Lithuania as a top destination for Russian startups

Recent years have become extraordinary for the development of the Lithuanian ecosystem of startups. Local projects are growing, but even more attention of the business community is attracted by the relocation of Russian business to Lithuania. Lithuania shows itself as an attractive business environment for many well-known Russian companies, and this is no accident.

The past year has been very significant for the largest Game Insight platform . The company moved its head office from Moscow to Vilnius. And also 15 more gaming companies from Russia and the CIS countries chose Vilnius. This business migration has had a huge impact on many Russian startups looking for investment opportunities and a good strategic location. Planner 5D , DevtoDev , Kula Tech ,Plag ** , 4Talk were among those who moved to Vilnius, they see this as an excellent opportunity for further expansion of their business in Western countries. “The first step into the big world,” says Alexei Sheremetyev , co-founder of the Planner 5D project.

A truly favorable IT environment is what makes Lithuania attractive to foreign business. Experienced technical experts, a willingness to innovate and an advanced Internet infrastructure ( ultrafast level of Internet connection ) put Lithuania in first place in terms of attractiveness among other European countries.

In the ranking of countries with favorable conditions for the Doing Business start-up, Lithuania took 11th place and far ahead of its closest competitors. The fact that there is a certain number of funds investing in startups and technology companies: Practica Capital , Mes Invest - the Fund of Business Angels, BaltCap , LitCapital contributed to this high mark . The annual investments of these and other companies in the IT industry exceed 100 million and constantly show growth dynamics.

Vilnius is considered the most active startup platform. Hundreds of thematic events are held here that bring together an energetic startup community. There are several coworking opportunities for business startups in the city -StartupHighway X (SHX) is located in Rupert - the center of art, education and business integration. And also Vilnius Hub - the first coworking and accelerator space in Lithuania. Another important initiative now in the launch phase is Vilnius Tech Park . This place will become the main technology hub for startups and other business initiatives in Lithuania. This technology park will bring together local and international talents from the fastest growing sectors: gaming, big data, cyber security, graphics.

Many representatives of the Russian startup community agree that Lithuania has something to offer today's residents of the Russian Federation who are thinking of moving to more comfortable conditions. One of the most successful businessmen in the international Internet business Igor Matsanyuk, who recently moved to Lithuania, admitted that he considers Vilnius very comfortable in terms of local prices and climate. The mild climate, the advantage of a small town in being able to get anywhere in 20 minutes, the lack of a language barrier, clean air, simple and quick transport links to Moscow (as well as to most cities - approx.) Change life for the better. Compared to the eternal Moscow rush, traffic jams, poor ecology in Moscow, Vilnius can offer much more pleasant living conditions. Ilya Zudin (one of the founders of Plag **) suggests: “Come to Vilnius if you don't want to spend half your life in traffic jams.” He also adds that most of the things in Lithuania are much faster - company registration, issuance of residence permits. “Due to the high level of bureaucracy in Russia, it will take 10 times longer, in Lithuania, receiving a Blue Card takes about 1.5 months.”

Simple movement

Russian companies that have moved to Lithuania (GameInsight, Charlie Oscar) receive consulting support from leading Lithuanian institutions ( Invest Lithuania , StartupHighway ), assistance from law firms (SORAINEN) in transferring business, and receiving an EU Blue Card.

As explained by Invest Lithuania, EU Blue Card is a special work and residency permit for highly qualified professionals, it extends to the immediate family of the applicant. To receive the EU Blue Card, a non-EU citizen must have a university degree, be employed by a Lithuanian company under a contract with a salary exceeding the average salary with Lithuania at least 2 times. If the salary exceeds the average three times or more, then the Blue Card can be issued according to the accelerated procedure. To date, the average salary in Lithuania is approximately 700 euros.

In addition to receiving a Blue card, there are other possibilities for moving to Lithuania, such as a resident permit based on work as a group member, permanent work permit, management & investment permit, etc. An investment permit may be issued to a non EU citizen who invested at least 14,000 euros in a Lithuanian company with a capital of 28,000 euros or more, employed at least 3 local workers and has been operating for at least six months (additional requirements may apply). In addition, there are many opportunities for obtaining a residence permit suitable for a private business in need of development (various start-ups), ”comments Vite Danileichiute , head of SORAINEN Communications, Media & Technology (CMT) Sector Group in Lithuania.

Less taxes, more business.

The prosperity of startups in Lithuania is promoted by a low tax policy compared to other European countries. Lithuania has tax treaties with the 50 largest countries, which are major global markets such as China and the United States. The following is a comparison of the tax environment with other European countries.


And if this is not convincing enough, here you can find the most favorable tax conditions for foreign companies .

The Mercer Cost of Living 2014 Index ranks Vilnius among the 5 least expensive European capitals for foreigners, which ranks this city high as a great place to live. More about the cost of living in Lithuania in this infographic .

Start your business in 2015

If you have not yet chosen where to start or how to start your own business project, this is a good opportunity to choose your path. Since Lithuania has become widely known among the Russian startup community as a great place to develop startups, there has been a great opportunity to get initial funding, permission to live and work, as well as a unique guide to action from the largest accelerator StartupHighway . Which, by the way, is already announcing the 5th investment round and inviting applications for the “Acceleration program” by the end of April 2015.

In 2014, Startup Highway in partnership with Igor Matsanyuk invested in two new startups - Planner 5D and DevtoDev. This year they are looking for more tech startups, both local and from the CIS region.

“This important partnership with Igor Matsanyuk not only provided better financing conditions, but also increased the importance of accelerators thanks to a wider network and expanded capabilities. This had a positive impact and gave impetus to a number of our competencies. That is why this partnership is critical to the success of our new accelerator program, ”says Darius Jakaitis , co-founder of Startup Highway.

All you need to do now is to raise your head confidently and take the chance to establish your own business.

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