A Scottish start-up which develops technology to keep consumers safe online has struck a deal with the Lithuanian government to crack down on illicit trade.
Vistalworks will spearhead closer ties between Scotland and Lithuania’s GovTech Lab, which encourages innovative solutions to help governments address a range of challenges.
Glasgow-based Vistalworks is the only UK firm among nine set-ups taking on various government challenges in Lithuania. The firm specialises in developing software to target illicit and fake goods being sold online.
The deal has come about with backing from the ‘Scotland CAN DO Innovation Challenge Fund’, which supported it through the bidding process and includes the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Funding Council, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
The Lithuanian government is exploring opportunities to improve consumer protection for its citizens in line with EU standards.
Vistalworks has staff based in Scotland who can speak Lithuanian and Russian who will work on the project remotely, and it is hoped similar deals can be struck with other small EU countries.
The company has already established an additional base in Estonia to ensure it can still provide solutions for EU countries post-Brexit.
Last month, Vistalworks was selected for the UK’s fintech growth programme to help secure the country’s position as a world-leader in the sector.
The growth programme is designed for the best and brightest UK fintechs, providing them with coaching, content and networks to build technological innovation for the UK.
Vicky Brock, chief executive and founder of Vistalworks, said:
“We are hugely excited to be working on this project with GovTech Lab in Lithuania.
“Vistalworks has developed a really powerful intelligence service that lets enforcement agencies conduct risk-based targeting of illegal online sellers, as well as illicit goods.”
“This work will result in a fully-translated and localised intelligence product, which could then be extended to other governments, enforcement agencies and consumer protection organisations across Europe.”
“We already have a great international team here in Scotland, which is testament to the brilliant universities and graduates the country has.”
“Ultimately, illicit trade is a global, cross-border problem and we’ve always recognised that we need to build an internationally-focused solution to help governments tackle it.”
“The Scotland CAN DO Innovation Challenge Fund provided great support through this process, and we are very grateful to them for that.”
Arune Matelyte, manager of GovTech Lab Lithuania, said: “The idea is we as a country can be effective and thrive only by working together and not competing with each other.”
“Our team truly believes in the process of co-creation of innovative government.”
“We must work together – the entrepreneurs, public sector officials, activists and academics – to effectively solve public sector and social challenges, challenges that are too complex to be solved by anyone alone.”
“From detecting illegal content on the internet to monitoring hate speech or dangerous products, we are happy that such important problems for our society are not overlooked.”