Vladas Lašas: innovative tech startups are successful and grow in places where they receive help from business angels from the very beginning
Members of LitBAN, an association of more than 350 Lithuanian business angels, made 375 investments in startups this year, or one third more than in 2022. The average amount invested by a business angel this year – around EUR 28,000 – is in line with the European average, while next year Lithuanian angels plan to increase their investment volumes.
LitBAN’s members invested a total of EUR 10.5 million this year, according to the results of survey of members. 70% of this amount was invested in Lithuanian startups, up from 57% in 2022. The total amount invested by Lithuanian business angels this year was 27% lower on the yearly basis, but slightly higher than in 2021.
According to Roberta Rudokienė, the managing director of LitBAN, the decrease in the total amount invested by business angels reflects the factors of anxiety and economic instability felt worldwide this year. Similar declines in investment have been observed in the US and other markets. On the other hand, Lithuanian business angels had more deals this year, and two thirds of them plan to increase their investment volumes in 2024.
“Despite the economic environment, awareness of business angels investing activity has been growing in Lithuania. Business angels around the world are often the first vital link between an idea and actual business steps, and the growing network and activity of such people in Lithuania is creating the foundations for new success stories of Lithuanian startups,” says R. Rudokienė who is the jury member of Vilnius TechFusion Startup Awards 2023 as well.
According to her, the network of LitBAN business angels, which has grown by several hundred members in a couple of years, is mainly composed of representatives of various business sectors who have accumulated capital, experience, connections and, most importantly, the willingness to share it with young entrepreneurs. The LitBAN network currently brings together around 350 angel investors.
Vladas Lašas, Chairman of the Board of LitBAN and the Vilnius TechFusion Startup Awards 2023 nominee, points out that in terms of the ratio of business angel investment to a country’s GDP, Europe is led by Estonia, Finland and Lithuania.
“Innovative tech startups are successful and grow in places where they receive help from business angels from the very beginning. Lithuania is already among such countries. I am glad that the network of business angels in Lithuania is growing, so does the maturity and activity of its members,” says V. Lašas.
This year, LitBAN’s business angels invested mostly in startups operating in the fields of financial and business services, artificial intelligence, dual-purpose and defence, life sciences, industrial technology and energy. Significant investments by business angels this year were made into companies such as artificial intelligence platform GenusAI, video solutions developer Perfection42, reputation management tool Repsense, step challenge provider Walk15, pet care app Boop, custom manufacturing solutions provider ColibrisODM and business data specialist Okredo. Lithuanian business angels have participated in these investments both individually and together with venture capital funds. During the year, the association’s members also made 13 profitable exits.
LitBAN’s angels have previously funded startups such as content subscription platform Contribee, cardiac echoscopy software developer Ligence, the Interactio interpretation platform and many more.
Keep in mind – Vilnius is already preparing for one of the most important events 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.