Transferwise doubles Estonian workforce

Transferwise CEO Kristo Käärmann has pledged that the alternative bank transfer service will create 70 jobs in Estonia by next year.

Recently bolstered by an investment by English business magnate and investor Richard Branson, among others, the London-headquartered company started by two Estonians claims users have made 1 billion euros worth of transfers, saving 45 million euros in bank fees in the process.

This week, it was also announced that the company placed 16th on CNBC’s list of 50 movers and shakers in the field of technology, side by side with Dropbox, Uber and Spotify.

TransferWise’s founders also won recognition at London Technology Week for a “startup to riches” success story. It announced 18.4 million euros in investments last week.

Currently the company has its IT development, customer support and payment operators in Tallinn – 70 of the company’s 100 employees. The rest are in London. Käärmann said the plan is to double the size of the Tallinn office.

Source: ERR News

Ambassador attracts Spanish unemployed youth to Estonia

For two years already, the Ambassador of Spain in Estonia, Alvaro de la Riva Guzman de Frutos, has been negotiating with enterprises, Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs and the job mediation network EURES aimed at attracting unemployed young Spaniards to come to Estonia for work.

Postimees writes that while at first the ambassador was negotiating with representatives of tourism and IT sectors, both of which require English language skills, the focus is now only on the IT sector, mainly because wages in Estonian hotel and restaurant business are too low to compete, for instance, with Norway.

Read more from BBN

The 10 newest Estonian startups to watch

Sometimes it seems new Estonian startups pop up like mushrooms after the rain. We have compiled a list of the newest startups to watch, based mostly on usability and usefulness, rather than financial indicators. Most of these are up to six months old and not older than a year. Some, such as Lingvist and Taxify, have already raised substantial funding, some are still in beta-stage and some, such as DonateIT, have only just launched.

 

DonateIT – an app that links together blood donors and donation centres in an quick and convenient way, allowing centres to inform potential donors when their particular blood type is needed and to keep them involved throughout the year. It also tracks and shares your blood donations, how much you donated, when you can do it next time etc. The app makes blood donations socially engaging – basically you can compete with your friends on how many lives you have saved.

Jobbatical – connects skilled professionals and companies looking for their expertise in six to twelve-month stints. Jobbatical helps convert your skills into an adventure.

Wellbiome – a health app that offers scientific personalised dietary recommendations based on the microflora in person’s gut. It creates a nutrition plan based on your DNA and gut microbiome that is specific to the person. In beta stage.

Taxify – a taxi dispatch platform for taxi companies and drivers, a mobile app for clients for ordering any taxi instantly, without a hassle.

Rahu – it alerts the family in case of an accident and sends the data to its monitoring centre, which then picks out key patterns and sudden movements – enabling alerting through the Rahu app or a text message when, for example, your grandmother has not got out of the bed or when she falls.

3D Wayfinder – an indoor and outdoor navigation software that is running on touchscreen self-service kiosks, mobile devices and websites. The solution has been designed to provide a pleasant and a convenient navigation  experience.

Lingvist – a personalised approach to learning languages that aims to make every learner a fast one. Using mathematical optimisation, the tool tailors tasks according to your knowledge and skills.

HealthDiary – a safe and a private place to keep, access and easily export all health-related notes, reminders, reports, pictures of children. You can record your child’s growth milestones, stomach troubles and doctor’s visits. Reminders help you keep track of important appointments. It also lets analyse your child’s data across the years or bring it along to the next doctor’s visit. In beta-stage.

Funderbeam – a global startup rating, tracking and funding platform, with a strong team that has a lot of experience working with the financial markets. Funderbeam helps startups to connect with supportive, mentoring investors around the world. For potential investors, it x-rays startups, using standardised scores and familiar metrics from the financial markets. In beta-stage.

Fleep – a chat communication tool for teams and businesses. Incorporating some elements of Skype and email, Fleep is a simple tool that helps organise your multiple discussion streams easily.

 

Source: estonianworld.com

Study find serious security problems in the Estonian e-voting system

According to a report prepared by a group of international, mainly US e-voting experts, Estonian Internet-based e-voting system ( I-voting) is insecure and should be withdrawn, writes Eesti Päevaleht.

According to the report authors, the Estonian I-voting system  has serious design weaknesses that are exacerbated by weak operational management. It has been built on assumptions which are outdated and do not reflect the contemporary reality of state-level attacks and sophisticated cybercrime. These problems stem from fundamental architectural problems that cannot be resolved with quick fixes or interim steps.

Read more from BBN

10 million „e-Estonians“ by 2025

The Estonian government has approved the concept of issuing digital IDs to non-residents. From the end of 2014, foreigners will be able to receive a secure Estonian e-identity. This creates a unique opportunity to create a new set of remotely usable global services.

The development of the appropriate infrastructure and the range of services require the coordination and stimulation of the public and private sectors. The aim is to make Estonia great: make sure that at least 10 million people around the world choose to associate with Estonia via e-identities.

Estonian citizens are able to perform nearly every public and private sector transaction in digital form, including signing any document. Until now, this ability has not extended to foreigners who are permanent residents of countries other than Estonia. Therefore, on April 24th, 2014, the Government of the Republic decided to approve the concept of issuing digital IDs to non-residents. This forms a basis for the growth of the international competitiveness of the Estonian state in the fields of economy, science, education, healthcare, etc.

For example, the adoption of non-resident ID cards is an additional argument in favor of investing in Estonia. Today, it is difficult for a foreign investor to actively participate in the executive management of a company (that is, to fulfill the tasks of a Member of the Board). The non-resident ID card and digital signature would provide the necessary flexibility.

Here is another example. There are entrepreneurs and investors both within and outside the European Union who are looking for opportunities to create their own company or investment vehicle in the EU. The ability to incorporate and open a bank account (not just in Estonia, but in the EU!) within a single day is only one of the services that Estonia can offer to holders of non-resident ID cards. Not to mention the simple, fully digital tax system, flexibility in attracting highly qualified (digital) labor, etc.

In addition, reinvested profit is tax-free in Estonia, and the highly developed e-banking environment gives you immediate control of your assets from a distance. This means that Estonia has the potential to be attractive to entrepreneurs who need an investment account (vehicle), and this would result in additional customers and capital for Estonian businesses.

E-residence provides a unique opportunity to create a globally innovative suite of public and private services that are usable irrespective of location: convenient incorporation, bank transactions, tax reporting, medical counseling, etc. This can be based on existing Estonian e-services, developing them further and adding new ones.

The state intends to create a fundamental platform for new business opportunities in this area. However, the development of the necessary infrastructure and range of services requires the coordination and joint effort of the public and private sectors. The aim must be ambitious: currently there is 1,3 million estonians, but at least 10 million people around the world should connect themselves to Estonia via the digital identity. E-residence can make Estonia truly great!

Read more from Taavi Kotka blog

The co-authors of this idea are Ruth Annus and Siim Sikkut.

Estonia launches OpenData application for municipalities

The financial activities and overall financial situation of Estonia’s local governments can now be easily monitored via Riigiraha (State Finances). The goal of the service is to increase the transparency, accessibility and openness of local governments.

All accounting data retrieved from local governments from 2008-2013 is made public. Everyone has unlimited access to view, download, compare and analyse data using the business intelligence software platform. This is an important step towards making public sector finances transparent and understandable to all.

“New users should start by accessing the User Guide and then looking up the interactive report ‘Where does your money go‘ to get an overview of local government spending of revenue received from chosen tax payers,” explained Andrus Jõgi from the Local Government Financial Management Department of the Ministry of Finance.

The application was developed based on the success of and experience obtained during a 2012 pilot project known as ‘Riigipilv’. More than 200,000 enquiries were made during the project – 0.15 enquiries per citizen. The new application, at ‘riigiraha.fin.ee‘, has increased usability, more data and analysing tools, and is available in English.

Source: Estonian Ministry of Finance

95% of taxpayers filed tax returns electronically

95.4% of taxpayers in Estonia filed their tax returns electronically, an increase of 0.4% year on year, spokespeople for the Estonian Tax and Customs Board said.

All in all, tax returns for 2013 were filed by a total of 629,715 Estonian taxpayers.

Read more from BBN

O’Neal invests in Estonian company

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O’Neal

The former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal and his multi-billionaire business partner Vivek Ranadive have recently made an investment in the Estonian company Pipedrive.
The investment is estimated to total several hundred thousand dollars, the weekly Eesti Ekspress said.

Managers at Pipedrive refused to be specific about the sum.

“They made a phone call to us searching for a cooperation partner to service a couple of clients. We had a meeting, there was good understanding between us, the proposal to invest came from Vivek. We understood that we have a lot to learn from him,” Urmas Purde told Eesti Ekspress.

Pipedrive, an on-demand software provider to help small to medium size companies manage and increase sales, was established by Estonians Timo Reini, Urmas Purde, Ragnar Sass, Martin Henk and Martin Tajur in 2010 with money from Estonian marketing guru Peep Vain.

The company is estimated to have 10,000 clients in more than a hundred countries and it has offices in Tallinn and Palo Alto offices — the former for the product development team, and the latter in marketing and business development.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review

Skype Eesti is most valued employer in Estonia

Skype went past the state-owned energy group Eesti Energia to take the title of Estonia’s most valued employer, it appears from an annual study of CV Keskus listing employers that are most valued by Estonian workers.

In addition to Skype and Eesti Energia, the 4,000 respondents participating in the survey also gave high scores to Elion, Swedbank, EMT, ABB and Playtech, CV Keskus, a recruitment services company, said.

In the ethnic Estonian segment remuneration on the desired level, chances of professional development, a pleasant human environment at work and suitable working conditions were named as the top criteria in appraising an employer. For men the salary number occupied the most important place. Women on the other hand gave professional development and suitable working conditions higher scores than men. Professional development and a pleasant human environment at work were valued highly by young respondents.

Source: BNS / Estonian Review

There are several job vacancies in IT sector

According to Statistics Estonia, there were 6,400 job vacancies in the enterprises, institutions and organisations of Estonia in the 4th quarter of 2013. Their number decreased by 3.4% compared to the same period of 2012, and by a fourth compared to the previous quarter.

The rate of job vacancies was 1.2% in the 4th quarter. The rate of job vacancies is the share of job vacancies in the total number of jobs (sum of occupied posts and vacancies).

The rate of job vacancies was the highest in information and communication activities (2.3%) and the lowest in mining and quarrying (0.2%).

The increase in the number of job vacancies was the biggest in manufacturing, where there were 1.4 times more vacancies compared to the 4th quarter of 2012.

56% of job vacancies and occupied posts are in Harju county (incl. Tallinn). The rate of job vacancies was the highest in Pärnu county (2.5%), but only 5% of all jobs (job vacancies and occupied posts total) are in Pärnu county.

25% of the job vacancies were in the public sector and 75% in the private sector. The rate of job vacancies was 1.1% in the public sector and 1.3% in the private sector. The public sector also includes companies owned by the state or local government.

Rate of job vacancies, 1st quarter 2005 – 4th quarter 2013

Rate of job vacancies

In the 3rd quarter of 2013, 81,200 employees were engaged and left their jobs in total (labour turnover). The labour turnover increased by 4.7% compared to the 3rd quarter of 2012.

A job vacancy is a paid post that is newly created, unoccupied or becomes vacant when an employee leaves, and for which the employer is actively trying to find a suitable candidate from outside the enterprise, institution or organisation concerned.

The data are based on the job vacancies and labour turnover survey conducted by Statistics Estonia since 2005. In 2013, the sample included 11,740 enterprises, institutions and organisations.

Source: Statistics Estonia

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