Lithuania is planning to build Europe’s largest startup campus in the capital Vilnius, as it looks to attract the next in tech talent.
Lithuanian co-working company Tech Zity is investing €100m into the new campus which, upon completion in 2024, will provide private workspace for some 5,000 tech workers.
The hub will also house co-working and co-living spaces, events spaces, meeting rooms, and no less than 10 restaurants. The site will be open 24/7 to cater to an “increasing number of hybrid workers.”
The centre has a floor space equivalent to 10 football fields, making it two-thirds larger than Europe’s current largest startup campus — Paris’ Station F.
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Between 2017-2022, Lithuania has grown its digital economy by 16.8x annually – with the ecosystem now valued at over €9.5bn.
The country showed resilience in tech funding in 2022, recording its second-best year ever in terms of VC funding despite a turbulent year for the global technology sector.
“When I started investing in the Vilnius tech ecosystem in 2009 you could fit the entire tech ecosystem in one room,” said Darius Žakaitis, founder of Tech Zity. “Now the city is home to some of Europe’s best-known tech firms.”
Vilnius is the fastest-growing tech ecosystem in central and eastern Europe — home to a host of unicorns, including cybersecurity firm Nord Security (NordVPN) and second-hand clothing marketplace Vinted.
Darius hopes the new centre will cater to this growing ecosystem and appeal to tech firms at every level — “everyone from pre-seed startups, through to the likes of Google, can call Vilnius their home,” he said.
Tech Zity will renovate a number of old sewing factories in Vilnius’ New Town to create the new campus. Many of the old-school aesthetics will be retained but with several modern touches. The developer said it wants to “protect the building’s history and identity” while creating workspaces that workers are “excited to return to post-pandemic.”
Around 70% of building work is based on renovation, with only 30% of campus space being built from the ground up. By reusing much of the existing building, the project could save over 500 million tonnes of carbon throughout the construction process.
Tech Zity already manages three tech campuses in Vilnius, including Tech Park, Tech Loft, and Tech Spa, which are home to companies like Google, Bored Panda, and Kilo Health. Its most ambitious project yet, the new tech mega-campus is part-funded by Tech Zity’s existing operations — with support from Mantas Mikuckas, the COO and founder of Vinted. The developer remains in talks with a number of investment banks, family offices, and institutional investors for additional funding.
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