Often described as the movers and shakers of Northern Europe, Estonia is a country full of innovation and dynamism. It’s a small country, but it’s certainly made its presence felt in the startup world, Patricia Allen writes on EU-Startups.
Estonia is ranked amongst the world’s top startup ecosystems. It’s a scene that’s full of activity and has plenty of support on offer to give a helping hand to ambitious entrepreneurs and startups. From Skype to Bolt and from Playtech to Pipedrive, Estonia is the birthplace of some of the world’s most well-known startups.
2021 was a big year for the Baltic region, Wise became the first Estonian decacorn, Bolt secured a massive investment, GetID and SpectX successfully exited. According to Startup Estonia, in the first nine months of 2021 Estonian startups signed 61 funding deals for €870 million – not bad for a country of just 1.3 million people.
Current Ambassador for Estonia and former Business Development Secretary for the Ministry of Economy, Viljar Lubi stated: “The startup community in Estonia has proved not only that great ideas that transform our thinking are born here, but also that startups drive our economic growth, which is quite remarkable.”
The internet in Estonia is recognized as a basic human right, making it a leader in IT, cybersecurity and government. It also means the country has a rich talent pool that has a high level of English for international founders and investors to dive into in search of talent. Estonia also benefits from the Estonian Startup Visa which supports increasing demand for talent in the tech and IT field.
This, alongside government commitments to cultivating a healthy startup ecosystem, incubators and accelerators, and healthy VC funds makes Estonia one of the most successful countries for startups in the world. Tallinn is even called the European Silicon Valley.
Next-generation core banking platform Tuum got 2022 off to a flying start with a €15 million funding boost in January. Founded in 2019, the startup has developed a flexible and modular cloud-agnostic platform that enables banks, fintech firms, and traditionally non-financial companies to quickly roll out new financial products and services. In the three years that Tuum has been operating, demand for its next-generation core banking platform has seen rapid growth. The platform is now trusted by an ever-growing list of regulated banks, fintechs and embedded finance players from various industries.
With a vision to build a nature-backed economy, Single.Earth is a deep tech startup disrupting corporate climate action, helping businesses and organizations make a real impact on climate and nature by making climate action a part of the business processes. Founded in 2019, the greentech startup uses blockchain technology to create a marketplace that protects nature by making carbon removal and biodiversity tradable. With the platform, landowners can earn money through nature conservation and individuals and businesses can trade or contribute to nature-backed digital assets. It’s all part of a mission to use science, finance and education to empower people to become custodians of the natural world. Founder Merit Valdsalu will speak at this years EU-Startups Summit!
Founded in 2019, Duckt is a smart mobility startup that develops and operates docking, locking and charging infrastructure solutions for micromobility in urban environments. Micromobility is one of the buzzwords of the moment in Europe’s startup scene, but so far, most startups are focusing on the actual method of mobility (the ebikes, escooters and so on). Duckt is taking on an area with huge potential, and huge importance – the charging, security and regulatory infrastructure for cities, companies and users behind micromobility solutions. More and more European cities are calling for designated parking areas for shared electric vehicles to keep up with the demand of the booming micromobility movement, Duckt is in an excellent position to skyrocket this year. Already, they are working in collaboration with the likes of Kite Mobility and ESB to offer their solution around Europe and beyond.
Founded in 2019, this Tallinn-based startup QANPlatform is a quantum-resistant hybrid blockchain platform. The platform allows developers and enterprises to build Quantum-resistant smart contracts, DApps, DeFi solutions, NFTs, tokens, Metaverse on top of the QAN blockchain platform in any programming language, in just 5 minutes. The multi-language feature will help contribute to blockchain mass adoption, and also opens up new blockchain use cases. Its aim is to make talent acquisition, development and codebase maintenance more accessible and cost-efficient for companies. Through building integrations with used and loved programming languages, DevOps tech, and cloud platforms, the QANPlatform will be adopted seamlessly and rapidly.
Tallinn-based edtech Mentornaut connects students with tutors in their local education system to make personalized learning a thing of the present. Enabling students to connect with local tutors, means learners can benefit from the fact their tutors will be familiar with their educational system, and therefore offer better, more personalized help. For tutors, the platform provides a supportive network. Founded in 2020, the vision is that education is fundamental to developing minds that will take the initiative to tackle global challenges. The startup picked up €200k in November 2021 and is helping users to rediscover the fun in learning. Edtech is booming across Europe already this year, so innovations like this one are sure to be exciting to keep an eye on.
Based in Tallinn, Glitter Finance is a blockchain research and development company, connecting people to innovation in the DeFi space. The startup was founded in 2021 by a team of experienced and successful DeFi founders, technologists, investors and entrepreneurs. The vision of Glitter Finance is to increase capital efficiency between cross-chain bridges by integrating a yield into the cross-chain bridge design and redeploying wrapped tokens from the bridge into the yield. The young company picked up €2.9 million in November 2021, marking a promising 2022 to come and has started the year with a host of new partnerships.
Founded only in 2020, RecruitLab is an HRtech with big ambitions. The startup is a recruiter-centric marketing and applicant tracking software. Its clear user interface and integrations with recruitment channels (like job boards or social media) give recruiters complete control over their recruitment projects. The platform includes features such as tools for building attractive job adverts, automated interview scheduling, video interviewing. The aim is to improve communication and cooperation between and amongst candidates and recruitment teams. In April 2021 the company raised €300k, fuelling its expansion plans.
Based in Tartu, LightCode Photonics is developing breakthrough tech for the mobility sector. By rethinking image acquisition and transforming 3D from human-like perception to robotic vision – the startup is building the world’s first Software-Defined 3D Camera (SD3D Camera). Founded in 2020, the aim is that this tech will transform the autonomous mobility sector, especially for autonomous cars powered by satellite navigation. The company uses fundamentally different principles for acquiring images, inspired by quantum-light shaping technologies combined with the software-defined operation. The solution allows upgrading the performance of inexpensive hardware components for accurate real-time 3D mapping, making the solution highly scalable. In May last year, the young startup nabbed €425k and has been soaring since.
Founded in 2020, Minterest is a ground-breaking lending protocol built by industry leaders to service billions in TVL and challenge existing DeFi incumbents. Operating its own on-chain liquidation and buyback mechanisms, the Minterest protocol automatically distributes the value it captures from interest rates, flash loans and liquidation fees to users. As a result, the company offers both asset security and transparency. Minterst is offering a pioneering and world-first lending protocol capturing 100% of value, resulting in a high long-term yield in the crypt borrowing and lending sector. In September the startup picked up over €5.7 million, and with crypto continuing to grow, it’s definitely an innovative one to watch.
Founded in 2020, medtech startup Migrevention is on a mission to develop a digital solution for migraine treatment. The company began 2022 raising €355k and started clinical trials. With a core team made up of neurologists and psychologists, as well as long term migraine patients, Migrevention plans to evolve as a platform for scientifically proven treatment. Migraine is a condition suffered by billions worldwide, and with medtech a growing industry, the solution they are offering is pertinent. Increasingly, the healthcare sector across the world is looking to digital and remote solutions to help patients manage their treatments. Migrevention’s solution combines digital intervention with conventional treatment, enabling users to access the help they need from home via an app.
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