Startup Visa – a new foreign talent attraction scheme, which was launched in Lithuania a year ago, has gathered pace this year – as many as 6 foreign startups started their activities during the first quarter, compared to the same number of startups established over nine months last year, a press release from Enterprise Lithuania states.
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"We are glad to see that the work we did last year is starting to bring quicker results – foreign entrepreneurs who were issued permits to start innovative businesses in Lithuania last year have almost resolved all migration and other related issues and have been starting business. Although the number of approved innovative business ideas with a business growth potential and high added value in Lithuania has been rising faster than the number of startups, the triple intensity of establishment of foreign startups this year is encouraging. We see that foreign startups are really tenacious and, having passed all stages, they are glad to have chosen Lithuania for their business development," says Roberta Rudokienė, Manager of Startup Lithuania, a startup ecosystem unit of Enterprise Lithuania.

According to Ms. Rudokienė, the startup ecosystem developed in Lithuania is one of the key reasons for choosing Lithuania for business development by startups from CIS countries. Interest is demonstrated by the abundance of submitted applications – since the beginning of Startup Visa last February, Lithuania has received 150 applications from foreign entrepreneurs, 33 of which have been approved, resulting in 12 foreign startups already operating in Lithuania.

One of the most notable startups which has been established in Lithuania this year is SketchAR, the startup of drawing technologies from Russia. This drawing application, designed for both professional artists and talents who have been learning to draw, uses augmented reality and enables tracing sketches on any surface. Startup founders Andrejus Drobitko and Aleksandras Danilinas first met in 2012 and, having combined their different experiences in technologies and art, undertook a new ambitious project – to develop a new art education standard using augmented reality. This year the international technology portal Wired has included SketchAR in the Top Ten Applications.

"We have chosen Lithuania for our project as an accessible and cheap option for further project development throughout Europe. In our opinion, Lithuania has successfully started its journey towards the goal to become the Baltic centre of technologies, and attraction of foreign startups is one of the key steps in this journey," says Andrejus Drobitko, one of the founders of the SketchAR startup in Lithuania.

According to him, the SketchAR business model is based on the promotion of technology application in art, thus additional software has been constantly developed and released and products have been distributed not only among professional artists, but also in the general public.

In addition to SketchAR, the following startups have used the Startup Visa scheme and established in Lithuania this year: QLU plans to create a scientific research optimisation solution (South Korea and Switzerland); Sunday. Just Arrived develops software designed for the tourism sector (Russia); operates as an intermediary of digital advertising channels (Russia); MUUL is the platform of digital content management in social networks (Russia); Rapira plans to create a sales platform for social networks (Russia).

The following startups, who also used the Startup Visa scheme, have been already operating in Lithuania since last year: PanPay develops electronic payment services (China); Aesthete develops a smart e-commerce platform for Lithuanian designers for trading with Asian countries (South Korea); Esteq creates cybersecurity products (Ukraine); Go Talent develops a smart employee search and management application for employers (Ukraine); ArtApp evaluates works of art with the help of software (Russia); develops a smart online travel planning platform (Russia).

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