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The most inspiring thoughts from Latitude59

Estonia’s largest tech and startup conference Latitude59, held for the first time as a hybrid event in Tallinn and online, had almost 2,000 participants from 55 countries, half of whom were on-site visitors. Here’s a brief overview of the Latitude59's most inspiring thoughts that were said on the stages and in front of the cameras.

“Demos. Pitches. Matchmaking. Parties.” This is how one of the participants, Maria Vous aptly describes the atmosphere of the event. “It’s the place to be for people who are serious about startups, investing, and the future of governance. It’s also a great place to get inspired and find new ideas,” Vous writes on the Mooncascade’s blog.

Thoughts of the leading digital nation

The president of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid highlighted in her  opening speech of Latitude59 the importance of innovation, environmentally sustainable solutions and that startups can play a part in it. In an interview given to Invest Estonia at Latitude59, Kaljulaid stressed the role of governments in keeping the world’s cyber-sphere safe.

“Nobody can be safe in digital space unless they have a passport. We do expect that our road space is protected by people being identified and identifiable, if needed,” president Kaljulaid said in the interview. “And the same applies in the cyber-sphere. How can you ask people to apply proper cyber hygiene, if they do not have a way to identify themselves to each other while they act and transact online? So, everything starts from governments, who are the only entities, who have the legal space control, who can actually create digital identities, which are respected by all parties and they should work internationally.”

E-state, digital identity, i-Voting, e-Residency, digital nomad visa – Estonia has been a pathfinder in so many things in the world, already. What’s next, Invest Estonia asked Marten Kaevats in the video interview at the Latitude59 tech conference.

„The next big innovation is in the domain on fundamental governments architecture to make it more open and more flexible for also private sector to be included in governance,” Kaevats said.

Thoughts of the startup nation

Estonia has the highest number of unicorns per capita in the world. According to World Economic Forum 2017, Estonia ranks the first globally in entrepreneurial activity: there are more than 1,000 startups in Estonia ready to conquer the world, following the four Estonian unicorns: Skype, Playtech, TransferWise and Bolt.

“That’s really amazing,” said Henrik Landgren, the analytics partner at EQT Ventures, commenting on the success story of Estonian startups in an interview to Anna Öberg, Invest Estonia’s Director of Business Development in Sweden.

“If you’re looking at great opportunities to invest in, I think, the time is really now in Estonia,” Landgren said.

“Now that these unicorns have created and you see that the next generation, the next wave of coming, being inspired by these role models and teams coming out of these earlier startups that were successful, now starting to try. And I think that the next years we will see much more unicorns coming from these. So, I think timing is probably now to invest in Estonia,” believes Landgren.

This year’s programme of Latitude59 contained a live stream from Stockholm where the topic of driving transformation was discussed. See the replay of Stockholm live here.

“We have seen some great success stories in Estonia. Per capita, Estonia has one of the highest rates of successful entrepreneurship anywhere in the world,” admitted David Goldberg, the founder and CEO of Founders Pledge.

Ebba Lilliehöök, Investment Manager at Telia Ventures said that Estonia’s startuppers are often digitally driven and highly educated but at the same time ready to enter young companies and do something completely new themselves.

As the founder stories are one of the most interesting things to hear in Latitude59, Anu Einberg, CEO of Mooncascade, brings  out the speech of Kristjan Maruste from Co-Module. When thinking about startups, the “fail fast” attitude tends to be referred to often. Kristjan Maruste challenged this attitude. There are so many times that an idea you have will fail. But instead of failing fast or becoming fixated on only one idea, it’s more important not to give up, learn from the experience, and find a way that works and creates value from your starting point.

Kadri Tuisk, the founder and CEO of Clanbeat: Estonia’s EdTech experiences could help the world cope better with e-learning during the second wave of coronavirus.

“Estonian schools went through a very big change, as did the rest of the world’s schools. And Estonian EdTech startups were really quick to respond,” says Tuisk. “Our solutions are corona-approved, and Estonian EdTech solutions have really taken a big step further.”

„Obviously, Estonia has a very rich tradition in terms of producing successful startups,“ Marcel van der Heijden, Partner at Speedinvest confirmed.

Estonia as a gateway to the global markets

Kaspar Korjus, e-Residency’s ex-CEO and co-founder of Pactum, finds that Estonia is a great place for businesses to start conquering the world: “You are faster, because the initial seed round investments come very easily and efficiently in Estonia.“

Korjus brings out four reasons, why other businesses should consider Estonia as an expansion base to start conquering the universe: „First. You are faster, because the initial seed round investments come very easily and efficiently in Estonia. Second. You have longer runway, because the great tech-talent in Estonia costs less. Third. You are smarter and more efficient, because we have a startup founders’ community on Slack, who answers all of your questions within minutes. And fourth. Because of the Estonian nature, you have less stress, because you can get this work-life balance very nicely.”

“Estonia for me has become the central way to access the EU market,” notes Vicky Brock, the co-founder and CEO of Vistalworks. „When you invest in Estonia, you are actually investing in very international global-looking businesses. “

Wish to know more about business in Estonia? You are welcome to step into the business sauna here and get started with your business in Estonia.

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