PM Kaja Kallas: “We just don’t talk about a digital society, we live it.”
“As you might know, Estonia is a proud nation of rivers, islands, and startups. And while our forests are filled with moose, foxes, and wolves, we also have seven unicorns and counting – not bad for a country of 1.3 million people,” Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said on her welcome speech at Unicorn59 startup pitching event today.
“Our public sector itself is a tech-savvy and demanding customer to our innovative startups – we just don’t talk about a digital society, we LIVE it,” Kallas stated.
“We are eager to make relevant changes happen quickly. This makes Estonia a perfect testing ground for innovative solutions. As a small country we value flexibility and diversity and therefore we welco me foreign investors and talent in Estonia – together we can build a better future for everyone,” Prime Minister Kallas added.
A personal unicorn for every Estonian by 2043
Estonia is the leader in unicorns per capita in Europe. Despite a population of 1.3 million people, the country has been the birthplace of seven unicorns so far: Skype in 2005, Playtech in 2007, TransferWise in 2015, Bolt in 2018, Pipedrive in 2020, Zego and ID.me both in 2021. That’s 5+ unicorns per million capita. And the time lag between the creation of each following unicorn is constantly decreasing. If last year’s trend of increasing the number of unicorns 3/4 times per year continues – and there are no huge shifts in population – there will be a unicorn for every Estonian already by 2043!
Is it a personal tech unicorn for every Estonian, or what exactly the Estonian startup sector can offer to the country in the coming years, was discussed in the Unicorn59’s fire side chat by Maarja Pehk, CEO of Latitude59 & Martin Villig, President of Estonian Founders Society & Co-Founder of unicorn company Bolt.
Villig and Pehk discussed how Estonia’s startups are already creating 2-3% of the country’s GDP currently. Past growth of about 30% a year in the startup sector means that if the growth continues at the current rate, the startup sector will grow to more than € 9 billion and 50,000 employees by 2030.
According to Villig, startup founders are expecting exponential growth in Estonia. By continuing current growth of tech sector, in 5 years we would have few tens of thousands and in 10 years it will be over 50,000 jobs created. It’s just 10% of Estonian total working population in 2030. This would mean revenues of 10 billion euros, or ca 30% of Estonian GDP. It could be the realisation of a dream – an export economy where knowledge, technology and science create majority of the value.
159 cool Estonian startups looking for funding
Uniciorn59, an online pitching event for Estonian startups, held on June 17th, brought together a large community of Estonian startups and investors from around the world to join their forces for the future economy.
See the full recap here:
On Unicorn59, seven hand-picked Estonian startups: Pactum, Fractory, Katana, Planet42, Salv, Comodule and Xolo, pitched their visions. In addition to these 7, a top-secret list of 159 Estonian startups planning to raise money within next six months was released to investors who participated in the event.