Estonia isn’t only mastering the building of unicorns and startups, but raising money as well. “Estonia, one of the smallest countries in the region, leads the whole of Europe when it comes to VC investments per capita as well as startup creation — €1,967 per capita raised and one startup per 1,048 people — which won’t come as a surprise to many readers,” writes Sifted.
According to the report by Google for Startups, VC firm Atomico and intelligence platform Dealroom, Estonia also grabs the spotlight as the birthplace of 30% of TOP10 most valuable tech companies founded in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) after 2000. In this TOP10, three out of seven Estonian unicorns are represented: Wise in valuation of €14 billion, Skype €7.6B and Bolt €4B.
Not an overnight success
Neither for Europe nor for Estonia, the startup ecosystem is no overnight success, but built on the shoulders of homegrown global software companies dating back to the 80s. “Successful CEE tech startups are attracting the attention of international investors and activating the positive flywheel, providing a base for the next generation of successes,” says Joanna Nagadowska, Google for Startups representative. The region’s biggest successes have a snowball effect, producing talent that go on to found the next generation of startups, says the report.
Triggered by Skype
“Ever since our early days with Skype, we’ve been watching technology transform every industry and region in Europe and CEE is no exception,” Sasha Vidiborskiy, Principal at Atomico says. Estonian first unicorn Skype has even wider impact than Estonia where it was founded. Skype and other tech giants attracted the attention of international investors and activated the positive flywheel, posing the base for the next generation of successes, finds report.
The next Estonian unicorns in the row
So far, Estonia has been the birthplace of seven unicorns: Skype in 2005, Playtech in 2007, Wise in 2015, Bolt in 2018, Pipedrive in 2020, Zego and ID.me in 2021. That’s 5.3 unicorns per capita. And it makes Estonia a world leader in unicorns per capita.
As our foreign investors are looking for the next unicorns, the VC report has some hints to give. Veriff, Skeleton Technologies and Monese are listed in the report as future unicorns of Estonia in valuation of $250M-1B.
Veriff is a global identity verification provider, based in Estonia. Veriff provides the technology its customers need to prevent fraud and stay one-step ahead of cybercriminals.
Skeleton Technologies is an Estonian-founded Global Cleantech 100 company and the largest European manufacturer of ultracapacitors. Ever since Skeleton first started developing graphene-based ultracapacitors in 2009, they have been steadfast in their aim to change the energy storage industry. SkelCap ultracapacitors, based on patented “curved graphene” represent the biggest technological advancement in the industry in the last 20 years.
Monese is an Estonian FinTech company, founded in 2015, taking care of online shopping security. Millions of people from across 31 countries have signed up as Monese users. With 70% of incoming customer money coming from salary payments, Monese is one of the most popular and trusted financial services across Europe.
The report brings out seven Estonian tech companies as rising tech stars worth up to $250 million. These promising companies are:
Scoro – work management software developer;
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