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Growth ecosystems

With its exceptional business environment, world-class talent and growth ecosystems, Lithuania is the ideal innovation sandbox for tackling global problems and bringing disruptive solutions to life.

In Lithuania, you won’t be scaling on your own – join our booming ecosystems for fintech, life sciences, lasers and ICT, plus the biggest startup community in the Baltics.

Global solutions in financial technologies

If in the not-too-distant past, Lithuania was known to the world mainly as a basketball country, today it’s increasingly called the fintech capital of Europe (or even the world). The change in Europe’s fintech map has been fast but not accidental. The continuing common efforts of government institutions and the Bank of Lithuania are one key factor in this success.

In 2017 there were 117 fintech startups operating in Lithuania; in 2020 the total rose to 230. Many of the companies chose Lithuania for its favourable regulation, excellent infrastructure, and talented specialists.

By the end of 2020, there were 4,000 people working in the sector – 18 percent more than at the end of 2019. Data show fintech has withstood the COVID-19 pandemic better than other sectors. A legal environment that favours advancing technologies and startups together with the Bank of Lithuania’s leadership and community spirit provide a solid foundation for that. The financial technology sector is young and developing rapidly. Its strengths are agility and flexibility, and one forte of the overall fintech ecosystem is collaboration.

Currently the country ranks 1st in the EU as the fintech hub with the most licenced companies. Globally, Lithuania ranks 4th for attractiveness to fintech companies, alongside the U.S., the U.K and Singapore.

Fintech ecosystem:

  • The Bank of Lithuania seeks to create the type of fintech environment that will attract new companies and encourage them to develop new products in Lithuania.
  • The Bank of Lithuania’s regulatory sandbox offers the ability to test innovative new ideas with the guidance and advice of the central bank.
  • ROCKITis a collaboration and coworking hub specialising in financial technologies.
  • Fintech INN is the biggest and most important fintech conference in the region.
  • Fintech HUB LT unites fintech industry participants in Lithuania to promote ideally suited conditions for their activities.
  • FINTECH Lithuania is a group within the ITC industry association INFOBALT that gathers the leading companies in Lithuania’s fintech ecosystem.

Life sciences ecosystem participants are addressing humanity’s health problems

 There are currently about 400 companies working in life sciences in Lithuania while more than 15,000 researchers and scientists conduct 120-plus clinical trials every year. The person who has brought Lithuania the most visibility worldwide is Vilnius University Professor Virginijus Šikšnys. For the discovery of so-called “genetic scissors”, he has been awarded Harvard University’s prestigious Warren Alpert Prize and, together with the 2020 Nobel laureates in Chemistry, the famed Kavli Prize.

Seeking to accelerate the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, Lithuanian scientists have created diagnostic tools for antibodies and for the virus itself. A team of Vilnius University medical researchers presented a COVID-19 detection kit that doubled the speed of diagnosis. In future, the approach may also be applied to other annually recurring respiratory tract viruses, like influenza A and B. Baltymas UAB and Imunodiagnostika UAB, in developing the diagnostic kit for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, targeted versatility and precision. A comparison with the SARS-CoV-2 antigens from several world-renowned manufacturers confirmed that the Lithuanian-made virus antigens detect 1.5-3.0 times more antibodies than other proteins produced so far with genetic engineering. While competitors use only a protein fragment, the Lithuanians use the whole purified spike protein, hence the test is extremely sensitive. Moreover, the diagnostic technology is available not only for “closed” systems but is usable by all – those with automated equipment and those with a simple ELISA plate reader.

World-class talents work and create at the Vilnius University Life Sciences Centre

Vilnius offers everything needed for the life sciences to flourish. The capital has a world-class life sciences centre where scientists with huge potential have all the infrastructure they need to carry out research.

In 2020, the Life Sciences Centre at Vilnius University become home to a European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Partnership Institute for developing genome editing technologies. Lithuania’s Ministry of Science and Education allocated €6 million of EU investments for the effort. The establishment of such a centre in Lithuania is high recognition of the world-class research carried out by Lithuanian scientists, especially Prof. Virginijus Šikšnys. The institute will aim to attract top global researchers specialising in genetic editing. The EMBL Partnership Institute will cater to students’ needs as well. There are plans to increase the research potential of the Life Sciences Centre by involving students in studies. Students and researchers will be able to take part in international EMBL programmes and events, and efforts will be made to transfer and implement EMBL best practices for research and for the organisation of academic activities.

Life sciences ecosystem:

Lithuanian lasers are helping solve health and science problems worldwide

Lithuania can rightly call itself a laser country. Its special laser expertise is helping find solutions for medicine, science and industry all over the world. Lithuania’s laser industry currently holds more than 50 percent of the global scientific ultrashort-pulse market and you’ll find Lithuanian-made lasers on almost every continent. Lithuanian lasers are used by NASA, CERN and world-famous companies like IBM, Hitachi, Toyota and Mitsubishi. And 90 of the world’s top 100 universities also currently use Lithuanian lasers and laser systems.

In 2019, the Lithuanian-made SYLOS laser system, one of the most powerful laser systems in the world, was inaugurated at an important laser research centre in Hungary.

Lithuania’s laser sector, besides scientific institutions, incudes more than 40 companies. As makers of specialised devices that export over 90 percent of what they produce, Lithuanian laser companies do not compete with each other and in some niches have no competitors anywhere in the world. Lithuanian lasers are exported to more than 70 countries.

Laser ecosystem:

Information and communication technologies

Information and communication technologies are growing fast in Lithuania. The sector’s key strengths are its pool of highly qualified IT professionals and vast experience providing outsourced software services for foreign companies and public sector institutions. In 2018, ICT accounted for 4.9% of Lithuania’s GDP.

Information and communication technologies ecosystem

  • Infobalt is the information and communication technologies industry association. It works to create the best conditions for ITC sector growth and exports.
  • Login is the biggest innovation and technology festival in the Baltics.

Startups 

The startups operating in Lithuania, which today number more than a thousand, unanimously say the country is a great place to try things out and experiment. It’s often said that Lithuania has a startup spirit. Everything moves fast here: the path from idea to implementation is much shorter than in other countries. The ecosystem’s speed is also seen in the record investments that innovative Lithuanian companies have attracted in recent years and the emergence of the first “unicorn” – Vinted. Since the rise of that first unicorn, there’s been a real stir in the startup ecosystem. International attention, the development of venture capital and accelerator programmes, and a steadily improving tax climate are all encouraging startups to be more active in our country. Startup representatives say that what most impresses them about Lithuania are the conditions for business financing, the community’s level of engagement, and how attentive state institutions are in encouraging this ecosystem.

One of the most helpful offerings for startups in Lithuania is the Newcomer Programme. It’s specifically designed for those who are new to the country’s financial sector and considering seeking a banking licence. The programme lets a startup’s creators check whether their plans meet the legal and regulatory requirements and gives them help and guidance on how to improve their plans. Over the past 2 years, more than 400 applicants from over 60 countries have taken up this opportunity.

@M. Jovaiša