Be it a mom-and-pop bakery, a major regional airline or a groovy Tech4Good Fintech company specialising in the valuation of biodiversity, the start of the year has been auspicious for all, hinting that the gloom of the COVID-19 depression here in the Baltics might be finally over. Let’s knock on wood!
“The aviation industry is continuing its gradual recovery from the pandemic, and we also feel that. In January, airBaltic carried almost three times more passengers than a year ago, despite various travel restrictions still being in place across Europe. Passenger confidence is improving, and, unlike last year, we already see that passengers are booking their summer holiday trips,” the airBaltic Corporate Communication Unit said.
The Baltics’ premier, Riga-based airline expects 2022 to be an exciting year. And, certainly, a recovery year!
“We will continue our recovery as outlined by the company’s business plan and our fleet will continue to grow too. In 2022, we will receive eight more brand new aircraft,” airBaltic said.
In May, it will open a new base in Tampere, which is a historic moment, as airBaltic never had a base outside the Baltics.
“We will connect Tampere with six direct destinations. From Riga, we will continue to develop our network and may add a select number of new destinations that are still yet to be announced,” the airline said.
For Endangered Wildlife, a surging Tech4Good Fintech wonder specialising in the valuation of biodiversity, the start of the new year has been much-promising, too.
“We have had an amazing start to the new year, both in terms of clients and partnerships. We are starting to benefit from last year’s focused awareness raising and, of course, being awarded the Impact Award from New East Tech Awards 2021,” Shana Gavron, CEO of Endangered Wildlife, said.
In 2022, the Tallinn-based company has focused on client acquisition and completing more biodiversity valuations.
“We have also completed the development of our third Environmental Footprint Calculator and plan to launch the Biodiversity Valuator software towards the end of the year,” the CEO emphasized.
Asked what other companies in the sector are likely to make a splash in 2022, Gavron advised to get tuned on UK’s Nature Metrics, one of the more exciting companies working with eDNA.
Meanwhile, Baltic fintechs keep sizzling at the start of 2022 too, augmenting the region’s hard-earned reputation as a European fintech hotspot.
DECTA, a Riga-based provider of integrated services for payment processing, online acquiring, and payment card issuing, has kickstarted the year with a launching of a brand-new payment authentication app.
“With the most recent PSD2 Strong Customer Authentication (SCA), the Payments Industry has seen major regulatory updates across the UK and the EU. The new rules prescribe that every online purchase is now verified via a 2-factor authentication (using OTP, biometrics, or an equivalent),” Julija Litvinova, Head of DECTA marketing, said.
In her words, so far, not every business has caught up with this yet – a gap that DECTA’s latest 3D-Secure mobile app with biometric authentication is aiming to close.
Thus, not only compliance with the newest SCA requirements throughout various payment platforms will be ensured, but, additionally, it will make the payment process more streamlined and secure for cardholders – the app helps eliminate the tedious username-password flow, as well as offering a dependable protection from the latest types of online fraud.
The Latvian fintech looks forward to expanding to new geographies worldwide this year.
Within the payments Industry, in 2022, it is going to be the companies providing systems and tools that allow to maximize automation of operational processes that will be hot, Litvinova says.
Headed by COO Alina Kornienko, Quppy Europe OU, the other Baltic fintech with an international footprint, expects to launch new services and currencies this year, as well establish new partnerships.
“In 2022, we have such important goals, as starting our card emission, obtaining new licensing, kickstarting digital currency launch and many others,” she said.
For Lina, owner of a mom-and-pop bakery in Klaipeda, a Lithuanian seaport on the Baltic Sea, the New Year has already been ushering in more customers.
“There is definitely less COVID fear in the people’s eyes. It seems we are going back to normal, pre-pandemic life,” she said.
Meanwhile, among business giants, Latvia’s first-ever ‘unicorn’, Printify, a Latvia-based international print-on-demand and drop-shipping platform, has focused on more presence in the European market in 2022.
“While the US has seen the majority of entrepreneurs on our platform, our partner base continues to also expand geographically and we aim to cover more new regions, thus providing our customers with even more high-quality products to choose from and adding whole new product categories to our catalogue,” Daiga Zimele, Printify’s PR Manager, said.
This “customer-obsessed” company is set to expand its international team and add 200+ new job positions by the end of the year to be a step closer to becoming the leading print-on-demand marketplace in the world with the most to offer to our merchants, according to Zimele.
Since 2013, Printify has opened eight production facilities worldwide: three of them are located in the US, two in Latvia, and one each in Spain, Canada, and Mexico. The company plans to open new facilities this year.
And which businesses will likely have an edge in 2022 in the ‘unicorn’s’ view?
“With the e-commerce industry having expanded rapidly in the past few years, we see that this sector will definitely still be among the ones that show the highest growth. Along with that, the creator economy is also a segment that has made a huge splash with millions of independent business owners across the globe using various digital platforms to make money. And the print-on-demand concept is one of the ways that allows creators to set up an online store filled with customizable products, also known as merch,” the Printify PR manager underlined.
Kristi Hakkaja, CEO, founder of Moderan, a commercial real estate management software company, looks to further flex muscle in 2022.
“In 2021, Moderan was growing strong – the team has grown by 80% in the past year and they’ve expanded to 4 new markets: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Canada and Hungary. Their software is used to manage over 3-billion euros-worth of assets with more than 2 million square meters of leasable space, 650+ buildings and 10 000+ tenants. 2022 so far is very busy and shows growing hunger for technology solutions,” she said.
She says that the COVID-19 pandemic might have been a blessing in disguise for property management tech companies.
“On the one hand, real estate managers needed to work as efficiently as possible to mitigate the situation and keep costs low; on the other hand, the tenants were expecting more professional and flexible service than ever before,” Hakkaja emphasised.
Lithuania-based UAB Ostara has started the year by transforming its hybrid electric-diesel all-terrain vehicle “Krampus ATV” into an optionally-manned platform.
“For us, the start of 2022 is very intensive, as we continue to work on technology demonstrator Krampus Mk1 by installing remote control, working on autonomy and enhancement of off-road capability. In the meantime, manufacturing of Krampus mk2 started. The second variant of the vehicle will be more powerful and with bigger load. Krampus Mk2 intends to be ready for serial production,” Darius Antanaitis, Ostara CEO, said.