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An Inside look at the Estonian Startup Ecosystem

Estonia: A Scalable Country, Ready for Series A?

Welcome to Tallinn, the epicenter of Estonia’s startup ecosystem and a brilliant place for companies to begin and launch gloablly. While Estonia could be considered early-stage, it has impressive metrics to back an impressive series-A investment as a country. The infrastructure has been laid and countless articles have recently written about e-Residency, e-government, and the abundance of free wifi… However, there is a lot more to this country and once on the ground in Tallinn, life in other cities becomes needlessly clunky.

Proximity:

City Center is located an easy 10 minute (€5-7 cab ride) from one of the coziest airports in Europe. Everything is in walking distance with the furthest IT hub a mere 10 minutes by car from the city center. Free public transportation for residents and low cab fares for visitors almost distracts from the charm of restored buildings and appreciation for nature.

Community:

Once intertwined with any ecosystem; be it business, IT, politics, or design, it becomes obvious how closely related everyone and everything is. With creative hubs like Telliskivi, university programs like Mektory, and programs such as Tallinn Incubator, as well as the strategically dense assortment of embassies, Tallinn is like a Venn diagram of overlapping interests and agendas.

Familiar faces on any street corner is almost a burden (6 degrees of Kevin Bacon could be re-named to the 2 degrees of Tallinn) BUT this comes in handy when needing an introduction to just about anyone.

Pro tip: Explore Tallinn’s food culture.

Perspective:

Contrary to almost any other country in Europe- Estonian startups must “think global from inception” because of a tiny population with just over 1m people.  There is no way local startups can strike it rich in their backyard, but it is the perfect sandbox to prove a concept before scaling. This mindset can be seen and attributed to incredible number of successful startups compared to the rest of CEE.

So, let’s discuss traction.

Top International Startup based in Tallinn:

Adcash

Hubs include:

Garage 48

Mektory

Tehnopol Startup Incubator

Tallinn Incubators

Investments have come from many top international names such as; Sir Richard Branson, Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Index Ventures, Matrix Partners. Estonia, while small, is agile and already scaling on the global market.

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