ROCKING STARTUP ECOSYSTEM

The Latvian startup ecosystem is young and dynamic. It’s diverse by age, gender, nationality and people’s skillsets. The size of the ecosystem is just right: it’s big enough to offer you all perks of an international community of entrepreneurs, yet it’s sufficiently small and cosy which provides you with ample networking opportunities and a sense of belonging. In Latvian ecosystem every single one matters.

The ecosystem’s growth is supported by a range of different stakeholders: public and private sectors, non-profit organizations and academia, and it’s driven by a bunch of absolute rockstars.

POLICY MAKERS & IMPLEMENTORS

Rumour has it, startups is the biggest passion of the Minister of Economics, Mr. Arvils Aseradens. Coupled with the fact that Ministry of Economics is one of the most important business policy makers in Latvia, it is very good news for the ecosystem!

The following government bodies are involved into implementing the startup policy shaped by the Ministry:

Investment and Development Agency of Latvia takes care of foreign direct investment flowing into the country and supports export opportunities for Lativa-based companies. The Agency also is alma mater of Magnetic Latvia Startup – a dedicated team which runs most of the Welcome Pack supporting mechanisms. In addition to this, in 2017 the Agency launched 14 business incubators across Latvia, as well as one incubator for creative industries in Riga. Mentoring, advisory, consultations and much more to help you tackle the ever-green starter’s dilemma.

Another significant organization is ALTUM – a state owned development finance institution which offers a wide variety of programmes for different target groups, including startups. Not only ALTUM recently has channelled EUR 15 million in acceleration funds to the startup ecosystem (read "ACCELERATION FUNDS" in MONEY PART), but it has also taken an active stand in educating both general public and venture capitalists about benefits of investing into startups.

COMMUNITY BUILDERS & FUNDERS

The absolute heroes of the of the Latvian startup ecosystem, no doubt, are the community builders: ambitious, creative and bold.

There are three associations which represent startup interests: Latvian Startup Association Startin.LV, Latvian Business Angels Network LATBAN and Latvian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association LVCA.

In addition to this, there are two associations which work with the cryptocurrency and blockchain related matters: Latvian Blockchain Association and Latvian Blockchain Development Association LBAA.

There are three acceleration programmes being run with the help of public funds: Buildit, Commercialization Reactor and Overkill Ventures.

And one private acceleration programme by Startup Wise Guys.

The following venture capital investors have been particularly active in the startup scene: FlyCap, Imprimatur Capital, Rubylight, ZGI Capital.

The most well-known startup hubs and co-working spaces are: OraculeTang Space, People Work, TechHub Riga and Teikums. In addition to that, almost every university has a dedicated in-house startup and entrepreneurship hub.

There are two major startup events happening in Riga: Digital Freedom Festival and TechChill. In 2018, another promising one emerged - Deep Tech Atelier.

Cherry on the cake: Riga Tech Girls is the first community in Latvia dedicated to educating and inspiring girls and women about technology.

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