19.04.2022 - Companies, Startups

Towards three unicorns a year

Latvia is now proud of its first unicorn, or startup, which has attracted over a billion dollars in investment. Soon there could be three unicorns a year, according to the Latvian Business Angels Network (LatBAN).

Kristīne Bērziņa, Chair of the Board of the Latvian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (LVCA), is delighted that Latvia is on the radar of global investors. Over the last year, there have been many deals where large funds have invested in Baltic companies. For example, Printful attracted a 130-million-dollar investment from Bregal Sagemount, making it a unicorn, while Printify’s 50-million-dollar A round was led by venture capital firm Index Ventures. Whimsical, on the other hand, attracted a 30-million-dollar investment from the well-known Accel fund.

Bērziņa points out that there has been much interesting news in the last six months.  For example, for the first time in Latvia, a fund has been launched to invest in sustainable forestry. Change Ventures Fund II, the second fund from pre-seed and seed investor Change Ventures, has raised additional funding of up to 49 million euros to invest in Baltic startups. The fund has thus become the largest seed capital fund in the Baltics. Livonia Partners has closed the first round of investor fundraising for its second alternative investment fund, KS Livonia Partners Fund II, with 147 million euros.

“Most importantly, more than half a billion euros is available for entrepreneurs from growth and private equity funds in the Baltic States,” says Bērziņa.

Angels Invest 2.6 Million

LatBAN CEO Kristīne Tarvida says that we can now be proud of Latvia’s first unicorn: Printful. She hopes that at least three companies will join this group in Latvia every year.

“Knowing what is happening at LatBAN and LVCA, we believe that several new unicorns are already queuing up. And it won’t be long before Latvia’s name will be heard far and wide,” says Tarvida.

In 2021, LatBAN members invested almost 2.6 million euros in new businesses. In total, Latvian startups raised 247 million euros, wrote Labs of Latvia. Since 2014, the organization’s members have invested more than 15.6 million euros. More than 190 investments have been made in eight years. So far, 87 investment sessions have been held, involving 472 startups.

Tarvida points out that not all companies are invited to an investment session, but they receive advice from the organization on how to improve their presentation for the next time or to talk to other investors. As a result, three times as many companies have received advice.

You’re Not Born an Investor

Tarvida points out that LatBAN is continuing what it started last year, with new members and partners joining.  These include accelerators, foundations, and private individuals. The organization is forming new partnerships with Georgian and Finnish angels, representing Latvia at industry conferences abroad, such as Websummit, Slush, Tech BBQ, and Latitude59.

“We promote investment in Latvia and the opportunity for startups and employees to move to Latvia. We believe that investors should work as hard as the rest of the industry to promote growth and strengthen Latvia’s image,” says Tarvida.

She adds that you are not born an investor, so LatBAN invests in investor education. Tarvida emphasizes that to become an investor, one does not necessarily need to have a hundred thousand euros, which one is not afraid of losing. The organization promotes investment opportunities starting from five thousand euros. In addition to the money, each investor also has a network of contacts and experience, which is a valuable addition to the financial investment.

Source: labsoflatvia.com

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