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Published: 14 april 2021 22:41

Kaunas startup ecosystem is strengthened by a successful Lithuanian from Silicon Valley

Romanas Zontovičius
Kaunas STP / Romanas Zontovičius

Lithuanian, who has worked at GetJar, one of the most successful Lithuanian startups, and Waymo, Google’s former self-driving car project, will help Kaunas startups to develop their business. Romanas Zontovičius has become the Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Department at Kaunas Science and Technology Park (Kaunas STP). Innovation expert will help local startups to reach global markets as well as international business accelerators.

The biggest advantage to startups is to "break things" fast

Kaunas is the hometown for Romanas and he believes that each region has its advantages, so it is important to be original as it often leads the way to success. The proof that our ideas are competitive is that we now have the first-ever Lithuanian startup Turing College participating in Y Combinator, the most famous startup acceleration program in the world.

"The biggest advantage to startups is that they make decisions very quickly and can "break things" which allow them to compete with well-established companies. Brutal courage - is something we could learn from the Silicon Valley startups. After all, the Valley is the only place that does not try to copy itself," says Mr. Zontovičius. 

Before joining Kaunas STP team, Romanas has worked for various Silicon Valley companies for over 10 years, he helped start-ups and large corporations to expand their audience in the mobile app market. "It's hard to believe, but in the beginning, Google, the developer of the Android platform, has chosen GetJar to advertise its apps. As far as I'm aware, we were the only platform in the world where you could legally download Google Maps and Google Search apps outside their own Google Play store,” Mr. Zontovičius recalls. 

Lithuanian startup has also distributed and promoted apps made by Facebook, Amazon, eBay, Skype, Opera Browser, games such as Angry Birds, and many others. The Head of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Department is convinced that a variety of projects he has been involved with industry leaders have provided valuable experience that has been very useful to this day: “I think the most important lesson would be not to be afraid to say “I don't know, let's try it this way.” The future is rarely created just on paper, often you need to roll up your sleeves and check what works and what doesn't,” says Mr. Zontovičius.

Artificial Intelligence aims to create a better future 

Innovation expert is convinced that the creators of AI algorithms aim to make the world a much friendlier and more sustainable place. Autonomous cars will eventually replace human drivers. Romanas, who worked as a Senior Safety Instructor, taught the company's drivers to operate autonomous vehicles on the streets of San Francisco. Safety drivers collect valuable data on public streets to improve the software.

Over 60 companies in the state of California alone have permits to test such vehicles. All this contributes to the development of Level 5 autonomous cars - which will eventually replace human drivers. Level 2 and 3 autonomous vehicles are available for purchase even today. Those cars are already reacting to the obstacles on the road, can park by themselves and follow the road signs,” Mr. Zontovičius notes. 

Considering algorithms' ability to address complex moral and ethical issues, expert emphasizes that autonomous cars can detect and track the height of pedestrians and adjust the movement strategies accordingly. For instance, various sensors and cameras link smaller people with children and assume they are less predictable and demand even more attention. Developers aim to create chains of actions that would ensure the maximum safety for all road users: pedestrians, passengers as well as the environment. 

Norėdamas tęsti – užsiregistruok

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