Pavel Durov the former CEO of Russia’s main social network, VKontakte and founder of Telegram quit his job at the beginning of this month saying, “it has become increasingly complicated to stick to the principles we once founded our social site upon.” Speculators gave an educated guess that Russian authorities have been pushing for more and more censorship on the site. Two days later, he apparently “unresigned,” but that wasn’t the end of this story.
Druov no longer wishes to work in Russia and moved the Telegram team in central Europe, and posted on Facebook that the team is looking for a location to set up with safe harbor. Telegram is a heavily encrypted messenger app.
The Facebook post got a huge number of replies, but Eddy Balcikonis, CEO of Lithuania-based Trackduck wrote an open letter on his blog as an invitation from the Lithuanian startup community. ArcticStartup was just down in Lithuania for the Login conference, and Balcikonis promotes much of what we saw down there, namely a stable economy, smart people, and plenty of people that speak both English and Russian. Additionally he points out that Lithuania has low taxes, a small bureaucracy, and is seeing outside attention by investors and IT corporations due to this.
Most importantly – we have a dynamic and growing startup scene:
- We have success stories like GetJar, Vinted and Pixelmator started in Lithuania. With dozens and dozens of upcoming startups catching up – Lithuanian startups consistently rank well in startup rankings, competitions and acceleratorsetc.
- Investors from all around have showed their trust in Lithuanian startups: Accel Partners, Intel Capital, just to name a couple.
- Dozens of local and international events for starups – LOGIN, Silicon Valley Comes to the Baltics and others. Also lots of support from government to startup community with initiatives like Startup Lithuania.
The message got picked up by all main media in Lithuania media like lrytas.lt, vz.lt, delfi.lt, 15min.lt, ekonomika.lt, and balsas.lt. Lithuanian politicians also got behind the idea, using it as another chance to posture themselves as more open and free than Russia.
Will Durov and the telegram team move to Lithuania? It’s impossible to say right now, but the post is worth looking over as what Lithuania has to offer to any startup team. Things are happening down there.