It’s either Vilnius FinTech Week or Deep Dive Week Baltics 2019. Whatever you call it, we are speaking about the same thing and it was a blast! The unique element of this Deep Dive Week is the combination of two Startup Europe programmes, which brought together 4 ecosystem builders and 18 fintech startups for a packed programme.

Here is the agenda:

Day 1  – What’s boiling up in Lithuania for fintech startups

We started with a full room of expectations. Dorota Skuseviciene, Scaling Manager from Startup Division, who opened up the Vilnius FinTech Week, explaining the days that followed. Then, Jurga Mecinskiene, Soft-Landing Coordinator, took the floor for a short presentation about the Soft-landers, while Vasia Madesi, Startup Lighthouse Coordinator, presented who is in the room, motivated participants to get most of the week and closed the round of presentations. What’s next?

Breaking the ice over coffee! It’s always good to get to know each other before the intensive programme starts. Business cards were handing out like hot cakes.

After lunch, time was for the presentation from Roberta Rudokienė speaking about what’s boiling up in Lithuania. The highlights about Lithuania are the numbers of startups that are growing year upon year with funding levels increasing, a strong talent pool and a low cost of living:

and of course, the Startup Fair, which was an official part of Vilnius FinTech Week.
Lithuanian startup ecosystem – what’s boiling? Roberta Rudokienė | Head of Startup Lithuania

Moving from Lithuania to the specifics. Why is the place to be for fintech startups by Titas Budrys, member of FinTech Hub Lithuania. Lithuania 🇱🇹 ranked as the most competitive country in emerging Europe based on IMD World Competitiveness ranking 2019!

Some quick facts:

 It takes only 3 months to take PI or EMI licence
 You can get a “Lite” bank licence here
 Sandbox environment applies to test new FinTech products, which includes less regulations
In Lithuania, identification of a person can be made non-face-to-face

With all of this, licensing in Lithuania takes approx. 2-3 times faster than in other EU jurisdictions.

What makes Lithuania sexy for fintech startups? Titas Budrys | Member of FinTech Hub Lithuania

Trust us, Vilnius FinTech Week was not static at all. We moved to Rise Vilnius by Barclays to check how they work with FinTech companies and we got valuable scaling tips:

“If you’re starting your journey to working with a big corporate, make sure that the person representing you knows your startup’s mission and added value by heart” – Barclays

How Rise by Barclays work with fintech startups? Renata Šumskaitė | Head of Rise Vilnius

Then, more tips from Revolut:
💡Build partnerships with other brands to offer customers perks
💡When launching in a new market invest in an AWESOME local PR manager & use content marketing
💡Work with ambassadors to spread news
💡Get feedback from ur top 💯 users & use waiting lists

Revolut: why Lithuania is the best location? Tautvydas Grinius | Business Development Manager Revolut

The day wasn’t over. A boat ride mixed with investors and networking closed a fruiful, promising first day. Specifically, seven (7) investors spent two hours in a boat with 18 international startups speaking about fintech and more.

Boat ride with investors

Day 2 – Getting to know the local fintech ecosystem and its players

Europe’s hub for blockchain services in Vilnius and we’re speaking about Vilnius Blockchain Centre; the place to be for our fintech startups 🚀

Kicking off day 2 with the CEO Justas Sireika introducing the services with a focus on startup growth and community building. They support AI and IoT startups and have helped them raise €50M. They are now starting business trips to Asia and Europe 🌍 (with market research, due dilligence help, high level B2B meetings!).

Introduction to Blockchain Centre Vilnius Justas Sireika | CEO of Blockchain Centre Vilnius

“You are not changing the world, but you need to focus on a real world problem” – Igor Voičenica | iProspect

Digital marketing for FinTech startups – mistakes to avoid Igor Voičenica | Director of Business Development iProspect

Second slot, with common mistakes and pains on marketing your fintech startup. Mistake 1 “I don’t need brand positioning. I’ll grow hack my startup”. Sounds familiar? Our startups got digital marketing tips and lessons from fintech to fintech and after an intensive crash course, a tailored workshop was organised to discuss and find 1-2 common marketing problem(s), startups are currently facing and go to each problem individually and offer a possible solution.

During the exercise

Did you know banks have innovation centres? Moving to SEB Innovation Centre and discussing about their priorities and things a startup needs to be aware of when collaborating with a bank 🏦 Are you looking for a way to approach banks? Check the tips we received:

  • Understand business needs and challenges
  • Identify key person
  • Apply to programs hosted by the bank
  • Build trust
How a corporate can contribute to FinTech startup ecosystem? Andrius Bolšaitis | Innovation Centre Manager SEB

Do you want to know if you are what SEB is looking for?

#1 Remote Identification
#2 Savings Platform and Robo advisory
#3 Robotics and process automation
#4 Machine learning and AI
#5 Open Banking

If you’re from those sectors, then your chances of collaborating with SEB bank are high!

Then, we got practical with “Setting up a business in Lithuania: Tax, legal and incorporation” by Sigita Adomaityte (legal) & Edvinas Lenkauskas (tax) | Motieka & Audzevicius

Setting up a business in Lithuania: Tax, legal and incorporation

And then, we heard and reflected upon the experience sharing by local startups; Neo Finance and startup recently ncorporated in Lithuania, Nayax.

Sharing Experience by local startups Neo Finance and Nayax

Then at TransferGo for a great discussion with our startups. TransferGO team talk about their startup adventure of the last seven years.

How to grow a FinTech star in Lithuania Daumantas Dvilinskas | CEO and Co-Founder TransferGo

Finally, the day closed with an exclusive rooftop party enjoying the view from the top mingling with the local ecosystem players.

Networking party at TransferGo rooftop terrace

Day 3 – Deep Diving into FinTech in Lithuania

We visited the Bank of Lithuania, who shared that they have exciting initiatives for startups at every stage of development:

➡️ For entrepreneurs at the level of idea who have passion to develop blockchain-oriented solution – LBChain: Blockchain Sandbox;

➡️ A perfect fit for FinTechs with MVP – Regulatory Sandbox;

➡️ For FinTechs with some traction already – Newcommer Programme / Licensing.

If any of the aforementioned initiatives got your interest, check their official website: https://www.lb.lt/en/

Bank of Lithuania: FinTech license & sandbox by Jekaterina Govina | Adviser to the Board Member Bank of Lithuania and Marius Jurgilas

After that, we walked to the Ministry of Economy and Innovation for a discussion with Elijus Čivilis, Vice Minister at the Ministry of the Economy and Innovation. Great insights on the strategy of the MInistry and great to see they are open to feedback from our international fintech startups. A good talk about “How basketball 🏀 can help you make contacts and the strength of #FinTech and #GovTech in 🇱🇹 !”

Next, transfer to Vilnius Tech Park for a “surprise” presentation with a high level delegate. A surprise appearance from OUAKIS Stephane, EC Director General for Research and Innovation, Investments & SME’s, for an overview of the EIC Pilot.

Ouakis Stephane | EC Director General for Research and Innovation, Investments & SME’s

The Accelerator Pilot is very competitive with a success rate of 4-6%. Lithuanian government is providing free coaching services for startups want to apply.

Introduction by Startup Wise Guys by Jonė Vaitulevičiūtė | Partner Startup Wise Guys

Next up, we had an energising talk from the Startup Wise Guys team and their no nonsense approach 🚀
So why should you join them 🇱🇹?
💡They won’t sugarcoat anything – you can expect the truth!
💡 Fastest pan European fintech license in EU
💡Regulatory sandbox for #fintech #startups

Moderated group discussion with SWG mentors

Last session, included roundtables with 5 mentors coming from Startup Wise Guys. Startups got valuable tips to continue their journey!

But, did we say last session? Before, the end of day 3 and a few hours before the big Startup Fair, we fuelled up with some delicious burgers and discussions with those around the Vilnius Tech Park. 100 startups, many different key players, good food and networking!

100 startup BBQ and networking

Day 4 & 5 – Startup Fair

Vilnius FinTech Week was also attached to the Startup Fair in Lithuania. Startup Fair is an annual and the main international startup ecosystem event in Lithuania. Being on the crossroads of Europe, Startup Fair empowers startups to meet influential investors from around the world. The main topic of this year’s Startup Fair was “Change”. Changing business environment invites us to discuss more about sustainability, failure tolerance, and enhance knowledge in the leading technologies: AI, Blockchain and many more. The conference hosted 40+ speakers, 50+ investors and a total of 2000+ attendees. Attendees had a chance to schedule 1-on-1 meetings with the speakers, investors or other attendees and our Fintech Week attendees took advantage of this option, scheduling several meetings a day, which resulted in many meaningful connections made.

Our fintech startups had the chance to

  • Attend the sessions
  • Mingle around
  • Connect with future useful leads to grow their businesses
  • Join awesome networking parties 🎉

We called everyone to take a break from meetings in Startup Fair 🇱🇹 #startupfair2019 and come for a family photo!

To the highlights of the event, we can include Pedro Camacho from NearBanking on stage at the pitching battle at Startup Fair Lithuania 2019! 

Nearbanking pitching

What they said?

Forget about London. If you’re looking to enter the EU fintech market, Lithuania can offer you the best value-for-money passage. – 1Krowd

Deep Dive Week was an awesome experience that allows startups to network, connect and experience the Lithuanian ecosystem in full – from meetings with top regulators, to feedback from investors and accelerators, to making valuable friendships with your peers. It is a great opportunity that I would recommend most enthusiastically. – Deriveum

Success stories (yeah! already)

4Securitas provides software, which decodes servers logs & data into clear, plain English alerts in real time. During the stay in Vilnius, they struck a deal with Lithuanian IT company, which will start piloting their solution. ✈️ Kudos! If curious, take a peek at what they’re up to 👀: https://4securitas.com

Our programme participant from NEARBANKING has been approved to pitch their idea in Lithuania at 2 occasions:

1. At Startup Fair. Change 2019 for the prize pool of 26.000 EUR;
2. On June 7th, at LOGIN 2019 in Growth Track as a startup that is raising late seed/Series A investment.

Take a look at their unusual solution 👏: https://nearbanking.com 

Hungry for more?

Check our Hall of Fame for the pitch decks and let us know if you need to get connected with our alumni startups.

Follow us on Twitter to see snaps of all the activities, talks and be the first to know about more opportunities!

Get in touch with Startup Division, if you want to to get your startup in the Baltics or if you’d like to organise something similar!

Excuse us for the long post! Here is a picture of our lovely organisers from Startup Division!