The products behind 7 of Estonia's international founders
The Estonian Startup Ecosystem is flourishing with hard-working and talented founders who last year raised more than 330 million euros and grew at an astonishing pace. The successes of the giants are celebrated throughout Estonia and act as exceptional role models for future startup leaders. But who is the next generation of Estonian based startup superheroes?
Startup Estonia has now enabled hundreds of International founders to work shoulder to shoulder with other players in the ecosystem. This has helped to turn good ideas into great companies and truly ingenious products.
What makes Estonia’s Startup Visa so special?
The Startup Visa’s superpowers lie in it’s ability to supercede normal foreign worker quotas and provide easy access to the country for outside startup founders. Non-EU Founders with legitimate and high potential companies can apply for acceptance by the Estonian Startup Committee. Once accepted, they go through a normal visa issuing process and can be issued a visa or a residence permit for up to 5 years. Moreover, founders with established startups approved by the committee in Estonia can more easily bring in talent from abroad. Estonia’s international founders may be the ones to drive the next wave of unicorn successes. But who are they, and what exactly is being built here?
Kwun Lok NG, Founder and CEO of Kipwise
Funding: $120K from Techstars London
Traction: 500 monthly active users
Kipwise is a knowledge management tool for growing teams who need to supply quick answers to repetitive questions.
Integrated in your Slack workspace, a simple /kipwise command allows team members to search for answers to their questions on the fly. If there is no answer in the team’s knowledge base, they can quickly and easily ask the correct person. This process also automatically builds the knowledge base, which greatly eases onboarding pains as teams grow. Kipwise has recently found that customer support reps can answer 20% more tickets with the help of /kipwise. All the while building a knowledge base for the future.
Edilson Osorio Jr, Founder and CEO of Originalmy
Funding: $30K angel investment
Traction: 30,000 users in the Originalmy ecosystem
Originalmy is a regtech startup using blockchain protocols to certify identities, signatures and digital content rights.
With the Originalmy framework, Edilson's team have developed several tools enabling companies to follow compliance regulations in various regulatory environments. For example, Originalmy offers decentralized identities. This enables companies to store user data securely and follow the necessary rules and regulations of GDPR. More, because Originalmy can verify identities digitally, there is no longer a need for passwords or form filling in order to verify their identities. Originalmy certified over 100,000 registries in 2018 and has effectively saved people over a million hours moving through typically bureaucratic processes.
Youssef El Moumni, Founder of XR Gaming
Traction: First paying customers
XR Gaming is a mobile app that allows its users to play any game in VR. Most games are not optimized for VR and are not possible to play in true virtual reality. The unique technology powering XR Gaming could be a game-changer in the virtual reality space.
Optimizing content for VR is time-consuming and expensive. That usually means it just never happens. Youssef seems to have the key to unlocking digital media space to be capable of easily turning any standard video into virtual reality.
Evgenia Trofimova, Founder and CEO of Introwise
Introwise is a pre-networking app for events. With one click, event participants can personalize their experience by joining group discussions or starting conversation circles themselves.
Introwise helps event organizers to drive engagement through meaningful networking and helps attendees have the discussions they are hungry for. Networking is why people go to major events. Attendees are hopeful they can foster meaningful relationships around topics they care about and Introwise helps to encourage and facilitate that process.
Kristaps Grinbergs, Founding engineer of Qminder
Traction: 560+ Physical locations using Qminder system
In normally confusing and stressful waiting environments, Qminder saves the day. Their smart queue management system helps create a great customer experience in physical locations around the world.
Qminder does this by answering the questions of people waiting in line, offering them opportunities to shop and even engage with customer service people to make sure they’re prepared when it’s their turn. This experience reduces customer complaints by 90% which is a massive reduction for their customers like Uber, Verizon and Johns Hopkins University.
Yiyang Yang, Founder and COO of Modash
Funding: $100K angel round
Traction: 20 Paying customers
Modash is a self serve platform connecting marketers to hundreds of millions of social media creators. Finding influencers on Instagram and Twitch is a frustrating task. Modash allows marketers to build audience targeted influencer campaigns and manage influencer relationships all in one place. It is also developing the first tool to offer conversion rate attribution for influencer campaigns.
Modash helps marketers scale with influencers and drive huge ROI on influencer campaigns. One example showed that Modash reduced campaign management time by over 91% and Veriff watched their application traffic quadruple with a micro-influencer campaign they launched with Modash.
Pavel Kirienko, Co-Founder and CEO of Zubax Robotics
Traction: 2 substantial paying customers
Zubax has invented a new method of motor state estimation that reduces energy losses (like heat rejection) by approximately 10% compared to the current industry standard. This innovation allows electric vehicles to increase the range while relying on the existing battery tech.
Zubax manufactures and supplies integrated circuits that implement the new algorithms, allowing third-party hardware engineers to take advantage of their innovation.
The global founders community is growing more and more every year. Applications for the startup visa have covered the milestones of having applicants from 80 countries and now over 1400 applications. The next step? I think it’s time to add some unicorn companies to the list of those built by foreigners in Estonia.
Blog post by: Avery Schrader, a Canadian founder of Estonian Startup Modash. Proud Startup Visa holder & E-resident.
Cover photo at Global Founders in Estonia - Meetup vol. 8 by Ann Vaida