Did you know Lithuania ranks #4 in the world for its fintech ecosystem; #11 for ease of doing business; and #1 for the speed of its public Wi-Fi? No wonder why this country is attracting a growing number of startups from across the world, including Eastern Europe. Its high quality of life, low cost of living and easy startup visa have made it a magnet for innovative entrepreneurs.
A place of choice for innovative businesses
- A vibrant startup ecosystem: Lithuania ranks #4 globally as a fintech ecosystem. The local ecosystem is also strong in many other areas of IT, gaming and life sciences.
- Top IT infrastructure – among the fastest and most reliable in the world. The country was ranked #1 globally for the speed of its public Wi-Fi, and #9 for 4G availability.
- Large talent pool: Lithuania is #5 in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) for the number of software developers. The country has the highest rate of ICT literacy of any country in the EU, around 50% of people speak at least two foreign languages – and almost 100% of young professionals speak English.
- Ease of doing business: Lithuania ranks #11 in the world by this criterion, #2 for procedures to start a business, and #1 overall in the CEE region.
These are among the reasons why many new and established startups are now relocating to Lithuania to gain access to a European market of 450 million-consumers and more.
Lithuania’s startup ecosystem has developed exponentially over the last few years – there are a host of hubs, incubators, science and technology parks, sandboxes, coworking places, active venture capital and acceleration funds. Co-investment funds invest together with business angels creating better opportunities for startups seeking investments.
Lithuania is home to more than 1,030 startups, as well as the country’s first unicorn, Vinted. During 2019, startups in Lithuania attracted €168.9 million in investments, both from local and from well-known foreign investors.
Thus, according to Dealroom.co, startup investment in recent years have grown by 135% – the highest growth rate in the region.
Roberta Rudokiene, Head of Startup Lithuania (the startup ecosystem development unit of Enterprise Lithuania), says that in recent years the Lithuanian startup ecosystem has gained a notable acceleration in its development – not only by the number of startups created and the volume of investments attracted, but also as new players are joining constantly.
A top destination for expats
Not only does this small country offer a world-class startup ecosystem – it also provides an opportunity to build a more balanced lifestyle. From the capital’s charming Old Town to the green landscape of the forests, low traffic congestion, fresh air and great infrastructure attract more and more startup founders every year. Thus, it came as no surprise when international travel guide ‘Lonely Planet’ named Lithuania’s capital Vilnius one of the world’s best cities for expats.
Such companies as Revolut, Booking.com, Mambu, Vinted, Trafi and Transfergo chose Lithuania for their business development. “These examples demonstrate the ability of Lithuania’s startup ecosystem to support startup growth in a highly competitive international context,” says Rudokiene.
How foreign startups may join Lithuania’s ecosystem
Startup Visa Lithuania – a streamlined migration procedure for non-EU startups – was launched in 2017. Since then, more than 60 startup founders relocated to Lithuania with their families, and 61% of them raised investment while carrying out their operations in Lithuania.
“In addition to our Startup Visa program, we are considering a new program for foreign startups with major potential to develop,” says Rudokiene. This program could provide select startups addressing global challenges a special grant to cover relocation costs, in addition to individual assistance and consultations.
“Lithuania is becoming a bright star of the world’s startup scene, and we invite strong startup entrepreneurs to be part of this thrilling startup ecosystem,” concludes Rudokiene.
Click here to know more about your possible future in Lithuania – or here to apply for your startup visa!