Tallinn / Riga / Vilnius

talllinnA rapid tour through the Baltic States, with presentations in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, to promote an upcoming UKTI competition supporting creative / tech businesses in considering UK expansion.

The events were replicated in each city, an incubator / accelerator venue with an audience of 20-odd young, mostly male, highly driven, tech start-ups (in discussion a mix of 50% totally silent and 50% utterly direct (in perfect English)).

Interestingly whilst the subject matter varied between ideas, the businesses were almost entirely focused on the management of data and information, with a strong emphasis on coding and platforms rather than content and UX.

In Tallinn in particular it is clear that a strategic Government focus on e-democracy, e-health and open data, matched to ubiquitous wifi connectivity, is generating a cohort of digital support services – and a wide awareness of a tech enabled future (you can buy AirBaltic flights with bitcoins).

But always ask a taxi driver an economic question to get some insight. They cite a major outflow of skilled young people over recent years generating problems – for example a shortage of doctors. This in some ways explained the companies impatience with some of the presented material – they had already researched the market so didn’t want context, more the practical details of establishment in the UK. The business models presented were international from the outset, requiring a rapid export strategy to achieve scale – to paraphrase a conversation, you can build e-commerce platforms or bitcoin retail payment exchanges but you need to quickly move them to a market with high volume online transactions.

And lastly a continuing observation reinforced by Tallinn and Riga – both with fabulous old towns – historic port cities look different and feel different. The flow of ideas and influences is visible in the architecture but also felt in an attitude.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s