C-Suite Advisory

Why Lithuania is a Good Place to Invest in Fintech

In the past few years, Lithuania has been focusing on one particular industry and is currently approaching the UK’s reputation with it’s rapidly growing numbers of Fintech startups.

This small country is surely becoming a serious competitor for the title of Europe’s Fintech capital.

So, let us get down to business straight away, and answer the question of how did Lithuania manage to accomplish this while we also discuss the deciding factors and explore this country’s Fintech scene.

How did it happen

The dilemma of what came first, the Fintech-oriented policies, or an active Fintech ecosystem, is easy to resolve in the case of Lithuania. A strong interest in cryptocurrency-related startups came first!

Somewhere around the year 2017, a few successful crowdfunding projects awaken the community’s interest in digital finances. It was followed by the nation-wide cryptocurrency adoption.

But, without adequate regulations and policies, this practice accentuated and aggravated the risks usually associated with Fintech.

Regardless of the risks, the Lithuanian government saw great potential in Fintech industries. It was just a matter of catching up with demand and provide the industry with a proper system.

Regulation

The country’s advanced regulations are one of the most important factors in creating the right kind of favorable environment for the development of Fintech companies.

The Bank of Lithuania (the country’s central bank) is recognized as the second most progressive regulator in Europe (right after the UK).

Its strategic priority is to welcome and encourage financial innovators. In that sense, the bank offers various regulatory programs that enable Fintech newcomers to set up their startups with some ease.

Basically, that means that it provides excellent and supportive conditions for the cultivation of an innovative and competitive environment in which the Fintech companies can thrive.

By prioritizing progress Lithuania has been transformed into an EU jurisdiction where Fintech products can be developed and then also scaled globally.

The application process itself can take up to half a year, but it is still easier and quicker than other European countries.

Analysis

The Fintech sector in Lithuania has doubled in size in the time span of just two years (from 2016-2018), and it is continuing to grow while keeping track of the latest Fintech trends and innovations. By looking more closely into Lithuania’s Fintech sector, some interesting information and statistics are revealed.

Business model

Two characteristics that can accurately describe Lithuania’s Fintech sector are dynamism and diversity. That means that they provide a wide range of different business models, products, and services.

Another thing is the diversity of the markets that are targeted by Fintech companies in their search for expansion. Even though Europe is a primary target market, North America and Asia haven’t been left out.

Funding and partnerships

When it comes to funding methods, more than half of Fintechs are revenue funded. And here are the two main reasons for that:

  1. many of them are well-established and able to accumulate and rely on their own revenue
  2. some of them are still on the lookout since they haven’t found the right funding system that would suit their business needs.

Most of the Fintechs prefer a partnership with a bank as a distribution channel. Some of them are interested in a partnership with a bank as a customer, or in order to receive fundings.

A small percentage of Fintechs is not looking for any kind of partnership.

Fintech ecosystem

With this rapid growth of the Fintech sector, a support network is forming around it. Inside this prolific community, there is a constant exchange of insights, ideas, initiatives, and innovations.

This developing ecosystem includes:

  • hubs
  • associations
  • accelerators
  • incubators
  • sandboxes
  • affordable office spaces, etc.

Low costs and their benefits

In the race between the UK and Lithuania for a top Fintech destination, one specific factor gives Lithuania a leg up – lower costs of setting up a business.

For those who aspire to expand further and achieve global reach for its Fintech company, London is a place to be. However, launching a startup in London requires quite a lot of time and the startup costs can get rather high. So even though London is still in the lead, Lithuania is quickly catching up with its many benefits.

Setting up a Fintech company in Lithuania is more budget-friendly and less complicated, with the Lithuanian government offering additional support in a form of a robust communications technology infrastructure.

The impact of Brexit on Lithuania’s Fintech scene

The Brexit deal could be a crucial factor that could potentially change the European Fintech scene.  This process made the prospects of the country’s market uncertain and the full impact of the decision to leave the EU is still unclear.

The mere possibility of the UK’s position on the global scene weakening could change the Fintech landscape within Europe. With cheaper startups and unrestricted access to the entire European market, it could shift the focus of the investors away from the UK.

Lithuania has already been promoting itself as a perfect entry-point to Europe for non-EU startups. This could make them consider Lithuania, rather than the UK, as the most desirable European base for Fintech industries.

It would appear that a lot of sectors of Fintech industries have been affected positively by the epidemic.  The general interest in digitalization and various online services turned into a necessity, which proved as a favorable environment for further development of Fintech companies.

The current economic climate although troublesome (to say the least) in a larger scheme of things, provided Fintech with some opportunities to grow, evolve, and continue to make (and increase) profit. If there are proper regulations in place, this industry is capable of adapting to the changes.

And Lithuania doesn’t seem to be stopping in climbing the ladder as one of the top Fintech-friendly destinations in Europe. With all the benefits such as government support, advanced regulations, infrastructure that promotes innovations, lower startup costs, it is still a great place to invest in Fintech industries.

Alexandra Dimitropoulou

Alexandra Dimitropoulou

VP and News Editor
Alexandra Dimitropoulou is a VP and News Editor at CEOWORLD magazine, working to build and strengthen the brand’s popular, consumer-friendly content. In addition to running the company’s website, CEOWORLD magazine, which aims to help CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and other C-level executives get smarter about how they earn, save and spend their money, she also sits on the Board of Directors of the Global Business Policy Institute. She can be reached on email alexandra-dimitropoulou@ceoworld.biz. You can follow her on Twitter at @ceoworld.