Latvian Startup Roundup: December 2023

As nature enters a state of winter hibernation, the Latvian startup scene is as busy as ever. The same as every month, Labs of Latvia is here to roundup the most noteworthy investments, emerging ventures, and international awards.


Beat the Storm – second-best new product at world’s largest amusement industry fair

Ingus Augstskalns, founder of Beat the Storm (in the centre) with the competition jury

Ingus Augstskalns, founder of Beat the Storm (in the center) with the competition jury
Publicity photo

Latvian hurricane simulator Beat The Storm won second place in the best new product category at the world’s largest amusement industry fair in Orlando, USA. This event by the Global Association for the Attractions Industry (IAAPA) brings together amusement industry professionals from around the world and attracts more than 40,000 visitors.

Beat The Storm lets people experience winds of up to 160 km/h in safe conditions and learn about the power of nature and extreme natural conditions. The hurricane simulator is made entirely in Latvia, with the participation of more than 50 local companies.

Ingus Augstkalns, creator of Beat The Storm, has more than 18 years of experience in the wind tunnel industry, working for Aerodium Technologies. Beat The Storm was first presented to the public in June 2022 at Universe Science Park in Denmark, where it became one of the park’s most popular attractions. Since then, 100,000 visitors have already experienced it.

Flirtu’s Telegram dating bot raises €200,000

Five Flirtu team members pose in branded shirts

Publicity photo

Expansion Capital has granted a 200,000 euro investment to Flirtu, the online dating company, to aid its ongoing global expansion. Already established in Western Europe, Asia, and Latin America with over 3.5 million users, the company will use the funds to enter new markets and enhance its product.

Flirtu distinguishes itself by integrating dating into daily social media activities through messaging platforms, namely Telegram and Messenger, providing a safer and more engaging experience. Flirtu’s mission is to reinvent online dating into a more positive, impactful, and stigma-free experience.

Latvia receives three Emerging Europe Awards

Source: LIAA

The Emerging Europe Awards were presented at the Future of Emerging Europe 2023 Summit to recognize individuals, companies, and organizations that have contributed to the development of European countries.

This year, the Future Makers Award went to Diana Lapkis, founder of the social entrepreneurship accelerator. The Investment and Development Agency of Latvia was awarded 3rd place in the Investment Promotion Agency of the Year category, and SmartLynx got 3rd place in the Global Champion of the Year category.

Latvian team wins gold at iGEM synthetic biology competition

The iGEM Latvia Riga team poses in a greenhouse

The iGEM Latvia-Riga team composed of Riga Technical University and University of Latvia students
Publicity photo

Team Latvia-Riga received a gold medal at the Grand Jamboree, the final event of the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) – the world’s largest synthetic biology competition. It also received a nomination in the category for the best simple genetic component.

Latvia-Riga team was comprised of students of the Riga Technical University (RTU) and the University of Latvia (UL). The team entered the iGEM competition with its project Full Circle, which aims to develop a tool for the synthesis of cyclic peptides.

More awards and competitions 

Winter seems to be the time for presenting awards and opening applications for new competitions (to receive awards, of course). Some of these opportunities are still open, so read on to learn more.

Baltic Sustainability Awards finalists revealed

Baltic Sustainability Awards 2023 reveals 18 finalists, setting the stage for the upcoming awards ceremony in Riga on December 7. From Latvia, SpirulinaNord, Sonido, Augstsprieguma tīkls, Skanstes Business Centre, and Puroceans Technology will compete with their Baltic counterparts in five categories, including Climate innovations, Circular economy, and Renewable energy. 

The Baltic Sustainability Awards ceremony will take place for the third year, striving to be a pan-Baltic celebration of the best sustainability innovation case studies. 

Estonian Startup Day 2024 announces pitching competition

Applications are now open for the Startup Pitching 2024 contest to compete for syndicate investments by the Estonian Business Angels Network (EstBAN), Contriber Ventures, and other prizes. The competition is designed for early-stage startups with a clear mission and scalable business model. 

The Top 40 teams will pitch on the first day of the Startup Day festival in Estonia in January, and the top 5 teams will move on to the finals. The application is open until December 17. 

Latvian Education Accelerator freshly launched

The end of November 2023 saw the launch of the Latvian Education Accelerator – an initiative of the World Economic Forum in partnership with Swedbank, Accenture, and the Ministries of Education and Science, and Economics. 

The Latvian Education Accelerator is a three-year program to facilitate transformative change in education and skills development. It will focus on entering the labor market, addressing the critical connection between education, skills, and jobs. 

Echelon wins i-Days hackathon

Echelon team won the Latvian leg of the i-Days hackathon with their idea for a device to monitor the health of seniors. The Echelon device will monitor health data and, in case of any significant changes, send an alert to the closest contacts of seniors linked in the app. The Echelon team will now represent Latvia at the i-Days European finals in Barcelona.

The hackathon is organized by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology’s health community, EIT Health. 

More news from the local startup scene (and related):

Snowy season is here – but startups don’t have time for winter sleep

Even with temperatures steadily staying below zero, the hustle and bustle we’ve covered here is sure to prevent the Latvian startup ecosystem from freezing over. In addition, the startup scene is warmed with hopes of the Ministry of Economics (ME) doubling support for startups in 2024 to €400,000. While awaiting the final decision, Latvian startup ecosystem players are excited and promise to deliver measurable results that will boost overall economic development.

For more business and startup information, the Labs of Latvia portal is well worth a visit. 

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