On a global scale, the chance for a startup to become a unicorn is very low, estimated at 0.00006%. In Estonia, home for 10 unicorns and 1,300+ startups, this chance is 13,000 times higher.
Paniagua finds that decision to set down roots in Estonia has been one of the best decisions made by Glia. It was easy to decide in favour of Estonia, because Carlos had known Estonian culture since his time at the university in Tartu and had been impressed by the world-class technical community of Estonia. In addition, a great team with a good set of values and finding your focus are also important for a startup to grow as fast as possible, Paniagua points out.
25 unicorns by 2025
Estonia is leading Europe in terms of unicorns, startups and VC investments per capita. Having 10 unicorns in 2022, the country’s vision is to build 25 unicorns by 2025.
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Estonia as an accelerator
Estonia is a great accelerator for every entrepreneur who dreams of creating world-changing solutions. Why? Because the digital state is so simple to use that you will get plenty of time for business, hobbies and family. Estonia is the country of digital signatures and paperless communication with 99% of government services available online. Starting a company will take 3 hours, filing taxes just 3 minutes (compared to 2 weeks in Germany or the average 44 hours in the OECD member countries).
“My government is in close connection with our tech community,” confirmes Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas in her opening speech at Unicorn59. “Keeping the entrepreneurial spirit blooming and developing the best pro-business environment in the world that attracts both talent and innovative companies – it is our high priority,” Kallas says.
“We are already one of the top startup ecosystems in the world,” states Kaidi Ruusalepp, the CEO and founder of the soon-to-be unicorn Funderbeam and the President of the Estonian Founders Society, which ensures that all its members will get access to Estonian founders’ know-how and network.
Estonian startups on a mission to make a global impact
Sometimes it feels that you just have to name a problem and Estonia already has a startup with a solution for it. From preventing burnouts of children to stopping climate change, there are so many missions going on in Estonia.
On April 20, 2022, Unicorn59 presented seven Estonian potential unicorns on their mission turning our planet into a more sustainable and inclusive habitat.
„We need to take action,” says Kadri Tuisk, who after seeing the enormous stress levels of children, founded Clanbeat, which helps to prevent burnout of students.
“Startups are looking problems to solve. Climate warming is an exciting problem to solve and there is a lot of hope,” believes Merit Valdsalu, CEO & co-founder of Single.Earth, the world’s first currency backed by natural assets.
„Big oil companies see plastic as their saviour from losing profits from stopping the use of gasoline. They intend to make more plastic and plastic production is expected to triple by 2050, which is insane,“ says Anna-Liisa Palatu, CEO and co-founder of Woola, the Estonian startup that reduces plastic waste by making packaging from leftovers of sheep wool.
„We are a company that builds better places with data,“ says Karen K. Burns, CEO and co-founder of Fyma, the only self-setup computer vision AI platform in the world.
„In Europe only, there are 10 trillion euros on people’s bank accounts or invested without sustainability,“ notes Karin Nemec, CEO & co-founder of Grünfin, the Estonian startup aiming to become the largest and the best-known sustainable investment platform in Europe and then in the whole world.
„Road transport is responsible for roughly 1/5 of CO2 emissions globally. The only sustainable way is to think of urban commuting beyond the use of personal cars. And this means taking public transportation experience to a totally different level,” states Taavi Rõivas, Chairman at AuveTech and former Prime Minister of Estonia. AuveTech develops and manufactures self-driving vehicles and autonomous transportation systems that are already operating in Estonia and the company aims for global expansion through hydrogen-powered last-mile buses.
„We have a digital bartender that has a soul and a personality,“ says Alan Adojaan, CEO and founder of Yanu, a fully autonomous AI- and robot-empowered bartending unit that serves drinks, handles payments, verifies identity, and communicates with customers.