2023 10 05
Kaunas startups gather at Kaunastic Startups Meetups

Startup success is closely related to local startup ecosystems. Vibrant, communicative, and dynamic communities give startup creators access to important resources and help them make useful connections that can significantly help develop their activities. Startup gatherings are a place where inspiring entrepreneurs can meet like-minded people, discuss with pioneers in various fields, and learn first-hand about technological breakthroughs and the advantages they create in the market. Therefore, in this way, not only useful connections are made, but also the soil is prepared, in which the seeds of good ideas can germinate faster and turn into progressive products or services useful for the whole society.


Many countries and cities have the ambition to turn their environment into a startup magnet. In order to achieve this goal, among other important factors, the formation and promotion of startup communities is of great importance. As global examples show, the best results are achieved by communities that are supported, facilitated and grown consistently and strategically rather than those that gather spontaneously for a short period of time.


Roberta Rudokienė, head of Startup Lithuania, the Innovation Agency’s startup ecosystem development department, says that major European and global cities, such as Berlin, Amsterdam, London, and Singapore, have long appreciated the benefits of startups. “They not only actively bring together startup communities in their cities but are even called startup capitals or ‘hubs’ because they attract many startup developers from other countries. In Lithuania, Tech Zity, Rockit KTU Startup Space, and Unicorns Lithuania Association can be considered excellent examples of community building.


Startups do not exist in a vacuum


Meanwhile, analyzing the attractiveness of the Kaunas environment for creating innovative businesses and talking to the city’s startups, it was obvious that the city lacks a space where all these people could meet, learn from each other, and make new contacts.

“As the city’s economic development agency, one of our tasks is to create the best possible conditions for the growth of innovative businesses and startups. And startups do not exist in a vacuum. Therefore, for their creators – the so-called entrepreneurs – it is not only important to communicate, learn, and exchange experiences with each other, but also with other interested parties – from investors, mentors to the academic community or potential employees,” Gytautas Kulakauskas, project manager of VšĮ Kaunas IN business department’s investment environment, says.


Therefore, in the spring of this year, Kaunas IN started organizing regular monthly Kaunastic Startups Meetups – for startups and about startups. The fact that they were really needed was also testified by the participants themselves: meetings are attended by over a hundred people every month.

“Basically, we provide a place for startups to meet, communicate, exchange experiences, and find the necessary contacts. People themselves must want to come and make an effort to communicate with the members of the community they never met or barely know. As the experience of the first months showed, they do want and they come and skillfully use the opportunities that open up to them,” Gytautas says.


Without a unifying force, communities fizzle out


The fact that it is very important for startups, representatives of tech companies, or investors to communicate regularly, but there is often a lack of time and energy to organize these meetups, is emphasized by Domas Janickas, co-founder of the AI solutions company, who is currently creating new businesses, including the edON academy for retraining in the field of technology. Without a unifying force, communities quickly fizzle out, he said.


“During the quarantines, startup developers did not have a single gathering platform. But there has always been a need to feel the pulse of what is happening around you, get ideas and check your own, discover interesting investment opportunities, learn from others, and share your experience. Finally – to have a good time in an environment of like-minded people. So, after visiting startup events after a break, I noticed the maturity of long-term technology entrepreneurs and the flow of new ideas from new participants,” Domas, who attends Kaunastic Startups Meetups says, adding that an active community can become a faster way to success for startups through acquaintances, customers, ideas, experience sharing and mutual support.


Cooperation projects that were born from the meetings


Meanwhile, Marius Staugaitis, the co-founder of the Dserve startup says that he was motivated to participate in the Kaunastic Startups Meetups by curiosity after hearing that such events were being organized not only in Vilnius but also in Kaunas. He also wanted to support this initiative, fully aware of the multifaceted benefits it provides. “As startup creators and developers, we understand the value of community from the very beginning.” By having startup events in our city, we not only find it easier to find time to participate but also meet like-minded people facing similar challenges; we gain and share experiences and discover and use synergy in daily activities. In addition, we learn first-hand about initiatives or support for businesses that take place specifically in Kaunas. For example, during one of the Kaunastic Startups Meetups, I received help with contacting targeted employees of one Kaunas city university, with whom we have already started developing a joint project!” said Marius, who works at the Dserve startup – a technology partner for cafes, restaurants, bars and for gas stations.


Open to all


The main principle of the startup community is that it must be open to everyone: startup developers and employees (both in the earliest stages and those that have already grown out of the startup category), representatives of as many different industries as possible, university and college students, teachers, mentors, service providers (from lawyers or accountants to marketing specialists), and large and medium-sized businesses.


This is exactly what the monthly Kaunastic Startups Meetups are like. Its next – and 9th – meeting will take place on November 7. This time Drobės fabrikas hospitably opens its space for the Kaunas Startups meeting.

Source: Kaunas IN

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