The Latvian startups and scaleups to watch in 2021

Latvia has some real startup success stories in recent years. But who are they? And who are next generation startups to watch?

Latvia has been cited as the most “startup friendly” country in the world and has had some real startup success stories in recent years. But who are they? And who are the next generation startups to watch?

Our team of experts at Sifted have chosen a list of nearly 50 companies we think you need to know about, with an added “Sifted take” on some to provide an extra layer of insight.

Keep reading below and stay informed about Europe’s new economy!

(P.S The data is from our partners at Dealroom.co. If there is anyone missing from this list, or anything is wrong, please let us know by email at ([email protected]).

Key

Year founded

Amount raised

Last funding round

Valuation

Employees

Mintos's logo

Mintos

A peer-to-peer lending marketplace for consumers seeking affordable loans and investors looking for attractive returns

fintech / mortgages & lending

mintos.com

Riga, Latvia

2014

€15m

SEED

€68m

100-500

Sifted Take

Peer-to-peer lender Mintos is one of the leading fintech startups in the Baltic region, having raised over €15m to date. The lending platform currently has over 270k investors across 65 countries and employs more than 200 people. The company became profitable in 2017, just two years after launching — and in 2020 it had the biggest funding round in Latvia, raising €7.2m.

The company is one of the many peer-to-peer lenders — including Funding Circle, Zopa, RateSetter and MarketInvoice — which have sprung up in recent years as low-rates have left people looking for ways to earn a return on their cash. But it remains to be seen how a recession (if it happens in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic) could affect default rates and people's appetites for riskier investments.

Twino's logo

Twino

Financial services company specialized in investments into buyback loans

fintech / financial management solutions

twino.eu

Riga, Latvia

2009

€8m

EARLY VC

€31-46m

100-500

Sifted Take

Twino is a P2P lending platform, which connects borrowers and investors on its online platform. Its most recent raise was in December 2016, when it raised €7.7m.

In March 2020, it launched Twino Ventures — a collection of secured loans in new markets marketed as a way for investors to diversify their portfolios. It also announced plans to invest €30m in 2020 and triple this number by 2020 — so watch out for that €90m.

That’s not all. It also launched operations in Vietnam under the name VAMO in 2020, alongside existing operations in Kazakhstan, Poland and Russia — with about 19k.

CEO Anastasija Oļeiņika made it onto our list of women in fintech you should know.

Printify's logo

Printify

Printify is a print on demand marketplace that connects e-commerce merchants and print on demand manufacturers

marketplace & ecommerce / ecommerce solutions

printify.com

Riga, Latvia

2015

€4m

SEED

€11-16m

100-500

Sifted Take

Printify is a print-on-demand startup similar to Redbubble — it connects artists and designers with manufacturers, allowing them to create and sell their ideas on its platform. Unlike Redbubble, it allows users to connect their own external stores to a variety of other ecommerce sites like Shopify, Etsy and eBay.

Currently it has 500k ‘store owners’, and in 2019 raised $3m from Bling Capital.

Juro's logo

Juro

Contract management platform

legal / enterprise software

juro.com

London, United Kingdom

2016

€5m

SERIES A

€19-29m

10-50

Sifted Take

Juro, a startup that manages contracts, is now based in the UK — and placed on our list of potential winners in a post-Covid-19 world. That’s because they’re digitised the entire process. Customers include Deliveroo, Skyscanner and Babylon Health.

Backed by Union Square Ventures, Point Nine Capital, and Seedcamp — and in Taavet Hinrikus’ portfolio, its Series A round in January 2020 raised its total funds to $8m.

And that’s not all. It’s a global innovator in contracting, and CEO Richard Mabey one of the top 10 legal techies, according to FT Intelligent Business.

Sonarworks's logo

Sonarworks

Company behind precision audio software used by Grammy-Award winning music creators. Now delivering individually personalised sound experiences for music lovers

music / manufacturing

sonarworks.com

Riga, Latvia

2012

€7m

SERIES A

€20-30m

50-100

Sifted Take

Sonarworks is one of the several music techs on this list. It’s used by customers across 170 countries, including by 11-time Grammy nominee Mark Needham who’s worked with Pink, Shakira and Elton John.

Its last round was in 2019, a Series A that brought in €5m and was led by Karma Ventures and Practica Capital.

The company specialises in what’s called sound calibration and personalisation — using a database of 10k sound devices and the ability to map individual hearing and sound preferences, i.e. allow recordings to alter to optimal quality depending on a user’s device and audio settings.

LightSpace Technologies's logo

LightSpace Technologies

AR and 3D headsets

deeptech / content production

lightspace3d.com

Mārupe, Latvia

2014

€14m

EARLY VC

€7-10m

10-50

Giraffe360's logo

Giraffe360

Virtual tour technology including 360 camera and software

enterprise software / real estate services

giraffe360.com

London, United Kingdom

2015

€6m

EARLY VC

€16-25m

10-50

Sifted Take

Giraffe360 provides virtual tour tech that allows landlords and tenants to view properties in 360 degrees, including floor plans. The subscription service costs brokers or independent landlords £399pm.

Following successful seed rounds in 2016 and 2019, the startup raised $4.5m in November 2020 from Hoxton Ventures, Launchub Ventures, Hardware Club and Change Ventures.

Over in the US, Matterport, a similar company has raised $114m — so the potential for growth is certainly there. BNP Paribas Real Estate is a customer.

Read up on Giraffe360’s fundraising tips.

Cenos's logo

Cenos

Democratising engineering simulation for production plants and SMBs

enterprise software / saas

cenos-platform.com

Riga, Latvia

2017

€0m

SEED

€1-2m

10-50

Sifted Take

Cenos produces 3D modelling and simulation software for induction heating applications — that’s crucial for engineers because it means simulating applications is easier.

Founded by three physicists and mathematicians from the University of Latvia, the company has supported a range of companies, including Volkwagen — reducing its induction heating time by 5x and therefore 5x-ing the productivity of its power steering part manufacturing process.

In 2020 it tripled its revenue — and now plans to triple its team.

Anatomy Next's logo

Anatomy Next

Anatomy Next is human body simulator for medical training in virtual reality.Provides 3D digital tools for teaching and learning human anatomy.

health / education

anatomynext.com

Riga, Latvia

2015

€0m

GRANT

€1-2m

1-10

Vendon's logo

Vendon

Telemetry for Vending - Vendon

energy;marketing / clean energy

vendon.net

Riga, Latvia

2008

€1m

EARLY VC

€1-2m

10-50

ZoomCharts's logo

ZoomCharts

An interactive data visualization tools for zoomable data graphics on KPI dashboards, websites and blogs.

enterprise software / data

zoomcharts.com

Riga, Latvia

2013

€1m

SEED

€1-2m

10-50

AgroPlatforma's logo

AgroPlatforma

B2B marketplace for farmers and grain buyers to communicate, deal and fix grain prices

agritech / marketplace & ecommerce

agroplatforma.lv

Riga, Latvia

2017

€0m

SEED

€120-180k

1-10

Air Board's logo

Air Board

Industrial heavy lift drones for agricultural applications.

drones / manufacturing

airboard.co

Liepāja, Latvia

2015

€0m

SEED

€120-180k

1-10

HYGEN's logo

HYGEN

Original decentralised refueling solutions for gaseous fuel powered vehicles

energy / transportation

hygengroup.com

Riga, Latvia

2011

€0m

LATE VC

€13-19m

10-50

Sifted Take

Hygen has been quietly developing infrastructure for natural gas vehicles used by freight and logistics companies.

What it calls ‘superchargers’ are in fact gas compressors that can be both transported easily and improve air quality, as CNG (compressed natural gas or bio methane) cuts nitrogen oxide emissions by 80-90%, sulphur oxide by almost 100% and carbon dioxide by 20-30% — compared to traditional fuels.

However, the startup appears to be marketing itself towards individual usage too, allowing users to refuel at home more efficiently. One of its overall goals is to rebrand CNG as an effective alternative to EV as well as traditional carbon-fuelled transport.

The startup has received approximately $4m in funding from EIT InnoEnergu, the European Regional Development Fund and Spanish Enagás, which has bought into the company.

Kedeon Solutions's logo

Kedeon Solutions

Kedeon makes the food system more resource-efficient, secure, transparent and trusted.

food / logistics and delivery

kedeon.com

Riga, Latvia

2019

€0m

GRANT

€145-218k

1-10

Sifted Take

Latvia’s offering to the emerging last-mile delivery sector is Kedeon, a B2B startup that offers a platform for such companies to monitor factors during delivery like temperature, shock, humidity, movement and light — providing information to the company and consumer that’s timestamped.

Its IoT tech is a matchbox-sized monitor that can be placed in trucks, scooters and backpacks. It’s also compliant with CEN and ISO standards and calibration requirements — and can be used by pharma companies and chemical manufacturers to monitor deliveries.

This could be a critical tech in global Covid-19 vaccine deployment, as the WHO estimates that half of all vaccines end up wasted due to improper transport or storage. In 2020, Kedeon received a €20k grant from the EU Innovation Program.

The company told Tech Company News: “We have a solid technology and engineering team, but we lack in sales and marketing strategy. In the next few months, we will work on our sales strategy together with mentors from Techstars and will try to scale our production operations.”

Marine Digital's logo

Marine Digital

SAAS TOS

transportation / logistics & delivery;mobility

marine-digital.com

Riga, Latvia

2019

€0m

ANGEL

€1m

1-10

Gamechanger Audio's logo

Gamechanger Audio

Musical instruments effect pedals

music / enterprise software

gamechangeraudio.com

Riga, Latvia

2015

€1m

SEED

€1m

1-10

Sifted Take

Gamechanger Audio makes effects pedals for musicians, but not as you know them. Its first product, launched in 2017, was the Plus Pedal. This is a piano-pedal-like device that can layer different sounds on top of one another. The startup’s second product, launched last year, was the Plasma Pedal. This uses high voltage electrical discharge to make a radically new kind of noise distortion.

Ilja Krumins cofounded Gamechanger Audio in 2015 alongside fellow twenty-something-year-old musicians Kristaps Kalva, Mārtiņš Meļķis and Didzis Dubovskis (two of whom just happened to have day jobs as engineers). It took a little over a year for the team to build its first note-holding ‘piano pedal’ for electric guitars, with most work squeezed in at the Krumins family kitchen table between the hours of 6pm and 1am.

But the work paid off. Now the company counts the guitarists for Stevie Wonder, Marilyn Manson and the Rolling Stones as customers. In 2018 — Gamechanger Audio’s first full year of sales — the company turned over €1.25m ($1.41m), shipping more than 7k effects pedals to customers around the world. The company has been funded mainly by crowdfunding though, and has yet to win VC backing.

SpacePass's logo

SpacePass

Online platform for co-working space management

real estate / workspaces

spacepass.pro

Riga, Latvia

2017

€1m

SEED

€2-3m

1-10

RCG Lighthouse's logo

RCG Lighthouse

Lighting as a service

energy / B2B

rcg-lighthouse.eu

Riga, Latvia

2014

€1m

SEED

€2-3m

10-50

YaClass's logo

YaClass

Web based training platform in school curricula

education / D2C

yaclass.eu

Riga, Latvia

2007

€2m

SEED

€2-3m

10-50

Logos provided by Clearbit