This is a post I originally wrote on ArcticStartup on July 2010.
Finland and Estonia aren’t the only growing hotbeds for entrepreneurship in the Baltics. Since our coverage a few months ago, the Lithuanian startup community has made very significant progress placing the country on the entrepreneurial map. Here is an overview of these recent developments.
The World Lithuanian Economic Forum conference was held in London last week. Several top VCs were invited to listen to keynotes from GetJar as well as the Minister of the Economy and the Prime Minister, Andrius Kubilius.
While it is unusual for high profile politicians, especially Nordic ones, to act directly to promote growth entrepreneurship, this is a welcome change. These efforts have not been unique: in the winter, Mr Kubilius traveled to Silicon Valley, and personally invited top tier VCs such as Accel Partners to meet startups in his country. It is no coincidence that GetJar recently raised $11M in Series B funding from these very same investors.
London and San Francisco are not the only locations where the Lithuanians have been pushing.
The folks from Barcamp Lithuania have been pretty active in the Baltic region, visiting Finland and Estonia to promote their startup scene. Hats off to them, as we should remember that it is more expensive for them to come here than the other way around.
There’s also been an increase in participation in international accelerators:
- Mailerlite (email mareting) in Mini Seedcamp in Prague
- TeachMeGood (learn languages) in Mini Seedcamp Copenhagen
- Impresspages (CMS) in Mini Seedcamp Copenhagen
- Toostis (event sharing, like Plancast) Mini Seedcamp Copenhagen
- Geogoer (trip planning) in Difference Engine
These people were also involved in organizing the Startup Weekendin both Vilnius and Kaunas.
The concept of the event is to create a startup in 48 hours. 15 teams created new products, such as TeachMeGood (linked earlier), Trackdebt and Mymes. Finland was also represented with the presence of Boost Turku, HUES and Scred!
It is nice to see yet another Baltic country promote its entrepreneurial culture. Political support is something we’d be happy to see happen in Finland as well. In any case, the country is definitely on the right track, but we should keep in mind that the region has a smaller combined population than St Petersburg. Here is hoping for increased collaboration in the future.