Startup sectors in Latvia that have experienced the most change since the start of 2022
Latvia has become one of the only countries in the European Union that has a licensed equity crowdfunding platform startup – CrowdedHero. European economic zone has only a few of these kinds of platforms, and most of them are in the United Kingdom, which is no longer a part of the EU. In addition to a license, the startup is also EU passported – which means that they can acquire projects and attract investors from all over the EU.
FinTech sector has been filled with turmoil due to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which has resulted in many sanctions toward Russia and Belarus. The additional attention that is necessary when keeping track of sanction targets – both private persons and businesses – means that especially FinTech businesses like CrowdedHero have increased operational costs as their AML specialist spends more time, carefully checking every applicant to their platform.
The growth of FinTech sector in Latvia can also be observed by the events and support happening lately. First Latvian FinTech Forum took place in the middle of September – organized by the FinTech Latvia association and Investment and Development Agency of Latvia. FinTech Latvia has grown rapidly, offering a number of support mechanisms for new and growing startups, and aiming for Latvia to become to new home for global FinTech. Which is definitely within reach, as Latvian startups continue being successful internationally – like SunFinance continuing to hold on to its place as one of the fastest growing EU startups.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has not stopped, 2022 was different than the two previous years in the sense that no longer was the healthcare field preoccupied with trying to make it through one crisis after another. As the emergency has subsided, the hack-job digitalization solutions implemented during the pandemic have become a full-on digitalization movement.
In Latvia, that has been symbolized by the signing of a memorandum during Digital Health Day 2022. Present were all major Latvian innovation and healthcare ecosystem players – including the Latvian Digital Health Cluster, founded right before the pandemic in 2019, now having grown to encompass over 20 members of top Latvian MedTech startups.
Chairman of Digital Health Cluster, Kristaps Krafte is the founder of one of the most successful Latvian MedTech startups – Vigo Health. Last year, they become the first state-compensated digital healthcare solution in the Baltic States (and one of very few in Northern Europe), and early this year received the title of Latvia’s Medical Innovation of the year 2021. Vigo Health is now focusing on expansion to the US, where there is more focus on value-based healthcare.
More MedTech startups are to come as Latvia now has its own healthcare innovation centre – Open Health Labs. Funded by National Health Service of the Republic of Latvia and innovation management company Helve, this digital innovation pilot program will have startups partner with 4 major hospitals in Latvia, creating innovative solution for their problems.
While often staying under the radar of publicity, the Mobility sector has been very busy in the first half of 2022. A number of Mobility startup accelerators have started their programs – most notably Urban Mobility Pre-Accelerator (organized by VEFRESH, the EIT Urban Mobility hub in Latvia) and Atom Mobility Hub, which is operated by Latvian shared mobility startup ATOM Mobility.
ATOM Mobility empowers entrepreneurs to launch their own vehicle sharing and rental platforms, and received 2nd place in the Germany-Baltic Business Award 2022. They are not the only Latvian Mobility startup with international success – as DiGas made it into the top50 of Europe’s Mobility startups.
Finally, the development of autonomous vehicles has also reached Latvia, as the Institute of Electronics and Computer Science has demonstrated their driverless car technology as part of an European Union 5G-ROUTES project – aiming to connect 5G networks of Europe together for the purposes of easier operation of future autonomous vehicles.
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.