Last night, the Estonian-American Chamber of Commerce and Industry co-organized the “Start-Up, Estonia” forum to kick off several days of activities around the Estonian Government’s Identit.ee panel discussions, the Prime Minister’s trade mission to the United States, and the Estonian Cultural Days. The kickoff event included presentations by EACCI members Cognuse, BBIN Global, and Fisher Row Capital. Forum attendees included potential investors, U.S. companies exploring opportunities for doing business in Estonia, and Estonian companies considering U.S. market entry.
BBIN Principal Krista Altok Tassa, who also serves as EACCI’s president, provided an overview of trade and investment between the U.S. and Estonia. Drawing on her 20+ years of experience in the area, she offered anecdotes about Estonian companies and their entry into the U.S. market, including personal experiences as co-founder of MobileNOW!, a U.S. affiliate of Estonian mobile parking company NOWInnovations.
Fisher Row Capital’s Alvar Soosaar presented an in-depth look at the key players in the startup scene in Estonia, at Estonian startups that have met with success in the U.S, as well as current earlier-stage startups with potential for success. He also discussed the need for more help needed on the U.S. side for Estonian startups looking to penetrate the U.S. market, and mentioned that he is evaluating founding a centrally located startup accelerator in Philadelphia to serve as a landing pad on the East Coast for European-headquartered startups.
Andres Mellik, CEO of Cognuse, shared his company’s market entrance strategy over the past 2 years, and a realistic description of what is required to penetrate the U.S. marketplace.