SINCE 2012

TALLINN, EST: MAY 21-23, 2025

“Our mission with Plural is to have GDP-level impact on Europe” – Sten Tamkivi

Sten Tamkivi has been on the Latitude59 stage more times than we can count – as a founder, as an investor, as a community builder. One of the earliest members of the Estonian startup community, he served at Skype for over 8 years, he co-founded Teleport (which was acquired by Topia in 2017), and now – together with Taavet Hinrikus – he invests in the next legendary tech companies from Europe via Plural.

As Latitude59 is just around the corner, we asked Sten about his earliest memories of Latitude59, how our startup scene has changed over the years, and what will he be up to at this year’s conference!

1. When was your first time at Latitude59? What do you remember from those times?

If I told you, you would be able to deduce my old age. Let’s just say that someone from the local Estonian startup scene would still know 80% of people present then – compared to the international thousands that show up these days. And there was a friendly handshake with our Finnish friends that when they claimed the worst weather of the year for Slush, Tallinn can help the world with an “almost midsummer” timing of a startup event south of our shared bay.

2. What has changed since – in our ecosystem; and at Latitude59?

Over the last decade, more than €4B of fresh capital has flowed into the Estonian tech scene, and as the most noticeable effect, this has made everything more and more international. A quarter of the local founders and over a quarter of all the 10k+ employees working in Estonian early-stage tech haul from elsewhere.

There are investors travelling to and from the Nordics, London, Berlin, US and Tokyo. Repeat founders are starting their 2nd or even 3rd runs — and usually going after more ambitious missions with every subsequent time. And Latitude59 has remained a little concentrated microcosm reflecting all this over a span of a few days and nights.

3. Why did you found Plural? What is your mission and who should approach you at Latitude59?

We founded Plural because we wanted to give serious founders in Europe investors with experience to match their ambition. Only 8% of European VCs have built a company before, yet founders building hard companies will be better served by investors with first-hand experience.

Our entire investment team has decades of company-building experience having spearheaded globally significant tech companies including Wise, Skype, Songkick, Teleport, Bigpoint and HelixNano. We believe our scar tissue from founding and growing some of the most innovative and impactful global technology companies is invaluable for the next generation of founders, and we take a hands-on investing approach of meaningful support and deep time to bend the trajectories of the companies we back.

Our mission with Plural is to have GDP-level impact on Europe, address systemic risks and reduce the opportunity gap worldwide through the companies we back. Any serious founders tackling important world problems through technology at Latitude59 should get in touch.

4. You are also a part of the stage program – can you reveal a little bit what will you be sharing?

I’ll be on stage with my friend and fellow investor Staffan Helgesson from Creandum to discuss Europe vs the US, specifically looking at where we’ve grown apart, what the strengths are of each today (vs 10 years ago), and where we still need each other most. It’s a timely topic and one close to my heart, having built companies both in Europe and in the Valley – and raised money from investors on both continents.

Say hi to Sten at Latitude59 2024!
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Sten Tamkivi participating at a panel discussion at Latitude59 2023: “Exploring Startup Funding Myths and Models”

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