work in progress
- Fintech. Daumantas says 2023 has been transformative for TransferGo, which doubled the business (was at £25m in turnover 2022, so guessing roughly £5om now), had 6m customers and partnered with VISA. Nice scale-up journey. For others - no need for VISA or Mastercard - kevin. is trying to disrupt the payment space with global A2A NFC payment network (a reminder that B2B payments aren’t payments, they’re workflows). Swiss Fintech wallee expands in Vilnius. Lithuanian Fintech PAYSTRAX Launches in the UK. Firstpick data on Fintech rounds in Baltics - considerable slowing down, reflecting the global trend.
- Regtech. Vilnius is pushing 200% to become home for the European AML Authority - the likes of AMLYZE and Micapass would get a boost, too. Estonian Salv closed additional €3.9m in new funding to spearhead a launch into the UK.
- Giving. We continue to be impressed with founders and startups stepping up to support causes they care about. Furniture1 decided to buy a house for Orus Namai - they provide housing with dignity for the elderly, that's just beautiful. Arunas (Frontu) initiating support for robotics clubs at schools. Recently carVertical donated 100k for The Ancient Woods. And now Aukok.lt assembles a board to drive the culture of giving, but it is also very capable of launching a few startups.
- Talks. Lina Zakarauskaite at "She Did That Podcast". A brief interview with Vlada from Walk15 in Slush - joys and pains of growing.
- Awards. Iron Wolf Capital and LPEVC had a Christmas party and some awards.
- People. Zygimantas closing Toughlex chapter and is open for smth new. Similar with Justas, ex MeetFrank. Jolanta Rude assumes CEO role at NEO Finance.
rounds and capital
- Baltic Sandbox Ventures co-led pre-seed €305,000 round for Skycorp Technologies, a developer of hydrogen drones and related infrastructure.
- Change Ventures led Inspectle Food €400,000 pre-seed round, with participation of Firstpick and Heartfelt_.
- Climate rounds are up –
- Contrarian Ventures co-led a $8m round for Swiss Metafuels, which aims to produce a viable 100% synthetic jet fuel substitute by 2030.
- NordicNinja leads EUR 5.5m round in Arbonics, Estonian afforestation startup.
- Led by Metaplanet, Estonian Woola closed a €2.5 m round - they already work with two Houses at LVMH group.
- Finland launches Angel CoFund, designed similarly to CoInvest Capital - except it will take full upside, not limiting returns. A reminder that LT angels have awesome leverage with CoInvest.
- LitBAN angels are putting on average €28k tickets, and have deployed EUR 10.5m last year - a little decrease but remain important force in early-stage.
- Thinking about what to build? Andreessen Horowitz Big Ideas 2024.
- Takeaways from Vimcal's raise (took 11 months and 181 investor meetings)
- Some initial research points (unsurprisingly) to founder seniority and positive effect on financial outcomes.
- Starting a startup as a non-technical founder...(if you find these videos too cringe, Hustle Fund newsletter is actually good)
- How we got our first 100 paid users via Facebook groups step-by-step
- How to think of R&D spend (a16z)
- 99 brutally honest takeaways from working in venture capital, including
If you want to work directly with founders, you’re better off joining an actual startup. Your involvement with the founding team will peak during the diligence process, and then it will wane off from there.
Venture capital rewards being solely focused on your job for long periods of time. If you have any plans of being multi-faceted and not obsessed with your work, there are better careers for you.
Most VCs are extremely lonely in their day-to-day. Small teams and saying “no” all day will do this to you.
- Another good piece from Will Larson, CTO at Carta (he was in charge of the UBER team in Vilnius years ago). Now writes about Writers Who Operatethe .
It’s not that non-operators don’t detect these shifts, they certainly do, but it’s exceptionally challenging to quickly build confidence in a large change when operating on second-hand information. Operators get a lot wrong too, but it’s my experience that self-aware operators will get direct information earlier and be in a better position to evaluate it.
- 20 newsletter operators - the advice they wish they’d received early
- Derek Thompson believes that weight-loss drugs might have an even bigger impact in the US than other technologies, in the short/medium term. Pod.
- Map of Night Trains in Europe updated for 2024. And even more Christmas miracles - daily train to Riga, in 4-hours speed.
- How and Why WhatsApp Will Conquer America
- EU keeps failing to show they understand regulation is a necessary tradeoff, but not an achievement on its own. There can be positives - regulation can drive innovation, it can support smaller players, and keep competition tight. But the EU Commission should be getting very concerned about the reputation and narrative. To be brutally honest, Europe is just a consumer of all major online platforms (Meta, Google, Apple), have not yet seen any real benefits of GDPR/cookie laws, and still almost is at ground zero in the global AI race. So more things to do, besides the urgency to "regulate".
- PISA. Not sure what might upset you more - our poor ranking or a global decline? (The best guess regarding this is kids being on the phones all the time). We are concerned that in the public debate locally, nobody seems to be too concerned. Business as usual.