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Januar 2019

An Estonian PropTech Journey

By Booster Inside No Comments

Since our fourth batch is going to start so soon, Jakob took the trip to Estonia to meet up with several PropTechs and talk to them. Keep reading if you are interested in learning more about our selection process.

In December I visited Estonia for the first time. Why? Apart from being personally curious about the most digitally advanced country and economy in Europe, I was looking to meet some promising PropTech companies for our Accelerator program, restarting in spring.

We at blackprint got a good feeling about how Estonia and Estonian founders work, when Kristi and her colleagues of "Moderan" joined our first batch in January 2017. Since then Alex actually is an e-resident of Estonia, mostly because Kristi forced him to (as she did not want to get paper-based signatures from him in the future), but partly because it is exciting to get to know such a system first hand. Kristi, who has been in the digital startup scene of Estonia for more than 10 years now, is a great example for what makes Estonian entrepreneurs special (but also Baltic entrepreneurs in general) as well as stand out (and successful):

They aim for and think international right from the start. That is why Kristi came to blackprint two years ago, and that’s why her commercial lease management solution is sold nearly as well in Germany as in the Baltics. Although most Estonian startups are and were created in Tallinn (among them Unicorns like Taxify, Skype and Transferwise or prominent software companies such as Pipedrive), during my preliminary research and my visit to Tallinn, I learned that Tartu is home to a substantial amount of young and promising tech companies (you will find two of them below), so it is definitely worthwhile to visit both cities, when you go to Estonia!

I only had one day for meetings in Tallinn, nevertheless I was able to get to know a substantial part of the real estate-related tech scene over there. Following, you will find a quick overview of the places and companies I visited:

Kristi Hakkaja from Moderan together with Co-Founder Raiko Uri aswell as Booster CEO Alex at Techquartier Frankfurt.


01. Hausing

When I came to the office of Hausing, I instantly realized that I just walked into a tech company. The most important part of their office equipment seems to be a gaming area with an impressive collection of mostly classical games and consoles. That being said, they are working on an impressive and extensive tool for property management which promises to automatize a lot of tasks around this area.

02. Bauhub

Unfortunately, as Teet and his teammates from Bauhub are situated in Tartu, I was not able to meet them personally but instead had a call with them shortly after my visit. Their solution is a mixture of a document and project management software specifically geared towards construction. It was really refreshing to see modern principles of software development and UX applied to such a non-digital area, so I’m keen to watch their ongoing progress!

03. BitofProperty

Karl and Taavi are running one of the most innovating Crowdfunding platforms in the Baltics and are another perfect example of the international thinking of Estonian founders. Their company is based in Singapore and Tallinn and capitalizing on the best those cities can bring to businesses, especially in the tech and financial world. You might think that real estate crowdfunding is a well-covered area of the PropTech scene. But, keeping in mind that BitofProperty is structured in a totally different way than similar business models in Germany and what Karl and Taavi have planned for the future, it might be worthwhile to keep them on your watchlist.

04. Bailsman

The team of Bailsman, of whom I personally met Indrek, James and Peeter, might be the most impressive combination of people I’ve encountered on my journey. They have built companies around payments and financing before (Supplierplus), seem to be fantastically connected among banks and are now taking on the huge market of rental deposits (respectively guarantees in their case), which makes me extremely curious for their future development.

05. Consorto

Philip, the founder of Consorto, is one of the few founders I’ve met in Estonia, who has a background or previous experience in the real estate sector (which is similar to the market in Germany). Although his business model of a commercial marketplace has been and is being tried a lot of times and some might say it is a moonshot, his real estate expertise and knowledge connected to their tech team and the fact that they are currently part of the Startup Wise Guys program might make a difference this time.

Accelerator & Coworking Spaces

I’ve seen and met a lot of Accelerator programs (and know how hard it is to build and run one). Nevertheless, Startup Wise Guys sticks out from all of them. Firstly, they are one of the only serious non-corporate B2B focused programs I’ve seen. Secondly and more importantly, they might have one of the most impressive track records in the whole of Europe - solely the fact that they did over 100 investments to date would be enough for such a statement, but there is more. They also compiled an insightful Baltic Startup Scene report, which you can find here:

Baltic Startup Scene Report 2017/2018 by Startup Wise Guys and EIT Digital

02. Workland

I nearly spend half a day at Workland since Consorto and Startup Wise Guys are located here. The place has a pleasant and quiet atmosphere, and although being equipped with latest technology the space feels a lot like a large living room.

03. Lift99

Even though I did not get to meet Elise and the team of Lift99 it is most likely one of the largest epicenters of the Estonian tech scene. This is especially because of the community they build around it, which is based on close ties to Pipedrive, Taxify, Toggl and other prominent players as well as international relations (e.g. their hub in the Ukraine). It was recommended to me beforehand several times and definitely is on the top of my list for my next visit. If you are a founder, you should also check out their online founder matchmaking tool F2F!

As you can see, there are a lot of inspiring and interesting companies and places to visit in Tallinn. And Estonians are really open for international guests and contacts, so a visit is totally worth it! That experience being told, I want to thank all the fellow founders for having me and letting me see a small part of the Estonian PropTech scene! I hope to return really soon!