Latvia has been put on the global CleanTech map through the new Cleantech for Baltics initiative – the first step of which has been the Cleantech for Baltics Report, prepared by local stakeholders and with the help of Breakthrough Energy.
Every CleanTech startup is making the world of tomorrow a little bit of a nicer place. One of the more recent big projects has been by Latvian data processing startup InPass. With the support of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia’s Liepāja Business Incubator and together with the Faculty of Science and Engineering of the University of Liepāja, InPass has successfully developed a prototype for Eurostars-2 project UP-CEMS.
The goal of the UP-CEMS project is to develop an Ultra-Portable Continuous Emission Monitoring System for measuring pollutants with focus on emission measurements from ships.
Role of InPass technical team in the project was to develop a measuring device to ensure communication with the other emission measurement devices installed in the system. Its task will be to collect data and store it on the server so that it can be analyzed.
Other partners in the project include Danish National Metrology Institute and the lead partner - Instrumatic Marine. UP-CEMS is co-financed by the Latvian State Education Development Agency and Innovation Fund Denmark.
Always controversial, the Crypto and Web3 scene has recently been taking off in Latvia as well – beyond a couple of successful startups like Gravity Team. For example, the Latvian Blockchain Association has been revived and it has a new leader - Reinis Znotiņš, who has a good amount of political experience from work in Saeima. The Ministry of Economics together with the association has created a Crypto Asset Industry Development Working Group, whose aim is to offer potential improvements in the regulatory acts related to the crypto industry.
The most visible part of Crypto in Latvia are the frequent meetups, hackathons and other events organized by different companies – e.g. Binance Latvia, Bitcoin Riga, Latvian Blockchain Association, etc. The biggest recent event was definitely Honeybadger 2022 – one of the biggest European Bitcoin conferences. While on the more artistic end of the crypto spectrum – Latvian airline company airBaltic has started their NFR project – Planies.
Several changes in the crypto markets have caused a lot of precaution and re-evaluation of partnerships among crypto companies, and Gravity Team is no different. They are implementing a lot of new security features and doing an even more thorough and strict evaluation of partner funds and internal policies. With Crypto currently being in a bear market, Gravity Team is hiring new staff (up by 15%) building and testing new projects (like building a bridge between traditional and crypto financial worlds) in preparation for the next bull run.
FinTech sector in Latvia keeps going strong, led by the Latvian Fintech Association. Their biggest most recent event was The Pulse of Latvian Fintech and Beyond – where the association revealed a massive report of the same name. Not just some insightful statistics – the report also has a ton of useful information for any FinTech startup looking to get started in Latvia.
Despite Lithuania marketing itself as the local FinTech leader, it’s clear that other countries are not overlooking Latvia. Last year, Latvian FinTech startup BankLaunch (a digital platform used to create FinTech solutions, and a spin-off from A-Head Consulting) was acquired by MeaWallet – a Norway-based international FinTech company that has built a card tokenisation platform and offers SoftPOS solutions. Often, that’s where an exit story ends, but not this time.
Another company – UK-based SaltPay, founded in 2019 to create affordable, fast and secure payments and software solutions – has acquired both MeaWallet and A-Head Consulting. With this, Riga is becoming SaltPay’s next global engineering tech hub, alongside Porto, Cape Town and London. The plan is to grow over the next two years, attracting local talent and focusing on building parts of the global product platform.
This publication is prepared by Latvian Startup Association Startin.LV and supported by the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia.