Estonian startup companies raised over EUR 250 million in investment, employed over 5000 people, and paid over EUR 600 million to the state in payroll taxes last year, writes Estonian daily newspaper Ärileht .
Members, friends, and stakeholders of Estonia’s fastest growing sector gathered last week at sTARTUp Day, which brought together some 4400 visitors from 60 countries, 158 speakers on 4 stages, 160 investors, 350 startups and 85 demo area companies.
Mirell Prosa, head of the Sorainen Startups Sector in Estonia, has taken an active part in the organising team for the biggest Baltic business festival since its inception 4 years ago. Dedicated to helping the startup community succeed, our legal, tax and business services experts were involved in various festival activities.
Since intellectual property (IP) and know-how are often the most valuable assets in start-ups, partner Kaupo Lepasepp and associate Jūlija Terjuhana advised starting entrepreneurs how to develop a strategy for protecting IP in their seminar Don’t forget about IP!
Partner Paul Künnap and associate Mirell Prosa gave a seminar How to populate your cap table focusing on options, convertible loans and other equity investment instruments.
Partner Toomas Prangli moderated a panel on Fundraising strategies – do’s and don’ts through the startup life cycle with Hjalmar Winbladh, Managing Partner of EQT Ventures, Johan Bergqvist, CFO of Bolt, and Adam Green, Head of the Corporate Practice at law firm Mannheimer Swartling. Some useful points that the panel discussed and highlighted:
- Almost at the same time you come up with an idea for a startup you should think through who the right investors are.
- Many entrepreneurs tend to think that fundraising is a one-time thing, but you must approach it as a relationship that needs building.
- The first 24 months of starting a company are crucial; the founder should carefully think what they are doing differently from competitors and bring those strengths forward.
- For investors, often the founder (and their team) and the story count for more than 90%, rather than the product/idea itself.
- Do not seek investment when you have a need, but when you have demand for your product. This enables you to cherry-pick your investors.
In line with tradition, our firm put up an award of legal counselling worth EUR 5000, divided between the three winners of the startup pitching competition. This year, the winners were:
- Jeff App, a loan broker utilising alternative data to boost financial inclusion
- PayQin, an electronic wallet with a built-in virtual MasterCard debit card, and
- Autom8, an automated service for securing web, mobile and third-party applications enabled by machine learning.
The next step in our endeavour to help startups succeed is a free legal clinic to be held on 17 February at the SPARK Demo centre in Tartu. Our associates Mirell Prosa and Robin Teever along with legal assistant Kadri Puu will be there to discuss any legal questions that startup community members may have. Attending the clinic is free of charge and you may confirm your attendance through our Facebook.