Want to learn the best business insights from remarkable speakers at Slush 2023, but don’t have the time to watch the full speeches on YouTube?
You’ve come to the right place. Below is a summary of a speech by Sophia Bendz and Taavet Hinrikus & Markus Villig of Bolt.
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<p class="h1-rich">🤏 TL;DR</p>
Estonia's startup ecosystem has gained acceleration after the success of Skype, creating an alumni network that contributed to the growth of other successful companies in Estonia. Companies like Wise and Bolt have focused on customer needs and solving specific problems. To succeed, founders need to be resilient, adapt and grow their leadership styles, learn from experienced founders, and surround themselves with people who have scar tissue.
<p class="h1-rich">✨ Summary</p>
Personal Journeys and Role Models
- Taavet's journey started with being part of the team that built Skype.
- Markus started Bolt as a 19-year-old and learned from the challenges of competing with Uber.
- Being naive and foolish can be important in starting a business.
Successes in Estonia
- Estonia's startup ecosystem gained acceleration after the success of Skype.
- The success of Skype created an alumni network that contributed to the growth of other successful companies in Estonia.
- Estonia's success can be attributed to its circle of connections, role models, and a more tolerant attitude towards risk.
Building Global Companies in Estonia
- Companies like Wise and Bolt have focused on customer needs and solving specific problems.
- Expanding globally requires configuring the business to leverage Estonia's strengths (e.g., technical talent) and address weaknesses (e.g., lack of customers).
Lessons Learned and Advice for Founders
- Resilience is crucial, as the entrepreneurial journey is full of highs and lows.
- Leadership styles need to adapt and grow as the company grows.
- Learn from experienced founders and surround yourself with people who have scar tissue.
- Don't overanalyze or fear failure; have a good idea for a big market and get started.
Importance of Infrastructure and Government Support
- Access to capital and investors has improved in Europe, but finding investors with startup experience is still valuable.
- Estonia's forward-looking government and digital infrastructure have been beneficial for startups.
- Government support in removing roadblocks (e.g., changing regulations) can significantly impact the success of startups.
Key Components of Success
- Focusing on customers and their needs.
- Being pragmatic and optimizing measurable aspects of the business.
- Having a talented team and investing in their growth and development.
Future Outlook for Estonia's Startup Ecosystem
- Estonia is likely to continue producing successful startups and maintaining its position as a leader in unicorns per capita.
- The pipeline of companies in Estonia suggests continued growth and success in the startup ecosystem.