The Baltic States, formed by Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, are seeking to create an environment favoring entrepreneurship, modern technologies and international talent. Only a little over six million inhabitants reside in the Baltic States, which means it’s a relatively small market, however the FinTech sector in the Baltic States is booming. The biggest key drivers of information technology innovation in Estonia have been retail banks, as well as a modern IT and business platform. Regulation is also on the side of aspiring entrepreneurs with a friendly tax system as well as a great business environment to support their big ambitions. As such, the Baltics are seen as attractive places for expansion within the European Union. The worldwide success of Skype and Transferwise showed entrepreneurs from all over the world the scale of possibilities that exist from doing business in the region.
As the Baltic States provide a multitude of promising opportunities for fintech startups & scale-ups, B-Hive along with multiple stakeholders in its ecosystem went to Tallinn on May 23-25 to energetically contribute in the conference agenda of Latitude59 - the flagship startup & tech event of e-Estonia – and to actively connect with the Baltic finance community.
Exchanging Lessons & Insights for Knowledge Sharing
Our Baltic roadshow kickstarted with a roundtable discussion on blockchain featuring key players from Token EST and Finance Estonia, as well as active blockchain companies in our network such as Meeco, IntellectEU, SettleMint and Signaturit. Impressive facts were shared about how Estonia successfully built a digital nation. From filling taxes to accessing medical records, 99% of all government services are available online. In fact, Estonia is the first county to use blockchain on national level. The roundtable forum was quickly followed with a guided visit to the e-Estonia Showroom. On top of showcasing tangible applications of e-Estonia’s digital solutions, the visit highlighted the importance of collaboration between government and technology and in building links to leading IT service providers.
In a parallel knowledge sharing session, our co-founder Jurgen Ingels also went all the way to Tartu – a city two hours away from Tallinn that boasts of a world-renowned university and a strong startup ecosystem – to share his lessons learned on scaling in front of aspiring entrepreneurs.
Establishing Presence in Latitude59
At the heart of our Baltic roadshow is the Latitude59 conference where B-Hive welcomed Baltic, CEE and Nordic companies in our booth to share more about our digital finance ecosystem and gave them an opportunity to meet fintechs from our network.
Our co-founder Jurgen Ingels also graced the Yellow Stage to share a few of his lessons learned on scaling and to introduce Scale-Ups.eu, an ecosystem focused on accelerating the growth of scale-ups in Europe. He also gave a two-hour workshop on scaling in a room filled with enthusiastic entrepreneurs, where timely scaling challenges were tackled related to international expansion and human resources management. This highlights the role of an ecosystem in squeezing time for scale-ups to grow faster.
Matchmaking as Focus of Roadshow
Together with the Embassy of Belgium in Helsinki, our partner Flanders Investment & Trade hosted a walking dinner on May 24th with the B-Hive community and key players in the Baltic ecosystem. It was a fruitful exchange of knowledge and network between both ecosystems.
B-Hive also hosted a breakfast matchmaking session at the closing day of Latitude59 featuring pitches from Cambridge Blockchain, IntellectEU, Meeco SettleMint and Signaturit. It was well-attended by banks and consulting firms that are active in digitalization in financial services. Truly a good platform for innovation sourcing among large incumbents and business development for innovative players in our network, representing a win-win for the community!
All in all, the roadshow was a great success and excellent first step towards collaboration in the region.
Interested in the region?