The Silicon Valley of the East

Those looking for Europe’s answer to Silicon Valley normally think of start-up cities such as London or Berlin. In the Baltic, different conditions prevail – as well as a special mood of optimism.

The Baltic does not yet have a global reputation for its start-up culture, but Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania have been models of digitalization for years. E-government systems, cloud technologies and digital signatures are used much more frequently there than in Germany, for example. Programming is a compulsory subject in schools.

Start-ups benefit from this, just as they do from low rents and a low cost of living. However, they still don’t have it easy, as there are not many venture capital providers in those small Baltic countries. This means that the young companies have to grow organically – and earn money quickly. Unlike start-ups from Berlin or London, which are funded by investors, they can’t afford several years of warming up before they are finally in the black. Nonetheless, for a long time now, the Baltic has been known as Eastern Europe’s Silicon Valley.