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  • Triinu Lukas

Starting a company in Estonia: Why is Estonia the place to be for a cleantech startup?

When you google Estonia, you are most likely to see images of the Estonian capital’s towering beauty and the nordic nature. And that’s so true - we have such an attractive and safe living environment here! But there’s another side of the coin, too. That side - Estonia as a technology hotspot with the best startup ecosystem in the world - complements the green and bright with the speed of light and I wanna introduce you to both sides! 😉

As for the living environment, Estonia has one of the healthiest air in the world, safe streets and you can have clean drinking water right from the tap. Woods and swamps (Estonia’s greatest pride!) are a stone’s throw away so you can charge yourself in nature. But our low-density population means that you can also have lots of space in cities. Besides all that the living standard is high - you don’t need to live in a garage to have a garage startup - even modern apartments have remained affordable.

It’s healthy and easy to live and start living here. Now, why is Estonia one of the most innovative places technology-wise? I’ll tell you why! Because:

  • bureaucracy-free and fast processes. With our e-country solutions, Estonia is the world’s most advanced digital society. What’s even cooler is that communications with the country-structures (incl elections, banking transactions and tax declarations) are light-speed since 99% of public services are online. As a foreign founder you could just apply for a startup visa that allows you to work in the country for 365 days. Visa can be extended.

  • one of the most startup-friendly environments in the world. We already have 5 unicorns 🦄🦄🦄🦄🦄 (start-ups with a market valuation of $1bn and over) for only 1.3 million people which makes Estonia no. 1 considering unicorns per person (alert! some say there 6 of those already). As appropriate to a country calling itself e-Estonia, our tech strengths lie in combining IT with the pain points out there. Everybody knows Skype that’s founded in Estonia, but the world’s leading blockchain company, Guardtime is also logically native here, since Estonians are not only doing useful applications but also helping the world as experts in cyber technologies. Talking about our world’s best startup ecosystem and it’s events, check out Startup Estonia and our cleantech ecosystem roof organization Cleantech Estonia. These organizations help you develop your idea from ground zero.

  • attractive country for foreign investors. They now we’re the country of e-innovation and that techy image has attracted investments from names like Sir Richard Branson, Peter Thiel, Ron Conway, Timothy Draper, Shakil Khan, Dave McClure, Robin Klein and Saul Klein, Atomico, Mistletoe, Redpoint Ventures, Index Ventures, 500 Startups, Seedcamp, Intel Capital, Charles River Ventures, Matrix Partners and many more.

  • it’s easy to shine your light in here. Since Estonia is such a small country, then there’s no way you remain unseen even if only just starting with your job or enterprise. It’s literally that everybody knows everyone and we have a really welcoming startup community with hundreds of events on- and offline! It’s easy to make your mark when you’re doing stuff you love.

  • founding a company is super-easy and real cheap. In fact, it takes only 5 minutes and you don’t even have to come here, but can do it with the help of our e-residency program. Apply here.

  • world-class human capital. Estonia is among the top countries considering the World Bank’s human capital index that shows how efficiently countries use their people’s talents. And PISA test ranked Estonian pupils no. 1 in Europe. So there’s loads of great people to hire.

  • you’re oh-so welcome here! Besides our talented and disciplined workforce, we’re also eagerly welcoming talents from abroad - for startup founders and employees and ICT specialists immigration quota limits do not apply. International House of Estonia makes sure that everyone settles down easily.

  • in Estonia we think globally. Since the country is too small to be a target market for most of the startup ideas, our startups think globally from their first breath. That’s why we know that companies have to quickly make their MVP, test it here (or elsewhere) and then - fly! One could even consider Estonia as an incubator for testing out new ideas! And thus our global mindset and connections.

EXPERIENCED CLEANTECH FOUNDERS. For cleantech founders, it’s even more than what’s said earlier! We’re talented in different clean fields - find out more from our last blog post here. Since we’ve already built a generation of strong cleantech companies, they have formed a strong support system with talented mentors and role models: Starship Technologies, Skeleton Technologies, Comodule,, UBIK Solutions, Reverse Resources, Gelatex Technologies, Solarstone, Woola, and the list goes on and further on WITH YOU.

Right now there’s a change for you to be part of this wonderful environment to live and thrive!



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