Happy Birthday, Estonian Startup Visa! 

To celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the Estonian Startup Visa, we wanted to take a look back on the 3 years of work, travels and numbers that are pushing the Estonian startup ecosystem to next levels! 

10 facts that have made the Estonian Startup Visa what it is today:

  1. In 3 years the 7-member Startup Committee has assessed 1850 companies that have had the desire to hold the Startup Status which allows the founders and employees to apply for the Estonian D-visa or Temporary residence permit. 614 companies have been granted the right to do so.

  2. Altogether founders from 99 countries have applied to the Startup Status. That is 51% of all the countries in the world!

  3.  Top 5 countries for the applications are: 

        1. Estonia

        2. India

        3. Pakistan

        4. Russian Federation

        5. United States

    PS: Are you wondering what the mysterious startup status is? Well, any company that wants to bring their founders and/or employees to Estonia, has to get the Startup Status that gives the eligibility to do so. The status is given by a Startup Committee, consisting of 7 organizations from the Estonian startup community. Read more here

  4. 2150 individuals have already relocated to Estonia and in 2019 the top 3 countries for founders were: Iran, Russia, Turkey and for employees: Russia, India, Brazil.

  5. 572 founders have relocated to Estonia to develop their companies here. Find out what some of them are doing here.

  6. 183 companies out of 890 in the Estonian Startup Database are founded with the help of the Estonian Startup Visa. The most popular sectors, where the startups are operating in, are AdTech & Creative Tech, Business software & HR, Consumer products and services.

  7. Our small team has been making sure that people all over the world will find out about Estonia! We have traveled to meet with startup founders to Uzbekistan, Turkey (Ankara, Izmir, Istanbul), Moldova, Belarus, Russia (St. Petersburg, Moscow), Serbia (Belgrad, Novi Sad), Japan (Tokyo, Fukuoka), Ukraine (Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv), Georgia, Azerbaijan and USA.

  8. Since 2018 we have organized 10 Global Founders Meetups for the founders who have relocated to Estonia. These are the events where we connect newcomers to the Estonian startup ecosystem, with the people who will help them succeed. Accelerators, VC funds, ecosystem players - this is the place to meet them!

  9. It is a well known fact that 99% of Estonian public services are managed online. This is why it only made sense to run the application for the Startup Status online as well, which has made the work effective and time-saving! If a committee member spends roughly 3 minutes assessing one application then we can say that in 3 years they have spent 38 850 minutes assessing the applications. That is 648 hours or 27 days! Thank you to all Startup Committee members for the time they have put in! 

  10.  There are 3 countries whose success rate has been 100%: Belize, Latvia, Libya. Go figure!  

We will be publishing a yearly overview of the statistics related to the Estonian Startup Visa soon so stay tuned. More information about the Estonian Startup Visa here

Blogpost by: Merilin Lukk, Startup Visa Project Lead at Startup Estonia

Coverphoto by: Kristjan Prik (MadeBy)

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