Vilnius, one of my favourite cities of Europe, has been seriously coming up with it’s startup culture. Despite of it’s relatively small size (~540.000 habitants), the cooperation of the government and the private sector seems to be just working out fine, and the combination of one of the oldest cultures in Europe and the amazing internet speed available makes the city even more exciting for startuppers. Oh, and this is the only city I have visited so far, where I got free wifi in the taxis!Enterprise Lithuania hosted its annual startup event “Startup Lithuania Overview 2014” this February, where awards were given to the teams that achieved the most in the last year. Based on their survey, here come the 4 most interesting Lithuanian startups of 2014:
1. Plague was recognized for the best Start of the Year. Established at the end of last year, this social network attracted 50.000 users in three weeks and has appeared in various media sources around the world more than 200 times in the last few months.
As Business Insider described: “It is all about discovering viral content, but the way you discover the next viral video or hilarious photo is what’s unique. Instead of seeing posts from people you follow or whatever is trending, a post on Plague is designed to spread much like a virus in real life. Whenever a user submits a funny picture or video, it gets sent to the four Plague users closest to that person, who can either pass it along to the four closest Plague users nearby, or strike it down and stop the spread.”
2. Toyze is a customized 3D game figure printing platform that was launched half a year ago. Its users have already created more than a million 3D models, making this startup the obvious choice for the Breakthrough of the Year award.
3. Integrated Optics received the Hardware Solution of the Year award. After launching activities a couple of years ago, this startup has earned global recognition for its lasers, which, though extremely powerful, are very small and are therefore suitable for a broad range of applications. Integrated Optics also attracted EUR 1.2 million in investments last year.
4. Vinted, an ecommerce platform with over 3 million users, for individual users to sell or swap clothes they wear is not a new startup, they launched in 2008, but they got highlighted again due to their recent series B EUR 20 million investment from Insight Venture Partners, which makes them probably the highest valued Baltic startup, at €100 million post valuation. (see Pavel’s post from January) In total, this startup has attracted EUR 25 million in investments.