Tuesday, September 03, 2013

BPN 1659: WSA Grand Jury 2013 in Tallinn, Estonia (8)

Just imagine: one startup to almost 1000 Estonians. That is the remarkable statistic about the wave of startup activity in Estonia in the 10th anniversary year of Skype. Their company names cover the full alphabet from A-Z. All these companies are located at the TechnoPol IT park in Tallinn. The Technopol IT park is a cooperation of the Estonian business community, the government and the university. The park is almost symbolically situated next to the international airport. The startups can and do fly out at short notice.

The success of the intensive business started in 2000 when the Estonian government began working on an e-government. But it the e-gov innovation did not take place in just a void. Estonia had already a fine IT infrastructure. The e-Cabinet was eventually shaped by four independent IT companies. But also businesswise IT was doing well. In fact Estonia became the cradle of Skype. When this company was sold to eBay in 2005 for 1.9 billion euro, part of the money was ploughed back in the country, creating a wave of startups. Skype, in the meantime part of Microsoft, has still a substantial subsidiary of 400 people in Estonia (see photograph).
Healthcare is an area of attention. The care sector has formed the eHealth Foundation, which develops health care solutions for in the hospital with tablets, but also mobile solutions, while on-the- go, for example in an ambulance.

The range of applications and systems is very wide. The firm Defendec has set apart the company IoT (Internet of Things), which creates machine-to-machine solutions, solving smart streetlight plans.  

One of the winners of the World Summit Award 2013 is GoSwift. This is an application for truckers who want to cross the border from Estonia to Russia. This used to be a problem with long waiting times, lots of waste and garbage as well as selling tickets to the highest bidder. By setting up a queu management system waiting times have been cut down, waste and garbage reduced and corruption cut out.

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