How to grow a Lithuanian unicorn?
There are numerous startups, which already attracted impressive amounts of investments. Unfortunately, no Lithuanian startup has grown to the “unicorn” - a young business valued at more than a billion-dollars. Israeli web development platform Wix.com director in Lithuania Monika Laukaitė has an idea of how to grow a Lithuanian unicorn.
Entrepreneurs who are willing to start a business in Lithuania face an increasing problem to find a product owner who would know how to sell a product that people would feel happy to buy it. M. Laukaitė adds that Wix.com experience also has shown that there is a lack of good product owners in Lithuania.
"When company was established in Lithuania, from 10 best product owners in Lithuania we have chosen one which seemed to be the right candidate for the Wix.com. So we brought him to the Israel to introduce to the parent company. Only after we realized that although in Lithuania he was the best specialist in this field, his experience still did not meet the standards of a global company. This problem has not been solved yet because of the country's focus on attracting service centers", says Wix.com representative.
Lithuania do not need service centers
The Lithuanian business service sector has a large number of well-known international companies. Those service centers established in Lithuania provides various complex services to their clients all over the world, but, according to M. Laukaitė, this does not encourage Lithuanian entrepreneurship. She argues that to grow up specialists who meet the requirements of international companies, first of all, Lithuania must seek to attract not service centers but product development companies.
"Wix.com are in Lithuania not to provide support service but develop unique products from idea to the final image. In my opinion, Lithuania needs more product development companies, because they offer many creative positions – ability to sell and realize their ideas. Such a position creates best environment for employee development", says M. Laukaitė.
According to her, if more people would be working in such positions, then more innovative products with the higher added value will be created in Lithuania.
M. Laukaitė says that most of Wix.com employees tried to run their own startups. Applying for the position at Wix.com they did not hide their desire to work there because of the opportunity to gain useful knowledge to start a business. "Although we are in Lithuania already more than four years, so far any employee did not quit a job at Wix.com for running own business. But in other countries there are many successful stories when Wix.com employee started own startup."
Other startups agrees
Donatas Malinauskas, head of Deeper innovation adviser, agrees with M.Laukaite on saying that Lithuania does not need new service centers. "People working in service centers will hardly create an innovative business idea. Successful innovations can be created in an environment where exists freedom of decision and ability to realize ideas. For example our sonar which, while floating on the water, sends information to the phone about the bottom of the lake, depth, water temperature, and places of fish gathering places. This product is already offered for the international market – more than 20 markets."
Lack of knowledge
Rokas Tamošiūnas, partner at venture capital fund "Open Circle Capital" observes that even more and more startups establish activity in Lithuania, but they lack the knowledge on how to enter the international markets.
"In order to acquire the skills necessary to become global business, Lithuanian entrepreneurs must strengthen ties with "hot" spots, such as the USA or Israel. Would be useful to bring product owners from these countries and other rare-skilled IT specialists who would drive the level of Lithuania and share experience with our specialists ", - says R. Tamošiūnas.
M. Laukaitė, in support of this idea, advises for startups should more actively share their experiences and not be afraid to ask: "Lithuanians should learn how to share their success stories and experiences so that would help for colleagues and neighbors. All it would help Lithuania to grow up from the image of the service country. "