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Online Startup Demo Day summarized: Estonia’s secret power lies in making impossible things possible

What is the secret power of Estonia? Making the impossible possible. You just have to define an obstacle and Estonians are already looking for ways to solve it and if it can't be solved - use it.

From tiny to global

Having a tiny country with only 1.3M residents is not enough as a proper domestic market – not a problem. Estonians have adapted an attitude to think globally from day one. And that is what makes Estonian startups unique and successful in the world.

“Estonia is tiny. When you start anything in Estonia, you can’t build a large company by building for the local market and because of that, every young founder is looking at the world or thinking how they can conquer it,” Sten Tamkivi, Vice President of Estonian Startup Leaders Club explains.

In spite of being tiny, Estonia has become a melting pot of new ideas, worth keeping your eye on as an investor, Tamkivi believes.

The Estonian startup community is as vibrant as ever. Last year (in 2019) € 266.4M was invested into Estonian startups and even though the total investment amount in 2019 is smaller than in 2018 (€ 330M), we see the total number of deals increasing significantly. There were 73 new investment deals in 2019, which is almost double compared to 2018 (40). Also, 30 deals in 2019 were at least € 1M or more, compared to 20 in 2018.

Estonian startups have raised a total of nearly € 1B in the last 10 years. Since 2010, the part of investments raised from abroad to Estonian startups has been growing year-by-year, reaching 92% in 2019. The increased interest of foreign investors confirms that Estonian startups are being noticed globally, we have a strong startup ecosystem and a credible transparent business environment.

From reality to virtuality

Having a crisis spreading all over the world, locking people down means that ways need to be found to help companies, their employees and even students go online and avoid physical contacts. And of course there are possibilities for business in it.

“Every crisis is an opportunity,” says Sten Tamkivi.

The solutions from Estonian startups, like Veriff’s online verification, Bolt’s food home-delivery service, Visory’s social distancing monitoring solution are just some of such examples that fit the current situation perfectly.

According to Tamkivi, the results of the latest Estonian startup survey, held in March among Estonian startup founders, revealed that 99% of startups in Estonia are looking out for new opportunities during the current crisis. Furthermore, 60% of startups stated that they are already building new solutions due to the changes caused by the spread of COVID-19, lockdowns and changing market needs.


From introverts to masters of cooperation

Born naturally introverted, Estonians have become masters in cooperation between the private and public sector, globally and online. e-Estonia, e-Residency, Hack the Crisis and the Global Hack, all initiated in Estonia, are examples of successful cooperation.

From lockdown to online solutions

There is no surprise, that in the situation where the rest of the world is mostly waiting for movement restrictions will be relaxed, Estonians are moving their business events online. This is how the Online Startup Demo Day was born. To turn the crisis into profit. And to bring together startups and investors.

Online Startup Demo Day

First ever Estonian Online Startup Demo Day, held on May 14th, brought together a large community of Estonian startups and investors from around the world to join their forces for the future economy.

Fascinated by the setting, by the charisma of the moderator Louis Zezeran, by DJ Sander Möder’s superhot musical interludes, lively networking, the audience of 3,500+ participants enjoyed great pitches of the superstars of the event – Estonian startup founders.

Altogether, about 3,500 people participated in the event: 1000 followed the live stream on the event´s website  and 2500 on our Facebook page.The Demo Day’s recordings here and on Facebook, and the discussions on Slack channel will be available until the end of May, however, meaning the number of views will keep growing.

According to poll results on Slack, 42% of the event’s audience were investors, 30% startups and 28% the community.  The online demo day gathered people from all over the world, the most popular countries being Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Germany and the UK.


Vote for favourite startup

During the event, investors had the opportunity to vote for their favourite startups – the ones they see the most potential in. 10 startups with the highest number of votes during the live are as follows: Mercury Cash, Viveo Health, Fractory, Veriff, Wolf3D, Bolt, Xolo, Postoplan, Pactum and Comodule. The voting remains open until the end of May.

Based on these upvotes and reactions as well as contacts made and information shared during the networking session in Slack, Estonian Investment Agency will now keep facilitating the talks between investors and startups in order to turn the event into real profit.

Online Startup Demo Day was an online event, organised by Estonian Investment Agency (Invest Estonia) in cooperation with Startup Estonia, to present top Estonian startups, resolving the crisis and growing while doing it – looking for an investment €250K or more.

Watch the recording of the Demo Day here.

Wish to invest in Estonia? Read more about startup / risk capital opportunities in Estonia here and send us an e-Consulting request to get more detailed information.

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The Estonian Investment Agency’s team is happy to help you via its complimentary e-Consulting service, organize online or offline follow-up events such as virtual investment visits and guide you through the fairly simple process of investing in Estonia.

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