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Ecosystem

Vienaragiai LT (Unicorns LT) is born. Now officially an association of startups, aiming to triple the impact and achieve – 

  • 3000 startups
  • 30,000 employed in tech
  • 375+ m in yearly taxes

Founded by Bored Panda, Hostinger, Kilo Health, Omnisend, Tech Zity, Tesonet, and Vinted. Led by Inga Langaite (CEO) and Mantas Mikuckas (Chairman of the Board).

Lovely video. Gamta yra tikrai įdomi. Godspeed Vienaragiai! 

Work in progress

Rounds and capital

  • Outschool co-founder Mikhail Seregine invested in Turing College
  • Finnish VC firm Icebreaker.vc raises €120M to back teams in the region.
    • Also, business angels in Finland had a good year (data)
  • Inovo Raises €54 Million For Poland’s Rising Tech Stars – as well as broader CEE region.
  • Zabolis is stepping into tech play in Lithuania with Snowball. This investment arm raised debt from Orion and will be adding more to existing Brolis, Smart Brands lab, Tamo and others.

    (We are expecting more players to flock in this emerging market. As Dragos writes, “the bigger picture is – the investment business is already going through dramatic shifts, a number of players already nervous about the status quo being disrupted, with crossovers already altering the rules at the top of the market, going as far as to seed levels, where it is so crowded and competitive that most local asset managers will find themselves with second tier portfolios at best or losing the money of their LPs at worst.”)

Digital health and healthcare

Our other blog posts

Founder guides

  • Hiring. Hiring and Culture (video) with Patrick Collison, John Collison (Stripe) and Ben Silbermann (Pinterest). Also, remember – When You Hire an Executive, You’re Hiring a Network.
  • Growth. John Egan, Growth Engineer at Pinterest, on tracking Daily Net Change, reading Cohort Activity Heatmap and two more metrics.
  • Marketplaces. Supply Strategy: Comprehensive, Exclusive, or Curated
  • PR. Great guide for Lithuanian early-stage startups below.

Roleplay

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

Insights

  • New Paul Graham essay – How People Get Rich Now.
    • “The main source of new fortunes now is starting companies”
    • It’s easier to start companies (no social pressure), costs very little, and newly formed ones grow much faster than ever before – which in return generates much more wealth to founders
  • Report on Synthetic Media. It is media content generated or modified by AI, often through machine learning and deep learning.
  • Fascinating piece on how Turkey has been developing military drones and how this has enhanced their military capabilities and started to shape new kind of warfare.
  • Some really interesting picks on how technology is shaping culture in the latest Rex Woodbury newsletter.
    • For decades, vinyl records constrained songs to 3-4 minutes, and that became standard;
    • New streaming (Spotify) economics incentivize creating shorter songs. Also, since you get paid for 30 seconds of streaming, chorus tends to come in earlier (used to be at 40 seconds in the song).
  • The first Lithuanian NFT art piece made of personal messages to LGBT people containing hate speech. All messages are uncensored, unedited & completely authentic. Most were sent personally to the first openly gay Lithuanian parliament member Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius. All the money will be donated to LGBT causes in Lithuania. Stands at 2.5 WETH $6,174.76 at Rarible. More about the project – neapykantosdebesis.lt

PR

How can early-stage startups do better with PR? We asked Julija Jegorova from Black Unicorn, a boutique PR agency for globally-minded startups. Take notes – 

What is most impactful, and low-effort for early-stage startups?

  • Understand PR conceptually first, and where it fits within marketing. Once you understand the logic behind it, executing becomes much easier.
  • Familiarise yourself with the concept of newsworthiness.
  • Know your must-have PR hygiene elements – e.g. photography, a good company boilerplate.
  • Identify key events or milestones on your roadmap that are worthy of press activity. Typically for a startup, this will be raising investment, launching a product, expanding to a new country.
  • When it comes to local or specialist/trade media, smaller milestones may also be newsworthy.
  • Understand your media market and flag relevant outlets and journalists to read (hello, speed reading). Know who are the top journalists relevant to your company. Eventually, founders will need to develop relationships with journalists also directly (Amy Lewin tells how – TP).

What is most overlooked/misunderstood in PR among Lithuanian startups?

  • What’s newsworthy in Lithuania isn’t necessarily in the international sphere. And the communication etiquette with journalists is different. If you have no international PR experience, re-learn PR through an international lens.
  • (News) wires are a waste of money when it comes to startups – they can serve some short-term SEO purposes but they are not real journalistic validation, and they don’t tend to get picked up.
  • Advertorials can be useful in certain cases, but trust is created with earned, not paid media. Their impact is limited for the price and they are not a long-term game startups should play.
  • In terms of social media, Facebook is often overrated – it is not used professionally outside the Baltics, although it is super useful for Lithuania itself.
  • Conversely, Twitter is underrated (and often feared) – having a limited but polished presence there can help in terms of international visibility. It’s a place where important startup stakeholders (VCs, journalists, founders) converge.

Who has done things right?

  • There are a couple of Latvian companies that have made waves in the media without needing to raise huge rounds. Nordigen is a great example, it’s a case of a company where the willingness of the founder to spend time talking to journalists paid off.
  • More recently, the fintech startup Jeff App has exploded since raising $1M.
  • In Lithuania, kevin. is a good example of a pre-Series A startup with good PR traction, they particularly focused on fintech media, such as The Fintech Times.
  • Outside of the Baltics there are tons of early-stage startups with good traction and even completely bootstrapped ones doing a good job with PR.
  • Startups that raise money have an additional newsworthy event, investors are throwing trust and money behind a startup, validating it in the eyes of journalists
  • But that doesn’t mean their bootstrapped counterparts can’t become embedded in public discussions around their expertise area.
  • Bottom line is how well can you leverage newsworthiness – how well can you communicate timely, impactful things, and add value to conversations in the media?

Friends

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