At Vilnius Tech Park, a hub for cutting edge technology companies, the builders are back and working hard to prepare the site for its planned summer launch. Before then, there is plenty for the project’s manager, Darius Žakaitis, and his team to do, from finding the right talents for the venture to attracting risk capital funds.
“There are several goals; one of them is to attract local and foreign talents,” explains Mr Žakaitis, manager of the Vilnius Technology and Art Centre, the public body overseeing the project. “Secondly, we want to build a community of these entrepreneurs, and then to bring them together with capital and other start-ups. And the third goal is to attract foreign investors in order to make the technology park a visible point in the global tech ecosystem.”
Attracting talent from near and far
The target is for the technology park, which is set in 19th century parkland just outside the city centre, to provide around 750–800 jobs. 20% of these will come from companies not currently registered in Vilnius. And the team are aiming to bring in new companies not just from other parts of Lithuania, but also from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. This is because, as Mr Žakaitis argues, “common logic says that business conditions in these countries are not improving and the political risks are high. Foreign capital funds have practically abandoned Russia as a location for investment. Therefore, we are confident that we will succeed. However, we will only be completely sure after we go there ourselves and introduce the idea of the park.”
The aim of attracting companies from the CIS region will certainly be aided by the close involvement in the project of Igor Matsanyuk, head of one of Russia’s most famous game development companies, Game Insight. Mr Matsanyuk is considered to be one of the most influential figures in game development and online business in Russia.
Whilst the project’s target of creating up to 800 jobs might seem ambitious, the number of applications Mr Žakaitis and his team have received already exceeds the capacity of the premises. “We have now received over 150 applications. If we accepted all of them, over 1,000 jobs would be created. We are now at the stage of selecting the most suitable applicants and coordinating the agreements,” he said of the situation. A selection committee is responsible for evaluating the applications and selecting the most suitable.
Within the park, some areas will be administered by different companies, who will carry out their own selection processes. For example, Lithuanian telecommunications company Teo will run the TeoHub, a space for entrepreneurs and start up teams at the earliest stage of development. Game Insight will run a Game Lab providing workplaces and consultancy services for budding game developers. Other companies with their own areas of the Tech Park include the start-up accelerator Startup Highway, the risk capital fund Practica Capital, and Lithuania’s most globally recognised start-up, the clothing exchange and sales platform Vinted.
By dividing the space in this way, the management have ensured ambitious entrepreneurs have many different ways to work within the Tech Park. One option is for start-ups to apply to lease space within the Tech Park, with the selection commission choosing the most suitable applicants. Another possibility is to acquire workplaces with Teo’s hub. And there will also be access to the spaces administered by Practica Capital, Startup Highway and Game Insight.
“In traditional industries it is more common for companies to work separately, and there are few examples of consolidation,” explains Mr Žakaitis. “Of course, there are some sensible reasons for this. By contrast, tech-related businesses work and compete in the global market place, and so the way companies cooperate is different in this sphere. Our hope is that companies can work together as our market is very small, and we can achieve more globally by consolidating.”
With Vilnius Tech Park set to launch this summer, this dream will be one step closer to becoming a reality. And it seems Mr Žakaitis will not stop there, as he points out that there are already plans in place to set up a second technology park in Vilnius in 2017 or 2018.
To read the full text in Lithuanian visit Verslo Žinios
Thanks for reaching out to us, this means a lot! We will get back to you shortly.
Meanwhile, we invite you to discover what’s new in the Lithuanian business landscape.