The Fintech sector of Lithuania, which reached the mature development stage last year, has recorded several new achievements. These include a record number of investments and an almost 50% increase in the number of employees. This data was revealed by the annual review “The Fintech Landscape in Lithuania”.
The 2021 review presents the latest data from the Fintech sector, the success stories and expectations of market participants, and provides guidance for the future. The overview is compiled on the basis of survey data from companies in this field and official country statistics. Together with Invest Lithuania, the review is prepared by the Ministry of Finance, Fintech Hub LT and Fintech Lithuania, as well as the ROCKIT Center for Financial Technologies (Fintech) and Sustainable Innovation, which prepares the “Fintech Map 2022”.
It is estimated that at the end of 2021 there were 265 Fintech companies in Lithuania, or 35 more than a year ago (13% growth). Since 2014, the number of these companies increased almost five times. The FinTech sector employs 5,900 people or almost 50% more than in 2020.
The turnover of FinTech companies grew by 25% to €500 million last year, compared to €399 million in 2020. It should be noted that Fintech companies are very optimistic about the future, with as many as 40% of respondents planning to grow more than 30% this year, and almost one in five say that growth will exceed 300%.
Last year, Fintech attracted a record number of investments − €65 million. This represents 15% of the total investment attracted in the country. Most investments were made in TransferGo (€43 million), Kevin (€8.5 million) and Ondato (€3.6 million). The compilers of the survey note that the average size of early development investments doubled last year to €3.5 million.
“The previous year had been marked by an abundance of investments in Fintech companies worldwide − and Lithuania was no exception. After a relatively rocky 2020, the sector became more solid in Lithuania, with the number of employees, profits increased, and more attention being paid to risk management.
It is worth noting that the development and good assessment of Lithuania worldwide is also due to the constructive attention of regulators to transparency and compliance. This growth and maturity strengthen the Fintech sector in Lithuania, but the companies remain flexible. The more activities, responsibilities, and decision-making powers arise in companies in Lithuania, the more quickly they can react to changes or actively engage in national or international trends,” says Elijus Čivilis, Head of Invest Lithuania.
Highly valued business-friendly environment in Lithuania
To the question of why Lithuania was chosen for operations, more than 80% of the respondent companies in the survey said that it was due to Fintech sector-friendly regulation and infrastructure. Almost 40% referred to the fact that it is easy to develop business in the country, a quarter indicated such reasons as the target market, availability of skilled workers, and personal ties.
The favorable environment for Fintech business is also recorded according to international ratings. Last year, Lithuania ranked 10th in the global Fintech ranking. In addition, it has one of the lowest risks of money laundering − in the world, it ranked 9th in the Basel Institute’s ranking. According to licenses issued, Lithuania is rated as the largest Fintech community in the European Union.
It is expected that a strong impetus for further development of the Fintech sector will be provided by the Ministry of Finance’s guidelines for the period of 2022−2027, which will detail the development directions − ensuring growth, promoting the development and use of technologies, increasing financial inclusion, and strengthening risk management.
For their part, the companies surveyed indicated that the biggest potential of the Fintech sector in Lithuania could be seen in the area of payments (64%), digital banking (56%), and compliance and regulatory solutions (54%).
Social responsibility and financial inclusion – hand in hand
According to Lina Žemaitytė-Kirkman, Head of ROCKIT, Fintech will pay special attention to improving financial inclusion in the coming years. This is a process that aims to ensure access to and use of regulated financial products and services by all members of the public.
“Inclusion is closely linked to financial education and consumer protection, and this way Fintech companies contribute to the sustainable development of society. Social responsibility is truly deeply rooted in all of the people working in this sector. This is particularly relevant right now – among Fintech companies we have many inspiring examples of support for Ukraine,” said Ms Žemaitytė-Kirkman.