Startup Estonia continues its operations at KredEx

Starting from the 1st of July, Startup Estonia, the support unit of Estonian startups — which had previously functioned under the Estonian Development Fund — will continue its operations at KredEx. The aim of the merger is to improve the support offered to startups and to provide better funding opportunities to startups of all stages of development.

This merger is part of a larger process resulting in the consolidation of the operations of Startup Estonia and SmartCap under KredEx. While the official merger will take place on July 1st, active cooperation between these three is already taking place. For example, a joint procurement for accelerator funds was recently announced to purchase accelerator services and invest in two venture capital funds.

According to Lehar Kütt, the consolidation of the operations of KredEx, Startup Estonia and SmartCap is a natural development, as all these initiatives serve the same purpose. “It is important to create a favourable environment for the faster development of new businesses and improve the funding options available to entrepreneurs in all stages of development. For the early stage startups, the knowledge and contacts offered by the investors for the development of the company holds at least as much value as the funding. Until now, this role has been successfully fulfilled by SmartCap, but the opportunities available to entrepreneurs are about to widen thanks to the new accelerator funds and cooperation programmes as well as the sub-funds created in the framework of EstFund.

The first half of the year has been a preparatory period for the team of Startup Estonia—several public procurements have been announced to involve new cooperation partners. Together with the startup community and the Ministry of the Interior, a startup visa solution has been devised to bring foreign talent to Estonia; the technology conference Latitude59 has been organised; and in the summer period, the focus will be on the ClimateLaunchpad programme for green technology startups.

“The Startup Estonia team has a great opportunity to learn from the experience of KredEx, traditional economy companies, and to bring this world closer to startups,” said the head of Startup Estonia, Mari Vavulski. “The startup ecosystem is open to all, and we give our best to ensure that joining KredEx would bring many new and fascinating parties to the world of technology.”

In the second half of the year a programme targeted towards startups for developing their sales skills will be launched, and a partner for the cooperation programme between medium and large enterprises and startups as well as for the founders coaching will be found. Also, the final round of the European green technology idea competition will be brought to Estonia, along with promoting Estonian startups at conferences abroad. By autumn, the partners will be selected with whom negotiations will begin to create new accelerator funds.

According to Kütt, KredEx definitely has a lot to learn from the experience of Startup Estonia in the development of the local startup ecosystem, enabling even greater involvement with this important target group. “From our side, we have solid financial competence and, through the funds, venture capital to offer to the startup community,” he reasoned.

Photo: Tairo Lutter/Postimees/Scanpix

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