Raimonds Kaže, Uldis Leiterts, Alise Semjonova
About Raimonds Kaže, Uldis Leiterts, Alise Semjonova
Infographics has become one of the major driving forces of changing media. Attractive visual storytelling has become a prerequisite in presenting data on economic or social phenomena. However, recession-hit industry professionals, not to mention their freelance counterparts, are often scared off by the technical prowness and financial resources needed to produce a good infographic. This is where Infogr.am comes to help – a simple and free web tool allowing people to create various charts with interactive elements.
Two Latvians, Uldis Leiterts and Raimonds Kaže, started working on Infogr.am, “frustrated by their dependence on expensive graphic artists to visually enhance their stories.” Leiters, a graphic designer, and Kaže, who studied computer science, both graduated from the University of Latvia. In 2012, when the idea of a joint project appeared, they already had considerable experience in journalism and web design, as well as development. Soon, a new member, the designer Alise Semjonova, joined their team.
What happened next is presented, obviously, in an info graphic: How to Become a Super Successful Latvian Startup. Info.gram was supported by two startup accelerator programs, one of them Finnish. The team temporarily moved to Helsinki, but has sinced moved back to Riga, and has been joined by a new COO Mikko Järvenpää. Now Info.gram is based both in Riga and San Fransisco. Infogr.am has received various prizes and nominations. To date, the software is used by 1.2 milion users (100,000 are added every month), who have created more than 700,000 infographics.
The founders plan a greater collaboration with the other Baltic countries. They see how Latvia has changed over the last decade, and believe that a dynamic startup community with global ambitions, will shape the future economy in the region. “There are many startups that have mixed teams from Latvia, Estonia, Finland – it’s about collaboration, not competition,” argues Leiterts.