Startups attracted €82m worth of investments in 2018, ministry says

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In early 2019, there were 418 Latvian startups and 150 nascent companies still to be launched, according to research (link in Latvian) by the Economics Ministry. In 2018 startups attracted investments of more than €82 million, over €65 million in 2017.

This is the first in-depth survey of the startup market in Latvia, and according to the Economics Ministry both the number of startups and the volume of investments is larger than hitherto thought.

More than 100 startups and 80 industry reps were interviewed as part of the research, analyzing the current policy and making suggestions for the further development of the startup scene.

"Latvian startups' ability to effectively export their products and attract foreign investments is attested to by the fact that almost 30% of the startups have offices or subsidiaries outside Latvia. We can be proud that twelve startups have been sold and that eight companies have taken part in the prestigious business accelerators in the US' Silicon Valley," said Economics Minister Ralfs Nemiro (KPV LV).

The taxes drawn in from startup companies are likewise on the increase, up from €1.2 million in 2012 to €8.2 million in 2018.

About 8% of the startup companies operate under the "micro-enterprise" tax regime and almost all of them have managed to pay their taxes fully.

In 2017 startup companies employed about 1,600 people and operated with a turnover of almost €120 million. 

Meanwhile Nemiro said that currently debates are held over possible changes to the country's startup law to extend state support and harmonize it with international practices.

For example, it is planned to extend the period in which a startup qualifies for state support from 12 to 24 months and to allow startups to make repeat requests for state assistance.

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