Estonia, the startup capital of Europe

Jun 19, 2012
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In additon to being the only country in the euro zone with a budget surplus, Estonia enjoys an abundance of technological and business know-how. Ars Technica, an online magazine, reports that the country of 1.3 million has the second-highest number of startups per capita, after the United States.

Speaking at a conference for Baltic and Nordic entrepreneurs and investors last week, venture capitalist Allan Martinson said he could not pinpoint any particular reason why Estonia is such fertile ground, the magazine reports. But he said a combination of people going into business for themselves as jobs disappeared during the crisis, and the country’s generally low salaries, have boosted entrepreneurship.

“The only way to become rich in this country if you have a technical background is to launch your own company,” he told the conference, according to Ars Technica.

Unlike the country’s most famous tech company, Skype, most Estonian startups are created for the business-to-business market. ZeroTurnaround, which develops tools for Java, reached  $10 million in revenue in three years. Martinson said there are “around five to 10 companies” that have launched in the past few years and are taking in more than $1 million dollars. He predicted “one or two companies” would get to the $100 million in the next three to four years, according to Ars Technica.

But Martinson warned that a dearth of young Estonians could make it hard for those companies to find technically skilled employees.

(Photo courtesy Flickr user dierken, Creative Commons)

About the Author

Ernad Halilovic

Ernad Halilovic is a TOL Editorial Intern. He studies Humanities and Computer Science in Prague.
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