Checking in with Latvia's buzzing startup scene

  • 2024-07-01

During the first half of 2024, Latvia's startup scene has been abuzz with events and new initiatives, including the launch of the new Startup House and a first-of-its-kind-in-the-Baltics technology education programme – StartSchool. With TechChill, one of the Baltic's biggest startup events, recently coming to a close and several noteworthy funding rounds rolling in, it's the perfect time to check in with Latvia's startup ecosystem. 

StartSchool: Getting practical

The brainchild of Riga TechGirls CEO Anna Andersone, StartSchool is a novel technology education programme in the Baltics. StartSchool is inspired by France's international School42 programme – it goes beyond purely technical know-how, and focuses on a comprehensive set of technical, startup, and product development skills. The programme's aim is to equip participants with a strong practical foundation that can be immediately applied for work in startups or the founding of their own, thus helping Baltic talents hit the ground running. 

StartSchool has rallied a strong lineup of partners, including Printify, Nutrameg, Swisscom DevOps Center Latvia, Change Ventures, EazyBI,, and Balcia Insurance, providing their experience, knowledge, and financial support for shaping tomorrow's tech talents. 

“The founders of the school are people who have built successful companies, created their stories, and added value. They are ready to collaborate to promote the growth and innovation of startups, strengthening the ecosystem and fostering long-term economic development,” shares Anna Andersone. 

The first edition of the programme is launching in August, offering 100 motivated individuals the opportunity to take part. Graduates can expect to acquire the soft and hard skills necessary to immediately dive into start-up life, as well as a Qwasar certificate – an IT education certificate recognized in the US. 

Startup House: A place to come together

February 1st saw the grand opening of a new hub for the Latvian startup scene – Startup House Riga. A non-profit initiative founded by James Berdigans and the TechHub Riga Foundation, the Startup House offers a space for Latvian founders and ecosystem participants to connect, innovate, and bring their ideas to life. 

Located in the dynamic Spiķeri quarter, the premises are equipped with a multifunctional event space, co-working spaces, private offices, meeting rooms, call booths, and other resources and amenities up-and-coming founders can make use of. And they already have – members of Startup House Riga include startups like Monetizr, Trace.Space, Abillio, and Oruga, along with venture capital funds and other ecosystem partners, such as TechChill and others. 

“In a country of talents like ours, fostering high-tech enterprises is a great path to prosperity. Startup House Riga will be instrumental in connecting founders with co-founders, initial team members, a vast network of contacts, and both local and international investors,” says Printify Founder James Berdigans.

The Startup House has quickly grown into the centre of the start-up community in Riga, both literally and figuratively.

TechChill: Uniting more than just the Baltics

In April, TechChill's flagship event returned to Riga for its 13th edition, once again gathering thousands of participants from the Baltics and beyond for three eventful days. Headlined by the now-iconic Fifty Founders Battle, which received a record number of applications – 388 submissions from 57 countries – TechChill saw four start-ups divide well over half-a-million euros in prizes, with SUBmerge Baltic from Latvia declared this year's winner by the jury. 

Other North European startups also caught the attention of investors – Salesforge from Estonia brought home 150,000 euros of syndicate funding from and 100,000 euros of funding from DEPO Ventures. FleetFox from Estonia won 75,000 euros in funding from, and Silo Team from Sweden won a 250,000 euro investment opportunity from Look AI Ventures.

After placing a major focus on DefenseTech and support for Ukraine at this year's event, TechChill revealed that it's going to Ukraine this June for a cross-ecosystem meetup in collaboration with Lift99 Kyiv Hub. Entrepreneurs from Latvia will drive and deliver nine donated vehicles to Kyiv. 

“We are very impressed with the resilience not only of Ukraine, but also their startup community. We hope to continue to strengthen ties with the Baltic startup ecosystem to benefit both. By driving to Kiyiv we demonstrate unequivocally that we stand with Ukraine, and by bringing our startup ecosystems closer together, we highlight that we have much in common to fight for,” explains Annija Mezgaile, TechChill CEO.

The convoy is organized in collaboration with “Entrepreneurs for Peace”, a Latvian organization that has raised more than 10 million euros to date for Ukraine. 

Funding: Taking a different approach

Though there are a few noteworthy deals here and there, Latvia's startup scene has been going through a bit of a dry spell, especially when compared to our Baltic neighbours. In response, several household names from Latvia's ecosystem such as Aerones, Mapon, and Supliful have turned to non-equity funding alternatives such as grants, bonds, and mezzanine loans, respectively. This continues a trend of getting creative with financing that kicked off the year prior, when a sizable chunk of total money raised by Latvian companies came from grants. 

Still, several early-stage rounds have made the headlines, with additive manufacturing startup AM Craft, fintech inGain, and deeptech Cellbox Labs, securing 600,000 euros, 650,000 euros, and 935,000 euros, respectively. April also saw a noteworthy merger between local regtech Huntlio and cross-borders payments ecosystem Payall. 

While Latvia has been feeling the pinch of the economic downturn more than others, the scene remains optimistic and resilient by finding ways to innovate in the face of adversity. For Latvia's startup ecosystem, 2024 has so far been about unity, knowledge sharing, and aligning the key ecosystem players in a way that best supports emerging talents and ideas. The solid foundation it's building today will be invaluable for when the funding winds pick back up. 

Don't just be a spectator! Next year's TechChill and Deep Tech Atelier are the perfect places to dive into Latvia's vibrant startup ecosystem. Meanwhile, stay up to date with the scene's latest news at