields to visit Riga for the TechChill Conference and go around the world promoting Latvian and Baltic companies and ecosystems. (Source: TechChill)
TechHub Riga: A community of new technology startups who can meet, work, learn, and collaborate! They are the home of 20+ startups and a host of various events. (Source: TechHub Riga)
Riga Business School (Riga): Key degrees: Bachelor of Business Administration, Baltic IT Leadership Bachelor Program
Riga Technical University (Riga): Key degrees: Bachelor in Entrepreneurship and Management, Bachelor in Organization and Management of International Economic Relations
University of Latvia (Riga): Key degrees: Bachelor in Business Administration, Bachelor in Modern Language and Business Studies
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