career&entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship
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Hot Estonian Start-Ups Mafia

Photo-by-Jaak-Nilsson-e1370122290340

 Anastasiia LinnasLife as an Investment has asked Anastasiia Linnas  – a finance and marketing consultant, start-up lover and blogger, to be our guest author and  introduce our dear readers to Three Hottest Estonian Start-ups… We wrongly supposed that there are only three…

When I was asked to write an article about three Estonian start-ups, I was a bit puzzled, because straightaway I could name 33* of them (my Mac actually froze after opening their home pages).

During the last 10 years, Estonia has managed to build a strong matrix of start-ups.  And, the most significant contributor to this system is probably Skype.  Today, the most successful start-ups in Estonia are founded by the so-called “Skype Mafia.” 

So, I did my best to come up with a list of three that IMHO, fit into the Life as an Investment philosophy.

Transfer wiseSave!

TransferWise is one of the most well-known start-ups that originated in Estonia and is often a guest on TechCrunch news, a popular digital information source providing PR strategies and a wide range of general news.

TrW_02I don’t know about your Facebook page, but they are certainly all over my mine!

Meet Kristo Käärmann  and Taavet Hinrikus,  the two people who declared war on banks and their sneaky, little hidden fees, for international money transfers.

In fact, they managed to get Sir Richard Branson on board for this battle.

The idea here is simple and brilliant. It’s common knowledge that international transfers have high fees because of “secret” exchange rates, while local bank transfers are either free of charge….or very low in comparison.

So, the question is: how can we pay cheaper, local rates for international transfers?

Answer: Peer-to-Peer money transfer!

Take Jan for example, who wants to send 1000 Euros to his girlfriend Jane….as a birthday gift—and Nicole, who wants to transfer $1000 to her son Nick….for expenses related to his education. If both Nicole and Jan transfer wisely, they will pay only 0.5% each for their transactions because no “international” transfer will be made (All characters appearing in this example are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental).

So, the next time you transfer—transfer wise!

See a list of supported countries and currencies here.

JobbaticalTravel with no expenses!

 Jobbatical is a start-up that appeals to me personally. It was co-founded by an amazing woman named Karoli Hindriks whom I had the pleasure to meet in person and discuss the concept of her company.

“Short-term jobs with life-changing experiences.”

It’s a great concept! You can travel the world and explore new countries and cultures while working {and not spend your savings}. It’s a Win-Win situation, as companies have the opportunity to engage top talents from around the world for their projects.

Jobbatical is currently in beta, so everyone has the opportunity to use it for free!

Regarding countries, traveling and languages—have you ever tried to learn a new language? And in the end, you only learn how to “read and translate?”

LingvistLearn!

Lingvist has an innovative approach to learning languages; it fast-forwards you to intermediate level in only 200 hours.

By way of adaptive language learning, big data analysis and artificial intelligence, this program offers a personalised framework for learning the most commonly used expressions!

However, for the time being, French is the only language available. Spanish, Japanese, Italian, German, Swedish and Russian are still a work-in-progress.

Where have you been 15 years ago, when I was forcing myself to learn French back in school? Totally failed btw.”—Lingvist.io

If you try out any of these services, it would be GREAT to get your feedback and opinions!

If you’re not tired of Estonian start-ups yet, here’s a few more:

Fleep  is brought to you by ex-Skypers to improve collaboration and communication. This service is mostly used by start-ups and dynamic companies (Watch more).

Teleport  (again, ex-Skypers) supports start-ups by offering information and comparisons of the best countries and cities to work in. With Teleport, you can easily relocate wherever you like! (Still in beta and focusing on Bay Area for now).

And coming soon….

 Aidenapp  is a smart “pocket therapist” that helps you overcome symptoms of depression.

Where would you invest?

P.S.  Read about Estonia, Malta, Sweden and other adventures in Anastasiia’s personal blog

7 Comments

  1. Thomas says

    Isn’t TransferWise a British company? I saw them featured on a list of hot fin tech startups in London recently.

    • Hi Thomas!
      You are quite right – TransferWise is incorporated in UK and main investments came from UK as well. However the founders come from Estonia, they started developing the venture in Estonia and there is still one of their offices in Tallinn (https://transferwise.com/about).

      It’s like Skype :) Founders and owners were from Sweden and Denmark, while UK and main business operations were located in London. However the whole team of developers was in Estonia and actually the whole system was build on the base of Estonian company for peer-to peer data sharing (http://techland.time.com/2011/05/10/a-brief-history-of-skype/).

      Have a great day/night!

    • Hi John,

      I’m not arguing type of person :) Startup world is tough and founders would try everything to get funded and the first step for them is surely- FFF.

      Estonian eco-system for startups was mostly shaped by government organisations and usually Estonian startups apply for government grants first when it comes to prototyping stage or seed funding (for example EAS funding). After that – Estonian angels come in (ESTBAN), then co-in vestment funds etc.

      See more about startups ecosystem here – http://arcticstartup.com/2014/11/20/the-arcticstartup-guide-to-estonia

      Sincerely,
      Anastasiia

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