TOP 10 investments raised by startups in Lithuania in 2023: among the leaders and the nominees of the “Vilnius TechFusion Startup Awards”
According to the data monitored by the Lithuanian Startups Association Unicorns Lithuania, the share of startups who raised investment in Lithuania in 2023 was 30 per cent smaller than during the previous year, yet the average investment in a startup was higher and reached EUR 10 million. The total amount of investment in startups in Lithuania in 2023 was EUR 272 million, which is 7 per cent less than in 2022.
“Last year was a challenging year for startups and the entire tech ecosystem worldwide. It was not about raising investment at any cost, but about sustainable growth, increasing profitability and focusing on product and top talent. In this context, the results of the Lithuanian startup ecosystem are unique: researchers from the venture capital firm Atomico point out that only 3 countries in Europe have recorded an increase in investment raised by startups by September 2023, Lithuania being one of them,” says Inga Langaitė, CEO of the Association.
The final amount of investment raised last year was mostly influenced by the efforts of 2 startups – the cybersecurity unicorn Nord Security and Surfshark and the leader in solar design software PVcase each raised USD 100 million. Moreover, the valuation of Nord Security and Surfshark has doubled to USD 3 billion in 2023, compared to 2022. PVcase also acquired a successful US company Anderson Optimization last year.
The CAST AI startup is also worth a special mention for raising 2 major investments in 2023, i.e. USD 35 million and USD 20 million. Although the founders of this startup are not Lithuanians, they have been closely connected with Lithuania by establishing a branch with half a hundred employees in Vilnius and paying taxes in Lithuania.
According to Ms Langaitė, while the world is witnessing a surge in artificial intelligence (AI) startups, the Lithuanian startups that have raised the largest investments operate in sectors ranging from cybersecurity and energy to medicine, finance and biotechnology, which shows the diversity of the startup ecosystem and testifies the potential for investors with different interests.
TOP 10 investments raised by startups in Lithuania in 2023 – among the leaders the nominees of the Vilnius TechFusion Startup Awards 2023:
- Nord Security, USD 100 million
- PVcase, USD 100 million
- CAST AI, USD 55 million
- Sentante, USD 6.5 million
- GenusAI, USD 6 million
- Atrandi Biosciences, USD 4.8 million
- Oxipit, USD 3.8 million
- Heavy Finance, USD 3.3 million
- GoRamp, USD 3 million
- Inbalance grid, USD 2 million
Speaking about the investment related expectations in 2024, the CEO of Unicorns Lithuania noted that Lithuanian startups are using the investment raised as efficiently as possible, and a significant number of them are operating with no external investment at all – they find a way to become profitable even at an early stage and then use profits to grow further. In turn, investors are now focusing on profitability indicators, rather than growth.
“We see greater activity in earlier stage (pre-seed, seed) startups or those that have already reached an appropriate stage of maturity and profitability indicators. A more challenging time is for those in between that have raised a few investments so far but have used them and are now looking for new growth opportunities. However, venture capital fund companies promise that in the first quarter of 2024 we may see at least 2 larger deals for investment in Lithuanian startups,” Ms Langaitė shares her forecast.
She identifies the ability of a business to flexibly respond to market needs, recruit and retain top talent, design and develop an innovative technological solution, and streamline operational processes as key factors for successfully raising investment to a startup. The country’s visibility and a clear and stable tax environment that motivates to increase the competitiveness of Lithuania in the region also have a significant impact on improving investment performance at the ecosystem level.
All startups operating in Lithuania raised a total of EUR 293 million in 2022, EUR 429 million in 2021 (including EUR 250 million for Vinted), EUR 43 million in 2020, and EUR 170 million in 2019. The average investment amount was EUR 8 million in 2022 and EUR 7 million in 2021. According to Dealroom, the Lithuanian startup ecosystem is valued at EUR 9.5 billion today.
The venture capital firm Atomico predicted that venture capital investment raised by European startups should almost halve in 2023 to USD 45 billion, compared to 2022 (USD 82 billion). Researchers noted that only Lithuania, Romania and Luxembourg recorded an increase in investment raised by startups by 30 September 2023. In 2023, startups in the UK (USD 12.7 billion), France (USD 8 billion) and Germany (USD 7.8 billion) were expected to raise the major share of investment in Europe.
Vilnius is already preparing for one of the most important event of the year – the annual Vilnius TechFusion Startup Awards. At the event organized for the fifth year in a row, awards await both growing high-tech companies and heroes of businesses, talents and ecosystems that have already gained recognition in Lithuania and the world.
Vilnius TechFusion startup awards will be held on January 11, 2024, this year they are organized by Vilnius city tourism and business development agency Go Vilnius, Lithuanian startup association Unicorns Lithuania and Sunrise Tech Park.