The Startup Ecosystem of Estonia

Estonia has 3 cities in the top 1000 and has a vibrant startup scene that ranks 14th within the competitive global top 20.


Since 2023, Estonia lost 1 spot in the Global Startup Ecosystem Index, having now positioned itself as 14th worldwide.



Regional Ranking

In Eastern Europe

Global Ranking



Startup Ecosystem Overview

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One of the most important milestones in the history of the Estonian ecosystem was the success of Skype, an app largely developed in Estonia. Skype’s founders used this exit windfall to support new successful Estonian startups such as Skycam, teleport, and SpaceApe, to name a few. The Skype Mafia, as they are called, shows how big an impact one exit can have on the culture of an entire startup ecosystem. There have also been effective and aggressive marketing efforts performed by the Estonian public sector, the likes of which we have not seen anywhere else in the world. Examples of this include several innovative projects that started in Estonia and are now being copied by dozens of governments around the world: Estonian E-residency, startup and nomad visas, and the branding of companies as completely digitized. These efforts result in visibility and branding of the country among digital nomads and small business owners in many developing countries, an impressive accomplishment for a country of less than 2 million inhabitants.

The small population also means that startups in Estonia are in strong competition for talent, and the public sector has the difficult task of providing the booming startup scene with a steady influx of foreign workers. According to Statistics Estonia, every 56th person of the Estonian working population was involved with startups and the top 20 startups created 59% of the jobs in the sector in 2022, proving the country’s need to attract talent from abroad. The Work in Estonia Program, launched by Estonia’s Government, aims to attract new IT specialists as well as talent in natural and exact sciences. So far the country seems to be attractive to foreigners and has managed to double its international talent pool in the past 5 years.
The country has successfully established itself as a leader in IT, cybersecurity, and government, and the number of Estonian unicorns proves that Estonia has come a long way to position itself as a startup driven economy. However, Estonia still has some challenges on its path to growth. First, Estonia should be forewarned that initiatives like e-residency and the nomad visa can attract lifestyle businesses to Estonia instead of startups that could expand globally or seek access to capital and potential clients. Second, the country should also carefully transition from a development center, where companies from wealthier countries might come to develop startups (e.g. Skype, Playtech), to building its own locally sourced startups, especially considering that the cost of living in Estonia is growing in accordance with the country’s economic success. In addition, the country has proved it can produce global success stories like Wise, Bolt, and Pipedrive. However, as the Wise transition to London has shown, one key challenge the country faces will be making sure its unicorns stay in the ecosystem instead of leaving for bigger startup hubs.
According to the Startup Estonia White Paper 2021-2027, the nation continues to support its growing startup ecosystem, has set a number of goals focused on growing the Estonian startup and technology sector to 15% of the nation’s GDP by 2025, and actively promotes an all-inclusive startup mindset. As the main governmental initiative for the Estonian ecosystem, Startup Estonia works on developing policies as well as promoting and strengthening the ecosystem. In addition, through events such as Latitude59, the country continues to attract international attention and investment every year.

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The Startup Ecosystem in Estonia

Our startup ecosystem map for Estonia includes a sample of 391 tech companies. We have identified as unicorns 2 startups that have passed the USD 1 billion valuations. Contributing to the vitality of this startup ecosystem are the 1 pantheon member entities.

Global Rank

Estonia is ranked within the top 20 startup ecosystems globally.

Top Industries

Estonia’s startup scene is best represented in Marketing & Sales, Transportation, and in and Fintech.

Top Cities for Startups in Estonia - Ranked by StartupBlink
StartupBlink ranks the startup ecosystems of 100 countries and 1,000 cities. Download our latest Global Startup Ecosystem Report.
2023 National Rank & Change ▲
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Notable Startups in Estonia
Starship Technologies startup icon
Starship Technologies
Montonio Finance startup icon
Montonio Finance
Scoro startup icon


Successful Marketing & Sales startups in Estonia
Adcash  startup icon
Adcash startup icon
Outfunnel startup icon


Startups Ranking by Industry

Marketing & Sales icon
Marketing & Sales
#2 worldwide

On our map, you can explore a total of 146 startups for Marketing & Sales.

Transportation icon
#2 worldwide

In Eastern Europe, Estonia's Transportation is in top 2. Estonia has a concentration of about 82 of the region's total Transportation startups that are represented on our map.

Fintech icon
#14 worldwide

Estonia's Fintech is ranked 14th in the world. Our database contains 31 for this industry.

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