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Fueled by Hunger: How Latvia’s insatiable Appetite for innovation is Transforming its Industries 

Latvia, a small but fiercely ambitious nation, is on a mission to make a big impact in the world of technology and innovation. In an exclusive interview with Nikita Kazakevics the Director of Innovation and Technology Department at the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia, we delve into the vibrant startup ecosystem, the challenges it faces, and the hunger that fuels its growth.

Both the government and entrepreneurs in this ferociously motivated nation, share an insatiable appetite for success. They are eager to nurture the next deep-tech unicorn and support innovations that can change the world. 

The Quest for Excellence 

In this, our third visit in twice as many months to the Latvian capital Riga, Nordic Fintech Magazine has been by hooked by Latvia’s entrepreneurial mindset and is the unwavering determination to compete on a global scale. With a relatively small domestic market, Latvian entrepreneurs understand that success hinges on creating products and solutions that can make a mark worldwide. “The key, is not just being good but being truly amazing” emphasizes Nikita whose vision and enthusiasm for things to come is contagious.  

Several Latvian fintech companies have embodied this mindset fully. Nordigen is a Latvian financial technology startup operating in 31 countries, that provides data analytics solutions for banks and lenders, helping financial institutions make more informed decisions and improve their risk management processes. Mintos, a peer-to-peer lending marketplace that connects investors with borrowers from various loan originators currently operates in several European markets including Latvia, Lithuania, Germany and Poland. And TWINO Group a financial technology company that operates several platforms in Europe and Asia, including TWINO, Viventor, and TWINO Ventures processing roughly €1 million in peer-to-peer loans every single day. 

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The Global Mindset with which its foremost proponents of Fintech and Entrepreneurship launch new companies is a truly distinct characteristic that sets this ambitious nation aside.  According to Kasakevics, this stems from the necessity to export their products and compete with larger markets, a reality they share with their Baltic neighbors, Estonia and Lithuania. The goal is clear: create globally successful products and services right from the outset. 

Latvia’s small market size can be both a blessing and a challenge. While it facilitates fast growth and innovation, it also presents hurdles when it comes to attracting investment capital and talent. Nikita points out that geopolitical factors, such as regional conflicts, have impacted foreign direct investment. However, Latvia is actively working to change these perceptions.  

One of the strategies in motion is an consistent country branding. Latvia aims to position itself as a hub for sustainable innovation, a place where groundbreaking solutions are developed regularly. The nation’s representatives worldwide and a dedicated diaspora play a pivotal role in promoting Latvia’s achievements and opportunities. 

Tourism to this Baltic Gem is not just about showcasing Latvia’s natural beauty but also about attracting professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs who could be instrumental in the country’s innovation journey. By highlighting the country’s unique selling points, Latvia is drawing attention to its untapped potential.  The country has implemented various measures to support startups, including tax incentives, co-financing of employee salaries, and startup visa programs. These initiatives aim to attract and retain talent, ensuring a thriving startup ecosystem. 

Latvia’s invitation to the world is powerful and clear: come join a sky-rocketing ecosystem that fosters innovation, sustainability, and growth. The nation seeks to become a global hub for sustainable innovations, welcoming entrepreneurs, startups, and scientists to join them on this exciting journey. 

A Vision for the Future 

The vision for Latvian innovation remains as powerful as ever: to have Latvian technology recognized by the brightest minds worldwide. This ambition extends beyond Earth, with plans to introduce Latvian technology to space exploration. 

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Latvia is intent in playing a pivotal role in space exploration, aiming to put Latvian technology into the lunar Gateway Expedition. The country is methodically working towards this goal, showcasing its dedication to pushing boundaries and expanding its presence on the global innovation stage. 

Latvia’s hunger for success, combined with its unwavering commitment to innovation and sustainability, paints a promising picture for the future. As we are left with the lingering sense of excitement after listening to Nikita’s vision, it is evident that Latvia is a star is on the rise, and the world should be ready to witness its unstoppable journey to greatness. 

Chris Crespo
Chris Crespo
Chris is a Founding Partner and Chief Editor at Nordic Fintech Magazine, where he simplifies complex financial ideas into easy-to-understand content. With nearly 20 years of experience in management consulting and financial services, including leadership roles with some of Europe's largest banks, he offers profound industry insights. Previously serving as the Chief Futurist at the largest bank in the Nordics, Chris has sharp views on the Future of Financial Services, Money, Disruption, and Ethical AI in Finance. He is also a guest lecturer at Stanford University, Singularity University and Copenhagen Business School, where he frequently discusses the future of Money, Finance, and Entrepreneurship in Financial Services. As a Behavioral Economist, Chris is passionate about studying how human behavior and decision-making relate to risk. He also delves into the connections between psychology, leadership, and technology within financial services.