Thanks for checking in - sorry for those who missed the letter yesterday. Saturday is also good, no? Most of you run the week meeting to another, chasing targets and KPIs. Saturday is perfect to reflect on how my weeks are going, am I doing the best work? What Eric Schmidt use to do with his coach, Bill Campbell.
The newsletter today is landing with more thoughts and fewer links
work in progress
- Reduce and recycle. Genius Sports made a call to close the Vilnius data centre and it looks like around 100 people are affected. Luckily Ignas and others share lists and obvs there is no lack of offers. The best practice to handle layoffs = take care of your people, which is help them get new jobs. Something more messy is happening with Game Insight, which is divesting operations in Russia.
- Pets. ZENOO is fundraising, Rocketo launches in Hong Kong, Boop connects pet owners and pet caregivers - a sort of pet super-app in the making.
- Economy where are you (we turned the music off early). A recession of sorts is around the corner, Martynas pulls some ideas on how to prepare. LT ecosystem is being punished for early-stage capital being hugely dependent on public funding - two accelerator funds having a gap (until end of the year), most local seed stage funds are at the end of deployment. Lithuanian angels are active in good times, but the majority are opportunistic and/or lifestyle investors. See Estonia as a comparison - 47 rounds by now, and around EUR 22m from local investors, when LT stands at 15 rounds and just a couple of millions raised locally!). Even Dealroom data shows there is still plenty of capital (and ongoing action) in Europe.
- Media/Content. Lead generation on "rented" platforms is not necessarily sustainable, so the content remains king. Watalook adds a podcast, and so does jobRely (Startup Recruitment Failures). Pursuit of Scrappiness is co-hosted by Uldis Teraudkalns - must be good for his fintech startup Nextpay, especially recruitment. With regards to "AI meeting sales" - just follow Mindaugas Bružas (Oxus.AI) for his regular posts.
rounds and capital
- Nanoavionics is one of these mesmerizing success stories - likely because it is spacetech, a startup converting science into cutting-edge innovation. So pleased to see they have been acquired by Norwegian Kongsberg (getting 76% of shares) of the company. Before that, AST & Science owned 51% of the company. Nanoavinics was valued at EUR 65m at the deal.
- Breezit lands EUR 100k note and working on closing the round. BADideas.fund is sharing why and how - this is their first ticket.
- Divaks raised "Seed 2" round and we'd love to learn more given their ambition to go after EUR 50m for series A.
- Ragnar SaaS (Pipedrive) is onto something - Salto X just raised EUR 5.2 m seed with byFounders taking the lead. Tokenizing options for remote teams.
- GoCardless to acquire Latvian Nordigen - nice exit for the founders and investors (don't know how nice since details not disclosed). Great work nevertheless - all these acquisitions bring more credibility (and action) to the Baltics.
- New funds: Headline raises $950M in fresh funds and one to put some to work in the Baltics.
- (Writing this at the public library with plenty of English books and one of the best coffee in town, I am reminded of the importance of public (and private) infrastructure. Not fancy buildings - public services and attitude come first).
- Exams. Another panic attack after students massively failed in national math exams. Appreciate Kuodis' discussion on what exactly this might mean since issues persist in the education system, but this does not seem to stop the economy. If we talk university degrees, holistically looking it is knowledge/skills + network + credentials. Not to mention we are losing (lost ) connection between what is being taught to what is actually needed at work. It makes freeCodeCamp (and the likes) a nonprofit unicorn.
- Regulation - do we know what and why worked in policy? Is that a bit of a Lithuanian problem, not being certain what actually makes a difference? Point in case - Stripe just ran a report on European Tech Ecosystems, and "The Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) are seen by startups to have the most innovative approach to regulation, spontaneously cited by 36% of users". There is so much more to achieve with regulatory arbitrage, it is money much better leverage then marketing euros. Related thoughts from Estonia - why risky thinking can benefit the government.
- To do science. Start with hard tasks. Doing the easiest task first only leads to further procrastination
- Five Lessons Learned #FullyRemote, while scaling from 20 to 120 (Vaidas Adomauskas, CPO at Uncapped)
- How to kickstart and scale a consumer business
TP x Unicorns Lithuania
Lithuania has 766 active startups that are playing an increasingly significant role in the country’s economy. In 2021, they paid almost €200 million in various taxes while attracting €428 million.
What awaits us? More selective investment, slower growth and hiring. Some are ringing the alarm, others are still only whispering about it, but the market facts that we all see don’t really care. Winter is coming for the economy, and everyone will feel the cold gusts of wind. How can one prepare for the crisis and even find opportunities in it? Some of the global startups, who got used to the US approach to business, will have to turn to European or even Lithuanian conservatism. Those who learn to be nimble in the face of change, to responsibly plan, be smart about expenses and stick together even during the winter will prevail. For such a startup, a crisis can offer an opportunity, not a verdict. Unicorns Lithuania invites Lithuanian startups to join and grow together the whole ecosystem!
three questions (recent issues)
- Tadas Pukas, Superproduktas host
- Marko Oolo, General Partner, Superangel
- JB Daguené, Co-founder, 500 Leaders, Sales Bootcamp
- Algirdas Stasiūnaitis, Partner, Flanco
- Jevgenij Polonis, CEO and founder, GoRamp
- Rytis Jakubauskas, CEO and Co-founder, Palmo
- Martynas Nikolajevas, Founder, Arrilo
- Simonas Stankus, CEO, Inbalance Grid