According to the World Economic Forum, Baltic countries are among the most entrepreneurial in Europe.
We compiled a list of 10 most innovative and successful entrepreneurs from the Baltic states including Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
Together, all three states have a bit more than 6 million people, but with every passing year, Baltic region strengthens its name as an emerging entrepreneurial hub.
Meet the top 10 entrepreneurs in no particular order who lead the change and innovation in the Baltic states.
Top 10 Baltic entrepreneurs to watch In 2017
1. Taavet Hinrikus, TransferWise, Estonia
Taavet Hinrikus is known as a co-founder and CEO of TransferWise. However, back in the day, he was also the first employee of Skype.
TransferWise specializes in low-cost international money transfer. London based FinTech unicorn expects to make over $100 million in revenue this year, so its future looks secure.
Despite the success, Taavet recently resigned as a CEO, handing the day-to-day tasks over to company’s co-founder Kristo Käärmann. The reason? He wants to continue disruption and development of the tech ecosystem. It indicates that more good things are likely to come from him anytime soon.
Company: TransferWise | Blog: medium.com/@taavet |Twitter: @taavet
2. Milda Mitkute & Justas Janauskas, Vinted, Lithuania
Back in 2008, the couple randomly stumbled into an idea about the platform, where people could trade their second-hand clothes.
Today, Vinted is the world’s largest pre-loved fashion marketplace with a community of 12 million users in 10 countries.
Milda and Justas are currently on a mission to make second hand the number one choice worldwide.
Company: Vinted | Twitter: @vinted & @jjanauskas |Kristel Kruustuk, Testlio, Estonia
3. Kristel Kruustuk, Testlio, Estonia
Kristel Kruustuk is a CEO and co-founder of Testlio, professional testing service that helps developers by connecting them to the best testers all over the world.
At 23, she became frustrated with the way testers were being treated in the industry and decided to build a platform where their work would be appreciated.
Now, the business is growing rapidly and last year raised $6.25 million seed round from Altos Ventures and Vertex Ventures. Testlio clients include such names as NBA, Microsoft, CBS, Hotels.com and many others.
Company: Testlio | Blog: medium.com/@kristelkruustuk | Twitter: @kristelviidik
4. Matiss Ansviesulis, Creamfinance, Latvia
Matiss Ansviesulis is another exceptional achiever in this list. Creamfinance is the fastest growing European FinTech enterprise. It utilizes smart data to hand out smart consumer loans.
Founded in 2012, it has already expanded to seven countries and employs over 200 people. Creamfinance is on the mission to be the first one-click consumer loan provider in the world by making money available anywhere and anytime.
Also, Matiss writes a blog where he seeks to inspire and empower people through entrepreneurship.
Company: Creamfinance | Blog: matiss.co | Twitter: @MAnsviesulis
5. Dalia Lasaite, CGTrader, Lithuania
Dalia Lasaite is a seasoned entrepreneur and has co-founded several startups, including Campalyst and Geogoer.
Her next venture is CGTrader, the world’s largest database of 3D models and designers. CGTrader is backed by Intel and Practica Capital and has a community of half million users. CGTrader is on a mission to empower 3D artists and help them make a living off their trade.
Company: CGTrader | Twitter: @dalialasaite
6. Armands Broks & Jevgenijs Kazanins, TWINO, Latvia
TWINO is another innovative FinTech service from Baltics. It is the fastest growing peer-to-peer investment marketplace that cuts out banks as a middle man.
Armands first founded the company back in 2009 as a balance sheet lending service. In 2015, the company had changed its approach and launched investment marketplace. Since then, Armands Broks and Jevgenijs Kazanins led TWINO’s successful expansion to nine countries. As of today, the business remains highly profitable and seeks to become Europe’s number one lending platform.
Company: TWINO | Twitter: @Broks & @jevgenijs.
7. Karoli Hindriks, Jobbatical, Estonia
Karoli Hindriks is a serial entrepreneur from Estonia. She was appointed a head of MTV Estonia at 23 and has launched 7 TV channels before she founded Jobbatical.
It is a platform that empowers people to work wherever they want and assist workers with the immigration process.
With Jobbatical, Karoli seeks to help the world cooperate and think beyond borders. The idea is also appealing to the investors as last year Jobbatical raised $2 million in venture capital.
Company: Jobbatical | Blog: blog.jobbatical.com/@karolihindriks | Twitter: @karolihindriks
8. Valery Vavilov, Bitfury, Latvia
Valery Vavilov is the CEO and co-founder of the Bitfury group – world’s leading producer of semiconductors, servers and data center solutions for cryptocurrency industry.
The company has raised over $111 million and is the most funded Latvian startup.
First launched as a Bitcoin mining start-up, the company recently released its first enterprise grade blockchain software for businesses.
Some sources state that Bitfury is already generating over $100 million revenue and that it expects to increase it up to $585 million by 2021.
Company: Bitfury | Twitter: @valeryvavilov
9. Justas Malinauskas, Whatagraph, Lithuania
In 2015, Justas Malinauskas was struggling with Google Analytics. “It has been ten years of Google Analytics and nothing has changed!” he thought.
Then he started doing research and the idea of Whatagraph came to his mind. Whatagraph is a web tool that automatically converts website and social media analytics data into engaging visual reports.
Last year Whatagraph experienced 450% revenue growth and worked with such brands as Land Rover, Toshiba, Jaguar and Pfizer and many others.
Company: Whatagraph | Twitter: @justmalinauskas
10. Daumantas Dvilinskas, TransferGo, Lithuania
Another successful and inspiring FinTech figure from the Baltic states. Daumantas Dvilinskas leads TransferGo, the fastest low cost international account-to-account money transfer service in the market.
This year Daumantas has made it into a prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe Finance list as one of the most promising and respected Europe’s FinTech advisors under 30.
Company: TransferGo | Twitter: @daumis2475
by Tomas Laurinavicius, a lifestyle entrepreneur and blogger.