We are an early-stage VC firm with the sole purpose of backing entrepreneurs in proximity to us. We want to hear and resonate with local founders’ ambitions, and we want to be closer. This is why we are happy to introduce our venture partner for Latvia - Marija Ručevska, a true long-time insider and contributor.
It is the time for the early stage to shine and start building and creating and adapting to the new reality. Small, dynamic, and “hungry” ecosystems like the Baltic States are the fastest to adapt to the changing environment. Moreso, Lithuanian and Latvian tech ecosystems are at an inflection point and will inevitably follow the trailblazer Estonia. The accelerating network and knowledge spill-over effects, second-time founders and founders coming early successful startup employees, increasing startup top and mid talent pool, top tier VC exposure to the region, and one of the best governmental policies globally – all are catalytic effects next to actual capital efficiency of Baltic startups.
We do believe the Latvian ecosystem will demonstrate explosive growth, and we want to be a part of it when it happens – no “cheering from the sidelines” in our strategy.
Meet Marija Rucevska
We are delighted to welcome Marija as our new venture partner - she brings a wealth of experience, a deep network and a great understanding of the Latvian startup landscape. With a proven track record in identifying and nurturing early-stage ventures, Marija will be instrumental in driving our investment strategy forward in Latvia.
With over 8+ years of operational and community-building experience in the startup ecosystem, Marija has left an indelible handprint on the local and regional startup scene in Latvia and the Baltics. Currently, she is a driving force behind Helve, the sole corporate innovation as a service company in the Baltics. Her primary focus at Helve is to facilitate connections between startups and industry market leaders, enabling growth and innovation across new business and automation sectors. Through this extensive experience, Marija has gained firsthand insights into various business models, market needs, and untapped potential solutions.
In addition to her contributions at Helve, Marija has played a pivotal role in spearheading the evolution of the TechChill organization. Today, TechChill is recognized as one of Europe's premier tech events, attracting startups, disruptors, investors, and industry enthusiasts alike. Marija continues to actively support and contribute to the organization as a board member.
Furthermore, Marija also engages in angel investing, further exemplifying her commitment to fostering startups.
3 Qs with Marija
What aspects of the venture capital industry have captured your interest? How have those aspects motivated you to pursue a career in VC?
I have dedicated my entire career to empowering startups and supporting their growth. Given my passion for fostering entrepreneurship, transitioning into venture capital felt like a natural progression and a way to further contribute to the startup ecosystem. While continuing to run my own business, I knew that I wanted to explore the investment side of the industry. Furthermore, as I'm a big believer in Baltic-born startups, I knew that sooner or later I would join a VC team, with the same strong market conviction. It was an opportune moment when Practica Capital, a well-established and trusted name among founders, approached me with an intriguing opportunity.
What is your perspective on the Latvian startup ecosystem, its current state, and its growth potential?
The Latvian startup scene is accelerating fast and there have been several factors that have significantly influenced our markets’ growth trajectory in the past few years.
Firstly, there are already several strong post series A globally recognised market-leading companies such as Localise, Printful, Printify, Whimsical, Giraffe, Sonarworks and Aerones, which we are very proud of. These companies serve as a launchpad platform for new companies making their name in the ecosystem - I see founders spurring out with an ability to go to market faster, securing larger pre-seed rounds directly, without the mediation of accelerators. Secondly, the emergence of the next generation of investors, including founders and operators turned investors, has contributed to the ecosystem's growth. These investors not only provide capital but also offer invaluable know-how and mentorship to budding startups. Thirdly, the local ecosystem organisations have also done a great job in terms of lobbying significant legislative changes - options, startup law, etc. making the country overall an attractive place for building a global company.
Beyond your professional pursuits, we'd love to get to know you on a personal level. What founders should know about you?
I consider myself a very straightforward person, I hate small talk and love to get to the point in every conversation I make, with no time to waste. Due to my entrepreneurial background, I believe I can relate quite well with founders and their struggle in pushing the business forward. I'm quite well in terms of “reading the room” and connecting the dots – I tend to give first and only then ask. Too extraverted for yoga, but very much into competitive sports.
The Road Ahead
Arvydas Bložė, Partner at Practica Capital:
"By establishing a dedicated presence in Latvia, we aim to increase our operational activity level with boots on the ground. Marija will play a pivotal role in sourcing, evaluating, and nurturing high-potential startups, aligning their interests with our fund's vision. Together, we will provide entrepreneurs in Latvia with the necessary capital and network access to fuel their biggest ambitions and build successful global ventures. We choose to be a dedicated local lead investor serving and acting from within the ecosystem"
We invite ambitious founders in Latvia to connect with Marija and our team and explore how we can partner to unlock your potential. Our goal is to partner with them primarily at a seed stage, deploying up to 3m EUR and selectively looking at pre-seed and Series A for initial investments. However, our commitment to the region extends beyond just financial support; we are eager to share our knowledge, expertise, and global network to help entrepreneurs overcome challenges and continue to build global success stories out of Baltics.Back to news