Why Are Global Tech Companies Choosing Latvia – Digital Freedom Festival and Magnetic Latvia find out

On day 1 of the Digital Freedom Festival, the Corporate Innovation Lounge featured a panel discussion organized by Magnetic Latvia to discover why global tech companies choose Latvia as the location to establish a business presence.

The discussion was lead by Olga Barreto-Goncalves, Chief Startup Instigator at the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia. Three panelists were present – representatives from companies that have chosen Latvia as a location for their businesses. Those panelists included:

  • Kristaps Rikans – CEO of Ubiquity
  • Ilhan Zengin – CEO of ShowHeroes
  • Igor Kopman – CTO of Dyninno Group

The leading reasoning for companies to choose Latvia was summarised by Kristaps Rikans – that Latvia offers the availability of talent and engineers, it provides a comfortable environment for doing business, which includes friendly regulation, ease of founding companies, minimum risk, and costs of running a business.

Ilhan Zengin leads ShowHeroes, the video production company with head offices in Berlin, Germany, but with a significant portion of video production based in Riga. He outlined that his choice to establish a section of his company in Riga was mostly by chance, but calls it a “lucky shot”. He had a need to expand video production, and his co-founded had met a Latvian who suggested Riga as a location. They chose to try, and haven’t turned back since. Ilhan believes that the foundation to the success is a combination of talent, good infrastructure, regulation, participation in the EU, and proximity to Berlin.

Meanwhile, Igor Kopman, CTO of Dyninno Group, emphasized the role of connectivity. That not only is transportation easily available at a reasonable price, but also that shipping internationally is much more easily done in Riga than in other countries and highlighted Ukraine as an example of the opposite.

The panel jointly highlighted the importance of the talent pool. That finding highly-skilled individuals in IT is becoming increasingly difficult, though it is not as difficult as in Estonia. For that reason, it is particularly important for employers to demonstrate that their businesses are an attractive location to work.

The panel was summarized by moderator Olga Barreto-Goncalves that the main takeaways from the discussion are that the most important elements in doing business in Latvia are people, and keeping people happy.