The recent rising star of Mobility sector has been the startup Bruntor – originally starting as a 4-wheel offroad skateboard creators, but not pivoting almost entirely to working on their cargo scooter. The scooter has been recognized on a Europe level – with Bruntor having recently won the EIT Jumpstarter mobility category, which not only netted them 10 000 EUR prize, but also acceptance into Investment Readiness Accelerator and EIT portfolio (and Bruntor hopes to see more investment from them).
IRA is not the only accelerator Bruntor is part of, as they are one of 15 teams in the City to Sea accelerator (organized by VEFRESH, Riga Technical University, Riga City Council and Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA)). It’s particularly special to Bruntor as the idea for their cargo scooter was born in the City to Sea Hackathon which took place a year ago. The idea met a gust of wind from the market and Bruntor decided to shift their focus to their new idea. As part of the accelerator, they have a budget of around 12 000 EUR for further prototyping and pilot projects in Riga. The goal is to test the validity of this idea until May.
Currently, the main partnership of Bruntor has been with Latvian Post – the cargo scooter being tested for mail deliveries, while talks are in process with a number of other countries' postal services (notably – the Czech Republic, France and Denmark). About two months ago, Bruntor managed to register a trademark, which will help them look for partnerships without worrying too much about competitors. Currently, Bruntor has 2.5 full-time employees and are hoping to soon find investment that would allow them to expand their team.
Lately, Bruntor team has been busy preparing their cargo scooters and riding board both for pitching at sTARTUp day 2023 (being among 5 startups representing Latvia), and a showcase at the Autonomy Mobility World Expo. They are taking these opportunities with the help of LIAA export support program.
For those that have been following Longenesis participation in the Entrepreneurship World Cup, the news was unfortunate – while Longenesis made it into the top 100 (which is a huge achievement by itself, as more than 30 000 companies from around the world participate in EWC), they were not chosen as one of the top 10 prize winners. Better results awaited them in the EIT Health Catapult program, where Longenesis reached the semifinals, which shows that MedTech and BioTech experts have recognized their efforts and achievements. That is a good pipeline to attracting interest from investors that specialize in these startup sectors.
On a more local topic – Longenesis is continuing to attract talent, namely with a new addition to their Advisory Board – Daniels Pavļuts – former Minister of Economics and Minister of Health of Latvia, who also had a role in the creation of Startup Law and forming of Latvian Startup Association Startin.LV. His role will be to support Longenesis business development efforts in the Baltics and CEE region.
The goal of any startup is to go global, and that goes double for companies from a smaller country like Latvia. Which is why it’s great to see situations like Cenos expanding to Mexico which will act as their first stop into the US market (and an international trademark, which is in the final stages of being set up).
Structurally, Cenos now has created a daughter company in Mexico with a support team, but all revenue goes through Latvia. Employees from both countries have visited the other side of the ocean – something the co-founder Mihails Scepanskis calls a travel opportunity and exchange of ideas that ended up being a big motivation boost.
Another big change for Cenos has recently been overall restructuring. Mid-2022 their staff reached 37 employees, but by this point – the number has dropped to 22. The main reason for that was the fact that in the autumn of 2022 it became clear that the investment landscape is in a difficult state, and Cenos founders decided against trying to raise a new investment round. Instead, they focused on profitability. Mihails is very proud that they managed to go lean while retaining all operations and seeing continuous revenue growth – reaching a state of a small profit during February 2023. This is particularly important as Cenos has already used up all the de minimis support from Startup Law, which has been a huge boon for the road of getting to where they are.
The increase in revenue for Cenos is largely dependent on how many micro-products they can launch. In the past, Cenos worked on that alone, but as a result of the restructuring, they have partnered up with 2 companies – Cerbsim (a spin-off from Vienna Technical University), and EPM Riga (a Latvian University spin-off).
Another expansion toward the other side of the world comes from Fixar - a startup that provides drone-based services for industrial and agricultural applications, including aerial surveying, mapping, and inspection. They have successfully entered the Brazil market with drones for industrial and agricultural applications. The startup has partnered with a local Brazilian firm Helisul to provide high-quality aerial surveying and mapping services to businesses across the country. With this partnership, Fixar aims to tap into the growing demand for drone-based services in Brazil, which is expected to become one of the largest drone markets in the world in the coming years.
Further expanding into the Americas, Fixar is set to showcase at the upcoming Geo Week 2023 event in Denver, Colorado. The company plans to run a demo flight of its drones equipped with the latest autopilot technology to demonstrate its advanced mapping and surveying capabilities.
Last but not least, recently Fixar unveiled a new and improved version of its autopilot technology, which powers its drones for mapping and surveying applications. The new Autopilot 2.0 release includes advanced features such as improved obstacle avoidance, enhanced camera control, and increased flight stability. The technology is designed to improve the accuracy and efficiency of drone-based surveying and mapping services, helping businesses to make more informed decisions based on high-quality aerial data.
As a startup in Latvia with a foreign founder, Aimy is still not very well known in Latvia despite their success in Northern Europe – being used by 90 stores that want to optimize their staffing through AI. To help them fit in, Latvian Startup Association Startin.LV partnered up with Aimy in late 2022 for one of Startin.LV regular at-home meetup events. Since then, Aimy has settled in and fille dup their offices with both equipment and people.
Most recently the focus of Aimy has been participating in the Smart Retail Tech Expo – an annual trade show and conference that showcases the latest technologies, trends, and innovations in the retail industry. The event focuses on how technology is changing the way retailers interact with customers, manage operations, and drive sales.
Aimy was one of the 4 finalists with the opportunity to win the Smart Retail Tech Expo 2023 prize of Technology of the Year – award that honors the latest technology that is revolutionizing the future of the smart retail industry. The prize ended up going to SoundWedge, but the London-centric event was a great opportunity for Aimy to expand into western Europe.
This publication is prepared by Latvian Startup Association Startin.LV and supported by the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia and the European Regional Development Fund.