The horror continues, but evil will get defeated - have no doubt.
It's a moment of reflection for Lithuania, too. How did this country of 3 mln, bordering Belarus and Kaliningrad, become so over-reliant on NATO? We can do better. Given the rogue states around, let's follow Israel and Singapore examples (military spending at 5.6% and 3.2% of GDP (and GDPs are... higher)). Hope has proven to be a poor strategy, as PM Simonyte outlined yesterday.
Look, defence is not public "spending" as such. It is a critical investment into security, predictability, and the business environment. And those who studied the history of Silicon Valley, or Isreal, will point at all the high-tech, which got accelerated that way. Defence can (and should be) a platform for frontier innovations, aggressive R&D and an important entrepreneurial engine.
work in progress
- Ukraine. Martynas reports how Ukraine startups are coping with war. Estonian Bolt donates EUR 5 m and closes BY. Help by hiring Ukraine-based #UX /#UI / #CRO / #ecommerce company (Google UX Partner). As Russia censors all, VPNs are on the rise.
- Fintech. Savy raised EUR 4.5 m and applied for the licence to become a specialized digital bank. DeepFin starts colab with Bolt.
- Climate. An experienced team going after a huge market - hold.earth is already backed by SWG, will see what is next.
rounds and capital
- Argyle closed a $55M Series B led by SignalFire and supported by existing investors Bain Capital, Bedrock, and Checkr. From the outside look, they are outstanding at investor communication and awesome in design
- Traxlo raised a 378K EUR pre-seed for socially responsible gig work platform. Round led by Iron Wolf Capital, along with Antler, Marius Jakulis Jason Foundation, Red Pill VC, and angels.
- popup.lt raises EUR 141k for online design marketplace, dedicated to Lithuanian design community.
- Game-Changer.vc is a new early-stage investor aiming to disrupt the process of... starting. Essentially you fill 10-mins form (+video pitch) and can expect $25.000 for 10% of equity (standard SAFE).
- How not to try acquiring anything (CBI Insights)
- Trial vs. Freemium (Lenny's newsletter)
- Seedcamp Start-Up Founder Compensation Survey
roleplay (new teams - reply to get featured)
- Patient capital report on Spotify
- Angelist is now worth $ 4B - here is good deep dive into their business model
- "Utah startups always ask how they can become more of a force" - replace Utah with Lithuania, this take still applies.
How to think about public defence investment in the current era? Think about national programs, R&D, and spillovers.
First, our common problem is that policymaking is reduced to two tools, which are supposed to solve problems. One is "make new law". Another one is "assign large budget".
They work when the issue is simple. But most national programs are not simple, and not even complicated - they are complex. It means they are dynamic, interrelated, with multiple unknowns, and never get "solved" - you need someone to keep working on those, endlessly.
Creating a new platform for defence-related technologies and startups, we need to start here. A law or budget will not get us far, we need to look at organizations, agencies, competence, motivation, and surely leadership. Steve Blank explains this well in US context.
Second, we should not reduce this discussion to "local content production" - dreaming about factories assembling F16s, just because it is easier to imagine. It should neither get reduced to "Lithuanian solutions for already solved problems" - just purchase all this existing, latest tech.
Instead, we should bring to challenge where others have stopped, the actual frontier. Is it Cyber? Is it UAVs? Infowar? Space? More good ideas from Josh Wolfe, Lux Capital.
Happy birthday, Lithuania.