Riding the Fintech Wave: Q&A with our Lithuania Country Manager
In this Q&A, Virgilijus Mirkės, our Lithuania Country Manager shares his insights on what it's like working at a fast-growth fintech and more specifically, what it’s like scaling a team out of Lithuania.
1. Tell us a little about yourself, and what attracted you to join Airwallex?
Being based in Lithuania, I have witnessed the growth and development of the country as an international hub for startups. I began my career working in banks, before making the transition into fintech a few years ago, when I realised the impact fintech is having towards transforming the financial landscape.
I joined Airwallex back in September 2021, at a time when the company was really ramping up its regional expansion across EMEA. Its international footprint, strong global ambitions and high-growth potential, alongside its focus on enabling a seamless customer journey, were what attracted me to join. I also knew I wanted to expand my skill set, take on a new challenge and make an impact.
2. Why is Lithuania such an important market for our business?
Lithuania may be a small country, but little do people know that it is in fact, the largest fintech hub in the EU in terms of licensed companies. It is an incredibly dynamic place. For starters, the Lithuanian regulators are very forward-looking and have adapted legislation to support innovation in the fintech ecosystem. We were also fortunate to work alongside the Bank of Lithuania to secure our EMI licence in October 2021, enabling us to grow our business in the region.
Lithuanians are incredibly energetic and motivated in their personal and professional lives, and this alone will drive greater innovation and talent in the market.
3. Can you tell us a little about Airwallex’s presence in Lithuania?
We started providing full services earlier this year, on 26 July 2022 and launched our service centre (operations hub) for our EMEA operations back in January 2022. We also have an established office, with a team of over 15 employees on the ground. We will continue to strengthen our local operations so we can better support local businesses in Lithuania going forward. By the end of the year, we aim to have over 20 employees, with plans to grow the team even more in 2023.
4. It has been a challenging few years for businesses, with the volatile macroeconomic conditions and ongoing covid pandemic. Has this impacted your growth in Lithuania?
The last few years have certainly been challenging for many. As a group, we are fortunate to have continued to support businesses during these challenging times. In Lithuania, keeping pace with Airwallex’s global growth, we have successfully established our operations here, driven by the deep local talent pool and favourable regulatory environment.
5. What types of companies do we work with in Lithuania?
We are always on the lookout to support modern businesses - those who are tech-enabled and whom we can further support with our world-class global payments infrastructure. This includes businesses across a number of industries including ecommerce, travel, logistics and more.
6. What's next for the Lithuania team?
To better serve local businesses in Lithuania, we will prioritise hiring in the region. We will also continue to develop our global payment infrastructure and offer unique payment solutions to Lithuania and other European countries' customers. In parallel, we will also bolster our service centre by providing additional services such as customer support, onboarding, and transaction monitoring from Lithuania to further support our other entities in EMEA.
To find out more about Airwallex’s Lithuania business, please contact Virgilijus Mirkes directly at [email protected].