On the 18th November, I travelled to Tallinn to take part in a number of events held to mark the launch of ‘Tech Link’- the new initiative from the British Embassy in Tallinn, which aims to promote links between the UK and Estonian tech sectors.
The country is the birthplace of the global tech giant Skype and the fintech unicorn Transferwise. With a population of 1.3 million people, the Baltic state has the highest number of startups per head in the world.
What’s more, the Estonian government is a world leader in digital government and the country’s e-residency could be the key to unlocking further fintech innovation across the world, especially in the regulatory space.
The launch kicked off with a TechCrunch meet-up at ‘Garage48’, hosted by TechCrunch’s Editor-At-Large, Mike Butcher. I was part of the judging panel while 10 companies pitched for a stand or tickets at Tech Crunch’s Disrupt event to be held in London in December. What stood out was the truly global ambition of the entrepreneurs pitching.
The winners were: Greenhouse, who do hassle free CI for android & IOS, BOLD Gadgets, a power bank charger on a key chain, Deekit, an interactive whiteboard and Spray Printer, a paintbrush for the 21st century.
The Tech Link launch also coincided with the D5 Summit, which brought together government leaders from the UK, Estonia, South Korea, New Zealand & Israel to share insights and best practice from the world of digital government.
Later, I was a keynote speaker at the UK Trade & Investment’s conference on FinTech. This particular event brought together leading fintech entrepreneurs from across Europe and encouraged them to seize on the innovative partnerships offered by their counterparts working out of Estonia.
I was proud to bring the mission of the North to the UKTI conference and spoke about the opportunities for fintech innovation in the North of England, and the crucial role that the North plays to complement London’s fintech ecosystem. For example, in leafy Cheshire, Barclays house their IT HQ with 3,000 developers building and managing the bank’s global IT platform. It is against this rural northern backdrop that Pingit was born.
Right now, there exists an exciting opportunity to attract Estonian entrepreneurs to scale their business in the English speaking market. It was clear from my time in Tallinn that there is a strong appetite for what the North of England has to offer, but little awareness of the business opportunities, exceptional talent pool and great lifestyle that it boasts.
Some great relationships were forged during my trip and we are now looking at ways we can build on the Tech Link initiative to help Estonian businesses open a base in the UK over the coming months. Watch this space! #GoingGlobal