Issuu on Google+

NO 43 I FALL I 2016

SPECIAL!

Land Of Innovation

Start Up In Tartu! Cybersecurity More Than Just A Buzzword Estonian Design in Focus PĂ–FF Makes Dark Nights A Little Toomas Volkmann's Brighter Visions in Black-And-White land & people I state & society I economy & business I technology & innovation I culture & entertainment I tourism


Estonia Welcomes You! Estonia is a highly innovative country, where many internationally known and successful IT companies hail from. Despite being a small country Estonia has initiated quite a few successful startups and is a great place for investments. The Estonian ICT sector is blooming, and we have been able to achieve some excellent synergy between modern IT solutions, government services and businesses. Estonia is the first country in the world to be able to issue a secure digital identity to non-residents/foreigners, which it has been doing since December 2014, so that people can use our digital services from anywhere in the world. It is particularly useful for those wanting to operate a business internationally, eg. run a company in the EU from a distance in a convenient and hassle-free way.

COVER Kristel Kruustük Photo by Atko Januson

Executive publisher Positive Projects Pärnu mnt 69, 10134 Tallinn, Estonia think@positive.ee Editor Reet Grosberg reet.grosberg@ambassador.ee Translation Ingrid Hübscher Language editor Andrew Whyte Design & Layout Positive Design Partner

Powered by

A dedicated team of professionals at Enterprise Estonia’s Investment Agency supports companies investing and expanding in Estonia. Come experience the ease of doing business in e-Estonia – the low-risk, high quality and competitive location for your company. www.investinestonia.com

Modern IT solutions are also playing an increasingly important role in government processes. They help us to make government administration cheaper and more efficient, thus stimulating the economic growth. Estonia places 16th in the ranking of Doing Business, which ranks countries by the friendliness of their business environment. Estonia is a great place for doing business in fact – it is a peaceful, quiet, and beautiful place with sharp-witted people who share Nordic work culture and a wish to work hard and make a difference. Compared with many other countries in the world, bureaucratic procedures are performed quickly, and paperwork can be handled from a distance, usually by carrying out services online. Foreign investors consider Estonia’s strengths to be its business-friendly economic environment and tax system, its flexible labour policy, geographical location at the crossroads between Russia and Scandinavia, and its extensive package of high-quality e-Services in business as well as in everyday life. As Minister of Entrepreneurship, it is paramount for me to guarantee that our business environment remains this business-friendly and that it will continue to be developed with strong cooperation with the private sector. I therefore find it crucial that we continue working towards even better regulatory frameworks and removing all unnecessary burdens, and also implement solutions such as the industrial policy that we are currently working on. In the second half of 2017, Estonia is to hold the Presidency of the EU. This means many special events are due to take place in Estonia. In May 2017, for instance, the Latitude59 conference – the flagship tech event of Estonia celebrates its tenth anniversary. Latitude59 has grown into the largest international startup and venture capital gathering of the region, with world-class speakers and inspiring discussions taking place. The Industry 4.0 Conference in 2017 will be bigger than ever and, in 2018, we are all very excited to welcome you to our country’s 100 anniversary celebrations! In addition to the e-Society and smart business environment, we have a lot of space as with just around 28 persons per square kilometre, Estonia is one of the least densely populated countries in Europe. We love our forests and bogs and hundreds of square kilometres of space seemingly untouched by man, but with a rich diversity of creatures living there. A lot of space also means that there is enough space to create, grow and implement grand thoughts and concepts. In Estonia, a lot has been done, yet a lot more can be done. And anyone and everyone can be the artist painting on the Estonian canvas and making it even more multicoloured. Liisa Oviir Estonian Minister of Entrepreneurship   FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

3


I CONTENT

#43 6_ 8_

FALL 2016

Where to Go This Season? Life in Estonia Recommends News & Events

22 Years in the US Navy, Now in an Estonian Startup 26_

When Jesse Wojtkowiak retired from the US Navy after 22 years of service, to move to Estonia the very next day, he saw it as the best decision for his family. A couple of years later it turns out that it wasn’t such a bad idea for him professionally either. Working today as the information security manager in software startup Pipedrive, he is a great example of the results of the ‘Work in Estonia’ campaign.

COVER STORY

15_

The Girl with the Big Hair and Even Bigger Ideas!

No matter where she goes, Kristel Kruustük, the cofounder of Testlio – a testing company with offices in Tallinn and San Francisco, is likely to stand out in a crowd simply because of her, well, big hair. But there is so much more to this young lady than her appearance. Find out how she plans to fulfil Testlio’s current aim to become a world leader in mobile apps testing.

Estonian Defence Company Aims to Revolutionize Modern Warfare 29_

INNOVATION

Estonian based company Milrem is developing a unique unmanned ground vehicle, which aims to revolutionize modern warfare as well as keeping humans far away from hazardous places.

Estonian Startups in International Competition 32_

LAND & PEOPLE

20_

Ten Thousand ‘Word Rockers’ in the Heart of Estonia

The Opinion Festival (Arvamusfestival) which took place for the fourth time this year in the Estonian town of Paide, is a two-day discussionbased festival attracting about 10 000 eager free-thinkers. Having received such a warm welcome in Estonia, the organizers are now thinking of exporting the format to other countries too. STATE AND SOCIETY

24_

E-Residency Partners with the UN in Global Initiative

This summer, e-Residency became founding partner of a United Nations global initiative, the ‘e-Trade for All’ project, which will help developing countries grasp the $22 trillion opportunity offered by e-Commerce. As a founding partner, e-Residency is taking on a key role on the global stage at a time when the internet is empowering businesses and entrepreneurs everywhere in order to integrate themselves into the global economy.

Two Estonian startups – RangeForce and Timbeter – are set to compete at the pitching competition called Pitch@Palace, to be held in London on 7 December, 2016. The two startups were selected as the best representatives at the local Pitch@Palace competition here, which took place within the framework of the Latitude59 conference.

How to Earn if there Is Nothing to Burn 35_

Although Estonia is small, it is more than merely its capital city Tallinn. Startups are prospering also in Tartu. In 2016, dozens of new ventures raised capital, and Estonia’s second biggest city hosted more than 60 startup-related events with 2 600 people. The sTARTUp Day will take place on 9 December, 2016. It’s expected to host more than 1000 guests: startup founders, IT specialists, entrepreneurs, and business enthusiasts.

Security SCIENCE & EDUCATION Tempered in the World’s First Cyberwar 39_

On 26 April, 2007 a Soviet-era war memorial, a statue popularly known as 'the Bronze Soldier' was removed from its former location in central Tallinn to a city cemetery. The incident sparked riots, later to be named Bronze Night, which were accompanied by a barrage of cyberattacks. Almost ten years on, Estonia is looking back on those events both wiser and victorious. 4

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL


ECONOMY & BUSINESS

Cleveron’s PackRobot Set to Enter the US Market 44_

With the world’s leading producer of parcel terminals and robots, Cleveron, signing the cooperation agreement with the US technology enterprise Bell & Howell, 15 000 PackRobots produced in Viljandi are due to reach the United States within five years. Read how it all started and what are Cleveron’s plan for the future.

The Biggest Cultural Project in Estonian History 66_

There have not been too many things which Estonians have had to wait for as long as they have waited for the completion of the Estonian National Museum in Tartu. The new museum building is nonetheless unique, and the museum will be a multifaceted cultural and educational centre aimed at fulfilling all the tasks that a contemporary establishment of enlightenment has in the free world.

70_

CREATIVE ESTONIA

47_

Toomas Volkmann: Everything Comes with Breathing

PÖFF: Dark Nights Bring Bright Stories to the Screen

The Black Nights Film Festival or ‘PÖFF’, is the first A-list film festival in the Nordic region but also currently the smallest one on the list. It annually screens a comprehensive selection of world cinema in all its diversity, with an emphasis on European films, providing a friendly atmosphere for interaction between audiences and filmmakers. The 20th PÖFF will take place in Tallinn on 11-27 November, 2016.

Toomas Volkmann has had a colourful working life in different fields, yet when his name is mentioned in Estonia, people immediately only recognize Toomas Volkmann the photographer, and not the musician, actor or doctor. When photographing his models, he looks for a breathing rhythm. ‘Everything comes through breathing. That is what I was taught in theatre school,’ says Volkmann.

PORTFOLIO Toomas Volkmann’s photos 50_

Volkmann shoots mostly portraits and primarily in black-and-white (he believes that colour degrades the form). When he does use colour, it is still monochrome and used in a very calculated, targeted way: ‘There is too much colour around us anyway,’ he laughs.

Find Your TOURISM deepEST Roots with the Estonian Myth Quiz  73_

Estonians believe that there is an innate power present in every human being, guided by spirits from our mythology who, with their special gifts and skills, help one to connect with both yourself and the environment. Learn about nine ancient legends and spirits straight from Estonian mythology, who each use their special gifts and skills to master the environment around them. Take the Estonian Myth Quiz  to discover your inner powers and find out which character you resemble most!

Events Calendar of October to December 79_

Estonian Design – Chic, Innovative, Intelligent, Minimalist, Sophisticated and Witty 59_

The autumn and early winter season is the darkest and gloomiest in Estonia. So it would be useful to know about the best events to attend so you can make the time pass more quickly and colourfully. Take a look at our great selection, with something for everyone.

‘Tallinn Design Night Festival Disainiöö is an international week-long event, with more than 90 intellectual, eye-opening, experimental, funny or entertaining opportunities to glimpse the current trends in Estonian as well as global design,’ explains the main organiser of Disainiöö, Ilona Gurjanova. During the event the Bruno awards will also be presented, this year in three categories: best product design for the human environment, best lifestyle product design and best engineering product design. FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

5


I WHERE TO GO THIS SEASON

Chief Conductors

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir 35

Kaspars Putninš , Canticle of the Sun Sofia Gubaidulina Galina Grigorjeva Frank Martin

2.10 at 4 pm Vanemuine Concert Hall, Tartu 4.10 at 7 pm Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn www.epcc.ee, www.concert.ee

Main sponsor:

NEW YEAR’S EVE BALL – GLAMOUR OF THE 1930s 31 December 2016

11–27 November

The atmosphere of this year’s ball is wrapped in the glamour and lightheartedness of the 1930s. Gerly Padar, The Swingers and the soloists, chorus, orchestra and the Estonian National Ballet perform the best of the1930s repertoire, jazz ballet numbers and swing melodies. Come and enjoy a glamorous fancy dress party at the New Year’s Eve Ball brought to you by the Estonian National Opera! www.opera.ee

PÖFF 20

SAVE THE DATE FOR THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY OF TALLINN BLACK NIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL & INDUSTRY@TALLINN

6

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL


h ooaja peatoetaja

Thu 10 November 7 p.m. Nordea Concert Hall

Tallinn Piano Festival

Mikhail Pletnev (piano, Russia)

Estonian National Symphony Orchestra Conductor Conrad van Alphen (LAV) Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff eestikontsert.ee

Eesti Kontserdi suurtoetaja

Ametlik autopartner

You are welcome to the concerts of the 90th season of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra!

Tickets: 22 / 16 ¤ Piletilevi, Piletimaailm www.erso.ee

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

7


I NEWS

Estonia Welcomes Foreign Startups and Startup Employees

The startup visa gives foreign teams the opportunity to easily settle in for up to a year-long stay, by being able to finance their stay. Should people want to stay longer – and we hope they will, they can go for a startup permit of up to five years and bring their family and friends along too!

As Skype, Transferwise and GrabCAD amongst others have proven, Estonia is fertile ground for global innovations and thus we hope that foreign startups and talent will benefit from the new startup visa scheme and decide to choose Estonia!

Images courtesy of Starship Technologies

New startup visas and permits scheme are to go into effect this autumn in Estonia, making it easier for non-Estonians to relocate or set up their startup in Estonia as well as enabling all startups registered in Estonia to recruit people from outside the EU.

For startups already active in Estonia, tapping into talent from outside the EU will become more viable: employees select a 3- or 12-month working visa or a even permit for up to five years. Startups can employ overseas employees without having to meet the current salary requirements and without any consent from the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund. More specific requirements and details will be released in Q4 of 2016.

Estonian Delivery Startup Starship Technologies and Mercedes-Benz Vans Team Up to Develop ‘Robovan’ The Estonian delivery startup, Starship Technologies, and the world-famous van maker, Mercedes-Benz, have formed a partnership to develop ‘Robovan’, a transportation system that entails vans filled with delivery robots that autonomously deliver packages in neighbourhoods. According to Starship, the semi-autonomous transportation system will see Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans act as ‘motherships’, hosting eight delivery robots. ‘The vans will drive through neighbourhoods, stopping in designated locations, based on delivery density and demand, to drop off and pick up robots to complete customer deliveries,’ the company said in a statement. ‘Instead of completing door-to-door delivery, the vans will drive to preagreed locations to load and unload goods and then dispatch the robots in the final step for on-demand delivery,’ the statement said. ‘Upon making the customer delivery, the robots will autonomously find their way back to the van for re-loading.’

8

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

The system would enable the delivery of 400 packages every nine-hour shift, compared with 180 packages using previously available methods, an increase of over 120 per cent, the company asserted. ‘A typical van delivery today involves driving to a delivery area, and then spending an entire day on door-to-door deliveries,’ the chief operating officer at Starship, Allan Martinson, said. ‘By leaving the door-to-door part to delivery robots, the van drivers’ productivity will significantly rise while reducing congestion on the streets and CO2 emissions.’ The robots developed by Starship Technologies are meant for delivering packages, groceries and food to consumers in a two-three-mile radius. The robots can drive autonomously while being monitored by human operators in control centres. Introduced to European and American cities over the past eight months, the robots have already driven close to 7500 miles around the world in 12 countries and 47 cities and met over 1.2 million people without a single accident.


Photos by Raigo Pajlua

Estonian PM Taavi Rõivas presented the German chancellor Angela Merkel with an Estonian e-Residency card.

Angela Merkel Becomes Estonian e-Resident The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, was presented with an Estonian e-Residency card during her two-day visit to Tallinn in late August. Germany and Estonia have become staunch allies in recent years. Estonia has supported many of the European policies from Merkel’s cabinet, and Germany, on the other hand, is sympathetic both to security concerns and the situation regarding Russia. This year has also seen a new development between the two countries – cooperation in digital affairs. The German cabinet took a keen interest in e-Estonia and so digital society was also high on the agenda during Merkel’s recent visit to Tallinn, where she delivered a speech, entitled ‘Estonia – a pioneer in digital technology and Germany – a global industrial power: shaping the future of Europe together’. According to Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas, the combined expertise in information technology that Estonia has with Germany’s industrial power could work wonders, at a time when Europe is in bad need of new stimulus and energy. ‘Estonian IT companies and experts are keen to cooperate with the Germans in order to find new solutions to boost our economies and improve the lives of our citizens,‘ he said in a statement. Whilst in Tallinn, the German chancellor was shown round the e-Estonia showroom and how some of the Estonian paperless solutions, such as digital signature technology, work in practice. Rõivas also presented

Merkel with an Estonian e-Residency card – a state-issued, secure digital identity for non-residents that allows the digital authentication and the signing of documents. Angela Merkel is Estonia’s e-Resident Number 11 867! Chancellor Merkel visited also the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, where Germany is one of the founding members and biggest contributors. At Headquarters Support and Signal Battalion in Tallinn, Merkel met with Commander of Estonian Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Riho Terras, as well as Estonian and German troops. Currently around 200 German troops from Gebirgsjägerbatallion 231 of Gebirgsjägerbrigade 23 of the Bundeswehr serve in Estonia. German officers also serve at NATO Force Integration Unit and NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn. In total, German fighter jets have participated in missions on eight occasions. Germany has contributed considerably in the development of the Estonian Navy. Several Estonian officers and NCOs have been trained there. Estonian and German troops have also served together in the Horn of Africa and currently participate in an UN-led mission in Mali. According to Taavi Rõivas, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent visit to Estonia confirmed and further strengthened the friendship of the two nations and the strong relations that they had developed over the last 25 years.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

9


I NEWS

Estonian Ultracapacitor Manufacturer Skeleton Technologies Receives €13m Investment Skeleton Technologies, a Tallinn-based company which develops and produces ultracapacitors – extremely powerful energy storage devices – has received €13 million in new investment led by FirstFloor Capital, a Malaysian venture capital investment firm specialising in funding high-growth technology companies. Skeleton Technologies started its growth in 2009, when, after years of development work, young entrepreneurs, Taavi Madiberk and Oliver Ahlberg, decided to take the technology created by Tartu scientists into production. By 2016, the company had become one of Europe’s leading ultracapacitor manufacturers. Ultracapacitors are high-power energy storage devices with more than 100 times increased power density across more than a million life-cycles, compared with the best battery technologies. The company claims that Skeleton’s devices are the only ultracapacitors to use a patented graphene-based material in their manufacture, allowing them to deliver twice the energy density and five times the power density of their competitors. Madiberk says the firm sees the large investment as a breakthrough moment, marking an expansion beyond Europe and into the emerging markets of Asia. ‘It was Tesla founder Elon Musk who made the bold prediction that it would be ultracapacitors rather than batteries that will be the breakthrough for future technologies like electric vehicles. Our company is making that future happen,’ Madiberk states.

Estonia is Increasing its Visibility in Southeast Asia

Skeleton also plans to use the funding to further optimise electrode and cell design to allow for higher capacitance and working voltages of its products. Fahmi Hamzah, the executive director of FirstFloor Capital who have invested in Skeleton, has said in a statement that ‘Skeleton Technologies has great potential to become a turnkey energy storage system specialist.’ The Malaysian investment company’s input brings the total financing for Skeleton to €26.7m. Previously, the Estonian manufacturer had developed high-performance ultracapacitor solutions for the European Space Agency. A project to develop the next generation of airships for industrial cargo applications with French firm Flying Whales is in the pipeline. Industry analysts estimate the ultracapacitor market will be worth €7.5bn by 2025.

Singapore as the newest base for an Enterprise Estonia Office Early September saw the official inauguration of the Enterprise Estonia Singapore office. The Estonian Minister of Entrepreneurship, Ms. Liisa Oviir, together with Singaporean Minister of State for Trade and Industry Dr. Koh Poh Koon, gave their blessing to this new link between the two modern, go-ahead countries. Enterprise Estonia Singapore will be promoting trade relations with Singapore and connecting the booming start-up community in Estonia with Asian venture capital as well as providing Singapore as a launch pad to the South-East Asian region. Estonia in return offers opportunities for e-Residency to South-East Asia business people for easy access to the EU and managing their EU businesses. Many Estonian companies have found their way to Singaporean markets including Saku Brewery, Chaga Health and Milrem, all of which are great examples of ongoing co-operation.

Indrek Pällo, Chief Representative Officer in Singapore and Dr. Koh Poh Koon, Singaporean Minister of State for Trade and Industry

10

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

Former Head of the Estonian Investment Agency Mr. Indrek Pällo has taken up the position as Chief Representative Officer in Singapore and has made it his personal mission to create strong business ties between the two countries.


Estonian-founded Pipedrive is the 14th-fastest Growing Software Company in the US Estonian-founded tech company Pipedrive is, according to Inc. magazine, the 14th-fastest growing software company in the United States.

The New York-based company is also, according to the 2016 Inc. 5000 rankings, the 19th fastest-growing private company in the New York City area. Pipedrive was founded in 2010 and develops a customer relationship management (CRM) platform which gives sales teams in small businesses control over their selling processes. According to the company, its software is used by over 30 000 customers, and it has offices in both New York and Tallinn. The Inc. 5000 list ranks companies according to their percentage revenue growth over a three-year period. According to the magazine, the companies listed ‘are the superheroes of the US economy’. Inc. magazine is an American monthly publication focussing on growing companies.

Draper Venture Network Powers its New Portfolio Database with Funderbeam Data Draper Venture Network (DVN), an alliance of 10 global VC funds with over 450 portfolio companies and $1.6bn in assets, have partnered with Estonian company Funderbeam to enable their online portfolio to come to life with real-time data. The goal is simple, explains Gabe Turner, Executive Director of DVN: ‘We wanted to go beyond the typical VC website, where a portfolio is merely displayed as a categorized list of logos. Using Funderbeam’s API, our database gets automatically updated with new funding rounds, competitor details, relevant company news, and much more. We’ve started with only a few data points but this can only continue to get so much bigger. I think it will set the standard for how VCs track and display their investments going forward.‘ DVN invests in some of the world’s most innovative and bold companies, and as a result they are not shy of demonstrating these companies’ performance in the context of the market. Aside from providing a real-time snapshot of their portfolio, Funderbeam helps DVN save time on managing the hundreds of entries on their website: ‘We’ve arranged things so the API exports data directly from our database to DVN,’ says Nicholas Vandrey, head of Data at Funderbeam. ‘Now the data on their site is always up-to-date and provides the viewer with a much richer context for understanding the company.‘

In addition to DVN, Funderbeam also provides their data to a range of organisations which support startup communities around the world. Anyone can access Funderbeam’s free database of 180k startups and investors at Funderbeam.com/data. Funderbeam, founded in Estonia in 2013, is a marketplace where growth companies are funded and traded across borders. Funderbeam combines three stages of investor journey into one: startup analytics, investing, and trading on the secondary market. Powered by blockchain technology, the marketplace delivers capital to growth companies and on-demand liquidity to investors worldwide. Funderbeam Data is one of the three dimensions to Funderbeam, the other two being Investing and Trading startups (powered by blockchain).

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

11


I EVENTS

Finland and Estonia are close to each other, both geographically and in business culture. Unsurprisingly, then, cooperation between companies in both countries is easy and deepening all the time.

The Estonian economy is currently growing at a healthy rate, especially compared with the EU average or that of Finland for that matter. Last year growth stood at 1.8 per cent and for this year the expected growth is as high as two to 2.5 per cent. ‘Our competitive advantage has traditionally been our relatively inexpensive workforce, but this lies no longer in salaries but in flexible businesses and in good product development here. Nowadays we focus on more advanced products and technological development,’ says Kaupo Reede, Director of the Economic Development Department of the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. Finland is Estonia’s biggest export market after Sweden, and one of the most important trade partners, with whom the relations are very close. 16 per cent of Estonia’s export goes to Finland and conversely imports from Finland amount to 14 per cent. Estonia has more than 5 700 Finnish-owned companies.

12

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

‘We hope that Finland, too, has received a new momentum, and its economy will start to grow. Neighbours are always important,‘ stresses Reede.

sector. Service exports from Estonia have grown a lot in the ICT sector, but also in construction-related services,’ says export adviser Irene Surva-Lehtonen from EE Helsinki.

Enterprise Estonia (EE) Helsinki is Estonia’s commercial representation in Finland, which offers a wide range of services from one location. It supports both Finnish companies interested in Estonia as well as Estonian businesses interested in Finland. It also works closely with local authorities, like chambers of commerce and entrepreneurial organizations.

A good example of the growing cooperation is Tech Group – a company which designs and manufactures broad range of factory automation equipment and solutions.

Product Development and Service Exports ‘Sub-contracting is still a strong means of cooperation, but another growing trend is a closer partnership, for example, in the ICT

‘Germany is our largest market, but Finland is closely following. We cooperate with large companies such as Valmet, but we have invested a lot in Finnish growth and technology companies,’ says Martin Sutrop, CEO of Tech Group. Growth companies often have plenty of new technology but no production capacity and cooperation with them starts at the product development stage.


Tech Group

As Tech Group was founded by former JOT Automation employees in 2003, they have a lot of experience of Finnish business culture. At the moment, Tech Group employs 70 people and the annual turnover is about €9.2m. ‘I am happy to cooperate with Finnish companies. We share the same understanding of how things are run. This makes our communication smooth,’ says Sutrop.

Quality at Least the Same as in Finland Sutrop is also of the opinion that Estonia’s competitiveness is no longer based solely on its low cost − the quality of technology and skill levels of the staff has reached parity on both sides of the Gulf of Finland. ‘There is nothing to gain from coming to look for cheaper projects and the concomitant lower quality in Estonia; the quality needs to be at least as good as in Finland. We have done business for 13 years and convincing references give us our guarantee.’ Together with Enterprise Estonia, Tech Group has participated in trade fairs, events and contact trips. Sutrop has also used EE’s partner search service to find suitable business partners within the EE network. ‘Targeted search helps Finnish companies to find partners in Estonia and vice versa,’ says Irene Surva-Lehtonen.

Growth and Synergy from Estonia Hyrles Oy from Lohja, Finland, launched their factory in Estonia in 2009, because many of the company’s customers already operate here.

‘We spoke a lot about the need to become more international and to benefit from synergies. We weighed various countries in Eastern Europe and due to the logistical closeness we chose Estonia. Also the rate of pay played a certain role,’ says Hyrles’ CEO Juhani Hyry. Hyry emphasizes that his company did not move the production to Estonia, but instead sought growth here. ‘The group’s turnover is now €14m, and we have 85 employees in Finland and 65 in Estonia. We have grown raidly and the majority of the growth has come from Estonia. The situation in Finland would be more difficult if we hadn’t decided to come to Estonia to meet the customers’ needs.’

www.techgroup.ee

www.plastone.fi

Hyrles got investment support from Enterprise Estonia. ‘EE came along in quite an early stage and were very active. Thanks to their support we dared to invest with little more up-front,’ Hyry estimates.

www.deck.ee

Various Success Stories Investment advisor Pilvi Hämaläinen encourages Finnish companies who are interested in doing business in Estonia first and foremost to contact Enterprise Estonia Helsinki office.

HEVEA www.hevea.ee

‘My job is to help Finnish companies succeed in Estonia, to find the right partners and contact persons, and to share information about the opportunities Estonia has to offer. We work closely together in the EE project team.’ Ruth Vahtras, Investment Project Manager of EE names, in addition to Hyrles, other Finnish success stories in Estonia: from the field of electronics PKC and Dicro, the miniloaders’ manufacturer Norcar-BSB, contract manufacturer Fortaco in Narva, the manufacturer for military industry Milectria in Pärnu ... ‘We act as consultants and advisors. I know a lot about Estonia and Estonian industry if information is sought about the availability and suitable placement of labour force. In cases where a company is looking for EU support, we can also discuss the opportunities for support search,’ Vahtras says.

NUIA PMT

www.nuiapmt.ee

www.technobalt.ee

www.radius.ee

www.hme.ee ‘Estonian work culture sits well with Finnish businesses. It is similar to that in Finland: namely people working responsibly who are easy to manage.’ www.eolane.com

Hyrles Oy

www.silinder.ee

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

13


I EVENTS

Welcome to the Finals of the World’s Largest Cleantech Business Idea Competition in Estonia! This year, Estonia is hosting the world’s largest cleantech business idea competition, ClimateLaunchpad. Its mission is to unlock Europe’s cleantech potential, which addresses climate change. The competition will create an incredible visibility for a select 90 startups, from 30 different countries gathering in Tallinn to pitch their ideas, and will provide a great opportunity to glimpse the future of cleantech.

• MAGPLANTEX (Poland) makes textiles from seedlings that are later up-cycled for use in agriculture. • Salcape Carbon Capture (Norway) offers a lower maintenance and highly effective product for capturing CO2 emissions.

Cleantech ideas can be rather complex and science-heavy, needing longer mentoring and support from the startup ecosystem. This is where the ClimateLaunchpad program comes in, with a team of certified coaches supporting novel cleantech ideas in 30 European countries from Norway to Cyprus. Each country then sends three of their best teams to the European Finals, making ClimateLaunchpad almost a cleantech startup ‘Eurovision’.

• Sunny Water (Romania) developed a precision agriculture technology that uses solar energy to deliver water for irrigation where it is most needed, when it is most needed.

Solving climate change is not an easy task, but the local organisers are convinced that investing in ideas and entrepreneurs is the way to go about it. A green future demands thousands of innovations and that is why the program is also going global next year.

ClimateLaunchpad is part of the entrepreneurship program from ClimateKIC and supported by Startup Estonia, the Ministry of the Environment of Estonia, Tallink ferry operators, Eesti Energia, Hedman Partners, Uber and the European Regional Development Fund.

Launchpad’s Estonian Lead, Marit Sall, agrees that the program has been able to bring together people interested in cleantech, in order to help and inspire each other. ‘Peer to peer learning and a strong network have played a huge part in the success stories from last year,’ says one of last year’s participants, Simon Bushell, from Sympower. ‘Climate Launchpad not only kickstarted Sympower in the best possible way, but also gave us tools for running a business that we still use every day, and amazing contacts and friends who we speak with on an almost daily basis!’ he goes on. Over a year later, Sympower are now a team of five people working on rolling out their software platform, which makes heating and cooling active participants in the electricity markets, in Finland and the Netherlands. At this year’s competition, Estonia itself will be represented by BugBox (a mass producer of protein powder and oils), Gleather (a gelatine-based, leather-like textile producer) and WildAr (a fast environmental assessment tool for road projects).

14

A few examples of cleantech startups which are coming to Tallinn:

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

The event is taking place on 7-8 October, 2016 at Energia Avastuskeskus and Kultuurikatel in Tallinn. Tickets are available at www.climatelaunchpad.org.


The Girl with the Big Hair and Even Bigger Ideas! By Ede Schank Tamkivi / Photos by Atko Januson

No matter where she goes, Kristel Kruustük (27), until recently known as Kristel Viidik, the cofounder of Testlio, is likely to stand out in a crowd. ‘No matter what my last name may be, everyone will always know me as Kristel, the girl with big hair,’ she laughs and adds that a key to success is never to worry about what others might think of you.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

15


I COVER STORY

Of course, it’s not just the hair but her shiny personality, can-do attitude and, above all, her crazy ideas that simply cannot go unnoticed. Having worked as a tester herself, and become disillusioned by how testers were treated by big app-building companies, in 2012 she came up with the idea of building a platform that would actually appreciate the work of a tester − if you find a critical mistake and draw attention to it, you are also likely to be motivated to fix it − thereby providing development teams with quality-assurance (QA) testers. She shared her thoughts with her then-boyfriend Marko Kruustük, later her cofounder and, for almost a month at the time of writing, also her husband, and the two signed up for a London-based event, Angelhack. They made it to the top three and were flown to San Francisco for the finals, where they won the global hackathon with a seed investment of $25 000 and a first paying customer. That first customer was Kevin, a person that made such a lasting impression that he earned his own poster on Testlio’s wall: ‘What Would Kevin Do?’. ‘I’ve never seen a more intense person in my life,’ Kristel explains the story behind the poster. Kevin, a founder of a company that was later acquired by Microsoft, different units of which make up Testlio’s core customer, had a very precise vision of what he was after. Testlio really wanted to impress their first big customer so they worked nonstop over the span of three months, and eventually Kevin admitted that they had done a much better job than their main competitor: ‘He really helped us to form our product so now we always ask what Kevin would do to reach our goals,’ says Kristel. And on the subject of their goals, Testlio’s current aim is to become a world leader in mobile apps testing. ‘Currently we are more of a high end and a high touch product. As this business model has justified itself we can reconsider our pricing policy,’ Kristel concludes. What next? ‘We will tackle the issues once they are in front of us,’ she shrugs while giving a big smile.

16

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

Life is a Party In early 2015 they raised a ‘party round’ of $1 million from a number of individual seed investors in Silicon Valley. But this was just the beginning. In April this year they announced a round of $6.25 million led by well-known VC-firms Altos Ventures and Vertex Ventures. ‘Over the next 18-24 months, we do not need to worry about money,’ claims Kristel, although the business was already profitable before they raised the latest round. She shares another rule-of-thumb of fast-growing companies: never raise more money than you actually need for giving an extra boost to the growth, otherwise that risks making you too lazy to look for more creative solutions. For Testlio, it was crucial to open an office in San Francisco and to hire a sales team there. But unlike so many other startups in Silicon Valley, they have stayed true to their frugal style. Although they no longer have to live on friends’ couches − since the office in SF also serves as a crashpad − Kristel is adamant about not spending their hard-earned money on anything that does not meet the definition of a necessity. Even her clothes she wears to rags, before she goes shopping (with Marko, who picks out the best stuff for her!). But the big party they had promised to all of their friends, they did finally have. Needless to say, the party took place in their Tallinn office, since 34 of their 47 employees are based here. ‘Estonia is my home,’ Kristel recounts passionately, but then pauses for a moment. Looking out of the window of her office on the 6th floor on one of a few new buildings in Telliskivi which would offer a panoramic view of the tiled roofs of the Old Town on the one side, and the gleaming Port of Tallinn on the other, but for the fact that they are hidden behind grey clouds and pouring rain (in the middle of August!) she shrugs: ‘Although now you might wonder: what is going on with the weather!?’


While a typical Estonian would no doubt fall into a rant about how this donnerwetter has spoiled all their plans for the summer, Kristel lightens up: ‘But it’s still good. I love the atmosphere of this part of town, it only takes me two minutes to walk home. I have all my friends nearby. I love the small size of Estonia, everyone knows everybody and that makes us stronger together. If I need to, I can always get away and do things elsewhere but I will always want to come back.’ Kristel has long made me wonder how she can maintain such a positive attitude and is always so full of energy, while being a completely down-to-earth and humble person at the same time. She admits that she always tries to do her best and has learned to only process information that she can benefit from. ‘I have definitely grown a thicker skin over the past four years,’ she claims. ‘Building a team up from 15 to 40 people has been very stressful and has taught me a lot about effective and value-based leadership. There is opportunity in every setback. We all make mistakes, but it’s important to learn from them, not to give up, and move on. I believe I’m a much better leader and a much better communicator today,’ she goes on. ‘There is no doubt that Kristel is the most successful female entrepreneur in Estonia, actually in the Baltics,’ claims Ragnar Sass, a startup entrepreneur, who Kristel also sees as one of the main influences in getting to that stage. ‘She has immense resources of energy. She’s without question one of the hardest working and most passionate persons about her job on this side of the Atlantic. To hear her speak about testing leaves little doubt that it is the most important thing in the world for her.’

Testers in the Cloud Her husband Marko seconds that notion: ‘While talking to investors it’s always Kristel that gets the attention first with her optimism. Most people probably wonder how anyone can possibly talk about testing

with such passion!’ Marko admits that as a much more structured person himself, he has learned a lot from Kristel’s outgoing personality. But their double-act works perfectly just the way it is − once Kristel has caught everyone’s attention, Marko will introduce the numbers and their plan to tackle the market. ‘Every day I wake up I think of my mission to offer best jobs for testers around the world,’ claims Kristel. ‘It’s not so much about the number of testers we have but to have the best qualified testers in the network,’ she goes on. There are currently around 200 testers on their payroll in places as diverse as the UK, Ukraine, Estonia and Pakistan, some of whom can earn as much as €4000 a month. ‘I always think of the story of a Ukrainian guy who became one of our best testers, and thanks to his job could move away from the war zone currently raging in Ukraine,’ Kristel says, giving a sobering example of how it’s not just fixing the bugs of software that’s at stake, but actually making a difference in people’s lives. To become a qualified tester on Testlio’s platform, candidates need to pass a test on a test app with built-in bugs (‘I built it, but have never reached a score of 100% even myself,’ Kristel testifies). Then they sign up for a webinar for half an hour in time. And as a final test, candidates need to work on a project over a weekend, the so-called ‘eat your own dog food’ which aims to filter out the people who are not really passionate about testing. The best people get voted top by ratings from QA managers and the community. It’s unlikely that Testlio will ever run out of work, since there is no such thing in the world of software as a product without bugs. Testlio tests big apps that have millions of users and pay attention to those bugs that have been noted the most. Being not merely a testing factory, Testlio actually helps to improve those products by trying to give feedback within 48 hours, because most stable clients like to do their development during the week and use Testlio’s service over the weekend, so they can start a new week with a ‘clean sheet’ with no bugs.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

17


I COVER STORY

Building a Unicorn with a Horse Kristel still likes to do some hands-on testing herself, besides talking to investors and running the everyday business, while Marko is in charge of constantly upgrading the platform as well as financial matters. While they originally thought that being a couple might be seen as a setback on the startup-scene, the truth has been quite the opposite. While pointing to several factors that helped him make the decision to invest in Testlio, Yee Lee, an angel investor and startup founder from Silicon Valley, also explains that: ‘I like companies where the founders have worked together to build, validate, and iterate on the product.’ Obviously the two make a formidable team, complementing each other in their personal traits while sharing the same passions. ‘I could never imagine doing this with anyone else but her,’ recounts Marko, who originally built the platform and still fixes bugs at nighttime. ‘If you are building a company together it also helps you to be on the same page with the values. Sometimes we don’t really need to say things to understand what we mean, there is a complete trust: if one of us is silent, the other person will know not to bother her/him,’ he explains. Ragnar Sass also adds that Kristel has become an inspiring role model for hundreds of women who are now willing to try their hand in IT and even dream about becoming entrepreneurs and leaders: ‘I’m most certain that thanks to Kristel we will be seeing more and more women as founders in startup entrepreneurship,’ he avers. In accordance with what Ragnar says, it reminds me of a youth conference in Tallinn last spring, where Kristel was invited to speak on the main stage to inspire youngsters, mostly girls, to try their hand in technology, inspired by her own experience. While she was holding the

18

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

limelight on stage, I noticed Marko standing in the crowd, holding on to Kristel’s handbag. This gesture was both very selfless and also indicative of the complete trust and support between the two. Marko tells me that there is no hidden rivalry inside their relationship and he feels no envy when Kristel gets more attention than he does. ‘She is our covergirl,’ he admits. ‘We need to see the bigger picture here of setting a good example for upcoming generations,’ he goes on. This unquestionable trust does not mean there is no room for an element of the unexpected. For their wedding for instance, Marko surprised Kristel with a new horse. A real, living animal! ‘That was definitely the sweetest moment of the wedding,’ relates Ragnar, who was among the small circle of friends to attend the event. ‘This was a complete surprise for both Kristel and all of the guests alike,’ he recalls. Kristel had been considering getting back into the horse riding she had had to quit as a teenager when her parents split and she simply could not afford any hobbies any more. It’s apparent that having to make it on her own from very early on has yielded for her an outstanding selfdiscipline and a strong urge to succeed. Not surprisingly, she names her 90-year-old grandmother as one of her biggest role models in life: despite all the hardships she has had to endure in life, she’s still a redoubtable person. Whenever Kristel feels down or simply needs time to think things over, she likes to play the piano. ‘Playing the piano is like being an entrepreneur,’ Kristel says, making a valid comparison. ‘You will not be very good at it as you start and it will take a while to excel. You need to practice a lot and learn it by doing, sometimes going slower and then adding speed if needed,’ she sums up.


Kristel and Marko Kruustük

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

19


I LAND AND PEOPLE

Ten Thousand Word Rockers in the Heart of Estonia By Ann-Marii Nergi When, over the course of two days a town of 8 500 inhabitants is inundated with as many as 9 000 eager festival thinkers, who are there to just listen to the opinions of others, it must be quite a sight. According to Ott Karulin, the Director of The Opinion Festival (Arvamusfestival) − which took place for the fourth time this year in the Estonian town of Paide− and Communication Manager Katerina Danilova, the discussion-based festival format might be exported to other countries too.

20

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL


How would you rate the fourth Opinion Festival? Katerina Danilova (K.D.): There were 9 000 visitors this year. We did not see a record number of participants (last year there were over 10 000 attendees − ed.) but the number of visitors is not the most significant criterion for us. What is more important is that people come to The Opinion Festival with open minds and interest in general societal developments and specific topics. This year we had 230 discussions. This is a very large number and next year we will probably have to limit the program to avoid generating the feeling of ‘oh no, I missed something’ instead of ‘yes, I got to participate in that!’ However, next year we definitely want to increase the number of foreign language discussions both in English and in Russian. Ott Karulin (O.K.): We had 40 subject areas, which were organised by almost 130 organisations, and all festival topics were generated in January of this year. It is our role to consult the organisers of the discussions as to how to develop their conversations and make them truly engaging. This year, there were many public organisations participating in the festival, ranging from government ministries to the Estonian Data Protection Inspectorate and The Unemployment Insurance Fund − both bodies which have the real power to implement or legislate ideas voiced at the festival. I hope for more active participation from entrepreneurs who can find suitable topics from amongst the diverse selection of themes. It is also a good opportunity for companies to present themselves, as instead of the usual channels of promotion, we offer them the opportunity to introduce their own themes as they wish. K.D.: It is characteristic of the festival that it represents all sectors − media channels, private companies, political parties, and civic society. The festival takes place in the summer when everyone should be in a relaxed, holiday mood, the pace of life is easy and people from very different backgrounds come together − perhaps people who work in the same field but never meet in their daily lives. Joint discussions may lead to collaborations or a new way of seeing one’s activity. The discussions have to be based on arguments, not just statements and regular ‘bullet points’; there needs to be dialogue based on facts and evidence. Such discussions are the path to an open society where the opinions of consumers, citizens and critics are heard and considered.

Do you see that the Opinion Festival as a concept is working and may develop into a longer tradition? O.K.: It is a laboratory of ideas in the best sense of the word and I believe we have not yet exploited its full potential. It is a place for the presentation of one’s ideas in calm debate where one can receive immediate feedback. People can even debate with ministers in front of an audience, so that promises made remain in the public sphere, which makes it difficult to back down from them later.

What are some of the tangible changes, ideas and processes which have so far been born at the Opinion Festival? O.K.: The Opinion Festival is the only festival in Estonia where a real result is expected. It means heightened expectations and for us that is a compliment. One should not forget that almost ten thousand visitors are arriving who want to hear people debating. They want to enjoy a debate based on solid arguments and that is a value in itself. K.D.: Definitely one of the ‘winners’ is Paide, a town of 8 500 inhabitants, where − even though it is situated in the heart of Estonia − there had been no previous event of its own. When we first met with the city government, they were sceptical to say the least. Now we have witnessed how the whole town makes an effort all year round in order to guarantee the success of the festival! For example, The Estonian Free Party have said that two years ago, the Opinion Festival was the place which was the effective founding date of their party. Last year was the first time that supporters of private schools met at the festival, and they have now reached the stage of founding a new private school in Tallinn. Based on our model, a second festival in Latvia took place this year. But the main achievement is the improvement of debating and opinion culture in Estonian society. It is our wish that such debates will not only take place over two days in a year, but all the time and all over Estonia − on social media, the television and in the newspapers.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

21


I LAND AND PEOPLE

How do you balance the festival program? We know that in addition to discussions there are many side activities. For example, the opportunity to use virtual glasses to see the route of a Syrian refugee or even to watch a public autopsy. At the same time you have your own unwritten rules, like the one that presenters should not make use of a slideshow or hang up a lot of banners. O.K.: The last point really points to the most time-consuming aspect of our work! It is understandable that organisers want their brand to be present. But we try to convince them that it is the content which promotes an institution rather than just a tent with a large logo. But this attitude is improving every year. As positive examples I can bring in Eesti Energia and Swedbank, who are our regular supporters. In addition to active participation in discussions, they created a health track at the festival area which admittedly does name the companies but is a welcome, playful solution. But side activities must always serve the main goals of the discussion area and they should not be out of proportion. For example, if we have the topic of immigration, we can really see the daily life of a refugee camp through virtual glasses. This is something where pictures can tell more than a thousand words.

You also organised the second (pre)Opinion Festival in Narva and the first one in southeastern Estonia, in addition to the Lampa Festival in Latvia. Who else have you inspired ? Is your idea spreading? O. K.: I recently met with a group of Belgians. But there has been interest in the format from other places as well. The current (pre)Opinion Festivals in other parts of Estonia are taking place on the principle of a franchise − we provide them with the conditions and rules of the game and local people organise the event. As the event itself has already really grown, we can make it even larger internationally by offering knowhow to different countries. But we are a non-profit organisation and

22

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

work on a voluntary principle, which means that we need to consider to what extent we are able to guarantee this growth and not turn into a too-large institution. We have been in contact with Ukrainian and Moldovan activists as well, but only time will shed light on the result of those discussions. K.D.: The main goal of [pre]opinion festivals is to deal with local issues and it was especially evident in southeastern Estonia that people came to not only hear opinions, but also to get solutions for long-term issues and problems.

How can you organise such a large event purely on a voluntary basis? K.D.: I have been involved with the festival from the start, that is four years now. It is such a great and fulfilling feeling when you organise something for a year and it leads to such an event. It is very motivating. And the motivation of volunteers really comes from the heart − you need to understand exactly why you want to do it. O.K.: My experience tells me that those volunteers who just want to get a prestigious entry on their CV do not last even a year. One needs to believe in the idea of the event. But leading more than two hundred volunteers was a big task for me in terms of including everyone personally. Our entire office was located on Google Drive. So when someone needs tips on how to run an organisation with over 300 staff, without a real office, we can give you some advice!

You called the festival participants word rockers. How was that term born? K.D.: In the first year of the festival we were trying to come up with a good title for the event and we ended up with two options − ‘opinion festival’ and ‘word rock’. We decided that it is indeed the opinions which matter to us and not just words. Word rock is something we use as the title of our magazine and we expect each discussion to rock!


Photo by Iris Vahesalu

Making a Dream Come True Kristi Liiva is the founder of the Opinion Festival and its manager over the first three years. Kristi Liiva, the founder and partner of the communications company JLP, started to think about creating Estonia’s own opinion festival in 2010 when she worked in corporate relations at the headquarters of Swedbank in Stockholm and saw most of her colleagues involved in preparing for the discussions of the week of Almedalen on the island of Gotland, Sweden. The island becomes a meeting place for almost everyone who has a say in the affairs of the state. Kristi wanted to find out about the event which excited the Swedes and which had the discussion of important social issues at its heart. When she arrived, she saw the local song stage jam-packed with people who had come to see the Prime Minister speak. The Prime Minister talked like a normal person, people listened, thought about things, and laughed. The other debates which took place anywhere where a suitable little square was available were similarly unofficial, yet informative and humorous in their nature. ‘This atmosphere was just indescribably cool!’ she says. At first she introduced the idea of organising a similar festival in Estonia to her local bank colleagues and even brought a group to Gotland to experience the event. But then budgets were cut in all units of the bank, which meant the end of the initiative. Some time later a good friend of Kristi, Maiko Kesküla who was the councillor of the Development Centre of NGOs in the Järva county, picked up on the idea, and together they made more concrete plans and infected many

other people with the same enthusiasm for the festival. Today, the volunteer organising team of the festival includes three hundred members − a large organisation by Estonian standards. Since starting in 2013 the festival has grown fivefold in terms of numbers of visitors. This year and last year there were nearly ten thousand visitors to Paide and the festival was watched online by the same amount of people each day. ‘Very many of the dreams related to the Opinion Festival are yet to come true – in fact it would be sad if they had been reached already.’ Kristi recalls that she met a nearly 70-year old woman on Gotland who had been organizing the Almedalen week for a total of 25 years as a single team member. ‘I thought back then that our journey could at least be as long in order for us to really evaluate its impact.’ Speaking of the future Kristi says that every year everything is new on the festival program, as discussions and subjects are determined in the annual search for ideas. ‘Expressing the opinion of the development team, it is one of our biggest challenges how to bring in more children, young people, teenagers, school graduates and students. Secondly we are really concerned about how to transfer the skills of listening without prejudice and making your point from festival discussion groups to the everyday life in schools, homes, workplaces and the running of the state. That is the real challenge. Like a wise man once said − when there is a thought, there is a deed!’ 

Eero Raun Project Manager of the Enterprise and Export Centre of Enterprise Estonia It was the first time for Enterprise Estonia in participating as an institution in the fourth annual Opinion Festival, which was held in Paide in August 2016. Discussions took place on the topics which Enterprise Estonia deals with on a daily basis – promoting export and foreign investment, creative economy and tourism, EU funding and the digitalisation of industry. The Opinion Festival has quickly developed into a brand which brings together a surprisingly large number of opinion leaders, who voice both more established and fresher ideas and regularly figure on the media landscape.  Pierre Bourdieu has accurately described the so-called watch-opinion leaders and fast-thinkers, whose opinions journalists are accustomed to filling their formats with and who are able to generate opinions on the most diverse range of topics. The fear of some participants that such performers would dominate at the Opinion Festival has been misplaced. It was a pleasant surprise that the event had brought together many specialists who are not regularly featured in the public sphere and their insight was definitely fresh and valuable. For example, Enterprise Estonia brought in entrepreneurs Kristo Kirsi from Pärnu and Toomas Agasilla from Paide – employees who are responsible for many people in their daily work – to talk about the main tasks of export development. Their opinions were seconded by the marketing specialist Anu-Mall Naarits and the foreign trade guru Tiit Tammemägi. The point of view of the state was presented by Tea Danilov from Enterprise Estonia.      Enterprise Estonia, as an organisation which significantly directs the affairs of the Estonian economy, really needs to ’listen at a grassroots level’ and to be in constant dialogue with various target groups, in order to understand and notice different social needs and trends. Only then is there reason to hope that Enterprise Estonia is able to select the best measures and methods of promoting local entrepreneurship in the best way possible.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

23


I STATE AND SOCIETY

Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon

Photo by Tõnu Tunnel

E-Residency Managing Director Kaspar Korjus

E-Residency Partnered with the United Nations in Global Initiative to Unlock the Power of e-Commerce in the World This summer, e-Residency became founding partner of a United Nations global initiative, in fact one of the largest efforts ever to extend the benefits of digital trade across the world. The ‘e-Trade for All’ initiative will help developing countries grasp the $22 trillion dollar opportunity offered by e-Commerce. As a founding partner, e-Residency is taking on a key role in the global stage at a time when the internet is empowering businesses and entrepreneurs everywhere to integrate themselves into the global economy.

24

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL


Because of the urgency of the topic, the United Nations has attracted an impressive list of partners in the private sector, governments and among international organisations. Google, PayPal, UPS and eBay are among the companies that have become part of the phenomenon of ‘e-Trade for All’. E-Residency is joined by other noted founding partners, including the World Bank, World Trade Organisation, International Trade Centre, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, United Nations Social Impact Fund, and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. ‘Estonia is ready to serve the world. We are delighted to work together with our partners to help those who need us the most,’ says e-Residency Managing Director Kaspar Korjus. Governments and businesses are aware of the power of digital technologies to transform global trade. Despite their impressive growth and presence in our daily lives, they are still absent in the lives of millions of people looking to engage in business, particularly in emerging economies. Many countries don’t have the digital infrastructure nor the legal framework to help their entrepreneurs exploit this opportunity. While in the United Kingdom and Denmark, more than 70 per cent of the population shops online, in Indonesia and Bangladesh that figure decreases dramatically to only two per cent of people. This is a staggering divide − and it is at risk of widening. E-Residency’s vision of ‘unleashing the world’s entrepreneurial potential’ addresses the main objectives delineated by the ‘e-Trade for All’ initiative to make e-Commerce possible. Access to financing and to payment solutions, having a robust digital and legal infrastructure in place, and an

enabling business environment, such as Estonia offers, are all solutions offered by e-Residency. We are experiencing a global shift towards digital services, making the use of a secure digital identity a necessity to survive in today’s global market. To be able to prove one’s identity online will translate into increased trust when doing business. People will no longer be constrained by where they were born in order to participate in the global economy. E-Residency, together with all the major international organisations involved in trade, is working to make that reality possible. Government donors to the ‘e-Trade for All’ include financial contributions coming from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland and the Republic of Korea. The initiative was launched in Nairobi, Kenya, during the United Nations ministerial conference on trade, attended by more than seven thousand delegates. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, addressed the conference and highlighted the importance of trade, finance, investment and technology to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals − one of the UN’s main agenda − and to improve the life of millions of people. ‘The Sustainable Development Goals represent the change we need to restore people’s trust in the global economy,’ he stated. E-Residency and Estonia are now at the forefront of this effort, working for a more just, equal and prosperous planet.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

25


I STATE AND SOCIETY

22 Years in the US Navy, Now in an Estonian Startup

By Holger Roonemaa / Photos by Atko Januson

26

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL


When Jesse Wojtkowiak retired from the US Navy after 22 years of service and moved to Estonia the very next day, he regarded it as the right decision for his family. A couple of years later it has become clear that it wasn’t such a bad idea for him professionally either. He welcomes ‘Life in Estonia’ on a rainy August evening in the office of Pipedrive, an Estonian startup which develops a customer relationship management (CRM) platform for small and medium sized companies. Pipedrive reached 204th place Inc 5000’s list of America’s fastest growing startups this year. The company has offices in Tallinn and New York, with the Tallinn office recently voted as the most attractive workplace in Estonia. The fact that it even has a bedroom facility for tired employees or jetlagged people coming in from the New York office surely must have played a role in getting chosen. ‘I was starting to think about returning to the US where all my professional perspectives were, when I got an unexpected call from Pipedrive’s talent hunter Olga,’ says Wojtkowiak. What followed was five rounds of work interviews by the founders and team members of the startup and in January 2016 Wojtkowiak started out as the information security manager in the company. ‘I’ve enjoyed every single day since,’ he says. But first, let’s look back into Wojtkowiak’s past and see why and how he ended up in Estonia in the first place. ‘My first memory of Estonia is from a children’s book I read as a kid back in Pennsylvania,’ he says. Apparently there was a story about why there were so few people living in the whole country of Estonia. The book said it was because when Estonians had parties, men stayed on one side of the room and women on the other and they just didn’t talk enough. This wasn’t so very far from truth actually, but little did Wojtkowiak know at the time that the future would tie him close together with this tiny, faraway country. There are few people other than Estonians themselves who remember in detail where they were and what were they doing when Estonia got her independence restored in August 1991. Oddly, Wojtkowiak remembers it very well. It was the first time after the children’s book that he

again heard of the country’s name. ‘I was enlisted in the Navy and we were on an aircraft carrier, the USS Forrestal, in the Mediterranean. I remember it was across the news and it really felt like something huge had happened,’ he says. But it still took Wojtkowiak another 15 years to actually go to Estonia for the very first time. The final prompt came in Japan, where he was stationed in the Naval Air Facility Atsugi. He had built a solid military career and worked in the Navy as a Seahawk H60 pilot. For those not too familiar with US Navy aircraft, Seahawk is basically the Navy’s version of one of the most legendary helicopters in the US military, the Blackhawk. Wojtkowiak’s H60 was brimming with electronics. During his tour of duty in Japan he met some Estonian tourists who invited him to come over and see the country first hand. That’s what finally happened in 2006. ‘I was now stationed in Bahrain and a friend from the US asked me to meet him in Poland, where my family roots lay. The days didn’t match and I asked him to come to Estonia with me instead. Whereas we could have spent three days together in Poland, we could stretch to six days in Estonia,’ Wojtkowiak recalls. So they did meet up in Tallinn after all. Wojtkowiak spent 10 days here and actually met his future wife KatriHelen in that timeframe. ‘Her sister was having a hen party and we met on a street when I was passing by. That was our first meeting. When my friend left, I called her up and we had a couple of really bad dates,’ he laughs now. Still they left an impression on each other and he returned 1.5 months later. ‘I couldn’t get her out of my head, so I asked her to come and spend the New Year with me in Rome. She did and we decided to date from there on.’ They got married in November 2007 and moved to Italy. ‘I think the hardest thing with the military is that it’s hard to get to spend time with someone when you’re not married. I decided I couldn’t live without her or I would regret it if I did, so I asked her to marry me.’ The Navy transferred Wojtkowiak to Naval Support Activity in Naples, Italy. Wojtkowiak says it was not the best move for his career, but he decided it was time to start focusing on his family. His wife also moved to Naples.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

27


I STATE AND SOCIETY So when he decided to retire from the service in 2011, he had two choices. ‘I could’ve returned to the US, where all my professional opportunities were. But my wife reminded me that she had set her life according to my plans for the past few years and that now it was my time to follow her plans for a while.’ That’s exactly what Wojtkowiak did. He officially retired from the military on 30 September and moved to Estonia the following day. After a year off and trying to get used to civilian life, Wojtkowiak started his own business and eventually went to study at Tallinn University of Technology. He thought of studying finance, but in the end decided not to. ‘It occurred to me that the world was a mess as it was at that time because people in finance didn’t have the answers. This meant I wasn’t going to learn anything there to make the world a better place. But I saw TUT had a cyber security program. I had been out of computers for quite some time and as I hate being dependent on other people with my knowledge of computers, it was decided there and then…’ He admits that it was a gamble for people at Pipedrive to actually hire him, but he really has enjoyed every single day at the office. ‘It doesn’t matter where you go, with security there is no end to things you can do if you have enough resources. The biggest shortcoming is lack of time for sure,’ he says. There are two critical assets that Pipedrive has to safeguard. One of these assets is the information about Pipedrive’s customers. In turn, the customers’ critical assets are their customers’ information and their contract information. This is what Wojtkowiak is working on the most. ‘If this information gets leaked, you can’t recover from it the same way a large company could. It is absolutely vital for us,’ he says.

28

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

Of course he can’t go into detail about the strategy of Pipedrive’s security policy, but like in the military, one key aspect is deterrence. ‘You can have all the computing power in the world and try to hack into someone’s system or hack their passwords. But the main question is always if it is be worth their effort,’ Wojtkowiak says. Basically it means building such strong security systems, that the effort of breaking through doesn’t bring a reward worth it. ‘At some point it just doesn’t make sense to try to attack you.’ he explains. Wojtkowiak says Pipedrive’s employees do experience targeted emails and phishing campaigns from time to time. One of the most entertaining efforts was when a beautiful woman with an alleged PhD degree in rocket science wanted to become a friend of Pipedrive’s Vice President of engineering. ‘He just laughed about it and sent the information to me so that I could take a closer look into it,’ Wojtkowiak says. Jokes aside, the biggest and most important thing Wojtkowiak has had to do is train people and raise their awareness. ‘We could buy all the gadgets and toys to provide security to a specific area, but in the end of the day we would need more people to operate them. It would spiral out of control quickly,’ he says. So, instead, he focuses on raising current employees’ awareness. He admits there are still problems with basic awareness and sometimes people still use their pet’s names as passwords, for instance, but different studies have proven that even if you give people the best awareness possible, it will not guarantee you the best results. ‘There can never be enough awareness. It is just something that we have to keep on providing,’ he concludes.


Estonian based company Milrem is developing a unique unmanned ground vehicle which aims to revolutionize modern warfare as well as keeping humans away from dangerous places.

Estonian Defence Company Aims to Revolutionize Modern Warfare

By Gert D. Hankewitz / Photos by Milrem

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

29


I INNOVATION

Strategic measurements of THeMIS: Width 2.1m Length 2.1m Height 0.98m Payload at least 750kg

If you’re a big technology fan, you might have heard about the Estonian delivery robot called Starship, which will soon be seen driving around larger cities on its own, bringing pizza, Chinese food and your Amazon purchases to your doorstep! Well, in another part of Tallinn a team of engineers is developing another unmanned vehicle intended to replace or assist soldiers on the battlefield and keep other personnel with hazardous working conditions out of harm’s way. Its developer, Milrem, is a fairly new company – established as recently as 2013 by SEBE, a well-known bus operator with several intercity bus lines. Sounds crazy? Not really! SEBE has always had a vast experience in heavy duty maintenance, because almost every bus they own is repaired and maintained in their own workshop. So when the Estonian Defence Forces were looking for a company who could maintain and repair their armoured vehicles, namely the XA-180 and the XA-188, SEBE naturally wanted in. After writing up hundreds of maintenance documents to prove that a civilian bus operator nonetheless has what it takes, SEBE won the tender, and shortly afterwards Milrem was founded. However, being only a repair and maintenance company was never the plan. Milrem’s CEO Kuldar Väärsi had a broader vision. To be successful

30

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

in the tough defence sector, research and development capabilities are needed to produce something unique, practical and useful enough to be able to compete with the big defence companies. And so the Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry Systems, or THeMIS, was born. THeMIS is a remotely controlled tracked vehicle with a width and length of 2.1m and a height of 0.98m. All the necessary parts needed to make to vehicle move are placed inside the tracks, leaving the middle platform as free space. With a payload capability of at least 750kg, the vehicle can be outfitted with different weapon systems, sensor arrays and Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) devices or be used simply for transportation. This will allow it to assist soldiers on the battlefield, for example in providing fire support, clearing a path through a minefield or carrying a squad’s gear. In the future, who knows, maybe it will save lives by keeping humans completely away from the battlefield. The goal is to develop it from a remotely operated vehicle into an autonomous system which can navigate harsh terrains with minimal human interference. And the best part of all is that the vehicle is modular. So if anything breaks, it can quickly be exchanged for a working unit and sent back to work, while the broken part gets repaired. To accomplish this, Milrem has concentrated on four aspects: hiring the best engineers available, finding consultants with military experience, cultivating a vast network of cooperation partners and anticipating the market’s demand.


For example, several of the chief engineers that work for Milrem have a background in the Estonian Student Formula Team. This is an international product development team whose main objective is to design, build and present a single seat formula car prototype for an amateur weekend racer. So the students are involved in building a car from scratch and take turns racing it all over the world. To supplement their efforts, Milrem also seek advice from engineers with international defence sector experience, who can see the big picture and know the sector inside and out. They can give the Estonian engineers practical tips on new technologies and ways of doing things that are acceptable in the international market. Two military advisers – a former Brigadier General of the Estonian army and a Colonel from Latvia with a Master’s degree in Military Leadership and Security, are also consulting on the project. Their mission is to point the development in the direction that will benefit actual soldiers the most. Thanks to an attractive and never-before-seen design, from an up and coming product designer, Ragnar Plinkner, from the Estonian Academy of Arts, THeMIS has garnered a lot of attention. Some of this attention has also lead to cooperation agreements with the big names in the industry. One of the first companies who realized the potential of THeMIS was Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK). This is a company that is part of the region’s biggest player, Singapore Technologies Engineering. Since Singapore, much like Estonia, is a small country, a robot which can do the work of humans is most intriguing to them. So at the moment Milrem is integrating the remote weapon system ADDER produced by STK into THeMIS. The joint product has already been exhibited in London and Singapore, and live firing tests are planned for autumn 2016. Singapore and the US are expected to buy large number of unmanned ground vehicle, or UGVs, starting over the next two to three years and expand the market to a tune of more than billion dollars. So it is understandable why Milrem is interested in that market.

Exhibiting at the Unmanned Systems Exhibition on Abu Dhabi in March this year, Milrem also caught the eye of the International Golden Group (IGG). IGG is the country’s leading supplier of high end defence technology to the UAE Armed forces, Ministry of Interior, and other defence and security authorities. However, Milrem has also caught the eye of the Estonian Defence Forces. During this springs’ major military exercise, Spring Storm 2016, Milrem provided THeMIS to be tested as a logistics support vehicle to the conscripts participating. The aim was to see how young soldiers can handle the vehicle and equally how the vehicle can handle young soldiers! During three days the conscripts did everything imaginable with the vehicle – uphill, downhill, over obstacles and difficult terrain, carrying equipment etc. By the end of the testing period it was nice to see that both parties – the soldiers and the UGV – survived! But the military is not the only place where Milrem’s unmanned system could be used. For example, after a successful exhibition in Singapore, Milrem received an email from Leica Geosystems. The company wanted to integrate their 3D mapping solution Pegasus: Two into the UGV. Thus Multiscope was born. Being basically the same product as THeMIS, Multiscope is aimed only at the commercial market. Together with Leica Geosystems, the platform is being marketed in the US private sector. The Multiscope was first introduced in Anaheim, CA during HxGn Live, a special event where geospatial and industrial enterprise information technologies are being exhibited. Like THeMIS, the potential of the Multiscope is endless – it could be used in border guarding, mining, surveying and much more.

The US is also the forerunner in procuring unmanned technologies. In the late ‘90s the US military started using unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, as part their regular equipment. Starting from that moment there was a rapid boom in the industry and several producers emerged to take advantage of some of the money the US was spending. Seeing as this will also happen with UGVs, Milrem started early enough to be in a good position when the US realizes that this is the way to go. As stated, at present there are hundreds of UAV producers, but not so many companies that develop UGVs. Granted, there are several producers of smaller vehicles which can be used for one specific task, but not so many makers of bigger machines which boast a higher payload. This is where Milrem comes in. To be able to compete so far from home, Milrem hopes to team up with a local partner.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

31


I INNOVATION

Estonian Startups in International Competition in London By Ann-Marii Nergi

Taavi Must

32

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL


Anna-Greta Tsahkna

Two Estonian startups are set to compete at the pitching competition known as Pitch@Palace Global, to be held in London on 7 December, 2016. The startups – Timbeter and RangeForce – were selected as the best representatives at the local Pitch@Palace competition which already took place in Estonia within the framework of the Latitude59 conference. Pitch@Palace offers Entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their business in front of a global audience of influencers who can play a role projecting it to the next level. Established by HRH The Duke of York, in less than three years Pitch@Palace has supported the growth of over 200 businesses. This year Pitch@Palace reached two new countries, Malaysia and Estonia. Estonians first learned about Timbeter when the newly-established company won the local televised competition for business ideas – Ajujaht (Brainhunt) − in 2014. Timbeter offers a smart solution to measure timber, which makes the methods in use in the timber industry much more accurate. The team`s mission is to alleviate the chore of manually measuring timber and problems in the industry that sometimes arise concerning calculated timber amounts. CCO of the company, Anna-Greta Tsahkna, says that Timbeter was born at the Garage48 hackathon organised in Pärnu, which was targeting women, when one of the founders, Vallo Visnapuu, pitched the idea that you could use your smart device to measure timber. ‘As the owner of a sawmill the time, inaccuracies and disagreements involved in measuring timber was something he was facing on a daily basis. Vallo’s idea seemed attractive to many; the team was brought together and in 48 hours we created the first prototype, won the Garage48 competition and move on to the Ajujaht challenge,’ explains Tsahkna. ‘In the surrounding region measuring paper- and pulpwood has been a grey zone, where measurements were really done visually and hence our application, which enables users to digitally prove a measurement

Keynote speaker of Latitude59, HRH The Duke of York

and to re-measure it, has been received with much appreciation. Timbeter helps to digitalize the entire timber supply chain, from the forest to the end consumer, bringing transparency, efficiency and surveyability into the sector,’ she goes on. What are the feelings of the team in advance of heading for their competition in London? Anna-Greta Tsahkna believes that different awards bring plenty of media awareness and interest, positive feedback gives a real injection of energy: ‘We are very excited to go to London. It will be a very interesting competition,’ she says. Tsahkna believes that the main reasons why Timbeter was selected as a participant was that their background slides gave an exact understanding what their solution does, with it being equally important that the audience understands the problem, Timbeter’s solution and its wider impact. ‘It is probably also to our advantage that we bring innovation into such a conservative sector that the timber industry is,’ Tsahkna goes on. Timbeter recently began sales to China. Their daily business also includes working on the markets of the USA, Canada, New-Zealand, Australia, Ireland, the UK and neighbouring countries of Estonia. ‘One of the largest logistics companies in Brazil recently involved us in their innovation project; therefore we are hoping to settle on that market soon,’ says Tsahkna. ‘Germany has started evaluation period to create the rules for future certifications for photo-metric measurement. Lithuania has moved one step further and the evaluation process is finished. This would enable to use the measurements as the basis for official billing systems. In September we start preparations for the next round of funding which would enable us to invest in a sales network in the USA and Canada,‘ she continues.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

33


I INNOVATION

Three members of the management team: Jaanus Kink, Taavi Must and Margus Ernits, who are respectively COO, CEO, and CTO of the company RangeForce

The second winner of Pitch@Palace Estonia, RangeForce, helps IT administrators and developers to learn cyberdefence by training with threats in a cloud based Cyber Simulator. CEO of the company, Taavi Must, as well as other founders of the company, believe that just as we do not train pilots and firefighters solely on the basis of slide-shows or textbooks, the same applies to training in cybersecurity. ‘When the ITspecialist at a company does not know about cybersecurity and its risks, they are unable to create safe code,‘ explains Must. He explains that RangeForce has been created for the regular staff working in the field of information technology. Until now there are very expensive products created for only cyberdefence specialists in the world, but RangeForce wants to make the service available to everyone. ‘Our platform is meant for everyone who is interested in developing their professional skills in cybersecurity and the IT field in general. Selected courses vary in their level of complexity and depth, which makes them suitable for both beginners and more advanced IT specialists.‘ The three members of the company’s management team Taavi Must, Jaanus Kink and Margus Ernits, who are respectively CEO, COO and CTO of the company, have all been involved in the organisation and execution of training at the NATO Cyber Defence Centre based in Estonia. ‘We saw how powerful the world of cyber simulation is and we wanted to transfer this know-how. We have also come to realize that the problem is not with the leading professionals, but with regular IT specialists, who are often very far away from knowing about top security risks.’ At the time, Taavi Must and Jaanus Kink worked for a company called Bytelife, which helped to create the infrastructure for the Cyber Defence Centre. Margus Ernits has an IT background with Swedbank, and is also a lecturer at the IT College. Taavi Must explains that what makes them different is the fact that instead of offering one course, they create new course modules every month: ‘It is like a game, playing takes place in different servers where the learners have to defend themselves against real attacks. Currently

34

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

our first market is companies, which means that our service offer is based on training the entire IT department of a company. In the future we want to develop a solution which will be available for example for students in Eastern Europe.’ Currently one of the largest clients of the company is Barclays Bank, which also collaborates with the Techstars accelerator, where RangeForce is a member. ‘Work is also in process to get our format certified. Today most certificates are issued on the basis of theoretical tests and most of them are based on a theory exam. But we are really developing a new branch in this industry, which not only enables us to test people’s knowledge, but also their real skills in handing different situations,’ he goes on. Must says that companies are able to see clearly how players are developing in the server, who is learning fast and what their activities are. ‘Each mouse-click is a bit of data for us,‘ he says, emphasizing that it is precisely through playing that one can find hidden IT-talents as when people have no funds to enrol on extremely expensive courses, it is impossible to see their skills, so they themselves do not know if they are close to being cyber experts. ‘For example when we ran test training in Moldova, it was won by a 15-year old school kid! But what are his chances of being employed right away by a top bank? Non-existent, because he is unable to participate in any expensive training,’ Must explains. Why did the company stand out at the pitching competition, Latitude59? Must claims the reasons are two-fold. First the problem and the solution, in other words they offer an innovative solution to the problem of cybersecurity. ‘Second, pitching is art, and it seems we stood out,’ he beams. ‘Most companies in the field of cybersecurity work on the basis of technology based on the idea that “the human is the weakest link”. Our vision is that if in the case of hackers “the human is the strongest link”, why couldn’t the same apply to security?’ Must concludes.


Tartu is the second largest city in Estonia, after Estonia’s political and financial capital Tallinn. Tartu is often considered the intellectual centre of the country, especially since it is home to the nation’s oldest and most-renowned university, the University of Tartu. The city also houses the Supreme Court of Estonia and the Ministry of Education and Research. Situated 186 kilometres (116 miles) southeast of Tallinn and 245 kilometres (152 miles) northeast of Riga, Tartu lies on the Emajõgi River, which connects the two largest lakes in Estonia – Lake Peipsi and Lake Võrtsjärv. The city is served by Tartu Airport.

How to Earn if there Is Nothing to Burn Startups are prospering in Tartu. In 2016, dozens of new ventures raised capital, and the city hosted more than 60 startup related events. These events have attracted more than 2 600 people involved in the tech industry.

This current prosperity can be attributed primarily to the ecosystem, explains Rein Lemberpuu. A former CEO of gaming giant Playtech Estonia, Rein is committed to making Tartu an attractive city for startup founders. To achieve this objective, he believes intelligent cooperation must exist among key players in Tartu. In addition to mentoring and investing in startups, building software products, and developing office spaces, Rein Lemberpuu has worked on developing partnerships with startup founders, the city government, and the University of Tartu. Even in the digital age, a startup ecosystem needs a physical space in which to thrive. Just recently built, the SPARK and sTARTUp Hub office spaces have become a new home for the local tech community. These locations embody Lemberpuu’s willingness to cooperate with other players. The hardware accelerator Buildit is now based at SPARK for instance. The office space will also soon welcome a Makerlab and a showroom for Estonian businesses called SparkDemo. Both initiatives are the result of collaborations with both public and private organizations, which are set to work together in order to organize a new business festival to promote startups in Estonia.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

35


I INNOVATION

DAY 2016 Rein Lemberpuu shaking hands with Toomas H. Ilves, President of Estonia 1

sTARTUp Day: Tartu’s Flagship Event for Estonian Startups The startup ecosystem in Tartu is booming to such a great extent that key players have decided to organize a flagship event for Southern Estonian IT businesses − called sTARTUp Day. The idea of organizing the business festival was initiated by the University of Tartu. The university decided to collaborate with the city government of Tartu, sTARTUp Hub, Garage48 HUB Tartu, and many other partners to bring sTARTUp Day to life. Startups will play a very important role in the event too − this illustrates the constant collaboration between public and private organizations to build the startup ecosystem in Tartu. The festival will take place on 9 December, 2016. It’s expected to host more than 1 000 guests: startup founders, IT specialists, entrepreneurs, and business enthusiasts. This year’s sTARTUp Day will focus on a theme that is linked to the startup mentality in Tartu: running lean. The event aims at answering one question: ‘How To Earn If There’s Nothing To Burn?’. Startups are often criticized for burning through investors’ money and failing to earn enough profit. The speakers will discuss how to increase the success rate of startups and how the lean approach can help startups to avoid making common mistakes. Main panel speakers are Justin Wilcox and John Sechrest from the US, and Jamie Dunn from the UK. All of them have remarkable backgrounds in business and entrepreneurship: • • •

Justin Wilcox is the author of FOCUS Framework John Sechrest is the founder of the Seattle Angel Conference and a co-organizer of the Lean Startup Seattle Program Jamie Dunn is a co-founder of Zapaygo and an innovator at Spark Global

They all have experience in entrepreneurial innovation and implementing the lean startup methodology, which they will share with the audience.

36

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

The lean startup methodology is about focusing on meeting the needs of customers. Entrepreneurs should not waste their time, energy, and money on developing products that don’t solve problems for potential customers. This is where startups often fail − they adopt a productoriented approach rather than a customer-oriented one. They have a vision for a product and spend an enormous amount of time refining the product without considering how it might serve their customers. The lean approach can be summarized in three words, the buildmeasure-learn cycle. You build a prototype from the insight you get by observing and interacting with your customers. Next, you measure how people in the real world buy and use this prototype. You end the cycle by learning from measurable outcomes like conversion rate or usage behaviour. This means that the idea/product is continuously tested in reality. Validating an idea with customers allows startups to improve their business model and shorten the total time of building the final product. Startups which implement this lean methodology have lower rates of failure and are more likely to build a sustainable business − in other words this is how they can earn if there’s nothing to burn. The event also represents an opportunity to meet speakers from emerging industries in Estonia such as the biotech industry. Andrus Tasa, CEO of Tartu Biotechnology Park (an organization that supports the development of biotechnology in Estonia), will be moderating the biotech panel at sTARTUp Day. Other speakers in the biotechnology field include: • Eskil Söderlind (Sweden), president and founder of Salinator Bioscience • Olaf Gerber (Germany), managing director at Bayer Baltic • Erki Mölder (Estonia), chairman of the supervisory board at Enterprise Estonia


sTARTUp Day Will Attract The International Entrepreneurial Community Many sTARTUp Day speakers are coming from beyond Estonia’s borders. Not surprisingly, many from outside Estonia are also interested in the booming digital ecosystem. For example, more than 700 foreign entrepreneurs have already incorporated companies in Estonia with the help of the country’s e-Residency program. When walking through startup hubs, you quickly come across people from many different countries who have found jobs at Estonian startups. A space-tech expert, Dr. Krzysztof Kanawka, will travel to the festival from Poland. Krzysztof is the CEO of a downstream space sector company Blue Dot Solutions, specialising in GNSS, EO and integrated applications as well as stratospheric flight. He’s also one of the founders of Kosmonauta.net, a space sector information source. He will talk about the current situation in the space sector in Europe and explain, why right now is a good time to join in. He will also give an overview of what it’s like to do space projects in smaller countries, such as Estonia and Poland. More traditional industries such as the sports and creative industries also benefit from the digital revolution that startups create. The CEOs of two growing Estonian startups will be speaking about the digitalization of the sports industry − Tõnis Saag from Sportlyzer and Marti Soosaar from SportID. This is a great opportunity to get insight about how innovative software solutions can make team management easier for coaches or help employers to compensate sport costs for their employees. You can also gain general knowledge about how technology can transform a traditional industry. Christian Leblanc, a photographer and travel blogger with 100 000 YouTube subscribers, is due to come all the way from Canada to discuss the recent developments in his creative industry. Local speakers include Richard Murutar, the CEO of Estonian startup SprayPrinter, and Helen Sildna, head organizer of Tallinn Music Week.

The business festival will also focus on exploring how entrepreneurship can be taught as one of its main organizers, the University of Tartu is also committed to teaching entrepreneurship and supporting student entrepreneurs. Startup founders need to understand what starting a business means. Too many founders place their focus on building a tech product − they underestimate the importance of formulating a good marketing plan, explains Rein Lemberpuu. Unfortunately, mentoring entrepreneurs takes time and cannot easily scale beyond oneto-one meetings. To reach a larger audience, Rein Lemberpuu decided to start Contriber.com, a platform where Estonian entrepreneurs can learn from world-class experts and keep up with the ecosystem in Tartu. Inviting professors to speak about teaching entrepreneurship at sTARTUp Day is another scalable way to teach how to be an entrepreneur. Thomas Lans, an assistant professor at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, is due to be speaking about his research on Education and Entrepreneurial Learning. Like many entrepreneurs in Tartu, Lans also believes that entrepreneurship is something that can be learned within educational and business environments and which allows people to be in control of their lives. sTARTUp Day has the potential to become an annual wrap-up event for the Estonian startup scene. The event is a celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation, where awards for the preceding year will be given out. This year, Estonian Startup Leaders Club will be giving awards for Startup to Watch 2016, Newcomer of the Year, Startup Supporter of the Year, Contributor of the Year, and Startup of the Year. Also, top 20 early stage startups of 2016 will be selected. The business festival will be held in the new main building of the Estonian National Museum, which is to be opened this autumn, 1 October, 2016.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

37


I INNOVATION

A Positive Environment Helps Startups Grow in Tartu Ecosystems are the result of a complex alchemy. Tartu’s growing startup ecosystem can also be tied to previous success stories, explains Urmas Klaas, the mayor of Tartu. Rein Lemberpuu is not the only entrepreneur who mentors and invests in startups. Many members of the Estonian Business Angel Network (EstBAN) are accomplished entrepreneurs. In addition to a dynamic pool of investors, startups raise money on the crowdfunding platform Funderbeam. This was the case for two startups from Tartu this year: Sportlyzer recently raised €132 000 and SportID €161 000 using the platform. An inflow of capital helps new projects to be started. This new generation of startups is also able to grow with less resources than the old dot-com companies like Playtech. Rein Lemberpuu points out that modern startups can establish successful businesses without big budgets and the need for bank loans. As mentioned, the main concern for founders should be working on an idea that can solve a specific problem for a specific group of people. This is why he encourages entrepreneurs in Tartu to run as lean as possible.

The Estonian National Museum: A New Venue The new state-of-the-art venue of the Estonian National Museum offers great opportunities for organizing big events like sTARTUp Day. The Estonian National Museum (ERM) was chosen to host the festival as it’s a new and interesting player in the city of Tartu. The new building has already generated a lot of national buzz – it will make coming to the event more attractive for people than if it were held in a traditional location like a fair or conference centre. Not to mention, sTARTUp Day is a joint collaboration between a national museum and startups (a unique idea to say the least), which makes the event even more special.

The first thing entrepreneurs need is a few tens of thousands of euros. This money is enough to pay the expenses, while they develop a prototype to validate the potential of a business idea. For instance, Tartu startups SportID and Weekdone have demonstrated that it’s possible to run really lean. Contriber is also using the lean approach for developing a new product, which will help other startups to raise money from investors more efficiently. The last reason for Tartu’s success as a startup hub lies in Estonia’s talent pool. As Government CIO Taavi Kotka explains, doing IT at a reasonable price is a competitive advantage of Estonia. Although Estonian software engineers are not the cheapest among Eastern Europeans, they understand how to design more efficient solutions. The result per euro is higher than in any other country. This is the result of people leaving tech giants like Skype, as well as the ability of universities like Tartu in encouraging students to become more knowledgeable about both computer science and entrepreneurship.

This exciting venue has plenty of room for hosting all the discussion panels and seminars you could want for. Additionally, guests who attend the business festival can enjoy the entire museum to find out about the history of Estonia and take in all the other attractions and exhibitions. In addition to being an event of the city organization of Tartu, sTARTUp Day is an event for the citizens of Tartu themselves. The new museum is a source of pride and excitement for the city and its people. Therefore, it’s only logical to organize the festival in the Estonian National Museum as it brings together two things that are important for Tartu and its inhabitants. The new building of the Estonian National Museum is likely to increase the popularity of Tartu. 200 000 people are expected to walk through its doors each year, of whom 30 000 are likely to be tourists. It goes along with the growing startup ecosystem. Both are attracting people from all over Estonia and beyond.

38

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

The main building of the University of Tartu, established by King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in 1632.


Photo by Blue Coat Photos/Creative Commons

The IT Law program prepares for advising organizations in cyberdefence and security. Photo by Blogtrepreneur/Creative Commons

Security Tempered in the World’s First Cyberwar Tallinn, 26 April, 2007 – a Soviet-era war memorial, a statue popularly known as ‘the Bronze Soldier’ is removed from its former location in central Tallinn, and relocated at a city cemetery. The incident sparks riots which last a couple of days. But the riots, later to be named ‘Pronksiöö (‘Bronze Night’), are accompanied by a barrage of cyberattacks which continue for a further three weeks. Almost ten years on, Estonia is looking back on the events with the perception that it emerged from the battle of Bronze Night, and many struggles subsequent to that, victorious.

By Marju Himma

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

39


I EDUCATION & SCIENCE

Olaf Maennel

What is cybersecurity? For many Estonians the term evokes the events of 2007 and the riots on the streets of Tallinn. Naturally many Estonians clicked on the most reliable news portal of the daily newspaper, Postimees. The webpage gave an error message. The same error page opened for other news portals, as well as banks, and governmental institutions. ‘Hackers take down the most wired country in Europe’ states the headline in Wired Magazine in August 2007. ‘Russia accused of unleashing cyberwar to disable Estonia,’ writes The Guardian. ‘…cyberattacks and their successful imagineering as the world’s first cyberwar catapulted Estonia and Estonians from a position on the margins to the very centre of western security discourse,’ writes Robert Kaiser, Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the scientific paper ‘The birth of cyberwar’ published in 2015. A lot has changed since then, however. ‘At the moment it [cybersecurity] is more of a buzz word, which in different people’s minds is used very differently,’ states Olaf Maennel, Professor for Cybersecurity in the Tallinn University of Technology. But what does it actually mean? He continues to state that the term is somewhat loaded and hence is not that meaningful. At the same time it embraces almost everything imaginable. Coming from an academic background the term ‘cybersecurity’ is not an independent discipline. ‘For example, cryptography is routed in mathematics. Obviously computer science is part of cybersecurity, but it also includes law, political science, operational and strategic risk management, social sciences, psychology with human factors, and number of other research areas,’ Maennel goes on. A module of ten courses in cyberdefence was opened as early as 2008. A year later the full curriculum of cybersecurity was accepting students. As of now Cybersecurity is a joint curriculum offered at the Tallinn

40

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

University of Technology (TUT) and the University of Tartu (UT). And it is a student magnet, equally for Estonian and foreign students – half of the students are not Estonian and in fact come from all over the world. The reason behind this immense interest is the fact that cybersecurity is a global problem. Our world, more or less, depends on IT-systems, and most of these systems are vulnerable. Since ‘just turning insecure IT-systems on and off’ is not an option, it is of growing importance to understand of how to live securely in a highly-connected world. ‘Since Estonia is clearly in the forefront of IT, this is why many people are taking interest in how to make secure systems and how to live securely in such an interconnected world. Therefore the students want to learn it to make the world a better place,’ Olaf Maennel goes on. He adds that of course students realize that cybersecurity, being an emerging field, offers a variety of well-paid jobs. The profile of cybersecurity specialist is multiform, as is the profile of cybercrime. Threats for an individual computer user may lie in ransomware – eg. cryptovirus, taking over one’s personal computer, locking it and then demanding money for unlocking. But what does it mean for a state, especially for an e-State relying heavily on IT in any field? ‘The population registry, the land registry – everything is digitally held. If someone could modify things, suddenly I would, for example, not own my house any more. You can put a state into chaos!’ Therefore it is very important that the integrity of data is protected. One of the most important figures in Estonia’s success in the field of cybersecurity is Rainer Ottis. He is an assistant professor at TUT and one of the founders of NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) and the TUT Centre of Digital Forensics and Cybersecurity.


The biggest international live-fire cyberdefence exercise in the world Locked Shields, held in Estonia. Photos by NATO CCDCOE

NATO CCDCOE is an international military organization with a mission to enhance the capability, cooperation and information sharing among NATO, its member nations and partners in cyberdefence by virtue of education, research and development, lessons learned and consultation. The newborn institution in Estonian cyberdefence ‘league’ is the TUT Centre of Digital Forensics and Cyber Security.

BGP determines witch path is being taken through the internet. ‘It is a bite like the roadsigns that say if you want to go from Tallinn to Tartu, you take this road, but you still have to follow the signs,’ Maennel describes. The signs lead to the right destination, both in real life and on the internet’s ‘highways’. But what if a person had the ability to reroute traffic and lead the traffic on different roads?

The aim of the centre is to boost Estonia’s competence in the areas of cybersecurity and cyberforensics, with the help of research, development and studies. We work closely with both the Estonian public sector (the Information System Authority, the Police and Border Guard Board, the Defence Forces and others) and the private sector (including Clarified Security and BHC Laboratory), as well as with international partners.

One might not get to Tartu. Instead the person could drive off a cliff, and a number of bad things could happen, Maennel envisages. The ‘travelling’ data packages act similarly on the network. ‘But the BGP was not designed with security in mind,’ Maennel remarks. ‘So it is actually very easy and simple to modify the routes, eg. if I want to change the route to Tartu, it would take me a lot of time and someone would spot me changing all the road signs. But on the internet this is actually very simple to do,’ he says

The centre has a good working relationship with the NATO CCDCOE, at which many of our former and current students, doctoral candidates and visiting lecturers work. In addition, students and professors from TUT participate in the NATO centre’s annual Locked Shields exercise, which included 17 countries and almost 300 participants in 2014.

Making the Network Secure Ensuring the cybersecurity of the state is one aspect of research in TUT. But looking more widely, the focuses of research embraces network security more generally. If you communicate with a server outside your country, your data package goes through the network. The Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) is basically the only gateway protocol that connects different networks together.

There are a few cases publicly known and many more believed to have actually happened. It is a real threat when the data packages of United States, for example, happen to go via China. The key word here is Resource Publication Key Infrastructure (RPKI). Its function is to prove who owns which address base. It follows the allocation hierarchy that exists on the internet, so those who actually allocate address bases to other organizations will be able to cryptographically hand out certificates to verify the origin. This helps to avoid misconfiguration. The routing and performance measurements has been one part of Maennel’s research, and its implementation in real life is currently put into practice on the biggest international live-fire cyberdefence exercise in the world Locked Shields, held in Estonia. But currently his research interest has shifted to other fields.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

41


I EDUCATION & SCIENCE

Critical Infrastructure – Critical for EU Many of the scientists and IT-specialists engaged in cyberdefence in Estonia agree that the events of the Bronze Night paved the way for development for Estonia to became the foremost country in cybersecurity. Being at the forefront enables to export the knowledge.

Serious Games Estonia is famed for its e-Governance and e-Services. Though for the general public this might be unfamiliar, for cyberdefence experts all over the world Estonia is also well known for its cyberdefence exercises. ‘Participation by invitation only’ states the modest note on the message. The aforementioned Locked Shields is the biggest and most advanced international live-fire cyberdefence exercise in the world. The annual scenario-based real-time network defence exercise, organized since 2010 by the Tallinn-based NATO CCDCOE, focuses on training the security experts, who protect national IT systems on a daily basis. Over 550 people and a total of 26 nations were involved in Locked Shields 2016. An exercise of that scale and scope needs constant effort to remain the biggest and most advanced of its kind. This is where the scientists of TUT come to the fore. Part of the research problem is how to make games that would be as efficient, but are equally viable in measuring the learning outcome. These kind of hands-on exercises are effective for eLearning skills: ‘However, there are lot of publications on learning on traditional courses, but no one has actually looked at learning aspects, measuring learning – like learning analytics – and how to improve these exercises from the learning prospective,’ says Maennel. So this is an aspect where cybersecurity meets pedagogy and all aggregates under the phrase ‘serious games’.

On example of that is Luis Carlos Herrera Velasquez a student who in 2016 defended a Master’s thesis on ‘A Comprehensive Instrument for Identifying Critical Information Infrastructure Services’. The thesis points to a significant issue the European Union is soon facing. The issue is called EU Directive 2016/114, which was adopted on 19 July, 2016, and has just now come into effect. EU Member States have at the time of writing 21 months (until 25 May, 2018) to identify operators of vital services. However, to the best of our knowledge there is no clear methodology available to do this task, say Olaf Maennel and Luis Carlos Herrera Velasquez. In his thesis Luis-Carlos Herrera Velasquez proposed such a methodology right now. If his methodology is applied, it could give a comparable framework to countries to identify its vital services. At the moment it seems quite random what different countries are actually doing – Estonia has 40 vital services, Italy has only two sectors, France identifies 12 sectors, Switzerland has 10 sectors, etc. Of course, what constitutes vital services varies from country to country for good reasons, but research has clearly shown that there are international inter-dependencies between critical infrastructure providers. It is also clear that attacks on one service could cause wide-spread cascading failures. ‘If those vital services are so interlinked, shouldn’t there also be a coherent methodology to identifying them?’ asks Maennel.

Simply put, the serious games combine education and knowledge and are created for a serious reason for implementation, for example, in health, city planning, safety, management, education; and in our case for cyberdefence. In Tallinn University’s School of Digital Technologies, creating serious games is an actual course for undergraduate students in Informatics. In cooperation with a PhD student and a founder of the startup RangeForce, Margus Ernits, TUT has helped to develop an Intelligent Training Exercise Environment (i-tee). It is a fully automated platform that offers a cyberdefence competition games for smaller group and individual. There are other similar exercise platforms in the world, but none of them have that sort of level of automation. The whole platform is available under an MIT license, and it is open source, which means it is free of charge for groups and is available commercially for individual learning via RangeForce.

42

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

Margus Ernits


Helen Eenmaa-Dimitrieva

the knowledge and skills obtained in classroom in your practice at the IT Law Lab and the Tech Startup Legal Clinic. Following the completion of the program, the student will receive a Master of Arts in Law degree that will enable him or her to work in a wide variety of legal positions. In addition to academic knowledge, the key word for the curriculum is the problem solving of practical situations. Students are engaged in consulting start-ups. Last year 33 start-ups got practical advice from the students and academic staff. Practical assignments that require technical skills and knowledge of jurisprudence are designed in cooperation with Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and with the Estonian Bar Association.

As mentioned earlier, cybersecurity is not an independent scientific field of research. We have looked into the interdisciplinary ties with national defence and pedagogy; it’s time to add another angle – law.

The students are taught how to face challenges in the diverse fields of privacy, data protection, e-Commerce, contracts, IP, litigation as well as forensics. The program prepares them for advising organizations in cyber defence and security. The program provides the student with a significant set of technical skills for their work as an IT lawyer, starting with the fundamentals in ICT and programming, continuing with information infrastructure, architecture and security and gradually building up to public e-Services and process management.

What happens when you put computer geeks and lawyers into one room? Olaf Maennel says he was a bit sceptical about the idea at first. But Helen Eenmaa-Dimitrieva was already confident in 2015. Helen Eenmaa-Dimitrieva is founder and leader of the IT Law Program at the University of Tartu.

‘We can say that our curriculum contains three counterparts: technical, jurisdictional, and practical. The objective is that our alumni would be fully ready to start working at law firms and at the public sector’, says Helen Eenmaa-Dimitrieva. The data has shown that the alumni go on to work successfully at those law firms as consultants specialized on IT law.

At the Cyber Security Summer School in summer of 2015, the issue of the obstacles in cooperation between IT-specialists and lawyers arose. ‘I looked around and understood that I was the only lawyer in the room,’ explains Helen Eenmaa-Dimitrieva. She proposed an idea of joint summer school that would bring together the students of IT law and computer scientists. The idea materialised in July 2016 with great success.

Though the prerequisite for applying for the Masters program is a BA degree in law, the program follows the global law programs. It means that it is not based on international law, but on the general principles of civil, public, and penal law. This enables the alumni to specialize on different fields in IT law. It makes the UT IT law program unique in the world, since usually there is specialization on special field in IT law or it is based on narrow jurisdiction of the specific country.

Geeks and Lawyers

The summer school focused on digital forensics, a subject which combines a variety of technical and legal issues from the areas of digital evidence, identity, authentication and security. When these two groups of specialists work together on the issues that need solving in the world, this is where innovation happens, Helen outlines. Lawyers who can speak the language of the techies and understand the opportunities as well as limitations of information technology (possibly also mastering some basic skills themselves) can do a much better job in advising their clients, but even more importantly, in creating the legal environment that supports technical advances. ‘Computer scientists who understand the implications of their legal environment can pursue their projects more freely and creatively than they would be able otherwise’.

Last year the IT law PhD program was opened – this year there were 10 candidates for the three PhD positions available and more than half of the students came from abroad. However, Helen Eenmaa-Dimitrieva notes that in that competition, Estonian students tend to be more qualified: ‘It would be perfect for us if we could get as qualified candidates abroad as we can get from Estonia’ she says.

But the summer school is just the ‘cherry on top’ of the cake of IT law in Estonia. Two years ago the University of Tartu introduced a special Masters program. Half of it focuses on law, and half on technical knowledge.

Returning to the very beginning – how have the events of Bronze Night influenced the development of jurisdiction regarding IT? Eneken TikkRingas, a Consulting Senior Fellow for the Future Conflict and Cyber Security Program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies recalls that shortly after the Bronze Night, number of laws that were going through amendment were changed to take into consideration the possible cyber threat. The articles were added for the deterrence of cyber crime. Many of the administrative bodies were empowered in order to prevent and cope with possible cyber threat. All this together created fruitful ground for Estonia to develop into a front-rank cyberdefence country in the world.

All courses are taught in English and demonstrate the combination of technical, legal and political aspects of IT Law, enabling you to apply

This article was supported by the European Union Regional Development Fund through Estonian Research Council.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

43


I ECONOMY AND BUSINESS

Cleveron’s PackRobot Set to Enter the US Market With Cleveron signing the co-operation agreement with the US technology enterprise Bell & Howell, 15 000 PackRobots produced in Viljandi are due to reach the United States within five years. In less than ten years of existence, the Viljandibased company Cleveron has become a leading producer of parcel terminals and robots in the world. Its success is based on continuous development work, a strong team and the belief that good ideas can be transformed into reality. In the early years, the company took out a loan, assisted by KredEx − a financing institution

44

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

which helps Estonian enterprises develop more quickly and expand more safely into foreign markets, offering loans, venture capital, credit insurance and guarantees with state backup. Today, the company plans to bring 15 000 innovative PackRobots onto the US market in collaboration with the US technology enterprise Bell & Howell.


The PackRobot automated parcel terminal was nominated for the Estonian design award BRUNO 2016 in the category of Product design award Cleveron was born out of the online home decoration company ON24. Arno Kütt, Managing Director and one of the owners of the company recalls that in 2006, ON24 created its own logistics unit in order to serve better its customers, and two-member delivery teams started to make home-deliveries of furniture all over Estonia. Soon, other online shops began to approach them with the wish to create an alternative for the post-office. However, it was clear that yet another manned post-office would have been impractical. Hence the search was on to develop a self-servicing solution for a post-chain. ‘This is how the idea of parcel terminals was born. There were no suitable automated parcel terminals on the market and therefore we had to start developing them ourselves,’ says Kütt. The first technical solutions were ready in 2007 under the name of SmartPOST, but when the network together with this brand-name was sold to the Finnish Post, the company changed its name to Cleveron. As automated parcel terminals were not a transferable guarantee for the bank, there was a need to for an additional KredEx security in order to take out an investment loan to promote their development. KredEx saw the potential of the company and offered a loan surety financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). According to Kütt, there are approximately a hundred companies in the world which deal with the development of automated parcel technology, and about ten of these can be considered serious competitors for Cleveron. There are many nuances which need to be taken into account in this field. For example, one of the most costly aspects in the automated parcel business is renting shopping centre space. The more parcels which can be stored within a one square metre area, the lower the cost of depositing them. This is the underlying principle taken into account by Cleveron in developing its parcel terminals. Kütt explains: ‘One new solution we created is the introduction of small drawers in parcel terminals. According to statistics, parcels are

becoming smaller and therefore parcel terminals also need smaller storing spaces. We planned to do just that, but realised the problem that a smaller cupboard can be created but it is difficult to fit a hand in there and to reach the parcel. We solved the problem by creating self-opening drawers. As a result, we can fit 50 per cent more parcels within one square metre.’ Kütt believes that Cleveron is among the leading automated parcel terminal producers in the world today. ‘We did not create parcel terminals as such but we have introduced several changes which have been subsequently taken onboard by competitors. Modular parcel terminals were developed here. Now competitors are using analogous solutions. I have not seen parcel terminals with drawers anywhere else yet. Of course, we have patented most of our innovative solutions in order to protect them. But some of our products have indeed been copied without permission,’ he says. Today most of the automated parcel terminals produced by Cleveron can be found in Finland where they number almost 500. The technology is also used in Spain, Hungary, Norway, Russia and, the furthest location to date, Brazil. Estonian citizens use Cleveron terminals on a daily basis via the services of SmartPOST. Arno Kütt explains that their products are in constant development: ‘Development is a process which does not end with the finished product. There is always room for improvement. Often every new batch is slightly different than the one before.’ From parcel terminals Cleveron moved onto developing parcel robots. This was also due to a practical need. ‘We began the development of PackRobot, which was completed last autumn, already five years ago. We have created more than five different prototypes. One of the robots has been tested in the SmartPOST network in Viljandi for a year, and it is only now that through continuous development we have reached a product which we can sell. The main emphasis this year has been on bringing PackRobot to the market,’ Kütt goes on.

Author: Lauri Hirvesaar Category: engineering product design  Material: Composites, steel, plastic Measurements: W 2.5m; D 2.8m; H 5m Producer/contractor: Cleveron AS Cleveron’s PackRobot represents the new generation of parcel terminals. Whereas current locker type terminals require selfservice, PackRobot itself serves the user. All parcels are transmitted through the one door, which is accessible for everyone, including wheelchair users. Clear user interface, reliable touch screen, and the ability of the machine to scan codes directly from the customer’s smart device simplify the client’s interaction with the machine. In order to receive your parcel, you just have to approach the PackRobot and present it with the right code − in less than 10 seconds you will receive your parcel. There is no need to look for the right door or reach high or low to pick up the parcel. And all this is available 24/7 in a location best suited for the customer. All parcels are automatically measured, weighed and photographed when the parcel is inserted into the machine. The unique smart storage system places the parcel into one of the eight columns of parcel trays. The next parcel will be placed right on top of the previous one in order to use the room as efficiently as possible. This solution makes it possible to hold more than 500 parcels in a 5m high robot. Climate control, which keeps the temperature appropriate for parcel storage in every location throughout the year, makes the PackRobot suitable for outdoor usage, meaning no more worries about jam jars freezing and breaking in the winter or chocolate melting in the summer. The operators’ wish to utilize the wall space to the maximum with branding has also been taken into account in the design of PackRobot’s weather proof outer casing. PackRobot has a signature octagonal shape and a state-of-the-art user interface that is distinguishable from the wall space as a clear, black, vertical line.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

45


I ECONOMY AND BUSINESS

European Union European Regional Development Fund

In an ordinary parcel terminal, the customers can reach parcels which are stored to a maximum height of 1.5 metres. We were faced with the challenge of how to store parcels higher. As a solution, we envisaged a parcel robot and a door where users can insert and take out parcels. Inside the parcel terminal there is a robot, which takes the parcels up to a height of three or four metres and, if necessary, brings parcels down from the same height. Another challenge which we found a solution for is taking PackRobot into outdoor conditions. As a result, customers can receive their parcels 24/7. Bringing PackRobot outdoors had its own set of challenges − regardless of the location of the robot, parcels cannot be allowed to freeze inside in winter or conversely we can’t have things like chocolate start to melt in the summer heat. Therefore we needed to add a climate control appliance to the robot − if necessary, we heat the interior and if necessary we cool it and remove any humidity,’ Kütt says, shedding light on the complicated life of PackRobots. Cleveron’s thorough and successful development work has led to the signing of a collaboration agreement with the US technology company Bell & Howell in September. The US company has publicly announced that they see the potential of installing 15 000 PackRobots produced in Viljandi all over North-America.

46

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

It is important to note that the robots will reach the American market under Cleveron’s own brand name. When the collaboration contract becomes effective, there will arise a need to enlarge the factory space and to hire more staff. The production of these robots, unique in the world, will commence at the beginning of next year. ‘As we have built up our production base from scratch, we do not see any huge problems in expanding. We have already considered the likelihood of expanding when we built the current factory,’ comments Kütt. The price of one PackRobot produced by Cleveron will be comparable to a more expensive German car, because it is made up of thousands of components and in additionally the hardware includes unique software. Whilst the major contract has been signed with a US company, the first robots will be installed in Estonia. This process will begin in the first half of next year. Development work at Cleveron takes place in different directions: as a new product, the electronic storage locker has just come onto the market. The first was installed in Tallinn Viru Shopping Centre last October. Customers can leave their suitcases or purchases in the locker and visit the centre without carrying their heavy bags. What is innovative about the solution is that payment can be made with a bank card or mobile instead of coins.

Investing in your future

Customers receive a code via a text message to their phone, and later when they want to get their things, they insert the code to open the locker. Currently the development team is working on developing a robot with cooling zones meant for the delivery of food produce. Work is also in process on the landing area and hanger for a drone which is to be integrated with the ceiling height of the robot. Hence the company believes that in the future there will be drones delivering parcels in addition to robots. Parcel terminals from the first generation revolutionized the postal sphere by freeing people from the burden of having to stand in lines in postal offices or waiting for couriers. All prerequisites needed to repeat the revolution of comfort and effectiveness in the postal sphere are fulfilled by PackRobot. The first PackRobots manufactured by Cleveron have reached the bigger cities of Estonia and serve the customers of Collect.Net, the newly-established open network. Nobody is thinking about resting on their laurels at Cleveron, however. Every day, work is in progress on finding new markets and partners, confirms Kütt. ‘We are looking for direct contacts, visiting trade fairs and introducing our PackRobot. In addition we have agents in different countries working on sales,’ he says.


Toomas Volkmann: Everything Comes with Breathing By Fagira D.Morti Toomas Volkmann has had a colourful working life in fields which seem on the surface to be worlds apart, yet when his name is mentioned in Estonia, people immediately only recognize Toomas Volkmann, the photographer, not the musician, actor or doctor.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

47


Mirtel I

Evelin I

2015

2015

I CREATIVE ESTONIA

Toomas Volkmann was born and spent his early years in Pärnu, a coastal resort town almost deserted in winter but pulsating with life in summer. Little Toomas attended an extra-curricular biology class in school. And once a year, his father summoned the entire family in order to make a special visit to the photographer for a proper family photograph. This left a deep impression on the boy and Volkmann recalls that it was like going to church. Of course, going to church was not really the done thing in the Soviet times, or at least it was not looked upon favourably by the authorities. The atmosphere at the photographer’s studio however was festive and serious at the same time − and somewhat mystical. Volkmann still carries these memories with him and it is most likely that those annual visits have influenced the colour scheme and emotion of his photography today. Jumping slightly ahead in the sequence of events, it is worth mentioning that the boy from the biology class did not go into photography straight after school, but more logically spent some time studying medicine at the University of Tartu. But he found out it did not really suit him, which prompted him to change direction and enrol at the Tallinn Conservatoire to study acting − an important milestone in his photography work later on as we’ll see. Growing up in a small town, Volkmann often went to the theatre and admits that his childhood dream was to become an actor because of the great plays he saw. His deepest recollections are of Samuel Beckett’s absurd play ‘Waiting for Godot’, which was staged by Lembit Peterson and starred acting students. He recalls: ‘As everyone left the theatre hall at the end of the play, I was mesmerized although I didn’t really

48

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

get everything what had happened on stage! It was a feeling of total emptiness, the kind of emotion which I have looked for in my photography later on.’ So Volkmann enrolled in the theatre school, where he learned to express his emotions, understand the importance of breathing and was happy to learn from inspiring tutors…and then… did he go on to study photography? Not yet − the next thing he did was to become a vocalist in the early music ensemble ‘Hortus Musicus’. These were dramatic days in Estonia, as the Republic of Estonia was reborn and the Soviet Union collapsed opening the borders. Volkmann made the decision to fly to London, where he took a photography course for a year and it is only since then (1994) that he has been known as a photographer. It can be stated that he immediately shot on to the Estonian photography scene as something of a comet or a supernova, and indeed his star is still shining brightly. Of course there have been both easier and more difficult times, but Volkmann has never felt the urge to run away from photography − or to leave Estonia for good. He has run exhibitions all over the world, but this is where he can breathe most easily, and the older he gets, the more he ‘gets’ our people. ‘People from other countries are almost like hieroglyphs to me − I admire their beauty but I do not ‘’get’’ it,’ says Volkmann. ‘I can photograph them but it does not feel like part of my own being. Then I return to Estonia and see, ok it’s raining, I get a lungful of Estonian air and realize I have landed again. I look at the people and faces, all the stories, the neighbourhood men and women. I understand them. It is a text I can read,’ he explains.


If you were to portray Estonia in a single picture, what image would you capture? 

Two I

2000

I would probably leave out the sea altogether; instead, I would capture the rolling hills. We tend to identify ourselves with the sea, anchovies and a seaside view of the Tallinn skyline; or with junipers, meadows and smoked eel. But I wouldn’t do that. Between these gentle hills one can stumble from one surprise to another. The hills are pretty tiny and Estonia itself is similarly tiny. Hills are very feminine in their shape, and Estonia is in many ways female − our traditional poetry is very feminine and great songstresses have been women. For some reason people identify the sea with a woman, but our sea seems more masculine to me. There are usually no great, crested waves; it is pallid and tranquil, but also stark − definitely not a woman, with its pebbly shores. A woman is soft and fluid, just like the hilly landscape of southern Estonia! When I look at the sea, I have no feeling of returning to my mother’s womb. But when I view the rolling hills.... (he laughs) I feel so caressed, so soft.  

In the early 1990s, Volkmann shuttled between London and Estonia and witnessed first-hand the wild freedom in Estonia compared with the limited opportunities in London − talk about getting our foot in the door not to mention creative freedom − and he enjoyed working in Estonia too. ‘One needs incredible ambition to make a breakthrough elsewhere, and the entire world is full of people with ambition,’ says Volkmann. But in Estonia he was a pioneer in photography − someone who set the trend. He quickly developed his own signature in portrait photography. He recalls those days: ‘When I came here, I happened to be in the right place at the right time. My fellow students in London complained about having to drag around boxes and cables and not having the time to focus on their own creative work at the end of the day.’ This is what he has to say about the mid-1990s in Estonia: ‘Back in those days nobody in Estonia had an idea what a proper fashion magazine should look like and what fashion photography was about. There was a complete blank slate. Today everything seems much more in its place and has somehow ossified. But back at the end of the 1990s, we had no limits. I also had no idea what a fashion photograph should look like. When I look at the photos from back then, I think nobody would publish them now. For example, nobody would include a woman with a cigarette in a magazine. But nevertheless there is something almost criminal about a smoking woman, it is a form of protest. Only a few top fashion magazines can get away with it. I think today we lack glamour – the danger has disappeared from the fashion photography of the magazines. There are just beauty shots. There is no glamour, as glamour always involves some decadence, it has to be exaggerated and dangerous.

Good minimalism also includes fear, danger, fatality. This is what I am looking for, I do not want just pretty pictures.’ These days Volkmann shoots mostly portraits and mostly in black-andwhite. He believes that colour degrades the form. When he uses colour, it is still monochrome − used in a very calculated, targeted way. ‘There is too much colour around us anyway,’ he laughs. As a person, Volkmann is vibrant and likes to laugh, at least when in good company. But he tends to photograph serious people; even in children he prefers seriousness. Yes, sometimes he makes family photographs but nothing too mobile and happy − he tends to look for something more static. This is what he has to say about his process: ‘When I photograph, I try to be the one who fixates; it is a very technical approach. I find it easier if I do not know anything about the person I am photographing. The more I am able to technically fix the person, the more I get that person into the photo. It may seem like a paradox. You fix everything to a millimetre, and that is what gives it freedom − the truth will trickle into that mould. If there is no mould, it misses it. These days everything is done in whilst in motion. Sometimes people will say to me that they would like at least some movement in the photos. And I think ‘you are not a professional dancer − the movements you can do are limited to just tossing your hair or jumping up into the air’. It seems to me that the more I remove such movement, the more interior movement, full-bodied movement there will be in the final product. It’s an Oscar Wilde-like paradox − the more you move, the less you move!’ he explains.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

49


I CREATIVE ESTONIA

Tanel

I

2003

Fortunately Estonians are familiar with Volkmann’s style and the customers who do come to him asking for family photographs are those who prefer static, black-and-white photos. Volkmann likes to photograph children and likes to work with people who come to have family portraits done. He says, ‘Of course it is easier with models, because they know how to be organic. But ordinary people who come to the photographer are somehow “cooler’’ in their ignorance. They do not know what exactly will happen. Models do not put so much into it as do people who have taken the time, with their wives, husbands and children, to come to the photographer.’ Volkmann is mesmerized by the seriousness to be found in children. ‘They have more of an adult in them, as kids than when they grow. Adults already know what shapes to make. And if they have been doing that for years, it becomes part of them. With children there is always the unexpected. The seriousness of a child is so much more, well, serious. I try to avoid the overly funny side when I photograph kids. The seriousness of children is so much more acute for me and so different from that of adults.’ Speaking of next generations, some people have expressed the desire to learn from Volkmann. But Volkmann is not so taken with this thought. ‘It is not really possible to teach. It is possible to enthuse someone and they will start to see for themselves. Yes people have approached me, but I am cautious of such things because I have the feeling that I am not a very good teacher. I have given lecturers, but I am uncomfortable with the idea of going into a studio to coach someone. I can analyse photos. But not coach whilst shooting…. I change according to the person, there is no universal teaching method. When someone takes a photography course or studies photography, they still might not become a photographer. If someone gives you a pen as a present, you do not necessarily start writing novels. It requires some gene, you need to have a private passionate relationship with this activity.’ Volkmann himself has a passionate relationship with photography. There have been periods when he hasn’t felt like taking photos of people and in those times he has taken photos of objects, flowers instead. But then he pulls himself together again and is happy to make a breakthrough to opening the lock. Photography is the continuation of his existence, he says. Whilst a portrait photographer, he does not create self-portraits. ‘I do not really recognise myself on photos,’ he says. ‘If it is a photo which needs to accompany for example an article, then I know what it should be like, but that is a genre. But if I just take a photo of myself, I do not recognise myself! Ann Tenno has taken many photos of me and I have learned a great deal from her. Ann used to make photos with a large camera, very silently and very static poses. ‘No, you’re breathing wrongly! Breathe in…. and then smile….’ she says; I also use that approach on my own models, so we look for a breathing rhythm. Everything comes through breathing. That is what I was taught in theatre school.’

Emma

50

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

I

2011


PORTFOLIO_TOOMAS VOLKMANN

Rosalie and Emilie

I

2000

51


Pärtel and Kei I

52

1994, KUMU Photo Collection


Christian

I

London 1993, KUMU Photo Collection

53


Portrait

54

I

2015


Hedvig I

2014

55


Corset I

56

2004


Portrait

I

2000

57


Lubricated Tulips I

58

2000


‘Glens’ – plastic reading glasses that suit all types of nose, weigh only 0.4 grams and can be carried in a wallet, by Karl Annus. Bruno 2016 Best Lifestyle Product Design nominee.

Estonian Design Chic, Innovative, Intelligent, Minimalist, Sophisticated and Witty By Marika Makarova / PHOTOS BY DISAINIÖÖ

This autumn, the renowned Tallinn Design Night Festival Disainiöö will be held for the 11th time. ‘Life in Estonia’ visited the headquarters of the festival in one of the hippest neighbourhoods on the planet – Kalamaja, in Tallinn. ‘When the festival was conceived ten years ago, it was a 24-hour-long presentation of Estonian design. Since then it has become an international week-long event, with more than 90 intellectual, eye-opening, experimental, funny or entertaining opportunities to glimpse the current trends in Estonian as well as global design,’ explains the main organiser of Disainiöö, president of the Estonian Association of Designers Ilona Gurjanova, on a trip to check out the Estonian design scene.

Ilona Gurjanova in front of the wooden megaphone-shaped shelter ‘Ruup’ by Birgit Õigus, made to avoid the rain whilst listening to the sounds of the forest. Bruno 2016 Best Product Design For A Human Environment nominee.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

59


I CREATIVE ESTONIA

Calendar of events 2016–2017 September 21–26, 2016 Days of Estonian Design at Washington DC Fashion Week, USA. November-December 2016 ‘Size Doesn’t Matter’ exhibition at Borealis Festival in Caen, France. April 2017 participation in Milan Design Week, Italy. December 2017 ‘Size Doesn’t Matter’ exhibition in Paris, France.

For someone whose passion is tasteful cooking and dressing – ‘Tie&Apron’ by Andres Labi.

XI Tallinn Design Night Festival As always, there will be exciting exhibitions here from both Estonia and abroad. But this year, for the first time in the history of the festival, you can walk through Design Street, where more than 25 teams from Estonia and beyond are to display their works... or find yourself at the Fashion Cross surrounded by the artwork of over 40 Estonian fashion brands... Or why not take the floor at Pecha Kucha Night – a format originating in Japan, where you have just 20 seconds to show 20 slides and express your accompanying thoughts. The festival program will include lectures and workshops for grown-ups and kids, an auction, fashion shows, design excursions, flash talks, film nights, light installations, music, pop up shops, and as per tradition the gala ceremony of the Estonian Design Awards. ‘This year we are extremely happy to present a brand new documentary­ style art book entitled Woods and the Sea: Estonian Design and the Virtual Frontier, compiled and edited by US-German design journalist Michael Dumiak and published by London-­based Black Dog Publishing,’ rejoices Gurjanova, a designer both by profession and by her own definition. ‘The book is a portrait of Estonia’s design fabric, a narrative on the bases of 25 interviews featuring among others the Grand Old Man of Estonian design Bruno Tomberg and the only Estonian ‘’fashion doctor’’, sustainable fashion designer Reet Aus.’

60

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

Sleeping mask aka face blanket ‘Ööloom’ by Karmen Heinmaa, Johan Kallas, Jan Plaan and Mihkel Virkus.


Two-in-one, plywood hanger and LED-lamp ‘What?’ by Tarmo Luisk. Bruno 2014 Best Author Design.

Handmade ‘Karl’ spectacles made of natural precious woods, collection 2013 by Karl Annus. Bruno 2012 Honourable Mention.

Design is More than a Chic Handbag That said, design is not merely a stylish table or a chic handbag. It is a product and service development to make our everyday life easier. A process, supported and controlled by design management, which helps to bring economic benefit by comprising the product, packaging, communication, marketing, working environment and organisational culture under one umbrella. That would be the exact message of the Redefining Design seminar, where internationally-recognized experts interpret the concept of design process.

‘Solu‘– technology and performance of a laptop, housed in a palm-size device carved out of wood by Joona Kallio and Sten Lindvest. Bruno 2016 Best Engineering Product Design nominee.

‘The keynote speaker is Cameron Sinclair from the US, whose purpose design firm Small Works has created innovative solutions in the hardest hit areas of the world and in over 45 countries, from emergency shelters and long-term sustainable reconstruction, to economic development,’ outlines Gurjanova, one of the advocates in the power of design as a catalyst for social and economic change. Perfect examples of design management, to name but a few, are Estonian-origin start-ups like Skype, Playtech, and TransferWise. Tallinn City transport system has been named Design Management Europe DME Award Winner. Tallinn Airport – the ‘Cosiest Airport in the World’, office and public furniture company Thulema, bath manufacturer Aquator, design consultancy firm Velvet, and café Supelsaksad have all been granted DME Honourable Mentions as well. As part of the Human Cities concept – a platform of interdisciplinary exchanges, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the EU – a project from Estonian designers HÄLO will be tested on potential users during this year’s Disainiöö. It is an environmentally-friendly, small building with innovative technology where overworked citizens can in just 20 minutes relieve stress and recuperate their strength.

Portable weather station and wind meter ‘Shaka’ by Mihkel Güsson. Bruno 2014 Best Industrial Design.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

61


I CREATIVE ESTONIA Red Dot Best of the Best Award – ‘Martin’ table by Martin Pärn. The smallest ID card reader on the market by Martin Lazarev, Argo Männiste and Arte Ermel.

Thief-proof but bike-friendly bickerrack ‘Tulip Fan Fan’ by Margus Triibman. Bruno 2012 Best Product Design.

One Designer for Every 800 Citizens Estonia is phenomenal – there are more than 2 500 designers here with a university degree, making one designer for every 800 citizens! Design is taught at the Estonian Academy of Arts (EAA), at Tartu Art College, Haapsalu College of Tallinn University, the joint programme by EAA and the Tallinn University of Technology. We also have The Estonian Association of Designers (EAD), Estonian Design Centre and Estonian Design House here. Martin Pärn and his eponymous table, ‘Martin ‘have received the Red Dot Best of the Best Award. Pärn was also included in the compilation of the 200 best design products of the 20th century, published by the design magazine MD. One of the Top 20 Women in Business in Northern Europe, Reet Aus, has created an upcycling fashion line, each item of which uses on average 70 per cent less water and 88 per cent less energy compared with a regular product.  Innovative, functional, intelligent, elegant, minimalistic, user-friendly, ecological, witty – this is the trademark of Estonian design that could be admired for the first time outside Estonia back in 2000, in Helsinki, Finland. Since then, collections of Estonian design have been repeatedly displayed at fairs and design weeks in Paris, Frankfurt, London and Milan, as well as travelling to Lithuania, Latvia, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Russia, China and the US. Starting in 2014, the exhibition project ‘Size Doesn’t Matter’ has been introducing the classics and newcomers of Estonian design in Europe. The first host city was Brussels, the following year it was Vienna, this year it took place in Stockholm and Caen. ‘In 2011, the EAD opened the Estonian Design House, which functions as a centre of information and competence, and is also the best and trustworthy spot to buy Estonian design while in Tallinn. And while abroad, visit its popular eShop,’ recommends the long-term president of the association.

62

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

Upmade collection by Reet Aus.


Pinnacles of Estonian design: names & numbers Luther – Estonian furniture company in the 19th century that produced bent plywood items and humidity-proof cardboard and plywood suitcases. Spy camera Minox by Walter Zapp.

Evergreen classic of the 19th century, by furniture company Luther – plywood suitcase.

Walter Zapp – inventor of the miniature spy camera Minox famous from the Bond movies, the first model of which was developed in Estonia in 1934.

Louis Kahn – one of the most influential architects of the 20th century was born in Estonia, moving with his family to the US in the fear that Louis’ father would be mobilised for the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05. Kalev Mark Kostabi – American artist who was born in Los Angeles to Estonian immigrant parents who had moved to the US during the Second World War. 1966 – design education was established at the Estonian State Art Institute in Tallinn. 1989 – the Estonian Association of Designers, connecting and representing 150 Estonian designers, was founded.

Hand-crafted to individual order – urban bike ‘Viks’ by Indrek Narusk.

2000 – the first international exhibition of Estonian design took place in Helsinki, Finland. 2006 – Bruno Estonian product design award was launched and the first Design Night Festival Disainiöö was held. 2008 – the Estonian Design Centre was set up.

Motorbike ‘Renard’ – surgeon’s blade on two wheels by Andres Uibomäe.

2012 – Estonian Design Awards are presented in collaboration with the Estonian Association of Designers, the Estonian Design Centre, Art Directors Club Estonia, and the Estonian Service Design Association. Estonian Design Awards are: Bruno product design award, Säsi young designer award, ADC*Estonia graphic design and web design awards, and a service design award.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

63


I CREATIVE ESTONIA

The Bruno trophy consisting of a cone, a cylinder and a ball. Author Anneliis Aunapuu, supervisor Bruno Tomberg.

Bruno – Revered Estonian Product Design Award The Bruno award, presented every two years, was launched by the EAD in 2006. It is named in honour of the founder of the design department of the Estonian Academy of Arts, professor Bruno Tomberg. Incidentally, back at the time, in 1966, Estonia was a part of the Soviet Union, and the word ‘design’ was forbidden by Soviet officials as it was deemed too ‘western’, and the term ‘industrial art’ was used instead.

Special order ‘Bespoke’ shoes for men by Sille Sikmann. Bruno 2012 Honourable Mention. The smallest ID card reader on the market by Martin Lazarev, Argo Männiste and Arte Ermel.

In honour of the 2016 Bruno award winners, the 91-year old gentleman has a lovely message: ‘Besides being a good designer, be a good person. This is most important. The more empathic you are as a person, the more empathic and caring your designs will be.’ This year’s Bruno award is for the first time presented in three categories: best product design for human environment, best lifestyle product design and best engineering product design. And for the first time ever, the international jury will select the winner of the Award For Life-Changing Design. Entry requirements for the competition – this year there were a record number of 156 products – can be met with any production-ready prototype or industrial product/product series currently in production, created over the past two years by designers working in companies registered in the Republic of Estonia and/or having permanent residence here. What are the all-time Bruno award favourites of the president herself? ‘The ID card reader by Martin Lazarev and his team, because it makes life so much easier; the woollen shawl by Mare Kelpman because it helps to keep me warm in the severe Estonian winter, and the leather backpack by Piret Loog, because it lasts for ages,’ states Ilona Gurjanova, with an appreciating smile.

64

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

Woollen plaids woven with old-school weaving machines by Mare Kelpman.


Take a look Origami-style aluminium lamp-shade ‘Leaf’ by Kristjan Urke. Bruno 2012 Honourable Mention.

Estonian Association of Designers www.edl.ee Tallinn Design Night Festival Disainiöö www.tallinndesignfestival.com Estonian Design House www.estoniandesignhouse.ee Estonian Design Centre www.disainikeskus.ee Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design www.etdm.ee

Easy-to-put-together plywood bookshelf ’Comb’ by Jaanus Orgusaar.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

65


I CREATIVE ESTONIA

The Biggest Cultural Project in Estonian History By Kaarel Tarand / Photos by ARP KARM, ERM

There have not been too many things which Estonian people have had to wait for as long as they have waited for the completion of the own home of the Estonian National Museum. 66

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL


The museum was founded a generation later than those of our Nordic neighbours, only in 1909, but this was not to be blamed on the local people but on prevalent conditions in the Russian Empire, which Estonia was then a part of. The idea for the museum was voiced as early as 1869, and the ethnographic and folklore collections date back to 1888. After the founding of the museum, it continued to be run as a national private initiative. When Estonia became independent in 1918, this was not a disadvantage but rather an advantage as, by that time, the museum had grown into a countrywide network of collaborators and supporters and was now only in need of its own rooms in which to be housed. These were finally found two kilometres away from Tartu city centre, in the main building of the Raadi Manor House. On the basis of the land legislation of the time, the young republic had taken over all the land property formerly belonging to the Baltic German ruling classes and this included manor houses where necessary. The von Liphart family, which had ruled in Raadi for more than a century and a half, had decided to relocate and, although the main building of the manor house was not a perfect spatial solution for the museum, its symbolic significance as a location could not be overlooked: Estonian culture moved into a space where the common folk had hitherto had no business for centuries, ironically in order to be now researched and exhibited. Both fortunately and unfortunately for the museum, in the area around Raadi lay the closest fog-free fields in the vicinity of Tartu and which were also topographically suitable for aviation. Thus from 1912 when aviation activity started there, the Estonian air force continued to be active in this area through the whole independence period of the interwar years.

An airfield was developed in the vicinity of the manor house, which unfortunately was also considered equally suitable by the occupying Soviet and German occupational forces from 1940 onwards. Raadi remained in military use and a closed area until the restoration of Estonian independence in the early 1990s. In the intervening time, the Soviet Union had used the 700-hectare area to develop a base of strategic long-distance bombers targeting both Europe and the USA, which effectively terrorised the local neighbourhood and prevented the natural development of the town. Due to the right timing of its evacuation, the collections of the National Museum were rescued, but the manor house itself was burnt down by marauders in 1944 and, just like many other Estonian cultural institutions, the museum was once again homeless.

The Story Behind the New Museum Home Whereas the most important theatres, concert halls, libraries and other cultural establishments were restored in the first couple of post-war decades, the occupiers considered the National Museum to be an ideological threat and downgraded its status from the creator and promoter of national identity to a small ethnographic museum without its own exhibition space or storage rooms. The collections of the museum were stored separately in churches and cellars, and it was only the dedication of staff members which prevented the worst from happening. But it was not possible to expunge the museum and its glory from the memory of the people; hence it was logical that once the winds of freedom began to blow more strongly in the spring of 1988, one of the first public political demands made was that the Estonian National Museum be restored to Raadi.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

67


I CREATIVE ESTONIA

68

Yet it took another generation for the new and greatest exhibition space in Estonia to open its exhibitions to the public on 1 October, 2016. It took all this time despite the fact that the need for the construction of the museum building was repeatedly decided by the Parliament of Estonia and also by subsequent governments.

At the same time, the new building, linked to the military heritage of occupiers, ties together the good and the bad in the complicated history of twentieth century Estonia, emphasising that we need to remember everything, and who else should recall everything as an institution of collective memory but the National Museum?

When finally, in 2005, the decision was made to announce an international architectural competition for the museum building, there was a museum boom going on in Europe and the world. Amazing buildings were being developed everywhere and world-famous architects were also interested in designing landmark establishments. However, the procurement announced by Estonia attracted primarily younger and lesser-known architects. Over a hundred entries were submitted, and it was the bold vision which tested the limits of the competition conditions created by three Paris-based young architects − Dan Dorelli, Lina Ghotmeh and Tsuyoshi Tane (www.dgtarchitects.com) which was announced as the winner. As a result of ten years of work, the finished construction is quite different from the initial competition concept, but the long period of project realisation has definitely benefited the technical and content-related ideas of the establishment. As a result, Estonian people will get what they really deserve. The cultural project, with a budget of €75 million, is the biggest to date in Estonian history.

What Is Displayed in the Museum?

The building which is located on a 50-hectare area, is grandiose by Estonian standards, reaching 355 metres in length and 71 metres in width. The first part of the building reaches over 15 metres in height but the interior rooms on the other end are only 2.5 metres high, with the additional architectural elements melting into the concrete surface of the old air strip (which the building has been designed as a part of). As a universal symbol the building refers to a ‘take-off’, which links to the yearning for independence of every human being and as such also speaks to every nation which has become free.

The exhibits of the museum are spread over more than 6 000 square metres and, in addition to nearly 10 000 items, there are various high-tech creations and unique IT-applications and installations. The permanent exhibition of Estonian cultural history entitled ‘Meetings’ is a chronological overview of cultural breakthroughs over as long as 11 000 years (including the introduction or iron, birth of the Estonian written language and education system or the arrival of the steam engine in the villages) and eleven theme exhibitions supporting this.

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

The Estonian National Museum defines itself as a national museum, but the content of this term varies widely in Europe. The national museum of the Estonians is a museum of national culture, which deals with the everyday life and manifestations of everyday culture of the Estonian people throughout history. The museum belongs to the people and studies its people and attempts to bring the details and generalities of daily life closer to people. In this spirit, the exhibit excludes such personalities as kings, generals or events like wars and heroic deeds. The museum instead showcases people in their everyday living conditions in the past, so it is no wonder that we can see what people do in their bedrooms (where they spent around a third of their lives!) what they ate, talked about and who they spent their spare time with.


The latter have a multifaceted thematic approach. Next to the ethnography of peasants, attention is paid to the traditional regivärss (verse imitation of the traditional Estonian song – ed.) and the Estonian language, the life of Estonians in the parallel worlds of the second half of the 20th century (refugees in the free world, prison camps in Siberia, occupational suffering at home in Estonia etc.). Next comes the birth story of the nation and the nation-state with its central symbol − the Estonian national relic of the very first national tricolore made in 1884, which has by some miracle survived through the hard times and still looks great. As a contemporary museum, the National Museum offers visitors the opportunity to get involved in creating exhibits. The grassroot level exhibitions created on the basis of people’s ideas and supported by museum specialists will get their very own exhibition hall. The second permanent exhibit focuses on introducing the life of Estonians’ Finno-Ugric relatives. Finno-Ugric nations, without their own state and who are today mostly located in northern Russia and in Siberia have been the subject of research at the museum since its founding days. These peoples lack the opportunity to independently introduce their unique cultures to the world, and will now have an ‘embassy’ in our National Museum which will speak up for them and promote their vitality.

What Else Can Be Done in the Museum? The new museum building is not only unique in Estonia because of its exhibition space, which only takes up less than a half of all the available space. It was also a condition at the outset that the museum should become a multifaceted cultural and educational centre, as it is only in this way that it can fulfil all the tasks that a contemporary establishment of enlightenment has in the free world. This means that the museum will be a home for all the arts. The building houses a 300-square metre art gallery and a black-box theatre which can also be used as a concert hall. The 250-seat conference hall will also function as a cinema and a location for electronic music performances. Another ambition is to develop into an educational temple closely connected to the general educational system and, to this end, there are up to ten classrooms in the museum. The open space around the museum includes an open-air stage and a theatre room reconstructed from the ruins of the old manor house distillery. A unique solution to be found at the Estonian permanent exhibit are electronic labels which change into a suitable language based on the visitor’s needs. Currently it is possible to choose between Estonian, English, Finnish and Russian but in the next few years the museum hopes to make the signs available in up to fifty languages, based on the parameters of the system. And naturally the museum building will include some of the best eateries in Tartu; there is a restaurant and a café which in addition to being able to serve 1 000 customers per day, can also cater for corporate and public receptions, conferences and other festive occasions. Hence the building houses an entire world and it is recommended that guests take at least a day, if not two, to take full advantage of the location. There is no need to rush though as the museum plans to function in its current location at least for the next three centuries.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

69


I CREATIVE ESTONIA

PÖFF:

Dark Nights Bring Bright Stories to the Screen By Emilie Toomela

‘PÖFF’, or the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival to give it its full name, annually screens a comprehensive selection of world cinema in all its diversity, with an emphasis on European films, providing a friendly atmosphere for interaction between audiences, Estonian filmmakers and their colleagues from abroad. The Festival consists of the main program, four sub-festivals, as well as film and co-production markets.

70

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL


Head of PÖFF, Tiina Lokk

If you take a look at the ranks of A-list film festivals, you will find alongside the well-known leaders of the cinema world that the latest addition is a curious little festival called the Black Nights Film Festival held in Tallinn. The Black Nights Film Festival or ‘PÖFF’, as locals name it, is the first A-list film festival in the Nordic region and also the smallest one on the list. Founded in 1997, the festival aimed initially to give a voice to local filmmakers and bring Estonians to see, well – Estonian films. The challenge of attracting audiences to watch their own local output had spread across Europe following the massive wave of North-American film production, so a post-Soviet country like Estonia could not avoid this. Now, 20 years later, PÖFF still flies the flag for local films creations, but with much bigger ambitions. PÖFF and its Industry Days program for professionals have made large contributions in bringing Estonian cinema to the world arena. And the results are something to be proud of: we can find Estonian films on most A-list film festivals’ programme around the world and Estonian film has subsequently found recognition in the international press. But it was not like that for PÖFF at the beginning. PÖFF started out as a very small festival. The first years were hard – it was the end of the 90s, people were short of money and the tradition of going to the cinema, rather than watching films on TV at home, had been forgotten in Estonia since the 1970s. But over time, the festival grew in terms of both quantity and quality. The first years of PÖFF were a mix of financial restrictions and serendipity: the very first festival was opened with a very special guest: the recognized Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki. From the beginning, the Head

of the Festival, Tiina Lokk, has taken great care of all the international and local guests invited to the festival. She remembers moments when in the late 1990s, with no money and with the concomitant low expectations, the festival had the opportunity to host thanks to its generous sponsors, with glorious dinner parties for guests. Dinner parties that none of the festival team members had ever had a chance to attend before themselves. ‘In post-Soviet Estonia, there was no place for cinema. It was not in the focus of our Ministry of Culture’s policies and the former institutional structure for Estonian film had completely collapsed after the shifts in the power structure following independence. Something had to be done in order to give Estonian filmmakers the attention they truly deserved,’ says Lokk with friendly authority.

Rub Shoulders Only With the Best of the Best To build up a film festival from scratch takes a long time of course. Jumping ahead, it was only in 2014 that we could give testimony to an international breakthrough for all the hard work of the PÖFF’s team – when the festival was included among the 20 A-list festivals around the world. PÖFF has since then had the right to organise international competitions in its program. ‘But we cannot keep it a secret,’ comments the Head of the Festival – ‘our budget for the festival is 1.4 million Euros. The next A-lister is San Sebastian, in Spain, with a budget of 9 million euros. When I travel around festivals, my colleagues cannot hide their surprise when they hear the minute amounts of money we are working with in Estonia.’ On the other hand, international filmmakers clearly have a soft spot for PÖFF and last year the Grand Prix winners from South Korea, Lee Joon-ik and Cho Chul-hyun generously donated their award money of 10 000 Euros back to PÖFF. They added that this was intended to go towards next year’s festival preparations.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

71


I CREATIVE ESTONIA

When the giants amongst the A-listers, Berlinale and Cannes, take place in the first half of the year, PÖFF opens its gates in November, shortly before the end of the cinema year. The tight sieve of the programme directors at PÖFF have found the best films from the year and the audiences will a have chance to see the crème de la crème. For those who do not get to go all year round to different film festivals, PÖFF is the best chance to catch all the great films of the year and be sure that they did not miss anything. Another perk of PÖFF is that it takes place in only a short selection of cinemas. Whereas usually film festivals require a brilliant logistical brain to be able make it to every screening that one wishes to see, PÖFF is the most relaxing film festival I have ever visited. And I cannot tell you how great it is to see that all the amazing filmmakers whose works you have just seen on the screen being physically out and about in Tallinn. You can often meet many of well-known film directors and actors at the cinemas and local bars, restaurants and cafés in Tallinn and have a chat with them!

French Touch at PÖFF Last year PÖFF hosted over 80 000 viewers and screened more than 800 films from 75 different countries. That same year, the festival was attended by over 800 international and local journalists, industry specialists and other beloved guests. As a passionate cinema lover, the one thing that I have adored most in PÖFF’s concept, is the courage they have had in organising a highclass festival in this corner of the world and enough not just this, but also having in their program focus rather more arcane cinema traditions which the ‘giants’ among the festival circuit often ignore. Most of us do not know much about Greek or Czech cinema, do we? Or

72

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL

Polish documentaries? PÖFF has been very creative in choosing films from schools of thought that modern audiences find fascinating, but of which we could not have discovered by ourselves. Cinema is one of the most powerful mediums with which to tell stories. What better way to open people`s eyes about not only the art scene but also local sociological context of another country than cinema? PÖFF has helped Estonian audiences and international visitors alike to better understand the culture of various countries. Whilst in previous years PÖFF introduced less-known cinematic traditions and incorporated in its purview countries like Greece, Poland and Georgia, then in 2016, in the anniversary year PÖFF has returned to ‘Old’ Europe’s cinematography. In focus of the 20th, and so far biggest, festival in its series will be French cinema. French cinema will be brought to the festival in cooperation with the French Institute in Estonia. In particular, thousands of PÖFF visitors will have a chance to see a glorious selection of French comedies. Although the list was not public at the time of writing, I can confidently say this: among the comedies you will find well-known French comedies that should only be watched on the big screen as well as some other films which you probably did not know about; but you will discover great value in them. Each year, the festival hands out a Life Achievement Award. This year it has been rumoured that this will go to a certain French film star, a true grand old lady…

Black Nights and Estonian Dreams November is the time of the darkest nights in Estonia, after the clocks have gone back but before the winter snows have arrived to illuminate things somewhat, with only city lights and bright cinema screens alleviating the monotony. PÖFF has four sub-festivals, of which three happen at the same time as the main festival.


From East to West For the larger audiences, PÖFF means great films and fascinating Q&A discussions after screenings. Additionally, PÖFF has become a meeting place for the film crowd from both East and the West. PÖFF Industry Days used to be a an opportunity meant especially for Estonian filmmakers to resonate with the international crowd; nowadays people gather from all around the world to establish contacts in Tallinn and aspire to new ideas. When reminiscing about PÖFF, people do not only discuss the high quality of the movies they have seen, but also the glowing and longlasting feeling they took home from the festival. Brimming with joy and warmth, PÖFF brings people together to its cosy festival grounds where each visitor feels at home. The heads of the festival promise never to change this: PÖFF is unlikely ever to become one of the more glamorous and yet more anonymous festivals, where visitors do not come any more just for the movies and to have a great time. Tallinn has created a certain aura around itself, into which you wish to disappear. You will watch as many films as you can, find in yourself a true love for cinema that you may never have realized you had before, and then climb out of your classic red cinema chair and back out into the dark and windy Tallinn night. No, you almost never go to sleep; you go instead to festival parties and cosy bars, where you will always find interesting people to chat with. In the sub-festivals’ programs you will find two dream-inspired festivals. First of all, Sleepwalkers, a student and short film festival that each year succeeds in finding the most interesting short films and creations by young talents in the Student film competition. I find the short film format amazing – in such a minute package, film poets present their ideas in some very witty ways. There is certain magic in telling short stories – you always end up wanting more. Sleepwalkers boasts a lovely selection of shorts and great minds to arrange the different works into interesting curated selections.

With a clear overseas-orientation, PÖFF still continues to maintain high aspirations locally. The festival team give hints that there have been serious thought about establishing their own cinema house in Tallinn, which would condense even more the festival’s bright energy and would satisfy all the needs of the festival in one place. I have visited PÖFF for more years than I care to remember, but each year I cannot wait until the festival starts. PÖFF is a true celebration of cinema onscreen and after the screenings as well; just come see for yourself at the 20th anniversary year of this wonderful festival. See you in November!

One cannot say they have had the full PÖFF experience unless they go see the Animated Dreams program. When Sleepwalkers involves a more masculine line of communication, which is short and ends with a pun, the animation film festival is a dream-like, flowing experience. So far the program directors were Heilika Pikkov, a talented filmmaker herself, and after that Mari-Liis Rebane, who Estonians know also as a solo music artist under the pseudonym Vul Vulpes. This year the lead in Animated Dreams will be taken over by Olga Pärn, who in case you didn’t know is the creation and effective life partner of the famous animation director, Priit Pärn. The third sub-festival of PÖFF is Just Film, a children and youth film festival aiming to offer youngsters humorous and intellectual entertainment suitable for their age. All three sub-festivals are happening at the same time as the main festival and this year PÖFF will have its program appearing in Tartu as well as the capital.. PÖFF also has a side-festival in August, called Tartuff, an open-air festival dedicated to romance, which is free for all and brings together hundreds of cinephiles to watch under the stars the latest romantic movies, every year for one week of glorious summer nights.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

73


Photo by Maiken Staak

I TOURISM

The creator of the elf pictures, Britt Samoson

Find Your deepEST Roots with the Estonian Myth Quiz By Marika Makarova / Illustrations by Britt Samoson

Over 18 million people around the world have seen it. Tens of thousands in about 130 countries have taken part in it… We are talking about Estonian Myth Quiz – an intelligent, yet entertaining way to meet with your inner Estonian spirit! 74

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL


As early as some 6 000 years ago, ancient Estonians held spiritual beliefs closely connected with nature. One such belief is the concept of vägi, an innate power present in every human being, guided by spirits from our mythology who, with their special gifts and skills, help one to connect with both oneself and the environment. The texts accompanying the quiz were created by the traveller and nature explorer Hendrik Relve. Nine magical pictures of the spirits and elves of the sea, springs, forests, stones, meadows, islands, wetlands, lakes and rivers were drawn by the fashion designer and illustrator Britt Samoson. The characters of the elves were born in cooperation with Madis Vasser and Karl Lomp, doctorate students of psychology at the University of Tartu.

‘There is one forest around us and another one inside us.’ Hendrik Relve, who has always been interested in the relationship between humans and nature, Estonian folklore and elves, says that the task to give different landscapes a character and a face with which people could identify with was both novel and a lot of fun. Take for example a girl who lives in Japan who has always been attracted by the idea or reality of the forest. She then takes the quiz and discovers that she is Wild, an Elf of the Forests. She visits Estonia and takes a hike in one of our woods and, suddenly, the Estonian legend that she is a mysterious communicator who can turn herself into a tree or a forest creature becomes a kind of reality for her. ‘People say that there is one forest around us and another one inside us. What fascinated me about creating the texts was the symbiosis of the two, interweaving the inner and the outer forest. Those spirits and elves are not supernatural beings, but human yearnings, the ancient desire within people, the archetype with which they have been born into this world,’ explains Relve. Relve says that some people living in the Estonian countryside seem to be almost elf-like creatures; they become one with the natural environment in which they live. He himself is one of these. He loves to wander around the woods and marshes, especially at dusk, because this is when things get interesting. What the eyes fail to see sharply, other senses take over to compensate, and this sensation is on the borderline between the natural and the supernatural. ‘I am deeply convinced that the forest is full of the footprints of elves and if it wants to and if you trust it, you start to follow these. You just go without thinking about it – I call it ”getting lost on purpose’’. It means getting out of your head and letting the elves guide you to where their footprints go. It is an exciting game!’ he explains. But beware! Elves can also cause you to get lost in the forest or the bog. According to ancient Estonian folk wisdom, this depends on your own attitude. If you show anger or lack of care for the locale, nature will find a way to punish you.

Hendrik Relve

Relve, who according to the Estonian Myth Quiz which he has taken several times, has turned out to be Soovana (Guardian Spirit of the Wetlands), has no fear of the forest. At the seaside or by the lake he gets some grand ideas, but it is only in the forest in the midst of animals, sounds and elves, instead of people, that he feels protected and cared for.

‘Everything to do with nature has always truly inspired me.’ The creator of the elf pictures Britt Samoson turns out to be Näkk, the Charmer of the Lakes and Rivers, according to the quiz. That said, if she could choose herself, she would rather be Kivialune, Meditator of the Stony Caves, because she sometimes likes to become invisible. ‘As a kid when we went mushroom picking in the woods, I would often forget the task at hand, lay down on the mossy ground and investigate the creamy-white under cap structure of some parasol mushroom. Everything to do with nature, the entire mathematically perfect beauty of it, has always truly inspired me. Old biology textbooks with their lifelike sketches and pictures already seemed exciting to me as a kid,’ recalls the woman who grew up in a place where the forest and Pääsküla bog were just a short walk away. Even today where she lives in the city centre of Tallinn, she often takes the chance to go wander around on her childhood trails. Lack of fantasy was never an issue when it came to drawing the elf pictures. On the contrary, she had to restrain herself not to go completely over the top and to give each creature a face and a character which people would find pleasant. She created several sketches of each character and then took out the more aggressive and scary or somewhat suspicious versions, and continued working on more pleasant and inviting characters.

Which Estonian Mythological Creature Are You? Learn about nine ancient legends and spirits from Estonian mythology who each use their special gifts and skills to master the environment around them. Take the Estonian Myth Quiz to discover your inner powers and find out which character you resemble most.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

75


I TOURISM

Ahti, Judge of the Sea Ahti is an independent spirit, like the sea, existing in his powerful solitude yet always connected to the land through the coastline. Ahti is capable of taking the form of another sea creature to better understand them. Others may find that they must still be careful around him though, as his friendliness can suddenly turn to rage if someone is being disrespectful to others or things he loves. Ahti’s rage is comparable to a huge, monstrous sea squall, with thunderbolts flying from the eye of the storm. However, for Ahti, once justice has been served, all is forgotten and happiness is found again. The places in Estonian nature most suited to you are: sea, beaches and islands.

Allikaravitseja, Healing Elf of the Springs Allikaravitseja is the elven-like charmer. Everyone admires how graceful and delicate she is – a fact she is well aware of, and yet only opens herself up to those who deserve it. Allikaravitseja appears as a reflection on the water and always feels the necessity of being sure and careful to approach people delicately and with subtlety. Once convinced of their good intentions, she is more than willing to open her beautiful spirit to them. With a companion like Allikaravitseja, a true healer of souls, they are truly blessed. The places in Estonian nature most suited to you are: springs and witch’s wells, rivers and lakes, bogs.

76

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL


Kivialune, Meditator of the Stony Caves Kivialune is a tough and independent spirit loving solitude, peace and quiet. He enjoys time spent in environments that reflect his inner stillness and where it is easy to avoid human contact, such as caves, canyons and stony hide-aways. Kivialune can hide easily in a crowd, becoming a rock or stone any time he wants to. He truly enjoys his own company and appreciates himself just the way he is without seeing a need to change. The places in Estonian nature most suited to you are: cliffs, canyons and rocks, beaches, hills and valleys.

Hiid, Hero of the Holy Forests Hiid is a powerful and mighty spirit, strong and steadfast like a mountain. A natural communicator, always seeking someone to talk to, he is truly happiest being in the centre of attention – a giant standing tall in the midst of it all. For Hiid, it is usually all about impressing others and being admired. Fun to be around, Hiid is also rather quick to anger as well. Therefore, it is important for him to cool down after throwing trees and stones around. The places in Estonian nature most suited to you are: hills and valleys, cliffs and canyons, forests.

Metsik, Elf of the Forests Metsik is an adorable elven-like creature. She has a natural love and keenness for nature and is the protector of forests, always enjoying the company of forest creatures. Metsik transforms into a forest creature to learn more about others and can easily see through them just by close observing. She is a subtle and mysterious communicator who sometimes turns herself into a tree to whisper words to humanity by rustling its leaves. The places in Estonian nature most suited to you are: forests, hills and valleys, cliffs, canyons and rocks.

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

77


I TOURISM

Soovana, Guardian Spirit of the Wetlands Soovana is the solitary guardian. Harmonious inside, and out, he is at peace with his surroundings. He shares the same pulse as the bogs and wildlife that surround him. He admires other peaceful and independent creatures like himself but usually prefers his own company. Soovana is a beguiler, appearing from nowhere, with eyes like two bright lights luring wanderers deeper and deeper into the bog. He is such a trickster! The places in Estonian nature most suited to you are: bogs, springs and witch’s wells, rivers, lakes and waterfalls.

Näkk, Charmer of the Lakes and Rivers Näkk is a charming mermaid-like creature, mysterious and volatile, just like the rivers where she resides. Näkk likes variety and fresh experiences and loves figuring out different ways to charm new acquaintances. It’s her specialty! Näkk’s magical voice, which resembles the hypnotic murmur of a river, can be very enticing. She can even be so alluring that one might just become completely stuck on her. Oh, how cunning and seductive Näkk is! The places in Estonian nature most suited to you are: rivers and lakes, springs and witch’s wells, bogs.

78

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL


Saarevaht, Keeper of the Islands Saarevaht is a solitary, island-dwelling soul. He is very protective of his home and loved ones. Saarevaht can communicate with plants and animals or even turn himself into a fox or an eagle. He is not always open to communicating with others, but is always kind and willing to introduce his world to other friendly and peaceful folk. However, Saarevaht can still be easily angered by carelessness and aggression. The places in Estonian nature most suited to you are: islands, sea and beaches.

Murumemm, Mother of the Meadows Murumemm is a true socialite whose radiance is simply contagious. While she is full of fascinating stories, she likes to keep things in perspective. Murumemm can take the shape of a bird or a deer or effortlessly communicate with any creature on the vast fields of Estonia. Though skilled at blending into a crowd, she can never truly go incognito, because the uplifting spark she carries distinguishes her. The places in Estonian nature most suited to you are: cultural landscapes, islands and forests.

Take the test www.visitestonia.com/en/estonian-myth-quiz

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

79


I TOURISM

Events Calendar of October to December The autumn and early winter season is the darkest and gloomiest in Estonia. So it would be useful to know about the best events to attend so you can make the time pass more quickly and colourfully. Take a look at our great selection, with something for everyone.

Opera- and Ballet Festival ‘Narva Full of Music’ 06.-13.10.2016 In October the Estonian National Opera will be visiting Narva, the third largest city in Estonia situated in the easternmost point of the European Union. The festival will present the best of the local ballet and opera art to the local audience and visitors of the region. In addition to the ballet ’Sleeping Beauty’ by Tchaikovsky and the opera ‘La traviata’ by Verdi, the program includes concerts for small kids, an opera gala, a special project involving youngsters living in the North East of Estonia and much more. The festival includes nearly 30 different music and dance events and more than 200 members of the national opera will be taking part. Concerts take place at the Geneva centre. Tickets are on sale at the Geneva centre, the National Opera house and ticket offices Piletimaailm and Piletilevi.

Lamprey Festival ‘Silm Suhu’ held in the restaurants of Narva and Narva-Jõesuu 13.10 - 30.10.2016 The restaurants of Narva and Narva-Jõesuu are organising a Lamprey Festival ‘Silm Suhu!’ The first Lamprey Festival ‘Silm Suhu‘ which took place in the restaurants to be found in Narva and Narva-Jõesuu in 2015 turned out to be very popular. This time, the Festival is going to last five days. Over the course of the Lamprey Festival, you will be able to try out some intriguing lamprey dishes, as its name suggests. The chefs have a simple but creative task to prepare something special and delicious that would surprise any gourmet. Each restaurant can choose exactly what it serves – be it a starter, a soup, a salad or a dessert, with the sole proviso being that it is made mainly of lamprey!

80

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL


Tallinn Restaurant Week 01.11-07.11.2016 Tallinn Restaurant Week heralds the first week of November as the very week to celebrate good food and good restaurants. For just one week Tallinn becomes even more of a foodie heaven than it is in the remaining 51 weeks of the year, with the goal of increasing the number of people that enjoy regular eating out and appreciate the diversity on offer. One week each year, Tallinn Restaurant Week invites both locals and visitors to enjoy a wonderful food experience in Tallinn almost as a personal guest of professionals that have hospitality almost engraved in their hearts.

20th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival 11.11 - 27.11.2016 Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, or in Estonian Pimedate Ööde Filmifestival – ‘PÖFF’ – is one of the biggest and most distinctive film events in Northern Europe, belonging to a select group of the 15 leading film festivals in the world. The festival embraces a cluster of events, accommodating three full-blown sub-festivals (‘Animated Dreams’, ‘Just Film’, and ‘Sleepwalkers’) as well as international industry events bringing together filmmakers from all over the world. The festival includes two international competition programs (‘Main Competition’ and ‘Tridens First Features Competition’), a traditional film festival program with documentaries and feature films as well as programs for short films, retrospectives and film-related special events (concerts, exhibitions, talks and more). More info on the programme and tickets is available at 2016.poff.ee

FALL 2016

I

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

81


I TOURISM

Christmas Jazz Festival 25.11 - 13.12.2016 Christmas Jazz is an intimate and serene-sounding international festival at the end of November and beginning of December each year. The Festival organises numerous concerts with varied programs at churches, clubs and concert halls. In 2016 the event is headlined by ten-time Grammy winner American vocal sextet Take 6. The headliner’s concerts are to be opened by Estonian Voices, one of the favourite vocal groups among locals. Christmas Jazz is organised by Jazzkaar, the largest jazz festival in the Baltics, held in Tallinn since 1990. In addition to the Christmas Jazz festival, Jazzkaar also organizes an annual Jazzkaar spring festival. More info on the programme and tickets is available at www.jazzkaar.ee/en

Christmas Hike in South Estonia 25.12.2016 On Christmas Day, 25 December, every year, a group of enthusiasts conquer the 20 highest peaks of Southern Estonia. Now let’s be frank – Estonia is not known for its mountainous terrain. The highest peak, Suur Munamägi, is a towering 317 meters in height (with a relative height of just 65m, since it is located far from the sea and does not rise from sea level). However, all of Estonia’s modest hills offer some great walking opportunities. The 7-to-10-hour Christmas Day walk, on a 25km trail, gains new friends every time. For the past few years the participant count has reached over 200 people. It is a truly wonderful ‘outside the box’ option with which to spend one of the darkest days of the year. The first Christmas Hike, organized by Tartu University Student’s Nature Protection Circle, first took place in 1998. There were 30 participants back then who, instead of walking, cross-country skied along the trail. The modern event is free, and to participate you do not need to register. Simply meet up with the other hikers at Haanja Suusabaas on 25 December, 2016 at 9 am sharp. Make sure to dress according to the weather of course, which usually means warm clothes and a coat as well as a hat and gloves, put on some waterproof hiking boots and bring your own headlamp & extra batteries for the dark afternoon & evening hours.

Tallinn Christmas Market 18.11.2016 – 08.01.2017 The fairytale atmosphere of the Christmas market which is held in the Town Hall Square in Tallinn every year, makes anything possible! At the heart of it all – apart from Santa and his (real live!) reindeers, who are perennial favourites with the kids – is Estonia’s most famous Christmas tree, surrounded by little huts selling their wares. Here you will find handicraft specialists and their work, Estonian food and drink, both non-alcoholic and more medicinal, of the season, snow sculptures and a mini-zoo for the little ones – including rabbits, goats, lambs, ponies and geese. A cultural program is held as part of the market every weekend and on other special days, with performances by song and dance groups and choirs from different counties around the country.

82

LIFE IN ESTONIA #43

I

2016 FALL


Which Estonian mythological creature are you? The presence of mythological and mysterious creatures can always be felt in Estonian nature. Which one do you resemble the most?

Âťvisitestonia.com European Union European Structural and Investment Funds

Investing in your future


startupday2016

startupday.ee

startupday

#startupday16


Life in Estonia. Fall 2016