Estonian startups have paid €150 million in taxes to state’s coffers since 2016

Data from Startup Estonia shows Estonian startups’ contribution to the country’s budget is constantly increasing – from just €28 million in 2016 to over €32 million in the first half of 2019 alone.

According to data, compiled by Startup Estonia, a governmental initiative aimed at supercharging the country’s startup ecosystem, the state budget gains more than ever from the employment taxes paid by Estonian startups. The sum was €28 million in 2016, €36 million in 2017 and €46 million in 2018. This year is promising to be another record breaker as the startups paid €32.7 million in taxes in only the first six months of 2019.

The biggest contributors are startups in fintech; business software, services and human resources; transportation and logistics; gaming; and cybertech. The largest contributors among startups are TransferWise (€5 million), Pipedrive (€3.7 million), Bolt, formerly known as Taxify (€2.8 million), Monese and Veriff (both just under a million).

Pipedrive’s new HQ in Tallinn. The image is illustrative.

According to Statistics Estonia, the average monthly gross salary within Estonian startup ecosystem is €1.706, which is 27% more than the average salary in Estonia. 

Every fifth startup founded by a foreigner

As of July 2019, the Estonian startups employ over 4,800 people locally – by comparison, a year ago, the employee number was just over 3,300. The data shows that 46% of startup employees are women and 54% are men. However, the proportion of female startup founders in Estonia is still very low, currently around 15%.

The average age of founders is currently 37 and the majority of them are aged between 25-40. Most of the founders (59%) have higher education and most have Estonian citizenship (82%), while around 18% of startup founders are foreigners.  

Some of the local startup founders meeting Estonian president Kersti Kaljulaid at Lift99, a coworking space in Tallinn’s Telliskivi Creative City.

Startup Estonia’s data shows there are currently 650 startups in the country – 130 of those were founded by entrepreneurs who came to Estonia with a startup visa, introduced in 2017. Altogether, the startup visa has granted over 1,800 people the right to move to Estonia. 

The Estonian startups have collectively raised over €1.1 billion in capital since 2007, of which 90% is a foreign funding.

Cover: A view of Telliskivi Creative City, where many startups are located, and the Tallinn Old Town. The image is illustrative. Photo by Kaupo Kalda.

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