The fame is turning back to Lithuania's bootstrapping monarchs, as venture funding slowed down in the region. We are pleased to have Rytis, founder and CEO of Omnisend, talk about how he built it all the way to ARR $31M - without external capital. Their big rival is Klaviyo, making roughly $139m last year - but powered by ridiculous $800m venture dollars, which just highlights how impressive Omnisend run has been so far.
work in progress
- Health. Kilo Health grows revenues... 84%, more than EUR 213m now. Requires more CEOs to run teams and products. The power of TikTok? Similarly, now more than 200 people in Vilnius help Flo Health maintain global leadership within female health category (in this pod Simonas, VP of Engineering, explains how they build)
- Electrification. The EV market is growing rapidly, but not without struggles as recent Proterra bankruptcy reveals. Following the "selling shovels in a gold rush" notion, charging players - Elinta Charge, Inbalance Grid, Ikrautas (Karolis reflecting founder path) - all have significantly grown income last year. Now if you think cars have destroyed the cities (see, for example, what would happen if Stockholm and Kansas City swapped public rail networks) - you can invest in Latvian Blue Shock Race, a go-kart maker, a form factor that even Tony Fadell (his new book for hardware enthusiasts) fiddled with a few years ago.
- Ends. Revolab Health is closing the business. Alan is writing an interesting post-mortem for AdDuplex, and adding some valuable takeaways.
- Acceleration. Flanco, and how they work with Tesonet accelerator - quick intro video. Early-stage climate tech startups in the Baltics - Helve launched Future Hub Climate, a free 10-week pre-acceleration program providing startups with 5k EUR to boost their development and matching them with corporations for proof of concept piloting. Defence and dual-use: Applications Open for ScaleWolf's Pre-Accelerator Program.
rounds and capital
- Cargo Stream secures EUR 1m expansion capital from LitCapital to further penetrate the Polish market while strengthening its operations in the UK.
- Einaras emerges from stealth with Cube3.ai – the first web3 transaction security platform that blocks threats in real-time. It closed $8.2 m seed round from Blockchange Ventures, Dispersion Capital, Symbolic Capital, Hypersphere Ventures, ICLUB and TA Ventures.
- Change Ventures leads the seed round for Latvian Monetizr, which is building the future for in-game advertising.
- OAG acquired Infare - interestingly, both firms (Infare, OAG) have about 120 people employed in Lithuania.
- Office hours with Fiedler Capital, actively sourcing deals in the Baltics.
- Which venture funds in the Baltics are most deliberate in building a platform?
How to diversify - time or career? (from Capital Gains)
Pairing a narrow, domain-specific skill with one that has broader applications—where, depending on the domain, broad skills could include sales, writing, programming, or accounting. The goal here is to optimize for situations where someone wants the best Y conditional on being very good at X—a 90th percentile geologist who can make an effective presentation, a 90th percentile data scientist who can summarize results in a succinct memo, a 90th percentile hardware designer who can understand whether a given design can actually be cost-effective at scale, etc. This has the nice trait that it increases the payoff from success in a chosen career while mitigating the worst-case scenario (by leaving room for a pivot).
- Getting to Y Combinator as competitive as ever before. Why? Lots of talent suddenly unlocked from big tech. What about Baltics? We are hearing many people are building, and while not many rounds - there are more senior founders are bootstrapping. Some talent clearly locked until Vinted goes public... what's your view? Share here.
- Business Disputes: You Always Lose
- Adomas' cheat sheet for testing new idea quickly
Where is Omnisend in terms of key metrics - customers, revenue, team? What is the biggest risk today?
There are currently 100,000 online stores using Omnisend. The consolidated annual revenue in 2022 was $31 million. There are around 200 Omnisend team members working worldwide. The biggest risk to Omnisend would be a significant recession in the US economy if it happens.
Education is an important cause for you. What 2-3 experiments would you like to see happening in Lithuania?
Two proposals to consider would be:
- Eliminate grading at schools up to the 8th grade,
- Implement truly personalized learning. This approach would involve teachers taking on the role as assistants that support students in their learning journey.
What do you see as non-obvious opportunities today in e-commerce, that most of us ignore?
The integration of AI smart applications has the potential to enhance the quality and level of the customer experience.
Tell us the foundation of your "productivity function"- habits, tools, hacks - that set you up for the best performance.
Two strategies I follow have scientific backing: maintaining consistent sleep patterns and exercising routinely at least a few times a week. The third one is more personal: getting into conversations with different types of people really inspires me, so I try to do that as often as possible.
Last week we were checking PR firms. Black Unicorn PR seems to rule locally!
Onto this week's question.
To grow tech and startups, we need better service providers in these fields (multiple choice):
- Tech salary levels in Berlin right now - listed at Sunday CET newsletter from Bloomberg article
- African continent if its borders were drawn along historical ethnolinguistic divides
- The European tech scene is so bullish - and not without a reason! But our large economies are running out of steam, too late and too little is being done to transform to a new global reality. So now we run conferences called "The Great Stagnation", and here many graphs tell that European aggregate demand is well below pre-pandemic levels.
three questions, previously
- Andreas Helbig, Partner, Atomico
- Domas Janickas, Co-founder at edON
- Milda Jasaite, Senior Director of Corporate Development, Vinted
- Darius Zakaitis, Founder & CEO, Tech Zity
- Roman Novacek, Partner, Presto Ventures
- Lina Zakarauskaite, Principal, Stride.VC
- Justinas Pasys, Managing Director, LitBAN
- Magnus Hambleton, Investor, byFounders
- Povilas Poderskis, Development Director, Darnu Group, ex-COO Nord Security
- Gytenis Galkis, Venture Partner, Superhero Capital
- Daniel Kratkovski and Dominykas Milašius, co-founders, Delta Biosciences
- Kasparas Aleknavicius - Co-Founder and CPO, Loctax
- Andrius Milinavičius, General Partner, Baltic Sandbox Ventures
- Laura Korsakova, Founder and CEO, Psylink
- Paulius Uziela, Investment Manager, Coinvest Capital