Addressing the coronavirus crisis like the Estonian startup community

The Estonian startup community is teaming up with Mistletoe Singapore, the European Commission and other local and international supporters, to organise a 100-hour free online accelerator for startups with potential to have a strong impact on shaping today’s and the post-crisis world; the mentors include the Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid and the cofounders of Bolt, Skype, Pipedrive, Veriff, Testlio and many others.

The 100% online free accelerator, “Salto Growth Camp: EMERGEncy”, led by the startup support network Salto by Lift99, will help 15 selected startups from all around the world to scale their product globally. The participating startups will be mentored by over 20 top-notch mentors, such as the Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid; a cofounder of Skype and Starship, Ahti Heinla; a cofounder of Bolt, Martin Villig; cofounders of Pipedrive, Ragnar Sass and Martin Henk; the founder of Veriff, Kaarel Kotkas; the government CIO of Estonia, Siim Sikkut; and many others.

A collective action to create positive pathways

The investors backing up the accelerator include Taizo Son, the founder of Mistletoe, a company that has invested in 190 startups and venture funds around the globe; Gerry Kodres, general partner at United Angels VC; and others. Mistletoe alone has already committed to invest minimum €200,000 in total in participating startups. All angel investors and VCs involved will not only participate as potential investors but also as mentors.

“The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting the global economy and the daily lives of billions. The world needs collective action that can navigate the growing chaos and create positive pathways across systemic damage,” the organisers of the accelerator said. “Startups are best positioned to innovate and respond quickly to such challenges. There are thousands of innovators globally with products that could have a huge impact on solving today’s crisis. The completely free of charge ‘Salto Growth Camp: EMERGEncy’, supported by Mistletoe, will help such startups grow and scale globally.”

Ragnar Sass, a cofounder of Pipedrive and the founder of Lift99, a Tallinn-based startup hub, told Estonian World that the accelerator was organised in just two days. “Getting it off the ground so quickly and involving as many top people, including president Kaljulaid, is an amazing example of what could be achieved together,” he said.

A tailor-made programme

The online event is for startups located anywhere in the world with existing products and clear traction in the areas of healthtech, govtech, foodtech, edtech, resilience engineering and remote work. “We’re working closely with the startup community, the European Commission and the Estonian government to map the specific problems to be solved,” the organisers said. “By identifying and fixing the bottlenecks and inefficient processes, we help startups to speed up their product development, to enter new markets and unlock their growth, together with top industry experts.”

The accelerator’s programme is tailor made, based on the specific needs of the participating startups. ”It consists of online roundtable sessions, led by high-level experts, power talks, one-to-one sessions with mentors and hands-on hacking with both mentors and other participants – and about 50% of the time is for execution.”

As the event takes place completely online, different communications and enabling tools, such as Zoom, Slack, ClassDo, will be used.

The application deadline is 27 March at 11PM (EET).

For the latest developments in Estonia, follow our special blog on coronavirus.

Cover: A collage of some of the mentors and investors in the programme: Clockwise from the top: Kersti Kaljulaid, Taizo Son (Mistletoe), Kristel Kruustük (Testlio), Martin Villig (Bolt), Maarika Truu (Startup Estonia), and Ragnar Sass (Pipedrive, Lift99).

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