Category Archives: Latvia

Latvia passes new innovation and startup tax law

The tax law has been developed by the Ministry of Economics in collaboration with Latvian startups, represented by Latvian Startup Association. According to the new legislation, a startup is a company with strong growth potential. The government aims to foster development of rapidly growing technological companies or startups and commercialization of research and innovative ideas, products, or processes. That is supposed to stimulate creation of new startups in the country, thereby support research and innovation.

This law refers to new startup employee taxation, relieving the tax cost for qualifying startups. A flat monthly tax of € 252 per employee will enable startup employees drag on a well-qualified workforce recruitment scheme. The government will remunerate all social tax, at the same time abandoning individual income tax for employees and corporate income tax for startups.

Apart from being less than 5 years old, candidate companies should obtain have less than € 200,000 in revenues in their first 2 years of existence, to have already affirmed € 30,000 in venture funding, to have already released an “innovative” product or service, and not be paying dividends.

The new law seems a great step forward and will definitely help startups in Latvia live out in a competitive market. The majority of an IT startup’s costs are salary, therefore this will double the effectiveness of investments, which will further encourage to invest more.

Maxima Grupe has acquired Barbora

Maxima Grupė, which manages retail chains in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria and Poland, took over  – Barbora the largest e-commerce company in Lithuania, offering food and other products. The value of the transaction amounted to 1.4 million euros. Maxima Groupė acquired 100% shares of JSC Radas, which had owned 100% shares of Barbora.

maxima-logo                      logo-barbora

The developing startup Barbora conducted for Maxima courier services in Vilnius. It will now become integrated with other e-commerce services of Maxime in Latvia and Estonia.

Barbora is a leader in its field in Lithuania. It had been developed according to its business model, attracting loyal customer base and winning high consumer confidence. Now Barbora will operate as a separate business unit within the Maxima Grupe. Maxima’s management assured that the acquisition will not have a negative impact on the quality of service, product range and prices. There will be no changes in the management board either. Maxime Grupe wants to expand Barbora’s activities not only in other cities in Lithuania, but also through integration with Maxima’s e-companies, which already operate in Latvia and Estonia.

Startup bank N26 expands into 9 European countries

The company, formerly known as Number26, now offers accounts in 17 European countries. Bank-based mobile application extends its services to Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Slovenia.

Like the Atom Bank in the UK and GoBank in the United States, N26 is a fully mobile bank. Opening an account takes only eight minutes and this can be done by downloading the application on your device running iOS or Android. Customer identification is performed by a video call and requires to show your passport. After verification, the customer can transfer money to a free bank account and receive a MasterCard card.

The Bank currently operates in Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Ireland and Slovakia. In France, the use of bank services is currently limited, but probably will be again fully open in February.

N26 has received a banking license in July and has acquired over 200 000 customers in eight markets. The Bank says that its goal is to provide services to all Europeans over the next few years.

Who are Internet users in Europe?

Gemius analysts have just recently published data on the number of Internet users in Central and Eastern European countries and calculated their internet penetration rate (they checked what percentage of the population are Internet users in a given country).

There were taken into account European countries, where Gemius conducts Internet research: Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria and Romania. The data comes from 2015 and refers to population aged 18-69 years (with the exception of Bulgaria, for which data refers to 15-69 years old people).

GemiusAccording to the estimates, the audited country where Internet users represent the largest percentage of population is Estonia. 86% of Estonians are active in the network. In the forefront there are also the Czechs and the Poles. Only every fourth citizen of these countries at the age of 15-69 years did not use the Internet. In turn, the country which recorded the lowest percentage of Internet users, is Romania – 58%.

Internet users in Europe

Countries, where you can observe the greatest gender disparities in structures of Internet users, are: Serbia, Croatia, Romania and Latvia. In Romania and Latvia, males account for 53% of Internet users. On the other hand, in Serbia and Croatia women outclass men by even more percent points. Serbian females account for 56% of Internet users in their country, while Croatian females for 54%.

On the other hand, Moldova is a country where people aged 15-24 constitute the largest group of Internet users – 29%. In Ukraine the largest age group of Internet users are those aged 25-34 (29%). Every fourth Czech person using the Internet is 35-44 years old, every fifth Latvian is 45-54 years old and one in five Estonians is 55 years old or more.

In all the analyzed countries the greatest share in population of Internet users are people with secondary education. The leader of these countries is the Czech Republic, where representatives of this group are 67% of network users. The country with the highest proportion of Internet users among people with higher education is Ukraine – 4%. Meanwhile, the country with the lowest percentage of Internet users with university degree is Slovakia – 21%.