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

Printful's logo

Printful

Easy, on-demand, customized online printing, fulfillment and shipping

marketplace & ecommerce / marketing

printful.com

Mārupe, Latvia

2013

€118m

GROWTH EQUITY

N/A

100-500

Sifted Take

Printful is a wildly-successful bootstrapped printing company which allows online stores to prepare custom designs and send them directly to their customers. So if a small ecommerce store wants to sell themed t-shirts, all they need to do is make the design and find a customer. All the printing and packaging is then done by Printful.

Since launching in 2013, Printful has become one of the biggest names in print-on-demand order fulfilment with a warehousing service as well. The company has a team of more than 800 people across the USA, Mexico, and Europe, enabling their customers to sell over $397M+ worth of goods through Printful.

The company has done well by expanding early into the US market as well as by focusing on the tech rather than just the supply chains and printing.

SPH Engineering's logo

SPH Engineering

Smart planes and helicopters

robotics / transportation

sph-engineering.com

Riga, Latvia

2013

N/A

N/A

10-50

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SummarizeBot's logo

SummarizeBot

Unique artificial intelligence algorithms to summarize any kind of information

AI / education

summarizebot.com

Riga, Latvia

2018

EARLY VC

N/A

1-10

Sun Finance's logo

Sun Finance

Consumer lending company

fintech / mortgages & lending

sunfinance.group

Riga, Latvia

2012

N/A

N/A

500-1000

Sifted Take

Sun Finance should have popped onto your radar by now, placing second in the FT 1000 ranking in 2021. That makes it the second fastest growing company in Europe, with a compound growth rate of 752%.

Starting out with about 3 employees in the early 2010s, in 2019 it recorded 750 alongside a revenue of €101m.

The fintech currently operates in seven countries, claims to have 4.3m registered users and has issued €800m in loans.

TrustSearch's logo

TrustSearch

Search engine for trust

B2B / security

thetrustsearch.com

Riga, Latvia

N/A

N/A

1-10

Sifted Take

The Trust Search is a watchdog and security provider specifically focused on evaluating websites and identifying fake projects, phishers and scams.

Its widget can be installed on any webpage, and the project is supported by the IT Institute at Riga Technical University.

It’s also received backing from Inbox.lv, Latvia’s biggest email service; is partnered with Romanian security software company Bitdefender, and is part of CryptoValley Labs’ accelerator programme.

Veritacell's logo

Veritacell

Set of medical tools and a unique methodology for extracting patient's own cells to activate effective skin renewal

health / biotech

veritacell.com

Riga, Latvia

2018

N/A

N/A

1-10

Vialet's logo

Vialet

Digital finance management service and contactless VIALET Mastercard

fintech / mobile app

vialet.eu

Riga, Latvia

2017

N/A

N/A

1-10

Sifted Take

Vialet hopped on the scene of clean, Gen-Z-friendly fintechs in 2017. Offering a current account and contactless MasterCard, Vialet is one of the top mobile banks in Europe.

Earlier this year, it announced a new credit product in partnership with Moorwand.

Vigo's logo

Vigo

Digital rehabilitation tool for stroke recovery

health / biotech

vigo.health

Riga, Latvia

2018

€0m

N/A

N/A

1-10

Sifted Take

Vigo is an AI-based app that provides support both to stroke patients and their families. Indeed, about 7-8k Latvians are hospitalised annually due to strokes.

The app is one of the first in the ‘telerehabilitation’ space, one that’s become even more necessary in the pandemic era, and largely focuses around two features: a chatbot, which can educate and rehabilitate using cognitive behavioural therapy and personalised physiotherapy tools. The company allows patients to rent an iPad and special tripod for its use.

Kristaps Kräfte, founder and director, studied stroke treatment for two years prior to launching the app. Vigo won the grand prize at Dutch accelerator Adyen, and in 2020 the app was classified as a medical device in the EU.

While the app received a €30k grant from EIT Health in July 2019, we’re looking out for further investment into the app.

ZELF's logo

ZELF

Instant money in messenger

banking / mobile app

zelf.co/en

Riga, Latvia

2017

€2m

SEED

N/A

1-10

Sifted Take

Launched mid-pandemic, Latvian neobank Zelf earns its place on this list as a truly innovative ‘messenger bank’.

It has no app, and no physical card. Yep, you read that right.

Unlike pocket money apps like Gimi and goHenry and those for teens Vybeca and Pixpay, Zelf features an encrypted chatbot that can send money via Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram and Ziber. It’s also integrated with Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Founded by Elliot Goykhman, former VP, CIO and COO of traditional banks like Deutsche, Barclays and BNP Paribas, Zilf is serious. It may not only be part of the Eastern European fintech boom, but could well be responsible for socialising finance for the next generation. It’s first barrier is trust — but that may not be a problem for the new clued up generation.

Read Sifted’s coverage here of Zelf here.

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Eco Baltia's logo

Eco Baltia

Providing waste collection and recycling management services

waste solutions / energy

ekobaltija.lv

Riga, Latvia

2002

€10m

EARLY VC

€40-60m

10-50

Sifted Take

It claims to be the Baltics’ largest environmental management group, recycling plastic and collecting waste.

In 2020, the Baltic Sea Growth Fund bought a 50% stake in the startup, stating it’s “a clear market leader of the circular economy in the Baltic region.”

The company has 800 employees, one of the biggest teams on this list, and in February 2021 released an app for its customers to more efficiently monitor and manage their waste.

Coffee Pixels's logo

Coffee Pixels

We've found the inspiration to do coffee in a whole new way - using the whole coffee fruit, not just part of the bean

food / manufacturing

coffeepixels.com

Baldone, Latvia

2010

N/A

N/A

1-10

Sifted Take

Coffee Pixels think drinking coffee is in the past. That’s because society focus on the beans — not the entire fruit. This startup uses cascara, otherwise known as the ‘cherry’ of the coffee plant.

Winters in Latvia get very cold, so the founding team of cousins decided an edible bar, like a chocolate bar with the caffeine content of an espresso shot, could be a great way to innovate.

The edible nature of the bar means the caffeine also has a longer half life than a standard cup of joe, lasting about four hours. (The team are also supporters of cannabis legalisation, and hope to one day produce a coffee-cannabis variant.) It was voted both Best New Product and Best Innovation by the Specialty Coffee Association in 2018.

Supported initially by angel investor and now-CEO Jurgis Sedlenieks, the startup now counts professor of economics Gunter Pauli on its board. It ships to the Baltic, Finland and Russia at present, and Covid-19 has hampered expansion into Atlantic states, including those that have legalised cannabis — for now.

F3's logo

F3

Develops a social app for asking questions and creating answers, with all content disappearing in 72 hours

media / social media

f3.cool

Riga, Latvia

2018

3.55m

SEED

€14-21m

10-50

Chisell's logo

Chisell

MAIN - CHISELL

health /

chisell.eu

Riga, Latvia

2018

1-10

Klix.app's logo

Klix.app

One account for secure purchases in online stores

fintech / payments

klix.app

Riga, Latvia

2019

1-10

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