Icelandic payment entrepreneurs establish HQ in Vilnius

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Paystra, a fintech company founded and financed by Icelandic payments experts, providing payment services, is establishing its headquarters in Vilnius, Lithuania, and plans to build a team of 30 professionals over the next two years. The company, led by two payment market veterans, will develop and deploy state-of-the-art electronic payment solutions for European merchants, a press release from Invest Lithuania states.

The founders of the company, Johannes I. Kolbeinsson and Gunnar M. Gunnarsson, have a long track record of success in the payment industry. After revolutionizing the Icelandic payment market with their previous venture KORTA PAY, Kolbeinsson and Gunnarsson will now use their extensive expertise and Lithuanian talent in setting up high-quality payment services for merchants selling goods or services across Europe.

"We will be using new financial technology, automation and intelligence tools to create value-added services on top of the ordinary card acquiring services", says the co-founder and CEO Johannes I. Kolbeinsson. The company will provide Visa and Mastercard payment acquiring services for POS-terminals, online, mobile and other electronic payment systems.

For the location of the company's headquarters, the founders considered Luxembourg, London, Reykjavik, among other cities, before finally deciding on Vilnius. Several characteristics of the Lithuanian fintech scene played into the decision. Kolbeinsson and Gunnarsson list a dynamic tech culture, competitive operational environment, high educational standards and the welcoming attitude of the Bank of Lithuania as the deciding factors.

Paystra plans to hire between 15 and 20 employees by the end of 2019, and expects to grow to at least 30 employees in 2020. While taking advantage of the highly educated Lithuanian workforce, Paystra is also going to train their staff in-house.

"Paystra will have an intense training program to build up knowledge and expertise in the payment and card acquiring industry," says Kolbeinsson. "We will build a group of high level legal, financial and technical professionals."

"Paystra's decision to headquarter in Vilnius shows that Lithuania is becoming a visible player on the industry map. In the last year, this is already the third technology company from Iceland, a country that has not been a priority market for attracting foreign investment. Therefore, the efforts we have made bring investors even from markets of which we once did not expect much," states Virginijus Sinkevičius, Lithuania's Minister of Economy and Innovation.

For Mantas Katinas, Managing Director of Invest Lithuania, Paystra's Vilnius headquarters will be a welcome addition to the growing Lithuanian fintech community.

"With the experience of Paystra's leadership and the drive of Lithuanian developers, the company will no doubt be a great contribution to the Lithuanian fintech landscape," says Mantas Katinas.

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