Key Trends of the Baltic Startup Ecosystem in 2022 — FIRSTPICK
Even though this year has been slower than the record 2021, the Baltic startup ecosystem in 2022 is getting a lot of attention. The Baltic VC fund FIRSTPICK made an overview of the most important trends in the region this year. AIN.Capital shares the key points.
Declining focus on early-stage startups
According to FIRSTPICK’s data, startups in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia attracted €1.603 billion in investment this year, compared to €1.894 billion in 2021. A total of 124 deals registered until 1 December 2022 took place in the Baltic States compared to 190 deals last year.
“The total amount of investments in the Baltics in 2021 and 2022 differs by only €291 million, so it would be unfair to say that this year has been much worse for startups. However, some of the large investments in 2022 result from last year’s work, and the total investment amount does not fully reflect the recessionary sentiment that has emerged this year. The lack of investment in early-stage startups is also noticeable. This is evident from the fact that the value of investments has changed only slightly while there have been far fewer deals,”Jonė Vaitulevičiūtė, managing partner at FIRSTPICK, says.
Number of deals per country 2022
- In Estonia, €1.295 billion has been invested this year (€1.03 billion in 2021). This equals 81% of the investment raised by Baltic startups.
- In Lithuania investments reached €241 million (€419 million in 2021) or 15%.
- In Latvia a total of €67 million or 4% was invested.
Estonia’s leadership is also reflected in the number of deals — 70 deals were made this year in Estonia, which is twice as much as in Lithuania (31) and triple the number in Latvia (23).
The most invested sectors included transport, software, and fintech. Estonian company Bolt dominated the sector funding raising its €628 million round in January 2022.
Main players this year
There is a growing interest of foreign investors in Baltic startups this year. Foreign funds are responsible for more than 90% of the value of all investments in the region’s startups.
The most active investors in the region in 2022, with three deals each, are:
Three new unicorns emerged in the region:
- Nord Security, a Lithuania cybersecurity startup.
- Glia, an Estonian digital customer service.
- Veriff, an Estonian identity verification service.
Six tier-1 funds invested in the Baltics in 2022 — Accel, Burda Principal Investments, Tiger Global, Atomico, Target Global, and Index Ventures.
What to expect in 2023?
As the pace of investment slows down, startups and investors are starting to worry about the year ahead. According to FIRSTPICK, there will be money for investment in the region, but companies must be willing to operate much more efficiently.
“Baltic startups are special for several reasons that will help sustain growth. First of all, startups in our region are characterized by the efficient use of capital. And investment in such startups will continue. The new investment cycles of local funds should also provide a sense of security. Obviously, foreign funds will be more cautious, so only the best teams can expect their investments, mostly in the seed and later stages,”Vaitulevičiūtė concludes.
FIRSTPICK is an early stage venture capital fund backing the best tech founders across the Baltics. The firm’s team members have backed over 100 founders to date. It is a generalist fund with loose focus on impact technologies and broad fintech. The fund’s initial ticket is €50,000 — €200,000. Apart from investments and acceleration programs, it also provides equity-free grants for idea stage startups.