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In Lithuanian Davosas (what kind of event name is that), a good discussion on what is needed to put tech and the centre of Lithuania’s industrial strategy. Building blocks are in place, seems only focus and priority is missing.

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How to get there? Well, one element might be just a sense of winning. The feel of achieving, and a possible victory. You notice this is something that unites behind Eurovision, Zalgiris or Dakar. There is a lot of national pride there and this is something tech unicorns can deliver. Gintaras Beresneviciushas done a good dive into this, sometimes primitive, Lithuanian character.

What else is important? Building collaboratively, boosting the ambition, creating an effective, high-velocity ecosystem. Exits and stock options came across as an important element – more in that below.

Work in progress

  • MILInvest fund manager applications are open. The fund will focus on defence and security tech and cover both pre-seed activities and seed investments. EUR 13.5 m public funding is available, and more private funding needed.
  • Vince Steckler, the former Avast CEO, joins Nord Security as the first independent Board Member.
  • Unicorns.lt 2021 Q1 data is available. Astonishing scaling of Teso, Vinted, and sprinting Hostinger, Kilo Health, Bored Panda. Big rounds expected with Interactio, Ziticity and there is a number of startups climbing into 10m+ revenue. One of those “overnight successes” (after years of making it) – Planner 5D (8x).
  • Dyler is a classic car marketplace, founded by the Coingate team 4 years ago. And here they tell a story about a man and his dog, who are using Porsche 996 to explore the great outdoors.
  • Watalook reached 50.000 appointments and 10.000 service reviews, and they should reach new funding round, too.
  • Vaidas Adomauskas left Revolut and now is a CPO at Uncapped (upfront revenue for SaaS and e-commerce companies) – just closed $ 80m in funding (UK).
  • Why and how Ieva Zubavičiūtė, Rita Sakus ir Lina Astrauskė – three business angels – invest.
  • Titas (Vinted) hits a pain point asking about stock option programs across startups. People mention Vinted, Hostinger, Eneba, Argyle, PROMOS, Mindletic, Simplex with options pools in place, but we see several misconceptions around the need.
  • Brolis Semiconductors hits EUR 10m revenue last year, as defence spending rises globally.

Rounds and capital

  • Zive, developers of heart monitoring medical device, raises EUR 250k from Coinvest Capital and four angels. While the device is CE marked already, the team will focus on the software and learning algorithms next.
  • Lithuanian EIKA is investing GBP 100k into multi-agent property sales platform Movewise, which creates tools for professional vendors. The news also mentions that “we will continue to evaluate the prop tech space and make additional investments in the future.”

Change Ventures updated their Baltic Funding Report, and now a complete picture for 2019-2020. Key takeaways:

  • Pre-seed investments slowed down in 2020, seed and series A stay strong.
  • Round sizes growing again, as well as valuations
    • Rounds sizes at EUR 250k and EUR 1.5 m (pre-seed and seed)
    • Valuations at EUR 2m pre-seed, close to EUR 8m seed
    • This requires EUR 4k and EUR 40k monthly revenues, respectively (these are just median figures, not rules of thumb)
    • Round sizes left, valuations right

Blog posts

Calendar

Founder guides

  • Stock options. It is critical for founders to get this right – broad equity distribution is strongly advised. Here’s a good explanation by Michael Seibel. In comments of Titas post, we see few falacies:
    • “If people do not ask, there is no tradition of offering”.
      The founder is not thinking long-term and building a strong co-founding team. There has to be ownership mentality and culture, and it requires time, too.
    • “Immediate benefits motivate more”.
      As a founder, you already know that it will be 5-10 yrs journey, and you don’t want to be rebuilding the core team every second year.
    • “Venture returns are not likely”.
      Anchoring bias, looking at the future based on old data. In the coming years we will see many more exits and in much higher valuations than ever before.
  • Building Products. How Stripe combines going deep and moving very fast – great interview.
  • SEO. WTF is SEO is a good newsletter for news publishers.
  • Easy. 0 to EUR 30,000,000,000 revenue in 10 years. 10 principles by Delivery Hero’s Niclas Oestberg.
  • First. The ups and downs of employee number one. Good stories.
  • Product. Super Produktas – Lithuanian podcast with product leads at Trafi, Nord Security, Omnisend, Kilo, others.
  • Productivity. Did you try writing as a personal productivity lever?

Roleplay

We want early-stage teams to succeed – let us know if you’re recruiting a core team or starting something new.

Insights

Ecosystem

  • Important finding (in current comfort environment) – seems that forced entrepreneurs actually perform better.
    • “We find that businesses formed by entrepreneurs
      entering weak labor markets perform equally, and often better, than those who enter strong labor markets. Upon further examination of the data, we find (I) entrepreneurial success is driven by the top of the income distribution and (ii) these same workers are disproportionately impacted by labor shocks; as a result, labor shocks can increase entrepreneurial quality. Our results therefore provide the best evidence to date that even best entrepreneurs were not destined to select into entrepreneurship, and that there are many wage workers today with high entrepreneurial potential”.
  • Technology talent. Teltonika encourages top choose STEM programs for youth and has put together EUR 300 monthly scholarship to incentivize 100 students per year.
  • Technology in Government. Someone has to take the IT lead at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and someone else to help Eimantas with packaging and waste information system.
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