Latvian startups haven't returned from the Latitude59 conference in Tallinn empty handed - Funderful won the grand prize in the pitch competiton in the Seed category winning €10,000, while Coffee Pixels won the special prize from Fukuoka - a trip to Japan to work and live for a year and discover the Asian market.
Funderful is certainly one of the most awarded startups of Latvia. At last year's Digital Freedom Festival they were awarded the grand prize, the chance to attend the 500 Startups accelerator. Funderful has just recently returned from participating in the accelerator, apparently with a pitch that can't be beat.
"All of the teams were very strong - only the best from the Baltic region were selected to go on stage." says Raimonds Kulbergs, founder and CEO of Funderful. "I don't go on stage willingly. For each presentation like this I seriously prepare - regardless if it's for the 500 Startus Demo Day in front of 400 investors or for Latitude59, in front of the Baltic investors. Of course, the experience from 500 Startups helped, but that doesn't abate the stage fright. To receive the grand prize was important not only for me, but for my team as well - it's a great honour, the recognition from the startup environment in the Baltics, for our accomplishments that we strive for day in and day out."
The grand prize incuded not only a €10,000 equity-free cash prize from TransferWise, but also €2,000 credit for legal services from Hedman Partners, a 14 day trip to Silicon Valley, an exclusive invitation to the CEE All Stars Demo Day hosted by Startup Wise Guys, and more. Of the prize, Raimonds says "Support in the legal field is one of the most important things. Often startup creators aren't aware how complicated and expensive it can be to create a US/Baltic company, or how much mistakes can cost you later. Similarly, a 14 day visit to San Francisko will be a huge benefit, because expenses in Silicon Valley are massive. And, of course, the cash prize from "Transferwise" is very valuable."
Coffee Pixels, the creators of edible coffee, surprised everyone with the fact that they're not a technology company. "It turns out, that can also be a startup" was an overhead comment at the event, says founder Gunars Kisis. During the conference, the Coffee Pixels had been so in demand that all of the product that was brought with them was sold, and meaningful contacts created.
"The Japanese representatives from the Fukuoka city had come to the event and chose their favourites. We were the lucky ones to receive this honour. We received a gift of approximately €30,000 in value - the possibility to live and work in Japan for one year, as well as business consultations there on the spot. We have to rethink business processes, but I think that we'll take advantage of this opportunity, because we see potential in that market. Besides the prize includes travelling fares there and back." comments G. Kisis.