From 29 to 31 March, four Latvian start-ups will participate in the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The meeting will take place within the framework of EXPO 2020, concluding a six-month-long world fair program and opening up a wide range of opportunities for start-ups that offer business ideas with great growth potential.
AIM is the leading global investment platform in the region, seeking to foster positive change by creating investment opportunities, supporting solidarity, and developing economic relations between countries, as well as addressing global challenges that will have a major impact on economic growth. This year, AIM has six main areas of support, one of which is support for start-ups that are interested in cross-border cooperation and can offer a business idea with great growth potential. Latvia will be represented at the event by the start-ups My3D.Cloud, PrintOnPack, Nordwoc and Fixar. Each company will have the opportunity to present their business idea in a 3-minute speech to compete for a cash prize of up to $30,000, publications on social media channels, investor attention, and more.
“Most of AIM's participants are from Africa, Asia and the United Kingdom, which have historically been an active investment partner in the UAE. This is a good indication of the trend we have observed recently, with the UAE focusing heavily on developing countries. Local investors are quite conservative, while foreign investors invest less but in riskier activities, so despite the fierce competition, there is an opportunity for everyone. AIM brings together a lot of investment seekers and consultants, moreover, anyone can attend the event, not only start-ups, so even without winning an award, AIM provides a very good networking opportunity for any start-up and helps to understand future investment trends and interests in the region,” says Inga Ulmane, Head of the Representation Office of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) in the UAE.
Representatives of the Latvian Business Angels Network LatBAN and its Chairman of the Board Helmuts Lejnieks will also visit AIM. Lejnieks has been invited to participate in a panel discussion on how to notice a start-up company with the potential for successful investment. Managing Director at LatBAN Kristīne Tarvida tells: “Investors are seeking ambitious ideas that solve real problems, the start-up must aim to grow on a European, Asian, or American scale. However, the success stories of start-ups take time, just the idea will not create a unicorn, and in addition to investment, you need a good team, a strong growth strategy, and persistent work that does not end at six in the evening as in traditional business. A successful start-up takes an average of seven years to build and requires planning the strategy quite scrupulously for at least the next 3-5 years. We believe that in the coming years more unicorns from Latvia will start to appear, because the pride of Latvia, the first unicorn Printful, is only the beginning. According to a study by the technology portal LabsofLatvia.com, the amount of investment in Latvia over the past year has been 10 times higher than in the previous 10 years combined. Therefore, we expect that at least three more unicorns will emerge in Latvia in the coming years.”
She points out that the UAE wants to develop innovative industries by 2030 to become one of the largest innovation metropolises in the world, and that the Baltic States are interesting because they have great potential here. “Our strengths are the fastest internet in the world, very smart people with IT skills, the ability to think and grow a business in a global economy, but most importantly, our people and economy can represent all the economic activities of large countries in terms of demand, thinking, and more. Investing in Latvia is a mathematically wise decision, as both private investors and venture capital funds can invest smaller amounts than in countries such as Germany with more than 80 million inhabitants, but the potential for Latvia is the same as in large European countries, especially in areas such as software and services (SaaS) and research and development (R&D),” explains Kristīne Tarvida.
One of the members of AIM, My3D.Cloud offers a unique 3D data storage and processing solution. “We have found a way to fully automate 3D modelling in the construction industry. This is one of the European Union's key policy planning priorities, as the 'green' targets anticipate major renovations of buildings by 2050 to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions. However, one of the biggest obstacles is the speed of the construction process, to which the fully automated modelling of construction information currently available in the market cannot keep pace with. We have found such a solution, but we need the means to implement it. If we manage to attract them, we will continue to work on attracting new users, at the same time building the technology to provide the possibility to test, try, and introduce it into the market as soon as it is ready. It usually takes a long time to bring the technology to market, but we can compare our activities to digging a tunnel from both ends at once, so it is an attractive business model for investors,” explains Reinis Točelovskis, CEO of My3D.Cloud.
LIAA Ogre incubator company PrintOnPack will also participate in AIM. It has developed the first platform in the world that digitizes the process of comparing and ordering any type of soft packaging – for candy, chocolate, ice-cream, coffee, animal feed, liquid soap, milk, etc. “Our platform streamlines the packaging ordering process, saves money, and gives small customers access to large manufacturers that have never been available before. Currently, the platform integrates more than 120 packaging manufacturers from the European Union, Asia, and the CIS. In a year and a half, we have successfully processed 1,200 price requests and delivered flexible packaging to customers in more than 10 European Union countries, reaching 8.9 million units. AIM Dubai will be the first experience when we present our solution and product to Asian investors. It will be a great opportunity to expand our vision about the global novelties in terms of innovation, business, and investment, as well as to establish new international contacts,” tells Ivars Sudmalis, author and co-founder of PrintOnPack.