Moving to any new place is a daunting prospect whether you are an international or a citizen of the same country. Arranging accommodation, health services, a job (unless you have one already), finding new friends and life’s daily rituals is a stressful realisation for many. The Tallinn-based startup, Quips, was born out of a personal necessity to overcome these obstacles.
“When I moved to Tallinn two years ago from Britain, if it hadn’t been for the recommendation of my local Estonian friends, I would have struggled to find the everyday things I need. And it is not because I could not speak fluent Estonian, it was because like us all, how do we trust which service will provide us with what we need,” David Bailey, the CMO of Quips, explains.
Six month ago, Andrew Arnold (the CEO of Quips), Arvo Antropov, and Vesa Silaskivi decided to set up a startup that aims to reinvent the way people can access the business services and products they need. Andrew Arnold had a similar experience to Bailey. Arriving from the United States to play basketball in Tallinn, he, too, could not find the services he needed – a barber, an auto repair shop, accountants and so on.
They put together a team of locals and expats who had the same problem as they did. “Just because someone is from Estonia, it doesn’t automatically mean they could locate what they need. Tallinn has many students who study here in the city, all needing to find bookshops, cafes etc,” Bailey asserts.
What is Quips?
Quips was launched at the beginning of 2016 and is an online community that connects social media with local businesses. The company’s goal is to create an engaging, informative and a fun environment that will empower locals to make educated purchase decisions.
The founders say the initial response has been overwhelming. With over 700 users and 5,000 reviews already submitted, the team decided to expand their operations to other countries in the Baltics and Eastern Europe.
Bailey claims that Quips is unique in a sense that currently there is no online service where one can find a full catalogue of local businesses that are reviewed by locals. “Similar services, such as TripAdvisor and Like-a-Local are geared towards tourists and travellers – where to find the
best places while visiting or on vacation – but Quips is geared towards the locals, or people who have decided to become locals. It provides reviews and ratings for all industries on local businesses, such as restaurants, gyms, auto repair shops and even professionals, such as professors, doctors, accountants.
In order to motivate users to provide reviews, Quips has also created some consumer and business benefits. “Users receive points for the reviews they make. These points can be redeemed in return for rewards listed in our rewards centre; ranging from movie tickets, restaurant gift cards, bowling, and many more. The list of partners is being added to all the time so the more reviews a person makes; the more points they can redeem at participating businesses,” Bailey explains.
Bailey emphasises the wider context of their startup, which is the need to improve service standards in Estonia – many expats and visitors complain that the level and efficiency of customer service in Estonia is still quite often something to desire for. “Quips provides a platform for local businesses to reach their existing and potential customers on a whole new level. They can receive immediate feedback on the quality of their service, communicate directly with their customers, offer special promotions and offers, and advertise their business. Ultimately, based on the feedback of our users, local businesses will need to increase their service and quality level to stay relevant.”
Bailey adds that if such a service had existed when he arrived to Tallinn two years ago, he would have avoided businesses with disreputable or poor reviews.
Cover: Tallinn city centre.