What traditional business accepted as a challenge full of uncertainty, the startup ecosystem based on technology and nonstandard thinking took it as a phase offering new opportunities, when the pandemic, almost overnight, overturned the usual rules of business and social life. More intensive cooperation between business and technology enthusiasts and examples of startup growth will be among the topics featured in Kaunastic Startup Week, which will take place on November 9-13.
“Startups have always been at the forefront of innovative business; the first to step into what’s new, has not been tried yet, and, of course, smart. So, it is not surprising that during the first weeks of the pandemic, when many traditional businesses were almost paralyzed, the startup ecosystem was the one that quickly adapted and offered technological solutions to the most pressing problems for business and society. Startups have what is most needed today: unconventional thinking, courage and enthusiasm to implement their ideas,” Tadas Stankevičius, the head of Kaunas IN, which works closely with the startup ecosystem, notes.
Not surprisingly, it was the startups that were the first to rush to make concrete proposals on how to address the challenges of the pandemic. Back in March, Hack the Crisis hackathon, which was organized in just a week, managed to attract almost a thousand participants. And now the time has come to help startups themselves by providing them with an opportunity to make contacts, share experiences with other startups and gain knowledge and inspiration from the most successful professionals in their field in Lithuania.
The good news didn’t stop flowing from the startup camp
Of course, the uncertainty in the business environment over the past six months affected the startup ecosystem as well. The stalled investments or more cautiously applied innovations forced some startups to postpone development and growth plans. However, a significant number of them responded cleverly to the situation and took the opportunity to attract new customers, expand the range of services provided, help traditional businesses digitize, work remotely or ensure the security of the operational equipment.
Ligence startup makes no secret of the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic helped it attract funding when the company decided to adapt its automated cardiac ultrasound diagnostic solution to combat the effects of coronavirus infection.
At the end of the summer, Discontract, a Lithuanian-created home service app, started cooperating with the international insurance company Lloyd’s Insurance Company S.A. and was insured for an impressive 1 million euro with civil liability insurance, thus providing more security and value to its customers and users.
This September, RoboLabs, an accounting service startup, announced its expansion to Kaunas. It intends to employ about 20 specialists in a new office and calculates that the company’s annual turnover will grow almost 2.5 times this year.
Kaunas technology enthusiasts will come together during a cooperation week
The digitalization that most startup products and services are based on has become a new reality and it is recognized by both public institutions and major players in the market.
“Digital transformation is not just a trendy phrase or a resounding slogan for consultants, it is already a reality. We have witnessed how digital technologies have affected entire sectors and transformed them beyond recognition.
Lithuania is not on the fringes of these processes. Both Lithuanian businesses, the state, and society face a number of challenges and it will be up to us to solve them. Therefore, it is very important that everyone understands their role in creating the future of digital Lithuania,” Elijus Čivilis, Head of the Lithuanian Railways IT Center, says. Experts will provide advice on promoting entrepreneurship during live lectures and training. Mentoring sessions will include startup meetings with professionals in their fields, where, after a brief presentation of the idea, useful insights from experienced players in the market will be provided.
The startup community will be invited to share its experience and expand the number of acquaintances during the pitching nights and investor lunches where they will meet investors in an informal environment, present their ideas, gain insights and establish useful contacts that could become an opportunity for a mutually beneficial investment, which is important for the success of a business.
Kaunastic Startup Week, designed to promote, support, and grow the startup community, is part of the Kaunastic startups’ program, which has been running for six years now. Recently, the program changed its name from the well-known Kaunas startups. The aim of the program is to unite technology enthusiasts growing their ideas and businesses in Kaunas into a friendly ecosystem rich in human resources and competencies, to help them see new business opportunities, and for the startups themselves to better refine and understand the value of their idea, avoid the recurring mistakes common to young businesses and properly plan the next steps on the exciting and challenging path to success.
Kaunastic Startup Week will take place on November 9-13. More about the event HERE.
The project is funded by the Kaunas City Municipality’s program Initiatives for Kaunas.
The organizer of the event week: Kaunas IN.