Baltic startups to watch in 2022


On May 3, Sifted is hosting its first full-day event of 2022 in Tallinn for Baltic startups and scale-ups. View the agenda here. To accompany the event, we have launched a ranking of Baltic startups and scaleups to watch in 2022, available here. This piece is an accompaniment to this classification.

Just ten years ago, the Baltic startup scene was in its infancy.

Since then, the region has consistently punched above its weight, creating global success stories including mobility startup Bolt, second-hand clothing marketplace Vinted, print-on-demand service Printful and video caller Skype. Call it unicorn country.

Despite geopolitical concerns, 2022 generally maintained its traction. In January, Bolt took the biggest round on record in the region – a cool series F of 628 million euros – while To verify and Nord Security bagged two unicorn megarounds of $100 million each, at $1.5 billion and a valuation of $1.6 billion respectively.

Around 2,100 tech startups have been launched in the past five years in the region, with some early successes like Skype providing talent, capital and inspiration to the next generation of operators and founders.

Estonia and Lithuania exceed the European average for Digital Economy and Society Index, while Latvia is just below France and Portugal. The region also received around €1.2 billion for EU Covid digitization recovery plans.

start-up visas, stock option policies, lenient tax systems and growing angel investor pools are among the perks that entice founders to locate in the region.

But relocation and brain drain are still commonplace. The Baltics’ tech influence has stretched far beyond its geographic borders – some of the region’s most prolific founders have launched startups elsewhere in Europe, landing big rounds in multiple sectors.

Among them are Estonians Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, founders of London-based Wise (Hinrikus also backed Zego, the UK-based insurtech unicorn founded by fellow Estonian Sten Saar). There is also Mike Arbuzovfounder of Norwegian printing platform Gelato and former Skype employee, and Norris Koppel, serial entrepreneur and founder of British fintech Monese.

Outside of Europe, notable startups of Baltic origin or influence include Pipedrive, ID.me, and Glia. Whether the new fleet of startups stay or go, they are certainly struggling to keep up.

We are going to Tallinn!

In front of our Tallinn event, we have compiled a list of startups to watch in all three countries.

It’s a mix of new entries and more familiar names showing significant growth since their last feature.

Locate

Lokalise, based in Riga, is a continuous localization and translation platform for a wide range of products, such as web and mobile applications, games and customer service. It’s cashed a $50 million Series B since its last report on a Sifted ranking, and has grown its team by 135% over the year. It had already been started.

Tuum (formerly Modularbank)

Selected by our intelligence team as a rising star in the bank as a service industry, Tuum offers a modular platform that makes it easy to integrate basic banking functionality. He raised a series A of 15 million euros earlier in the year to support its European expansion. Customers include Veriff, HAWK:AI and Nets Group.

Grünfin

Founded in 2020, Grünfin is a sustainable investment platform focused on impact portfolios for climate change, health and gender equality. Previous experience of co-founders Triin Hertmann and Karin Nemec includes stints at Wise and Skype at Swedbank and Grant Thornton. Grünfin appeared in our wealth technology intelligence briefing.

Other notable features include Nordigen, Single.earth, PVcase, SME Finance and others.

Find the full ranking here.

Federico Scolari is a Data Journalist Intern at Sifted.

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