Estonian startupper: the best companies are started in times of the worst crises

Ragnar Sass, the cofounder of Tallinn and Kyiv-based coworking hubs, LIFT99, and Pipedrive, one of the most successful Estonian startups, encourages people who have been recently laid off to start their own companies.

The serial entrepreneur called on the people who had been sacked recently due to the coronavirus crisis biting the companies, to remain positive and set up on their own instead.

“This is a shout-out to every single person who has been recently laid off in Estonia and Ukraine. Yes – laying off sucks, big time! Believe it or not – I know this feeling so damn personally, as it happened to me back in 2007. It kicked me so badly that I started my first startup. It was not a bad choice, even though the first one was failure,” Sass wrote on his Facebook page. “Here the good news – the best companies are started in times of worst crises! And you don’t have anything to lose now!”

Ready to support good ideas

Sass also announced that he and the co-working hub he founded are ready to support good business ideas.

“So here is my deal for you! If you are brave enough to try a startup founder’s life – then send me your idea. I will give you feedback, plus two months of free membership in LIFT99 Tallinn or Kyiv startup hubs. Most importantly – you will be a part of a community of 400 amazing startup folks – including every single expert you need to build your first prototype and get your first clients,” Sass said.

LIFT99 hub in Kyiv, Ukraine (LIFT99).

The startup founder added that he was ready to provide some financial backing to the ideas that will show revenue soon. “If you have a working prototype with revenue by the end of the two months, I will be your first investor with €10,000. Bring it on,” he said. You can send your idea to an aptly named email address.

Sass is a cofounder of Pipedrive, a cloud-based sales software company with global offices. In 2016, he founded LIFT99, a coworking and startup community space in Tallinn; LIFT99 in Kyiv, Ukraine, followed in 2018.

In early May, Pipedrive announced it will lay off 14 people from its offices in Tallinn and Tartu; globally, the company was letting go twice as many; the Estonian online identity verification startup, Veriff, once one of the fastest growing startups in Estonia, announced it was laying off 63 people.

Cover: Ragnar Sass on stage at the Estonian Startup Awards 2019 at Fotografiska Tallinn (LIFT99).

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