A look back at the highly successful first Startup Week in Estonia

Last week Estonia joined the international celebration of startup culture and entrepreneurship by launching the very first Startup Week in Tallinn. Between 14th and 20th of November, 7 Estonian startups opened their office doors for a total of 20 sessions and meetups. Startup Week’s goal was to strengthen the local startup culture, involve wider audiences and open up new opportunities. The popularity of the events proved that our startup community is very lively and eager to collaborate.

Less than a year ago, Pipedrive was announced to be one of the most desirable places to work in, so it’s no surprise the tour in their office was fully booked days ahead. The organisers were pleased that they attracted people from so many different areas and got to spread the word about what Pipedrive really does. The same goes for Taxify, "Many people were not aware that we already operate in over 20 cities around the world, recently expanding to Africa and Mexico,“ said Nikolai Kabatsikov, the Recruitment Manager of Taxify.

As Taxify and Lingvist joined forces for the Startup Week by setting up a 2-in-1 office tour, the same people visiting Taxify also got to see Lingvist’s workspace. The tour in the latter was so inspirational that one of the visitors was converted into a full-time fan and shared their feedback: "Enthusiastically, after the tour at your office today, I tried out Lingvist's Spanish course on the web. Definitely very satisfied, will spread the word!”. While Lingvist was delighted to find passionate users for their product, Shipitwise scored even bigger and has now even started job interviews with some of the attendees of their Tuesday night tech talk!

There are definitely many ways to reach out to people or organise an event. Funderbeam and Jobbatical stood out from the rest of the program by offering 1-on-1 mentoring sessions. „We hope the individuals who visited us during the week now feel more knowledgeable and prepared to develop their projects further,“ said Björn Lapakko, marketer at Funderbeam. Lauren Proctor, the Head of Marketing at Jobbatical and mentor of Startup Week’s 1-on-1s said that she was inspired by all the energy and ambition, as well as impressed by people’s ideas and questions. Besides mentoring sessions, Jobbatical hosted two more events during the Startup Week - one for hiring globally and the other to encourage more women to join the tech world.

Being the biggest name on our local startup scene, TransferWise has realised the value of initiating discussions and has already set a tradition of organising regular panels. „We've done public panel events like this one before, with the original idea being to engage with the local startup community - to get people together in the same room, discuss things that matter to them and get the exchange of ideas going,” said Marek Unt, Head of European PR at TransferWise. The fact that Transferwise’s events are growing more popular each time and, also expanding beyond local borders, shows that there is a clear need for initiatives that lead to discussions and create new value for participants.

Startup Week is an international format initiated by Techstars, the global ecosystem that helps entrepreneurs build great businesses. Lauren Proctor from Jobbatical explains that by being a part of the Startup Week, they are also a part of a global movement that participates in forming what’s next in the startup world, „We are so excited to join the companies sharing their knowledge and wisdom this week from 24 other cities,“ she added. If tech hubs around the world want to survive and get noticed, working together on a local scale is essential.

The event was brought to Estonia by Startup Estonia, an organisation dedicated to building and strengthening the startup ecosystem in Estonia, and creating a solid ground for our local startups to take off from. We hope Startup Week will become an annual highlight in the calendars of local startupers and the startup culture celebrations in 2017 will be even bigger and better. A warm thank you to all the participants for making 2016 a success and see you next year!

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