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Why industry giants like Marubeni look to Estonia for innovative partners in GreenTech

Having partnered with Estonian-founded Skeleton Technologies in 2021, Japanese trading and investment giant Marubeni stopped for a chat at Latitude59 to talk about promising Estonian tech.

Omika Takeshi, Business Development Manager at Marubeni, is hardly a newcomer to Estonia’s flagship technology conference. In Tallinn this year for his third Latitude59, he was just as excited about catching up with old connections as he was about scouting out potential new investments on Estonia’s burgeoning greentech scene.

While Marubeni, one of Japan’s largest sōgō shōsha (general trading companies), is sector-agnostic and invests in an extremely broad range of businesses and technologies, they came to Estonia’s Latitude59 with a somewhat narrower focus: finding innovative business models and technologies in greentech, decarbonization, Web3, and blockchain.

Partnering with Skeleton Technologies: “We are more than just an investor”

The conglomerate is no stranger to partnering with trailblazing Estonian companies in these spaces: Since March 2021, Marubeni has been a strategic partner to Estonian-founded Skeleton Technologies, a company powering energy savings with ultracapacitors.

Selling Skeleton’s energy storage products across Asia and supporting their commercial scale-up and customer acquisition in the Asian automotive sector, Marubeni is also using its relationships with existing clients to develop new applications for Skeleton’s proprietary curved graphene—the raw material that provides their ultracapacitors with an unparalleled advantage in power and energy density. “We are more than just an investor,” Omika Takeshi says. “We want to leverage our global network to contribute to expanding businesses. Skeleton is a perfect case study of that.”

With such a partnership under their belt, Marubeni is understandably on the lookout for more impactful investment and partnership opportunities in greentech and decarbonisation technologies coming out of Estonia. “Obviously I’m here to find new startups for investments and collaborations,” Omika Takeshi said at Latitude59. “But at the same time, I’m here to build a good network and catch up with people.”

Those networks and people are what lays the foundation for successful partnerships, after all — and there seems to be a winning formula hidden here.

“Estonian companies are easy to work with”

According to Omika Takeshi, one of the secret ingredients behind smooth cooperation for Marubeni and their Estonian partners is the communication style. “Estonian companies are easy to work with. They are very straightforward and honest. Startups sometimes make themselves look bigger than they are, but that is not the case with Estonian companies. They keep to their commitments and do what they say they will. It’s a good match for Japanese business culture.”

Perhaps it’s this commitment to promises and goals that has helped the Estonian technology ecosystem evolve to a point where the country feels confident in aiming to become one of the top greentech development regions in the world and emerge as a global center of excellence in the space.

Aiming at decarbonisation and sustainability

For Marubeni, that makes Estonia and its tech innovators a no-brainer, win-win partnership from that perspective as well. “We are really keen to make our society decarbonised and sustainable,” Omika Takeshi says.

From production opportunities to cutting-edge digital solutions and R&D capabilities, Estonia is poised to become the go-to location for those looking to fuel the energy revolution for a greener, more sustainable future.

If you’re ready to make smarter investments, use our brand new comparison tool to see how investment opportunities in Estonia measure up to other European countries.

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