Estonia promotes itself in Silicon Valley with Skype

08.07.2013, 11:35

Last weekend Enterprise Estonia hosted one of its most prominent events aimed at introducing Estonia as an investment destination for US venture capitalists and other investors, writes Äripäev.

The event labelled Innovative Estonia & the Skype phenomenon held in Sunnyvale in Silicon Valley was led by Andrus Viirg, head of the US office of Enterprise Estonia, and moderated by Cyrus Farivar, a US tech journalist.

Estonian President  Toomas Hendrik Ilves gave a welcoming address by Skype and Steve Jürvetson, a major venture capitalist with Estonian roots gave a half-hour keynote speech.

The discussion focused on Estonia’s achievements as an IT country including the e-health system and what Estonia has done differently from other countries.

Other panellists included Taavi Kotka, deputy secretary general in charge of IT of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Taavet Hinrikus, the first employee of Skype and founder of Transferwise, Scott Miller, senior director of strategic partnerships of Skype.

The name of Skype featured prominently in the conference and Millar said that although formally Skype was founded by a Swede and a Dane, Estonians played an important part in developing the system and the whole Estonia has become associated with the name of Skype.

„I was talking to a guy at a conference in US once and when he heard that I was working for Skype, he said: „I just love Estonia!”

The second panel on Estonian seed companies which included Martin Koppel, co-founder of Fortumo, Rainer Sternfeld, founder of MarinExplore, Üllar Jaaksoo, CEO of Now! Innovations and Mike Gault, CEO of Guardtime, discussed whether there was a bubble in the market seed companies as Estonia is producing more seed companies per capita than any other EU country.