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The naked truth about business in Estonia: Skype wasn’t really founded by Estonians

.. but:
a) it doesn't really matter to us.
b) it was Estonians who turned the founders' vision into reality.
As Estonia's largest tech conference Latitude59 approaches, we have taken something known as the 'sauna state of mind', opening up about taboo subjects, and uncovering the naked truths about startups, tech, investing, and doing business in Estonia.

It’s basically an unwritten law in Estonia that we have to remind the world at every opportunity that Skype is Estonian. However, the company was actually founded by a Swede and a Dane — Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis — and most of their business is now outside Estonia.

That’s not something we’re trying to hide though. In fact, it makes us even more proud. Estonia successfully attracted these foreign investors and gave them the springboard they needed to build a global company.

They could have gone anywhere, but it was smart minds here in Estonia – like Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu, Jaan Tallinn, and Toivo Annus – who turned their vision into reality.

It worked out so well for them that the founders and early employees of Skype used their success to create and invest in many more Estonian companies afterwards. Many of them have their own saunas for employees, by the way, which perhaps played some part in their success.

So we’ll always celebrate people who choose to startup in Estonia, regardless of where they come from or where they want to go next (and even e-residents who have never stepped foot in Estonia!) To see an example of that pride, go check out the co-working space Lift99 in Tallinn. Every room is dedicated to people from outside Estonia who made a valuable contribution to our country. There’s a Zennström room, for example, and even rooms dedicated to the Pet Shop Boys and the entire nation of Iceland!

Want to know more naked truths about Estonia? You are welcome to step into our sauna’s waiting room here and find out all the naked truths about doing business in Estonia. See you at Latitude59 and our virtual investment sauna in a few days.

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