On April 20, 2022, Invest Estonia, Startup Estonia, EstVCA and Latitude59, hosted an event called Unicorn59. “Unicorn59 was like a “pre-party” for Latitude59. It gathered 7 of our beaming startups – teams with high potential, building products that make many investors hungry for a bite. But that was just a small glimpse of what’s going to happen on May 19-20,” says Liisi Org, CEO of Latitude59.
Unicorn59, the pre-party of Latitude59, was recapped by L59’s partner Invest in Estonia – read all about it in their blog. In short, the L59 warm-up event gave the stage to 7 fast-growing Estonian startups, all on a mission to turn our planet into a more sustainable and inclusive habitat. The list of highlighted startups included Clanbeat, Single.Earth, Woola, Fyma, Grünfin, AuveTech, and Yanu.
- „We need to take action,” says Kadri Tuisk, who after seeing the enormous stress levels of children, founded Clanbeat, which helps to prevent burnout of students.
- “Startups are looking problems to solve. Climate warming is an exciting problem to solve and there is a lot of hope,” believes Merit Valdsalu, CEO & co-founder of Single.Earth, the world’s first currency backed by natural assets.
- „Big oil companies see plastic as their saviour from losing profits from stopping the use of gasoline. They intend to make more plastic and plastic production is expected to triple by 2050, which is insane,“ says Anna-Liisa Palatu, CEO and co-founder of Woola, the Estonian startup that reduces plastic waste by making packaging from leftovers of sheep wool.
- „We are a company that builds better places with data,“ says Karen K. Burns, CEO and co-founder of Fyma, the only self-setup computer vision AI platform in the world.
- „In Europe only, there are 10 trillion euros on people’s bank accounts or invested without sustainability,“ notes Karin Nemec, CEO & co-founder of Grünfin, the Estonian startup aiming to become the largest and the best-known sustainable investment platform in Europe and then in the whole world.
- „Road transport is responsible for roughly 1/5 of CO2 emissions globally. The only sustainable way is to think of urban commuting beyond the use of personal cars. And this means taking public transportation experience to a totally different level,” states Taavi Rõivas, Chairman at AuveTech and former Prime Minister of Estonia. AuveTech develops and manufactures self-driving vehicles and autonomous transportation systems that are already operating in Estonia and the company aims for global expansion through hydrogen-powered last-mile buses.
- „We have a digital bartender that has a soul and a personality,“ says Alan Adojaan, CEO and founder of Yanu, a fully autonomous AI- and robot-empowered bartending unit that serves drinks, handles payments, verifies identity, and communicates with customers.
Estonia, the roaming ground for unicorns
“To build a unicorn, you have to move to Estonia, the land of unicorns,” says Carlos Paniagua, the CTO and founder of Estonia’s freshest unicorn Glia. In Estonia, there is 13,000 times higher chance to build a unicorn company than anywhere else in the world. On a global scale, the chance for a startup to become a unicorn is very low, estimated at 0.00006%. In Estonia, home for 10 unicorns and 1,300+ startups, this chance is 13,000 times higher.
“For the last 10 years, Latitude59 has had an important role in making Estonia a thriving roaming ground for potential unicorns. This is the place where Estonian startups get a chance to represent themselves to the wider, international audience. Our Pitch Competition attracted 300 applications this year, after the pre-finals 10 of them will pitch on the big stage. Overall, we’re expecting 800 startups and 300 investors to participate at Latitude59 2022,” Liisi elaborates.
Estonia is leading Europe in terms of unicorns, startups and VC investments per capita. In 2022, Estonia has 10 unicorn startups. The vision is to grow that number to 25 by 2025 – a goal more than attainable “as we already are one of the top startup ecosystems in the world”, says Kaidi Ruusalepp, the CEO and founder of Funderbeam and the President of the Estonian Founders Society.
In addition to the support of the community and the rest of the ecosystem, the digital state of Estonia is so simple to use that founders will get plenty of time for business, hobbies and family. Estonia is the country where the government actually is in close connection with the tech community. We’ve developed digital signatures and a paperless communication process, with 99% of government services being available online. Starting a company will take 3 hours, filing taxes just 3 minutes (compared to 2 weeks in Germany or the average 44 hours in the OECD member countries).
You want to build a unicorn, Estonia is the place to start!
To hear more about Estonian startup Ecosystem, make sure to visit the MeetEstonia area at Latitude 59 on May 19-20. The teams of Invest Estonia, Startup Estonia/Kredex, E-residency, and Work in Estonia are happy to have a chat!