During the masterclass the viewers could learn how to start a company in Estonia with the help of startup ecosystem experts covering different angles of the process.
Among others, Marten Kaevats, the National Digital Advisor for the Estonian government, talked about building a digital country and introduced the government’s new visions and innovative plans. He highlighted the importance of a can-do mindset in Estonia, which has been a very good foundation for innovation. But his current vision focuses on a new governance architecture scheme that can be made as adaptive as possible and will enable to automatise 90-95% of all routine bureaucracy in the next ten years. So, the government is there to provide a safe and secure place, where the synergy and innovation between different stakeholders can happen.
Martin Villig, the co-founder of Estonian unicorn startup Bolt and the president of Estonian Founders Society, brought out the main reasons why Estonia is a good place to start a business and why Bolt has still kept its HQ in Estonia. “Firstly, you can start a company online only in 20 minutes, you will find a great talent pool in Estonia and also a cost-effective labour force with highly talented skills from neighboring countries” said Villig. He also stressed the important role of a lively community and the possibility to reach out to other startup founders. “The startup community in Estonia is definitely very mature, vibrant and functions very well in supporting the startups on their journey to go global.”
Michael Noonan, the Vice President of Operations at Clarifai shared his experience on expanding their US business to Estonia. In his overview about why choosing Estonia for their very first overseas office, Noonan stated that Estonia has so many talented people and the education system is terrific, the startup scene is excellent, as everyone is familiar how it works and creating an entity is shockingly easy and only took 6 weeks for them. His summary was to the point – you can hire local people, you have a culture that supports it and the environment is favourable to startups.
The masterclass was concluded with a fireside chat with Margus Uudam, the Chairman of EstVCA and founding partner at Karma Ventures, who described the funding possibilities and investor community in Estonia. Amongst others, Uudam explained that in the beginning it is important to find an angel investor and there are plenty of professional investors in Estonia who are willing to share their experiences and understand the ambitions to go global. “They are definitely the best advisors in the early stage of startup journey,” stated Uudam. “As Estonia is in a spotlight of some of the world’s best investors, the synergy is often based on the local funds and the outside funds from the target market.” Uudam stressed that Estonian investor community is very active and accessible and ready to meet startups, whether they are raising money or not. “But it would be definitely great, if you have an awesome idea for starting up.”
In addition to the live discussions, the viewers could see short overviews about establishing a company, the taxes and labour conditions in Estonia and the Estonian startup ecosystem.
This masterclass was organised by Invest Estonia together with EstVCA (Estonian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association).
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