F10 recently announced the world’s first Climate Fintech Incubation Program in the Nordic & Baltic regions. It will run over six months in various locations, one of them being Lithuania, which has become one of the hottest fintech hubs in Europe. During this time, the selected startups will have the opportunity to attend a Masterclass at the offices of ROCKIT, where creators and founders can bring great ideas and put them to the test for Fintech and Sustainable innovation.
To better understand why F10 decided to collaborate with one of the most relevant Fintech hubs in Lithuania, we had a chat with Lina Žemaitytė, Head of ROCKIT, and Anders Norlin, Head of F10 Nordics & Baltics, to learn more about the collaboration, ROCKIT’s involvement during the acceleration program, the Lithuanian Fintech ecosystem, and other exciting topics!
To Anders Norlin, Head of F10 Nordics & Baltics:
Why did F10 decide to launch a Climate Fintech program? Why the Nordic & Baltic regions?
F10 has, in our standard flagship programs, put a specific focus on climate fintech. As a further initiative, we have researched to identify and map all climate fintechs, globally. This is part of our report that we released last summer.
At the same time, when deciding on an expansion into the Nordic-Baltic region, it made sense to put an extra focus on this topic by creating a dedicated program. Why, well, the region has a very vibrant tech startup community, a booming fintech industry, and on top of that, sustainability awareness is built-in in the entire society. This has created a “green model” of integrating sustainability, tech, and finance, paving the way for innovative climate fintechs. As we see it, you cannot find a better environment for a climate fintech program.
Can you give us some more details on the program, who this is for and what the startups can expect?
We are looking for promising early-stage startups that we can introduce to our vast international network and potentially invest in ourselves. The program will provide training, coaching & mentoring on a variety of topics to strengthen the teams. It will also provide exposure and introductions to leading organizations, banks, corporates, fintechs, advisors, and investors – all driven by the urge to find, collaborate with, and invest in, innovative solutions for improving sustainability and climate issues.
The goal is to have the startups more market-ready and be attractive for investment opportunities ahead. Sweat spot could be stated to develop startups from the angel/pre-seed investment level to more institutional seed investor level.
Interested in the program? Apply here
What do you think about the Lithuanian Fintech ecosystem, and where do you see value for bringing the Climate Fintech program to the country?
Lithuania is unique by having the whole country engaged in fintech, and sustainability. You can engage easily with the entire ecosystem – from government bodies and central banks to various organizations and communities. In the program, we will have one masterclass session onsite in Vilnius, focusing the regulatory environment and I cannot think of a better place than Vilnius. And with Rockit as the no 1 community for fintech and sustainability, it will be a world-class session.
What challenges do you see in this sector?
It's so much development going on, and so big interest from everywhere yet there development going on, and so much interest from everywhere yet quite immature. By that, it can be tempting to grasp ‘everything’, and ‘everywhere’, so a challenge is to stay focused and agile to get customer traction as quickly as possible.
To Lina Žemaitytė, Head of ROCKIT:
Why is this program important for Lithuania? Why do you think this collaboration will be a huge step toward climate action?
The fintech sector is the least sustainability-orientated sector among all startups, so it is important to boost it up - especially in Lithuania as a number one European fintech hub. The research has found that fintech companies have struggled to adopt environmentally friendly practices at the rate of other industries and usually score lowest on environmental metrics. In other words, when it comes to ESG, they are good at S and G but struggle with E. It is important to boost the E for the sector since it can create a great impact. Knowing the fact that all businesses will need to rethink their strategies and actions, it is very important to start from the sector that is booming in Lithuania, and Fintech is one of them. F10 is a leading accelerator and incubator in Europe that works with the best startups from this region, so we are sure that the lessons learned during the program will be beneficial for the whole Lithuanian innovation sector.
What do you at ROCKIT expect from the program?
Coincidentally we at ROCKIT are the home of Fintech and Sustainable Innovation, so this topic marries beautifully in this accelerator. We hope that this program and fintechs that will join it will inspire our local startups, companies, and corporates to rethink their operations and business models to be more climate positive and perhaps to start new businesses, all for the good of climate action and will be even more willing to innovate.
What can startups expect during the program in Lithuania?
Lithuania has been chosen for the regulatory perspective since the local regulator is very innovative and keeps up with the times and changes in the Global agenda. It is behind the success of building Lithuania as a number on Fintech Hub and ready to be part of its evolvement into climate too. The small but mighty Lithuanian Fintech ecosystem has many great success stories, and we will be happy to share them and find even more cooperation with possible newcomers to the Lithuania market. ROCKIT has many great partners from the Bank of Lithuania and Invest Lithuania to great connections with the top market players, so we will be happy to bring this knowledge and practices to the program.