Former US ambassador Jeff Levine joins Estonian startup Teleport

The former US ambassador to Tallinn, Jeff Levine, has joined the Estonian startup, Teleport, a company that helps people find the best and most affordable place to live and work.

Teleport announced Levine will join the company to lead its “user engagement efforts”.

With the assignment, Levine, who recently retired from the US Department of State, takes on his first tech startup job.

“Having a lifelong diplomat joining Teleport is absolutely fantastic, and we’re extremely excited to learn from his personal experience of making 17 international moves so far, as well as having him share all this empathy and knowledge with our users,” Teleport said in its blog.

Originally from California, Levine was appointed to represent the US in Estonia by President Barack Obama in 2012. Prior to that, he served as the State Department’s director of recruitment, examination and employment and the deputy chief of mission at the US embassy in Budapest, Hungary, as well as posts in Bulgaria, Brazil, Cyprus, Egypt, Malaysia and Peru.

Levine, who served as the top US diplomat in Estonia until September 2015, was well recognised and much liked by Estonians, thanks to his friendly and easy-going nature.

“When I first got the assignment, I set the personal goal of meeting all 1.3 million Estonians in person. Unfortunately, that proved more difficult than expected. Still, and with the help of Facebook and Twitter, I feel I’ve made a small dent and can’t tell you enough how impressed I have been with the people of Estonia and what you all have accomplished,” Levine said in his speech at the US Independence Day celebrations last summer, amusing the crowd.

His tenure also saw preparing Estonia for the visit by President Obama in September 2014.

Before joining the Department of State, Levine worked as a newspaper reporter for seven years and was also a founding staff member of USA Today, one of the largest newspapers in the United States.

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Read our interview with Jeff Levine (published in May 2014). Cover: Jeff Levine on a viewing platform overlooking the Tallinn Old Town. Courtesy of Amcham Estonia.