The leading European B2B accelerator is expanding to Lithuania, marking a presence in all three of the Baltic countries.
The Estonian-born accelerator program and currently one of the most active early-stage investors in the region – Startup Wise Guys – will be opening acceleration programs in Vilnius as of spring 2019. They have been announced as one of the 2 winners of public tender run by INVEGA (Lithuanian investment agency). The total fund of over 7 million euros will help not only run 4 accelerator programs but also provide follow-up seed investments in the early stage startups.
Upcoming programs will be targeted at startups from Lithuania and CIS countries and will be focused on specific sectors such as ICT, DeepTech, Fintech, CyberTech and Blockchain. The first program is planned to be open by April 2019.
Startups will receive 30K eur initial investment and 3-month on-site hands-on acceleration program, as well as the opportunity to attract additional follow-up investments of up to 225k eur.
Startup Wise Guys have commented their expansion:
"We see need both in more specialised programs (focused on particular vertical), but also in follow-up investments to help startups from this region survive the “startup death valley”.
Far too often we have seen very promising startups from CIS and CEE countries that disappear before they have really tested themselves in big markets, and all of that is simply due to lack of early stage investment power in the region."
Currently, Startup Wise Guys are operating in Tallinn and Riga. They have run 11 accelerator programs, including a Fintech focused program run in collaboration with Swedbank in Riga.
In 2017, Startup Wise Guys were in the running to receive a similar governmental grant to administer acceleration funds in Latvia. As an established accelerator in the region, they were considered a frontrunner as a recipient. However the three winners of the competition chosen to be the managers of the acceleration funds did not include Startup Wise Guys.