New Tech Zity campus in Vilnius to foster Lithuania’s tech startup ecosystem
With the new €100million tech campus, Tech Zity in Lithuania is set to cement its reputation as a tech startup hub
A growing number of successful startups have been emerging from Lithuania in recent years while the government has attempted to bolster the country’s tech aspirations with initiatives to attract further investment.
The latest tech investment in Lithuania is Tech Zity, a 55,000 square metre building with office space for 5,000 workers and auditoriums for meetings and events, as well as co-living spaces, restaurants and bars located on the site of a Soviet-era sewing factory in the capital city of Vilnius.
The building aims to establish a hub in a city that is already home to much of the country’s startup ecosystem. “Our main goal is to foster the startup community,” said Tech Zity’s founder, Darius Žakaitis. “Currently, this community is scattered in different locations. Startups and tech companies highly value the opportunity to be together, exchange knowledge and experience,” he added.
A flourishing startup ecosystem
Perhaps not as well-known as other areas of Europe as a hotbed for tech startups, Lithuania has in fact had its share of notable startup successes over the past few years. The second-hand clothes marketplace Vinted, founded and headquartered in Vilnious, raised $562million at a $4.5billion valuation with backers such as Accel, Insight Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
Nord Security, also founded in Vilnius, is a cybersecurity startup known for its NordVPN applications for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and Android TV that reached a $1.6billion valuation last year. In addition to those firms, the budding Vilnius-based fintech firm Kevin attracted some $65million in Series A funding last year from a few high-profile investors, including Accel.
To build on this growing reputation as a centre for tech startups, earlier this year Lithuania’s Ministry of the Economy and Innovation announced a €13 million open tender to attract what the ministry called an “internationally acclaimed startup accelerator” to the country.
Tech Zity looks like it will be just that. Projected to open in 2024, the project will capitalise on Lithuania’s tech startup ecosystem by creating a tech-friendly campus that at 55,000 square metres will be nearly two thirds larger than the Station F campus in Paris, which opened in 2017.
The new Tech Zity site, located less than two miles from the city centre, constitutes an additional project for the already-existing Tech Zity brand, which previously launched four smaller hubs across the Lithuanian capital and its surroundings that amount to some 20,000 square meters in surface area.
The existing hubs include Tech Park, created in 2016 and now home to Google’s main regional HQ; Tech Loft, for seed-stage startups; Tech Arts, a co-working and events space; and Tech Spa, a work-resort crossover about an hour outside of the city.
Funding for the new Tech Zity project comes from various sources, including €30million from Vinted’s co-founder and chief operating officer Mantas Mikuckas, and Tech Zity’s founder Darius Žakaitis, for the initial stage of development, which will involve securing the land and laying the groundwork for the transformation of the site. In order to finish the project’s development, Tech Zity aims to secure an additional €70million from various sources, including banks and private investors.
The new hub is located near the city’s existing Cyber City complex. While the two sites appear to have similar objectives, Cyber City is in fact centred largely around companies affiliated with the Lithuanian incubator and accelerator Tesonet, which helped give birth to the startups Nord, Surfshark, Oxylabs and CyberCare, among others.
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