With an estimated 350 startups in Estonia — one for every 3,700 citizens — it’s safe to say Estonia does not lack in entrepreneurial spirit.
In fact, a remarkable share of Estonian startups gain international traction and enjoy success in foreign markets.
But you may be wondering, who currently are the most ambitious early stage startups that can diversify your portfolio?
Just recently, a competition was held to find up-and-coming startups in Estonia. A jury of Estonian and foreign investors evaluated a large number of early-stage startups — 20 of the most promising were chosen — these startups now comprise a select group known as the Top 20 Startups in Estonia.
So keep your eye on these startups in 2017!
Top 20 Startups in Estonia Competition
Organizers of Top 20 Startups 2016 in Estonia, EstBAN and Contriber, say the idea behind the competition was to showcase a number of the most ambitious and innovative startups in Estonia. The criteria to enter the competition was simple—be an Estonian-based company with previous funding of less than €1 million—in other words, early-stage startups. A large number of promising startups applied with hopes of getting increased visibility and help with raising money—two of the most difficult challenges facing young startups.
The jury composed of Estonian and foreign investors selected the top 20 startups, which are perhaps the next Skype or TransferWise. The selection process was powered by Startup Includer. Contriber designed Startup Includer to help connect startups and business angels during the investment process.
Jury member Heidi Kakko, Managing Director of EstBAN noted:
“It has been a careful evaluation process to pick the first-ever TOP20 of early stage Estonian startups. As a jury we analysed all relevant aspects of those young companies starting from their team, market size, problem to be solved and real results reached. Definitely, those startups that can prove that they are solving a real problem in a large market in an innovative way, are rated high. The TOP4 startups had those criteria better in place now, but I am convinced that several out of TOP20 are on a track to build remarkable businesses. EstBAN as the largest investor network in Estonia has been supporting the acceleration and growth of startups already for 4 years.”
The top 4 startups of the top 20 — Deekit, Nordic Automation Systems, SportID, and Tebo — got a chance to pitch their business ideas at sTARTUp Day on Dec 9, 2016 — Tartu’s first-ever international business festival. It gave them invaluable public-speaking experience and exposure to a much larger audience, including the investor community.
If you’re looking for startups to invest in, here are the top 20 that got the attention of the jury (in alphabetical order):
A car generates costs every single day — this is despite the fact that owners are using their car only about 1 hour per day.
Autolevi is like Airbnb for cars. It helps car owners to reduce expenditures on a car, and provides renters a chance to find suitable cars near their home with an affordable price and flexible terms. They’re working on making it easier to rent out personal cars. It’s a way for car owners to earn some extra money and potentially, even earn back the car’s value.
Urban commuting is a pain. Most people spend a significant time of their lives sitting in a traffic jam, searching for a parking lot, waiting for the bus or just working hard to cover all the costs involved in traveling from home to the office and back.
Ampler smart electric bike offers fast, affordable, independent, and stylish way of moving in urban areas. The bikes are lighter than existing models and look like regular ones. Designed with the objective to make them easy to use, these bikes deliver the potential of bicycles in modern cities.
A nasal disorder causes an immensely lowered quality of life: nasal congestion, reduced sense of smell and taste, sleep disturbance, head and facial pains, constant fatigue, increased stress, etc. A person with Chronic Rhinosinusitis (CRS) has the mentioned symptoms 24/7/365. According to studies, approximately 10% of people suffer from CRS (that’s about 75 mln in Europe).
Capster is a medical device that enables a science based, effective and health-sustainable remedy for chronic nasal illness. Capster fits into a pocket, costs a bit over 19 euros and lasts over a year.
Visual communication (drawing on whiteboards, etc) is a common everyday activity for teams building software but also in education and many other types of businesses.
For distributed teams today, there is no good way to collaborate with people in real-time using simple drawing and visuals. Especially as most remote employees are very bandwidth restricted.
Deekit is the most collaborative online whiteboard where users can draw, write, and work with other content together, in real-time. Users can also start with already pre-made templates for various areas (marketing, planning, sales, etc) or use our shape library and embed any content on the whiteboards.
Different from other solutions out there, Deekit requires minimal bandwidth — this means users can collaborate in real-time even on very slow connectivity.
55,000 people die of melanoma every year. There is insufficient access to dermatologists (especially in rural areas) and waiting-times (in both, urban and rural areas) can reach up to 6 months. Insufficient access to such diagnosis means that mortality is high and treatment costs exceed 15 billion euros in the world every year.
Dermtest is a software platform service, connecting family doctors with dermatologists for providing access to a dermatologist consultation at a patient’s local primary care office. This increases access to care and makes timely diagnosis possible. The core of the Dermtest product is a teledermoscopy system with decision support: Dermtest information system includes anamnesis decision support, e-referral, dermatologist viewing, and quality & outcome management modules.
DreamApply helps universities become 50% better in (international) student recruitment. They have built a platform that makes admission, exchange, and marketing management easier for universities. DreamApply helps them reduce the administrative workload by increasing the efficiency up to 40%.
DreamApply is purposefully personalised for all stakeholders involved in higher education internationalisation: students, administrative staff, management, academics, partners, agents, and external governmental and non-governmental bodies. The platform is currently used in 16 countries.
An estimated 20 million events happen globally, annually. Despite the digitalization of the industry, less than 2-3% of the consumer events have adopted mobile.
Festivality has developed industry-specific patent-pending sensor technologies and analytics platform to provide additional value for event organizers. It’s a full-service solution for events to go mobile, gain new revenues and actionable event analytics.
Festivality helps organizers to provide users smart guidance, live updates via notifications, real coordinates on event maps, and one-tap smooth checkouts with in-app payments. Organizers can benefit from live and time-stamped, location-based real-time data, for informed decisions on their users, venue, commerce, on-site marketing, and engagement.
While there are several good continuous integration solutions for web apps, there’s not a single good one for mobile apps. All existing solutions are hard to set up, hard to use, or both.
Greenhouse decided to fix this problem by building a new solution that helps developers build, test, and deploy Android, Cordova, Ionic & iOS apps.
Today there is a massive inefficiency in insurance — 65% of all premiums in the industry go towards sales and administration costs and covering insurance fraud.
INZMO helps insurance companies to become more effective by reducing the costs of sales and administration and reducing the risk of insurance fraud. It enables people to get personal insurance for motor-vehicles, smart devices, household, travelling etc. Every time someone insures their items in INZMO, they’re asked to make a 5 second video of the insured item. This results in better business to insurance companies and lower premiums to customers.
Construction sites are chaotic. Information is fragmented and productivity is really low compared to other industries. Only 60% of construction projects finish on time and up to 35% of the budget is wasted, because of waiting, misunderstandings, wrong information and redoing – for an average apartment building project that could mean up to 400,000 euros of profit loss.
Leansite is a simple application for construction management and team collaboration — including scheduling, task management, communication, and file sharing. Leansite connects operational site management to overall project management processes, using a zoom-in and zoom-out approach. Smart notifications prevent managers and workers from forgetting important tasks, orders, supplies, etc.
IoT has achieved a lot of interest, but there are still very few real life applications available due to the high price, low battery life, and lack of infrastructure.
Nordic Automation Systems has created a full end-to-end solution including sensors, gateways, and Cloud services, which are available at a competitive price. NAS is the only company in the world to have a full vertical, easy to deploy IoS solution — and the only company to have dual technology retrofitted remote water meter reading solution.
25% of the trucks on European roads are empty — and others have a lot of spare space — as it’s difficult to find backloads for their trips back home.
Palleter has seen an opportunity in this and created a freight exchange platform for shippers and carriers.
Modern travellers expect good quality internet access everywhere. Buses, trains, and other transportation providers are losing customers due to poor or non‐existent internet connectivity — but the issue is expensive and complicated for the transportation providers to fix.
RebelRoam has developed the first cross-border passenger Wi-Fi service “in-a-box”. Included unlimited pan-European 4G internet makes it easier for the transportation providers to meet the expectations of their passengers.
For small and medium sized businesses, it’s often difficult to organize logistics. They’re too small for logistics firms to care of, and cannot handle the whole process efficiently enough by themselves either. At the same time, there are small but efficient logistics service providers constantly trying to get access to an additional customer base.
Shipitwise has built a platform where various logistics service providers are combined to automatically build custom logistics chains for businesses. Shipitwise helps them find the most efficient transport, while taking care of packaging, customs and other documentation, and insuring all of the goods. This also lets logistics service providers focus on their core strengths and provide a better service.
Companies want their employees to be healthy and therefore are looking for solutions that motivate them to be more physically active.
SportID has created a wellness management solution for companies that makes it easy to compensate their employees’ sports costs. At the same time, the platform functions as a marketing management solution for sports and fitness clubs and a social network for active people inside companies.
Interior design, according to one’s specific taste, is both time and money consuming. And not everyone has the skills needed.
SprayPrinter enables users to design their surroundings (walls, clothes, furniture, cars etc) according to their own taste and use their own designs for that. SprayPrinter’s smart device comes together with an app that also has a large library of images and designs by artists.
Teachers struggle to find good content like slides, worksheets, quizzes, and interactive exercises. They spend 7 hours per week on average to prepare for 20 classes.
In Estonia there are 14 thousand teachers that teach the same subjects in most schools. In the US there are 3.5 million teachers. But there is no simple way to share content or find content from other teachers.
Tebo has created a marketplace for education content. The platform allows teachers to build lessons that can be accessed by their students, give students real-time feedback, see the learning analytics of the class, discover and use content made by other teachers, and earn money when other teachers use their content.
Traffel offers their customers a large collection of the cheapest flight deals originating in Europe.
Traffel monitors more than a hundred different channels — blogs, forums, ticketing systems — in more than 20 different languages for the best travel deals and then sells this information. It’s a ‘real-time-offer’ platform where customers can set alerts for their preferred destinations and travel times. They are notified immediately by email, SMS, or via their account whenever an affordable travel deal becomes available. They’ve created different subscription plans to suit different needs.
Despite the boom of cyber security technologies, humans are the weakest link in a company’s cyber security defense line. Untrained developers and IT operations teams cannot secure their systems against even well known attacks — and the shortfall of security experts leaves security teams inadequately staffed.
RangeForce helps enterprises to provide hands-on cyber security simulation training for their IT staff, discover new cyber talent internally, and recruit external talent based on the candidates’ practical skills. For that, they have built a cloud-based cyber battle simulator where IT professionals can learn cyber security by defending against complex attacks, and which therefore enables a measurement of the real skills of trainees.
Today, there are basically two ways to build a small-business website: hiring a web developer to custom design and code it, or using a do-it-yourself drag-and-drop editing tool like Squarespace, Weebly or Wix.
Hiring a web-developer is expensive and many small businesses can’t afford that. The DIY solutions are time consuming and require much work.
In 99% of the cases, small business owners only need a very simple website that says who they are, what they do, and where they can be found. Weps has built a chatbot that makes their life easier by building a website for the user in a simple messenger-like interface.
Prizes and Partners
The startups who comprise the Top 20 Startups in Estonia group have received increased exposure and media coverage. It will help them get noticed by investors and succeed at fundraising.
In addition to getting to take part of the pitching competition on sTARTUp Day, the top 4 teams received prizes from the partners of the competition.
Hedman Lift, a consulting firm specializing in advising startups, provided the top 4 with €1,250 worth of law consulting. In addition to legal issues, they also have expertise in term sheets, investment agreements, shareholder agreements, IP issues, flips and stock swaps, share options programs, taxation, and planning.
The best teams also won free consulting from Funderbeam and a €500 discount on their management fee. Funderbeam is a crowdfunding platform, where growth companies can be funded and traded across borders.
Fortumo, a company providing payment solutions for carrier billing in 96 different countries, awarded the winners with mentoring and different perks.
Mentoring for the best 4 teams was also provided by the EstBAN jury members.
The winner of the pitching competition, Deekit, also became the StartUp Europe Awards 2016 representative for Estonia.
The competition is expected to take place again in 2017 and become an annual wrap-up event for the year.