Lasers and Fintech: Booming Sectors of Lithuania
Lithuania is not only the land of fast public wifi and a grand variety of potato dishes. It is also home to two fast-growing industries that increasingly become essential in medicine, science, finance, and other sectors – fintech and optoelectronics.
With the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) and China International Optoelectronics Exposition (CIOE) coming up in China, we decided to explore how fintech and optoelectronics in Lithuania are expanding and what to look out for in the future.
Looking for a fintech hub? Its in Vilnius
There are now 210 fintech companies operating in Lithuania, with over 3,400 employees working in the sector. This year, Lithuania ranked 4th in the Global Fintech Ranking, which is a significant achievement given the size of the country.
Industry specialists name five main reasons, why Lithuania has become one of the key fintech hubs in the world: fintech friendly regulations, well-developed infrastructure and opportunities, competitive costs and highly-qualified employee pool, ease of doing business, and support from the government.
Lithuania now ranks 11th in the global ranking for Ease of Doing Business and can deliver 2-3 times faster Fintech license issuing than any other EU jurisdiction. The talent pool is another significant element since there are over 38,000 IT specialists in Lithuania.
While companies are operating in Lithuania with headquarters in London, Stockholm, Amsterdam, and other European locations, the majority of fintech companies also have their main offices here. Such an international environment is suitable for locals since around 85% of young professionals are proficient in English, and 53% of professionals speak at least two foreign languages.
Fintech in Lithuania is not only highly mixed in languages, but also genders, and the country ranks 1st in the European Union for the share of women working in the high tech sector. And that is not all: 51% of fintech companies have at least one female executive!
If you have ever heard that Lithuanians are hard and honest workers, it still rings true today! Lithuania ranks 1st amongst Central and Eastern European countries for employee motivation.
According to the survey of completed in 2019, 97% of the fintech companies are planning to expand their teams in Lithuania over the next year and the sector records 30% growth of employees annually.
The main challenges for fintech companies in Lithuania for 2020 have been international expansion, customer adoption, and product/IT development.
What companies already got cozy in Lithuania? International giants include Google, Revolut, TransferGo, Shift4, and many others!
Lasers, but not for Star Wars
Optoelectronics, or, as we colloquially call it, “laser ecosystem”, now consists of 40 companies that collaborate with Lithuanian higher education institutions and scientific research institutes. The relationship between different units is highly integrated, which is what makes the optoelectronics sector unique in the country. If it sounds like a field you have heard little about, get ready to be amazed by the power of Lithuanian lasers globally (pun intended).
The laser technologies sector is one of the most significant industrial sectors in the country. It started in Lithuania over 50 years ago, just a few years after lasers were invented. Now, 90 out of 100 top universities in the world use Lithuanian lasers and laser systems!
Lithuanian companies are even leading the worldwide supply of scientific lasers and generated around 1% of the world’s laser revenues of €13.8 billion in 2018.
Country’s laser industry concentrates on three market segments: medicine, industrial and high-powered lasers, and sensors.
What about the numbers? Lithuania exports over 90% of laser production to around 100 different countries. The sector sees annual growth of 10-15% and is steadily expanding for 20 years. The sales double around every 4-5 years, and the number of employees – every 9-10 years. The growing revenue reached 130 million euros in 2019 and xperts forecast that by 2025, Lithuanian laser technologies will make up 1% of the country’s GDP.
One of the biggest challenges in the industry has been the pool of talents. The companies do not compete amongst themselves but more in acquiring enough qualified employees to keep up with the growing sector. There are now over 1000 professionals working in the laser industry, and around 10% of them hold Ph.D. The vision for the future includes 3000 high value-added workplaces to be created by 2030.
The participation of Lithuanian companies in the exhibition is organized by Enterprise Lithuania.
There are 4 Contact Points operating in Lithuania: of services, products, construction products and regulated professions. They are intended: to help companies or individuals from another country to establish a business in Lithuania; to simplify the procedures of obtaining permits and licenses for service providers; to provide full information on the requirements that apply to the activities pursued by them; to ensure access by entrepreneurs to specific national rules intended for those wishing to supply products not regulated by the EU to the Lithuanian market.
On 25 September, the most promising Lithuanian and foreign startups will compete in the international competition “Startup Fair Pitch Battle” that will be held during the LOGIN Innovation and Technology Conference. Lithuanian Business Angel Network (LitBAN), the Co-investment Fund and the Venture Capital Fund 70 Ventures will look for investment opportunities at the Event. TRINITI business law firm has also set up cash prizes for legal services, and “Cloudvisor” will donate free credits of cloud computing services.