New Dealroom data reveals Lithuania's startup ecosystem growing 4x CEE average

While the phrase ‘Estonian mafia’ has gained credence over the years, if things keep going Lithuania’s way, they might just be laying the groundwork for their own mafia right now.
New Dealroom data reveals Lithuania's startup ecosystem growing 4x CEE average

According to Dealroom data, the enterprise value of the Lithuanian startup ecosystem grew 16.8x between 2017 and 2022, 4.2 times the average for the CEE region, and reached a total of €9.5 billion. 

To put this figure into context, Lithuania’s combined startup ecosystem value is 70 percent higher than that of Croatia, the CEE nation with the  fastest growth rate over the same time period.

By the numbers

While Vilnius-based FIRSTPICK reported €241 million invested in Lithuania in 2022, Dealroom’s numbers add another €54 million to this figure at €295 million invested, but also note that megarounds are excluded in order to preserve the integrity of the data, as the prior can distort annual data.

The report also highlights that Lithuania now ranks third in VC Investment per capita in CEE, with foreign investors increasingly active in the country as well as domestic investors becoming more active at an early stage. 

In 2022, 9 percent of VC funding came from Lithuanian investors, 36 percent from the rest of Europe, and 35 percent from the US. Top investment sectors are security and fintech, with transportation, e-commerce, energy, food, health, ‘wellness and beauty’, lasers, and edtech rounding out the field.

Startup located in Lithuania’s capital city Vilnius garnered the lion's share of funding, €227 million, or 95 percent of the total investment raised in Lithuania in 2022. The result has been a return on investment noted with Vilnius’ startups rising in value from €500,000 in 2018 to €8 billion in 2022 across more than 740 startups, including 3 unicorns.

“Dealroom’s data shows that Lithuania's consistent improvement of the regulatory landscape for startups is paying off. The analysis indicates the country, especially Vilnius, is now the go-to choice for tech investors in one of the world’s most dynamic regions,” said Head of Startup Lithuania Roberta Rudokiene. “Alongside technical changes, such as a lowered capital threshold and improved regulation of convertible bonds and the share issue process, 2023 sees new tax relief on options that we expect to encourage another wave of investment.”

Building the region

When it comes time to leave home and move the business elsewhere, Dealroom’s data reveals that Lithuanian-founded companies are bucking the CEE trend and keeping the cards, and the capital at home. Only 9 percent of the country’s combined enterprise value in 2022 is based abroad, against an average for CEE of 46 percent.

Notable Lithuanian startups include:

General Manager at Go Vilnius Inga Romanovskienė concludes, “This report highlights that the Lithuania startup success story is being largely written in Vilnius. It’s a city where startups can grow. It's compact, open to innovation and really goes out of its way to support international talent with initiatives like International House Vilnius, which supports talent migrating to the city. 

Startups and ecosystem facilitators have developed an interconnectedness that helps the city become more than just the sum of its parts, a close-knit community that refers to itself as Techfusion. These are all factors underpinning the extraordinary startup growth rates observed by Dealroom in Vilnius. ”

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