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Business environment in Latvia

According to LIAA, the Latvian startup ecosystem is referred as rather small but motivated and rapidly growing area of the its information technology (IT) infrastructure.

A brief review of Latvian startup ecosystem

Today latvian ecosystem in general is multilingual. This can be seen as a great advantage and a positive trait, as well as often the IT specialists are familiar with at least 3 languages or even more. These people of different ages and backgrounds during several decades were creating Latvian IT infrastructure. Now it forms an area of talented people responsible for the dynamic and rapid growth of computer science in Latvia.

Latvian startup infrastructure

This field consists of more than half a thousand registered startups having an access to the pool of institutional investors, co-working spaces and business incubators supported by the government as well as it also has a particular interest in developing and expanding this area. The IT society has its own event planners and calendars for conferences, hackathons and meetings which usually are held in Riga city. For example, such powerful events as the Digital freedom festival, iNovuss festival, the Deep tech atelier and techchill were organised in this city.

Legal view on startup environment

Latvia has a unique startup law passed and developed in order to make the country’s startup ecosystem more vibrant as well as productive. This law often also creates a rather favourable tax regime for the local startup companies. There are even several benefits such as co-financing and setting the salaries, individual income tax rate and other law benefits such as having up to 5 founders and startup visas. Startup visa has a great business opportunity for Latvian specialists. The whole application process takes a month and is given for the period of three years.

Innovation funding and overall commercialization

Latvia has its own innovation voucher program aimed for the small-scale and large scale businesses which are working on developing new products and technologies. These are usually supported by the program at the developmental stage. They help to strengthen product or technology field, the field of developing industrial property rights, startup certification and new product testing. Such vouchers are financed by the government (85%).

Startup funding authorities

In Latvia there are several such funding and support providing organizations. For example, one of these is considered to be the Investment and development agency of Latvia. It usually provides support mainly to public research organizations, which main activities are carrying out studies, creating commercialization strategies and industrial researches. This organization is also responsible for experimental development and participation in the above mentioned exhibitions, conferences, seminars, visits. It provides commercial offers, attracts of commercialization offers experts and other IT specialists.

One more organization is responsible for Latvian IT specialist network expansion. It is referred to as an Investment and development agency of Latvia or LIAA. Today it offers various opportunities for startups and their partners, investors and clients. The representatives of these startups can attend the above mentioned events, while also getting cofinanced by the latvian government.

LIAA incubators

There are more than 15 LIAA incubators in Latvia created for the development of an IT business. These offer training and support, while also organizing various events and granting rights as well as financial means for different purposes. For example, in 2017 there was a EUR 15 million funding divided between three funds such as Buildit, Commercialization Reactor and Overkill ventures.

Startup success examples

Despite there are many companies in Latvia, some startups are quite successful and have gained global popularity over the years. See some examples of profitable startups in Latvia.

This company has developed a rather useful and visually rich graphical content based on the idea of simplicity, functionality and intuitiveness. Its tools have a great design. Today the company has several strong marketing teams, students involved in its development, newsrooms as well as several million users around the world since its development in 2017.

Naco technologies

This company is a startup which developed a magnetron system providing high deposition rate (150 microns hourly). It has its own methodology of nano-coating technologies which today is the leading method among such techniques. It provides a high productivity as well as versatility and a high quality in general. The company was created in 2015 by Naco technologies (Schaeffler group). Today it is considered to be a leading company which has global integrated automotive and industrial supplies. This startup is now developing a concept of visionary mobility in order to boost nano-coating technology’s features.

This business venture has been known since the 2013 public turmoil and criticism on the basis of several cases of suicide linked to it. The company even launched a safety centre. was created in 2014 by the owners as an asset management firm specializing in this technology field. Today it boasts more than several hundreds of million users all over the world.

Also read about life in Latvia!

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