The First Day of Latitude59 - Topics, Highlights, and Winners

The first day of Latitude59 covered an opening speech by Estonian President Ms Kersti Kaljulaid, keynote by Taizo Son, Marketing & Growth talks, FinTech and Space Tech tracks, the launch of Founder Stories, The Best of Baltic block and the TransferWise Pitching competition. Here´s a short overview of some of the highlights.

Opening speech and keynote

The conference kicked off with the opening speech from the President of Estonia, Ms Kersti Kaljulaid. In her speech, Ms Kaljulaid pointed out that technology makes everyone free to decide their own destiny, to become more independent professionals. She also said that the governments and the public sector have a lot of thinking to do as the industrial model that our social security model is built on, is disappearing. But Estonia is the best place in the world to understand that and act accordingly, she concluded.

President Kaljulaid´s speech was followed by a keynote by a Japanese investor, serial entrepreneur, CEO of Mistletoe Taizo Son, who´s focused on helping entrepreneurial challenges to become world impacts, told that the future will not be a smart grid, but off grid. Bringing examples of level 4 autonomous vehicle ZOOX, Personal Mobility platform by Cocoa Motors and Zipline´s autonomous UAV´s, Son demonstrated how the future will be designed based on human-centered approach.

Both the President and Taizo Son also participated in a talk right after concentrating on the future perspectives of Fin-Est Bay area.

Marketing & Growth talks

At the same time, Marketing & Growth block on the Yellow Stage was kicked off with Sean Percival from Katapult Accelerator, who talked about Growth Hacking for Startups. He explained the common mistakes startups do when going into marketing and gave tips how to avoid the most embarrassing mistakes.

After Sean, Michelle Messina, who´s heard more than 5000 pitches during the last couple of years, said that 90% of startups fail & they die because of suicide, not homicide. In her talk, she gave an excellent overview of the reasons why this can happen. One example: too many “oh shit!” moments. The Marketing talks were closed by Saija Mahon, who said that the interactive incarnation of the internet is the major driver of entrepreneurial opportunities.

FinTech & the Future of Banking

The first day also covered a fireside chat with TransferWise’s Taavet Hinrikus, followed by a fin-tech track with a discussion on the future of banking.

Taavet told Michel Jackson, his interviewer, that you're only in control of your investors, if you're making money, otherwise your equity % doesn't matter. He recommended to set an ambitious 2-year plan and if in 24 months you're still at 30% of target, stop wasting your investors' money and move on. Both Jackson ja Hinrikus agreed, that in terms of happy customers, TransferWise may already be the biggest global financial institution.

The Future of Banking track took it from there. Sampsa Laine, from Nordea, said that banking has never been so exciting as it is these days. The speakers, including Norris Koppel, Jevgenijs Kazanins and Jon Matonis, agreed that considering the technological innovations such as AI and crypto economy, the possibilities for FinTech are unlimited. The talk also covered legislation and regulation part of doing business in FinTech. Everyone agree that being regulated is a great thing that will make FinTech companies stronger, not slow them down.

On the blue stage, Taavi Rõivas, Maria Pienaar, Ivan Vidakovic and Alan Devlin discussed how the new digital environment and platforms are evolving and how leading players are leveraging these. Rõivas pointed out that governments can also be innovative if the people making up the institutions don´t stop being innovative themselves. According to him, that´s one of the reasons why Estonia has been the poster child of digital innovation.

SpaceTech & Founder Stories

Small Satellites will be more and more necessary to create more data and build new applications. Startups are testing new business model with Earth Observation, Internet of Things and Big Data. Ronald Goedendorp, Sebastian Straube and Scott Larson discussed how will these applications affect or everyday life and where should new startups focus.

For the first time ever, Founder Stories were launched this year. Entrepreneurs such Josipa Majic, Ragnar Sass, Eric Migicovsky, Elias Pietilä, Kristel Kruustük and Kristo Ovaska, took the stage and shared their epic startup success stories and failures.

The best and the winners

The first conference day also saw the Best of Baltics introducing the most agile growth stage startups from the region. Monese, Taxify, Plumbr, Branchtrack, RebelRoam, Sonaworks and Printify showcased just how awesome they are.

Also, the TransferWise early stage pitch competition took place. The lucky winner is PSII, a Personal Sensitive Identifiable Information software that discovers private sensitive information for public document registries.

The winning team gets €1000 credit for legal services from Nordic law firm Hedman Partners, equity free €2000 and Pro100k Plan plus starter package with from Sendgrid.

The day´s not over yet!

The soon-to-be-legendary Latitude59 afterparty takes place at Pudel Baar and Lift99 both places are located at Telliskivi Creative City. The event starts at 20.00. You need your wristband to access.

There will be beats (DJs Girti Suun & Sander Mölder) and live music by NOËP - one of hottest names in Estonian music scene right now. Drinks by Moe and Nudist.

See you there!