Start-ups' success in Vilnius: From major funding to Y Combinator - The EE

Start-ups’ success in Vilnius: From major funding to Y Combinator

Turing College, a Lithuanian EdTech start-up that trains talent for data science and artificial intelligence (AI) work fields, has recently been selected by the Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator.

The funding is another significant achievement of start-ups operating in Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital. Companies including Affise, CGTrader, and TransferGo managed to obtain millions worth of financing by global investors, Silicon Valley Bank included.

Turing College, a data science career school, based in Lithuanian capital Vilnius, has recently been selected by Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley start-up accelerator. The start-up secured funding and joined the W21 batch along with 350 global start-ups from 41 countries. Turing College has plans to use the financing to rapidly scale its solutions for recruiting in-demand data science talent in Europe.

The start-up attributes part of its success in Y Combinator to an opportune start-up ecosystem in Vilnius. Lukas Kaminskis, CEO at Turing College, believes that as one of the leading cities in Europe to offer a favourable climate to emerging businesses, the Lithuanian capital has been more than accommodating to Turing College.

“We have put in a lot of work in preparation for the Y Combinator selection phase, working hand in hand with customers and growing revenue weekly,” says Kaminskis. “So it is an immense honour to be selected, and Vilnius has made it a lot easier for us. It is a very start-up-friendly city in terms of investors and hiring. Being in Vilnius gave us access to many other start-ups and enterprises that are now our hiring partners. This would have been harder to achieve elsewhere.”

According to Kaminskis, Lithuanian legislation has also played a crucial role in the start-up’s success. As emerging companies require high-quality talents yet lack sufficient funds for them, Lithuania has arranged an easier stock giveaway process. Most start-up companies give employees stock options, which act as a motivator for the employees and an additional support for start-ups. 

Turing College is one of several start-ups to achieve global recognition lately. CGTrader, a Vilnius-based e-commerce marketplace, has received $9.5M(€7.87M) Series B funding from Evli Growth Partners. The start-up is well-recognised for providing 3D content, and it is using the funding to improve its customer experience as well as create more opportunities for up-and-coming talents.

Affise, a performance marketing platform in Vilnius, has also recently raised a substantial monetary injection $8M (€6.63M) by Leta Capital and TMT Investments. In recent years the start-up has managed to attain international growth, offering marketing solutions to agencies and networks worldwide.

Likewise, TransferGo, a money transfer start-up, has made global headlines by attracting a €4M investment from Silicon Valley Bank. Originally from Vilnius, the company is set to use the funds for accelerating the digital payment platform upgrades.

“Vilnius has been buzzing with start-ups which make it one of the leading start-up hubs in Europe,” says Remigijus Simasius, mayor of Vilnius. “The global recognition of companies based in the capital is a great achievement for the young entrepreneurs and the city. It shows that our start-up support system lays the groundwork for even more outstanding recognitions.”

Financial Time’s fDi Intelligence division named Vilnius one of the global leaders for attracting tech start-ups in 2019. This year Global Cities of the Future ranking placed Vilnius among top 25 cities, and ranked 2nd globally in the Business Friendliness category.

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