5 Estonian Startups You Should Know About
5 Estonian Startups You Should Know About
From the world known messaging app to iGaming companies, Estonia is one of the fastest growing startup scene in Europe.
Estonia is the young country that is on the right track from 90-s. With just 1.3 million inhabitants, it has gained visible results in creating new ways of doing things. Electronic government, blockchain technologies internet as a human right and law taxes – Estonia has it all and even more. This country started its glorious way in 1991. However, it managed to become the most developed not only within the Baltics, but enter the highest league of Scandinavian countries in the terms of well-being and spread of technologies.
More and more people are joining today the fold where technology and business meet, and Estonia is one of the fastest startup hubs in Europe. The new companies are emerging daily, but let’s look out for the most prominent ones.
It’s impossible to write about the Estonian startup scene without mentioning Skype. Skype is undoubtedly Estonia’s greatest contribution to the way we live and communicate today and biggest Estonian innovation. Within one month of launch, Skype had been installed one million times. 14 years later, the number of people who have ever used Skype increased to 560 million. The average time spent on a Skype conversation is 27 minutes.
The company was founded back in 2003 by Niklas Zennström from Sweden and Janus Friis from Denmark with Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu, and Jaan Tallinn, Estonians. It was an instant messaging app with a function of video chat calls and voice calls. Only two years later, it was bought by eBay for $2.6 billion and in 2011, Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5 billion. In 2014, it reported that 40% of international calls were made via Skype.
Its influence in the world community is striking: whether it is business or private communication, Skype is always on the top of the list. This August, the company launched Scoop bot, who helps users to stay up to date on trending topics in politics, sports, pop culture and others. Currently, Skype allows to hold video chat conferences with up to 250 people, present interactive tools and synchronize activities with most popular Microsoft services. For now, Skype is focusing on providing innovative solutions for businesses.
The list does not end there. TransferWise is another company that made its way from a startup to a reputable company. With it, you can easily send money all over the world paying the lowest fees in the industry. The company was founded by two friends – Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann – who believed in the free flow of money. By the way, Taavet Hinrikus was the first Skype employee, so eventually he had a six sense for profitable business. As most people, these guys faced paying high banking charges every time when transferring money from Tallinn to London. And they ended up with an idea of creating a peer-to-peer system for this purpose, which enabled low-charges and practically free money transfers.
It all happened in 2011, and now TransferWise owns 9 offices, with over 600 employees, across four continents. Just a few figures – for £1 thousand transfer the user is offered to pay 5-pound fee which is 90% lower than most banks’ offerings.
TransferWise has shifted more than £3 billion of clients’ money since 2011, which is another sign of the success of this former startup. Naturally, this venture has always been a huge inspiration to local Estonian and world entrepreneurs.
In May 2017, TransferWise launched a new service, the Borderless account, created especially for businesses and freelancers with an existing account.
Founded in 2015, Comskill Media Group is young and dynamic growing startup based in Estonia. It focuses on online lead generation and works in the iGaming industry. Comskill Media Group is in Tallinn and currently employs over 10 people. The company operates through affiliate websites and social media platforms with the help of high-quality and accurate content that provides value to readers for free. It specializes in content creation, research and search engine optimization. The company is committed to becoming the number 1 affiliate operator for the iGaming industry within their core markets and eventually become one of the gaming industry’s biggest players in its field.
Comskill Media Group is targeting Baltic countries with 100+ domains and a wide range of subjects related to the iGaming market. Lately, the startup launched Kasiino.com – a source for trusted information and real players experiences. The website provides information about the latest reviews on casinos, best deals, and games.
Pipedrive is another Estonian company we can’t ignore in this list. It was created to help small sales teams manage and improve their sales processes. Basically, it is a tool that visualizes clients’ sales pipeline and helps include all the activities in line. It allows plan sales activities, track everything, easily manage deals, and better execute.
Pipedrive was founded in 2010 by two seasoned sales managers who realized that there were no tools for real selling people and most of CRM tools were designed to give an overview to satisfy management needs. Currently, the Piperdrive solutions are offered to over 50 thousand businesses in over 140 countries globally. It supports 15 languages and multiple currencies and employs over 200 people in four countries. It has six offices, including Tallinn and Tartu. The platform is integrated with more than 50 other online software tools such as Google Apps, Trello, Mailchimp, Zapier and Yesware. The company constantly adds new services. Pricing starts with €10 per month and includes basic features. For more advanced business solutions, Piperdrive charges €24 and €63 per user monthly offering them more storage, customizable email templates and advanced speed & reliability. In January 2017, Pipedrive closed a $17 million round of funding.
Taxify is another Estonian ex-startup that expanded into an international transportation company. It offers web-based software solutions for taxi drivers. For a regular user, it works via a smartphone app that allows finding a nearby taxi and make a booking. Actually, it is similar to Uber: the same features as showing a taxi driver approaching on the map, rate a driver and select the best rate. Additionally, the company offers Hopp, a ridesharing service that enables users to share cars during the trip over Estonia. The company was founded in 2013 by Markus Villig, who was at that time a 19 years old student. The head office is based in Tallinn, Estonia. Since then, Taxify has been extensively expanding. Now, the company operates in 18 countries and 25 cities in Europe, Western Asia, Africa, and America, serving clients all over the world. Since 2013, the company has raised over €2 million in investments.
The application is available for IOS, Android and Windows Phone. To use it, you should install the app, register and have the internet connection. Payment methods include cash, debit or credit card or mobile carrier billing.
While Estonia offers headline investing opportunities, there will be more successful companies to expand from the tech hubs globally. Let’s watch the next generation of talented entrepreneurs.