Estonia The Leader in European Fintech?
With over 80 fintech startups in Estonia, the country is slowly emerging as a Fintech hotspot. It now has one of the highest ratios of startups per capita in Europe, and a large percentage of these startups are in the Fintech sector. With a favourable business environment for startups and the country’s growing reputation as the most advanced digital society in the world, it’s helping to attract its fair share of Fintech startups. But what is it that makes Estonia such a hotbed for fintech startups? Let’s find out.
A Forward-Thinking Government
The Estonian government is placing a big focus on becoming a digital nation. Whether it’s getting a prescription from a doctor online or paying your taxes online, the government pretty much allows all services to manage and access services digitally.
The government want to make Estonia a leader in Europe for all things digital. Over the last few years, the government have come up with a variety of digital programmes and schemes to help achieve this and attract more startups to the country. One of its most notable projects is the e-residency programme. This programme allows anyone to start a business in the country and run it remotely.
This programme has attracted a great deal of foreign investment to the country, with an estimated $15 million paid to the Estonian government by e-Residents in the last year alone.
This programme is widely recognised as an excellent digital transformation initiative and its initiatives like these which are helping to attract more and more Fintech companies.
A Supporting Digital environment
Renowned for its thriving tech scene and its deep pool of talent, Estonia is prime positioned for disruptive innovation. Over the last decade, many innovative startups have been born, including TransferWise, Guardtime and Fleep, to name a few.
Innovative ideas and solutions are welcome in this part of the world. Estonia’s progressive way of thinking and operating has been vital in allowing Fintech startups to develop and launch solutions effectively. It should come as no surprise then that Estonia has been ranked first out of 61 countries for fostering innovation by Emerging Europe.
This embrace of digital technology is allowing for record levels of entrepreneurship, with Estonia recording 31 startups per 100,000 inhabitants. This figure is over six times higher than the European average, according to the Funderbeam Start up Investment Report.
Kaspar Korjus, the former E-Residency Managing Director, said: “Technology is almost seen as a religion here. In case you would ask an Estonian where he is from, he’ll answer: from the country that created Skype and Transferwise.”
Embracing the Fintech Revolution
The fintech startup industry in Estonia is showing no signs of slowing down and is an exciting environment for Fintech companies. With a fast-growing tech scene and a forward-thinking government, it’s no wonder why more Fintech companies are choosing Estonia as their home base.
Through a mixture of savvy private and public sector collaboration, Estonia is hoping to rival the UK, US and Singapore as a hub for fintech in the coming decade. Will it happen? Only time will tell.