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  • Writer's pictureMagdalena Gołębiewska

Estonian financing rounds in 2021

Yes, I know it is a bit late for the 2021 summary, but this one cant be missed.

Estonia has a busy, supportive, and open startup ecosystem that aims to support ambitious individuals and startups, according to StartupEstonia. Recently, the Global Startup Ecosystem Report of 2021 was published. Out of 275 global startup ecosystems, the report highlighted Estonia as one of the strongest startup ecosystems in the world. The report ranked Estonia at number 6 on the list.

Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications, Viljar Lubi, says,

“Startup community in Estonia has proved not only that great ideas that transform our thinking are born here but also that startups drive our economic growth, which is quite remarkable.”

Currently home to more than 1216 startups, the Estonian startup ecosystem anticipates reaching €1B in investments at the end of this year. The size of investments has gone up significantly – exactly 18 investments worth at least €1M have been ploughed into the startups in the first half of 2021 alone, based on the crowdsourced database and Estonian Startup Database. Please find below more details about the ones pictured above and some more :). Details of these startups such as founders’ names, founding year, and the funding raised, have been sourced from Dealroom. Bolt Founder(s): Markus Villig, Martin Villig, Oliver Leisalu. Founded in: 2013 Largest funding: €600M Bolt is a transportation platform providing ride-hailing, micromobility, and food delivery services. The company claims to build the future of logistics – one platform that connects with cars, motorcycles, scooter sharing, or food delivery from restaurants. In August 2021, the company raised €600M in a fresh round of funding at a valuation of more than €4B. The round saw participation from a range of investors including Sequoia and fund managers Tekne and Ghisallo. Existing investors G Squared, D1 Capital, and Naya also invested in that round. The capital is helping Bolt to accelerate its new grocery delivery service, Bolt Market, as well as boost the company’s expansion of existing mobility and delivery products.

Veriff Founder(s): Kaarel Kotkas, Janer Gorohhov Founded in: 2015 Largest funding: $69M (approx €57.6M)

Veriff is an online identity verification startup. It has developed a technique to verify the identity of people by analysing videos. It combines all possible ID technologies, including social ID, device ID, facial recognition, and optical character recognition, to authenticate if a person is who he or she claims to be, based on the data provided. In April 2021, the company raised $69M (approx €57.6M) in its Series B round of funding led by investment firms IVP and Accel. The funds are being used by Veriff to continue building within the fast-growing market opportunity in the US, and also in building a stronger source of identity online than government-issued IDs alone currently provide.

Skeleton Technologies Founder(s): Oliver Ahlberg, Taavi Madiberk Founded in: 2009 Largest funding: €29M Skeleton Technologies is a manufacturer and developer of high energy and power density ultracapacitors based on patented curved graphene material. Through the use of patented nanoporous carbide-derived carbon, or ‘curved graphene’, they have achieved breakthroughs in ultracapacitor performance. The company claims to deliver high power, high energy, reliable, and long-life storage solutions across industries, including automotive, transportation, grid, and industrial applications. Its ultracapacitors deliver twice the energy density and four times the power density offered by other manufacturers. By producing the ultracapacitor cells, modules, and systems, Skeleton Technologies aims to help companies to reduce CO2 emissions and save energy. In July 2021, the firm raised €29M in its Series D round of funding. The investors in that round included Marubeni Corporation and several early backers of the company such as MM Grupp and Harju Elekter, and more recent ones including European industrial investors and a group of Adyen alumni.

Katana Founder(s): Hannes Kert, Kristjan Vilosius, Priit Kaasik Founded in: 2017 Largest funding: $11M (approx €9M)

Katana is a modern manufacturing and inventory software for scaling businesses. Its plug-and-play manufacturing ERP (enterprise resource planning) software for SMEs supports real-time workflows, boosting productivity and enabling material inventory control. According to the company, the ease of integration is also a big advantage that Katana offers. The platform provides compatibility with popular e-commerce sales channels and accounting tools such as Shopify, Amazon, WooCommerce, QuickBooks, Xero, among others. In February 2021, Katana raised $11M (approx €9M) in its Series A round of funding led by Atomico. The round also saw participation from angel investors including Ott Kaukver ( CTO, formerly CTO at Twilio), Sten Tamkivi (CPO, Topia, formerly Skype), Sergei Anikin (CTO, Pipedrive), and Kairi Pauskar (former TransferWise HR Architect); and earlier investor 42Cap. The investment is helping Katana scale its manufacturing ERP (enterprise resource planning) platform for SMEs producing locally, selling online globally. The company was also looking to invest in building out its team and the product.

Fractory Founder(s): Joosep Merelaht, Martin Vares, Rein Torm Founded in: 2017 Largest funding: $9M (approx €7.7M)

Fractory manufacturing marketplace provides a one-stop-shop to discover, compare, and fulfill production orders regardless of batch size. For companies with specialised laser-cutting equipment, the company optimises the use of available capacity to accelerate the ROI of expensive machinery investments. It partners with hundreds of metal companies and supports more than 10,000 customers across industries including, Aerospace and Defence, Automotive, Robotics, Life Sciences, Agriculture, and Construction. In September 2021, the company raised $9M (approx €7.7M) in its Series A round of funding led by OTB Ventures, with support from existing investors including Trind Ventures, Superhero Capital, United Angels VC, Startup Wise Guys, and Verve Ventures. The funds were intended to be used towards expanding Fractory’s operations internationally, setting-up services in new markets including the US, France, and Italy, as well as accelerate the development of its technology offering, including the automation of CNC machining, industrial 3D printing, additive manufacturing, and casting.

Ampler Bikes Founder(s): Ardo Kaurit, Hannes Laar, Rait Udumäe Founded in: 2016 Largest funding: €7.4M

Ampler Bikes was started as a side project by three founders – a professional motocross racer, an engineer, and a bicycle designer. The company’s e-bikes have an estimated range of up to 70km per single charge. Via its phone app, users can customise their ride settings and choose the power-assist mode that suits them. The battery and electronics are all concealed within the frame, keeping the look minimal. In November 2021, the company secured a €7.4M equity funding round led by Taavet Hinrikus and Sten Tamkivi from Taavet+Sten, joined by Metaplanet, Ambient Sound Investments, and Ragnar Sass. With the capital, Ampler aims to establish the Netherlands and Switzerland as the next core markets alongside Germany by opening new showrooms and service centres. Founder(s): Merit Valdsalu, Andrus Aaslaid Founded in: 2019 Largest funding: $7.9M (approx €6.67M)

Single.Earth is a deep tech startup that is tokenising nature to make it the ‘new gold’. The platform enables forests, wetlands, and other planetary resources to generate profit for landowners by selling them as carbon and biodiversity credits, instead of raw materials. Leveraging technology like satellite imagery, big data analysis, and machine-learning, Single.Earth reveals how much any area of ecological significance in the world absorbs CO2 and retains biodiversity. The company then emits a MERIT token for every 100 kg of CO2 sequestered in a specific forest or biodiverse area, and the MERIT tokens generate profits through carbon offsets. The tokens can be used to trade as an investment instrument, compensate for CO2 footprint, or contribute to climate goals (as the token is ‘used up’ and cannot be traded anymore). Companies, and eventually individuals, can purchase these tokens and own fractional amounts of those lands and natural resources. In July 2021, the company secured $7.9M (approx €6.67M) in its Seed round of funding led by EQT Ventures, with participation from existing investor Icebreaker, and Ragnar Sass and Martin Henk, founders of Pipedrive. The company used the funds to launch the Single.Earth marketplace and for hiring talent. Founder(s): Andri Jagomägi, Andres Anijalg, Raimond Russak Founded in: 2016 Largest funding: €6.4M is a developer of solar metal roofs designed to help consumers harness solar energy. The company claims that its roofs are photovoltaic roof modules with connectors that permit consumers to start producing electricity and generate revenue immediately, as it is affordable compared with the combination of regular roofs and conventional solar panels and looks like a standard non-solar roof, enabling consumers to save money on energy without altering the look of their homes. In November 2021, raised €6.4M in its Series A round of funding. The lead investor for the round was BayWa r.e. Energy Ventures. The round was also supported by EdgeCap Partners, Taavet Hinrikus and Sten Tamkivi, Estonian entrepreneurs with experience at Wise, Skype, and other well-known companies, Spring Capital, and Helmes Investments. The funds helped the company to fully automate its existing production line in the Tallinn factory and also to continue developing its roof planning software to meet the growing demand.

Minterest Founder(s): Josh Rogers Founded in: 2020 Largest funding: $6.5M

Minterest is a lending protocol built by industry leaders to service billions in TVL and to challenge existing DeFi incumbents. The protocol gives users a decentralised token money market, combined with a fair incentive structure that will facilitate and promote the widespread adoption of DeFi. By utilising its own buy-back mechanism, the protocol passes on 100 per cent of revenue generated to its community of active participants. The company claims it is the world’s first lending protocol capturing 100 per cent of value from the combination of interest rate, flash loan, and liquidation fees which are then passed on to Minterest users participating in the protocol’s governance over time. This results in the highest long-term yield in the crypto borrowing/lending sector. In September 2021, Minterest secured $6.5M in funding for a long-term yield optimisation platform. Contributions came from a number of venture capital companies, including KR1, Digital Strategies, Bitscale Capital, PNYX Ventures, CMT Digital, and others. The team is using the capital to develop the lending and borrowing protocol.

EstateGuru Founder(s): Kaspar Kaljuvee, Marek Partel, Marko Arro Founded in: 2013 Largest funding: €5.8M

EstateGuru is a marketplace facilitating property-backed loans for SMEs and selected investment opportunities for a global investor base. In simple terms, EstateGuru connects different service providers, SMEs, and investors into one single marketplace. With a diversified investor base and millions of euros available to lend, EstateGuru’s borrowers can get the money they need on their own terms, and investors can access pre-vetted, cross-border investment opportunities with a low barrier to entry and total transparency. In September 2021, the company raised €5.8M in its Series A round of funding led by TMT Investments Plc, a UK venture capital firm. The round also saw participation from Swiss venture capital firms Verve Ventures and Swiss Immo Lab, and J&T IB and Capital Markets, the investment banking arm of the Czech investment bank J&T.

Source: SiliconCanals

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