Transferwise founders named European Web Entrepreneurs of The Year

The European Commission today announced the winners of the 2015 European Web Entrepreneurs, or Europioneers Awards. Among this year’s winners are Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann from Estonia.

Hindrikus and Käärmann took home the Web Entrepreneur of the Year title, presented by the Vice President of the European Commission Jyrki Katainen, and the President of the European Committee of the Regions Markku Markkula. The winners were announced during Slush Conference in Helsinki where the European web entrepreneur community was represented by 15,000 participants, including 1,700 start-ups, 800 investors, and 650 media representatives. The selection of the winners depended on the public voting and jury input.

Europioneers is organized by the European Commission as part of the Startup Europe initiative, in partnership with Deloitte, LEWIS PR and the European Young Innovators Forum. The objective of the competition is to identify and recognise successful European web initiatives, to promote the role web entrepreneurs play in European society, and to encourage and inspire potential entrepreneurs. The award were given for the third consecutive year. In 2014 over 300 nominations were received, voted on by over 2000 members of start-up communities.

Käärmann and Hinrikus are the founders of TransferWise, an Estonian developed and UK-based peer-to-peer money transfer service with headquarters in London and offices in Tallinn and New York. More than 3 billion pounds has been transferred through TransferWise to date.

Source: ERR



NASA uses Estonian-founded GrabCAD

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the US government agency responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research, is using the Estonian-founded, US-based, online engineering platform GrabCAD to design a handrail clamp assembly (HCA) for the International Space Station (ISS) that can be printed on the ISS 3D printer.

Called NASA Handrail Clamp Assembly Challenge, the aim is to find the best design for a rigid clamp that is used by astronauts on the ISS. The handrail clamp is used by astronauts in a microgravity environment to mount various things.

The HCA design will be printed by the 3D printer on-board ISS and will be named CHAMP (Clamp for Handrail with Additively Manufactured Parts).

NASA is using the GrabCAD community of designers and engineers to find a new design.

Founded in 2010, GrabCAD helps engineers get products to market faster by connecting people, content and technology. The firm offers GrabCAD Workbench, a cloud-based collaboration tool that enables engineers and designers to share, view and manage CAD files and other design data. GrabCAD is also home to a community of more than 1.6 million members from around the world, who can access a large public CAD file library, as well as connect with other engineers.

GrabCAD was recently acquired by the US-Israeli provider of 3D printing solutions, Stratasys Ltd, for around 100 million dollars.

The NASA challenge will be open for submission until February 16 and winners will be announced on month later

Source: ERR News via Estonian Review

First bitcoin ATM in Baltics opens in Tallinn

The first bitcoin ATM in the Baltics is now available to cryptocurrency users in the Estonian capital.

The ATM allows users to exchange euros into bitcoins, a virtual peer-to-peer currency, and transfer the sum into user’s digital wallet. The euro to bitcoin exchange rate is dependent on the current market price.

According to the company responsible for the ATM, there are currently about 13 bitcoin ATMs in Finland, and around 300 in the world.

The bitcoin ATM is open on weekdays from 10:00 to 19:00 and is located at the Spotex currency exchange in Tartu street, Tallinn.

Source: ERR via Estonian Review

Taxify expands to South Africa

The Estonian start-up Taxify, developer of a smartphone-based application for taxi booking, is set to expand to the South African cities Johannesburg and Cape Town at the end of this month.

Cooperation with licensed taxi operators only gives the company an edge over competitors, CEO of Taxify South Africa Trevor Joseph said in a press release. “Our passengers are always assured that they are in the hands of properly-licensed drivers, with the necessary taxi permit and public carrier insurance,” he said.

In just over two months of preparatory work on the South African market, Taxify has over 150 vehicles registered on the system. The company hopes to exceed 500 vehicles by the end of March.

Founded in Estonia in 2013, Taxify is engaged in developing a smartphone app and dispatcher software for taxi booking. The company currently operates in Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Britain, Georgia, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United States.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review

Developer of taxi booking app Taxify raises 1.4 mEUR

Taxify, developer of a taxi booking app of the same name, has raised 1.4 million euros to support expansion into new markets.

The founder of Taxify, Markus Villig, said the company will use the investment to reinforce its leader’s position in Eastern Europe and secure rapid growth in expanding into markets of Central Europe. In addition to Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania Taxify is planning to launch its service in four more countries of Europe in the coming months.

The parties behind the 1.4-million-euro investment are Adcash, Rubylight, and Odnoklassniki, TMT Investments, as well as angel investors Rain Rannu from Fortumo and Indrek Kasela.

Taxify is a taxi booking app with dispatcher and backend software solutions for taxi fleet management developed by the technology company Taxify established in Estonia in 2013. Taxify employs more than 30 people in eight countries.

Source: Baltic News Service through Estonian Review


Estonia’s e-residency program to cost 1.2 mEUR

The Estonian e-residency program is seen to cost 1.2 million euros during the first 18 months, according to initial estimates by the Ministry of Economy and Communications.

“The ministry has sent inquiries to all parties connected with the e-residency project to find out how much their expenditures will grow in their own estimate as a result of the e-residency project,” Taavi Kotka, deputy secretary general of the Ministry of Economy and Communications for communications and information systems and spokesman for the e-residency program, told BNS.

“According to an initial estimate by the ministry, costs for the e-residency project in the next 18 months will total approximately 1.2 million euros,” the official said.

As examples, he named a request for additional money by the Justice Ministry to improve customer support at Commercial Register, a request by the State Information System Authority for money to set up support for the ID card in English language, etc.

Kotka said it has to be kept in mind that the project’s costs and income depend on its success and are subject to change. The government has tasked the Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Economy and Communications with finding necessary fund.

“To go on with the project, the government decided to set up a project team with Enterprise Estonia. Enterprise Estonia is ready to partially cover the costs related to that team,” he said.

As the next step under the e-residency program the Ministry of Economy and Communication is about to launch a program titled “10 million e-Estonians” within whose framework at least 17,000 e-residents and via them 5,000 businesses are to be brought to Estonia in the next three years.

The program will be carried out by a program team to be set up with the Enterprise Estonia showroom. Kotka, who heads a council bringing together public and private sector representatives, will be responsible for the implementation of the program. The council will endorse the program’s content, goals and operational plans.

The program for 10 million e-Estonians covers six areas: registering of e-residency, developing of services geared toward e-residents, quality of services and support, risk management and security, developing of legal environment, and marketing and communication.

In addition to launching the program plans are to take faster steps to make application for e-residency simpler and simplify the services that e-residents show the biggest interest in.

E-residency is a state-issued secure digital identity for non-residents that allows digital authentication and the digital signing of documents. The purpose of e-residency is to make life easier by offering people living abroad an opportunity to use the secure e-services that have been accessible to Estonians already for years.

E-residency is provided by the government of the Republic of Estonia, but does not bring physical residency or rights of entry to Estonia or the EU. E-residency does not entail any residential or citizen rights and cannot be used as a physical identification card or travel document.

Source: BNS through Estonian Review

Estonian, Latvian IT associations cooperate

The Estonian and Latvian information and communication technology associations signed on Thursday in Riga a memorandum of cooperation to develop cross-border e-services and propagate digital economic space in developing a single digital market.

“Cooperation between the countries will support and strengthen the development and spread of cross-border digital services in Latvia and Estonia alike. This is another example of the functioning of a cross-border e-business environment and a step forward in developing a digital single market in the European Union,” president of the Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications Anneli Heinsoo said.

President of the Latvian Information and Communications Technology Association Signe Balina said after the signing of the document that the possibility of signing documents electronically at the international level offers broad cooperation opportunities to both the private and the public sector.

The e-document was signed digitally at the annual conference of the Latvian association.

To date more than 189 million digital signatures have been given in Estonia and over seven million in Latvia.

Source: BNS through Estonian Review


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