Posted on March 16th, 2016 No comments
Not long ago Estonia had one of the fastest and the best e-banking systems in the the World till the SEPA payments were introduced back in Feb 2014 … Then it all went to slow motion again. So, instead of few minutes we could experience 1-2 days transfers from one local bank to another which in many cases weren’t just frustrating but also caused bank fines for innocent people. Then TransferWise started its revolution from London, showing the way to the highstreet banks how to transfer currencies from one country to another with a fraction of the cost what they charged. It was so cool that even Sir Richard Branson made his investment at Transferwise with some 25M. Still, it didn’t touch much of the Eurozone apart from the UK and Sweden who kept their own currencies but made waves in far East, US and Australia. Now we had Transferwise but as soon money reached to the land it was stuck again! Never mind the fast transfer accross the borders. So there was a obvious need to break trough this SEPA / Single Euro Payments Area / system and it happened. Well, it took just another 3 cool estonians: Erki Hendrikson, Sergo Ulpus and Jaak Sarv who started together a smart fintech company called TransferFast. Their service is so fast that it literally takes few minutes to get your funds shifted in between local banks and soon across Europe as well. How exactly they do it you can find out from their homepage but in a nutshell this is also a peer-to-peer solution which has emerged under the legacy of Skype what was also invented in Estonia back in 2003.
So, in order to avoid hefty bank fines and to keep your friends & family happy You can now move your money fast with TransferFast
Posted on February 5th, 2016 No comments
Just imagine filing your Intellectual Property rights from your desktop, tab or mobile device in few minutes. How much easier would that make a life of all creative people? Honestly, miles and days! Well, this is not just a dream any more but about to happen as a company called Creator Stamp will launch its low cost web app soon : )
Yes, It has been a while since none dare not to touch this holy old cow’ till last autumn when Rio based estonian designer & photographer Martin Lazarev had enough of this old system and came up with a new alternative concept of ”Inventors Proof Signature”. Being very much in a need of such solution himself almost every single day he just invented more convinient way for saving up his creative works.
Martin contacted me soon after to ask my advice on his cracking idea and if I would join with him. As I already had been thinking of release my web app on something similar I understood immediately that we are on the same road. So I took a little time out to think about it and replied to him; “Lets do it, but with a twist or broader approach to all creators like copywrighters, musicians, scientists, architects, artists and all the others who are also in need of something like this before they even talk to their workmates or investors or publish their works!” And so we started the company from this sparkle last Autumn.
The method of ”Creator Stamp” has been filed still as an old school’ patent but through that something new will emerge very soon. Actually, it would not replace the old complicated and rather expensive patent system but will give an alternative way to file your IP and also to prove it in disputes if needed, using your ID card or e-residency via encrypted server or Blockchain technology. There are some companies out there already who do file saving on blockchain already, but as far we know, nobody has done it via state proved e-residency or ID card system yet and Creator Stamp is just about to do that.
In order to get a top-notch service we are working closely with governmental institutions, e-Residency Team, Patent Office and with one of the best web developing companies in Estonia.
* Update 31st March 2016 : Project has been called off. Service is available via Stampery.com
Posted on November 22nd, 2015 No comments
Dispite the fact that checkbooks are still very much in common practice, Britain shows its intrest on digital side as well First coming up with Digital 5 – the exclusive club of the most advanced digital nations year ago and now the UK-Estonia TechLink which is the latest initiative by the British Embassy and our tech-savvy ambassador Chris Holtby.
The TechLink was launched by UK’s Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office Lord Bridges of Headley and Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kristen Michal in Tallinn on 20th November. It is a brandnew platform building stronger bridges between UK and Estonia in technology, innovation and science.
Two days event started with Garage48 pitching contest hosted by Mike Butcher from TechCrunch, followed by FinTech conference at Tallinn TV Tower on Thursday and coffee morning panel at LHV bank, focusing on e-residency and Blockchain on Friday. The Summit gathered many international participants and experts from UK Trade and Investment, Experian, HM Treasury, Guardtime, e-Governance and banking sector. Digital 5 unites five most advanced digital nations in the World: Estonia, UK, Israel, South-Korea & New Zealand from which Estonia has the driving seat on e-governance & cybersecurity and currently holding the presidency of D5 for a year since October 2015.
Posted on November 4th, 2015 No comments
I had a great chance to visit the 15th BIS anniversary show @ Barbican Exhibition Hall, London last weekend. It was historical moment indeed as Kane Kramer, man behind the show since its beginning 2001, called many national and international inventors together again to the place where the BIS was held at the very first time.
It is clear that this kind of show is much needed also to aknowledge and promote inventors who are actually making innovation possible in many areas. Well, frankly there would not be any innovation without inventions. I hope this message gets across to governmental institutions to support not just companies but also private inventors who making their efforts to improve the quality of our everyday life.
Posted on June 26th, 2015 No comments
Well, to be precise it is made in Taiwan now but once the idea came to designer Martin Lazarev back in 2009 it was made here indeed. So as we heard it took only one designer who was fed up with his card reader’s cable to come up whith something we know as the smallest smart card reader in the World today
When Martin had made his very first prototype out of cardboard, he introduced his idea to Argo Männiste who also got excited about it. After few rounds of brainstorming Argo presented the product to his friend Arte Ermel. Then after few years of inventing and designwork the final product was settled and patented. As a local production cost was a little too high, the +ID team decided to find Chinese partners, which proved to be a mistake. Surely the cost came down, but so did the quality and the final result was unsatisfing. So they decided to find a new partner from Asia and found it from Taiwan , where +ID’s are made today. Meanwhile, between long development period copycat had appeared on the market… Still, leaving beside all the difficulties +ID was launched on Jan, 3rd 2014 to claim its unique place amongst all smart card readers : ) Read the full story by Ronald Liive @ Kahvel.
So, why is it useful? Frankly for many reasons. As the World is becoming more digital day by day, we need to confirm our idendity with places like banks, schools, healthcare and many other. It is not a bad idea if one has no cable behind and can well fit into your wallet with ID and bank cards. The next thing you need to find is USB port on your laptop and you will be in your bank or database within a minute.
Somehow it is all so natural for Estonia as the 1st e-nation with the breaking news on e-residency, which has started signing up his first members from December 2014. The no 1 person to join with the programme was well known British journalist Edward Lucas , followed by many others. So, here we got it all in one for you now : The e-Residency and the smallest card reader in your pocket. *LS
Posted on June 11th, 2015 No comments
Inventors and startuppers are almost two different kind of people, well at least by their mindsets. In one hand so close, unyet so different in their attitude from which end to start fulfilling their dreams. But surely both are big Dreamers, persistant and hardcore achievers. Still there will be one in a million from those who can do perfectly both – invent and then commercialize their ideas. Here is the story of 5 times Guinness recordholder Mate Rimac who is doing something impossible: Making a supercar company out of Balkans and not just:
As for me, this is a prime sample of how different could be a startupper from inventor. One inventing to fix the World and the other making business out of it. How about you? Whatever is the answer, you still have to team up with many good people to scale your business and to make your dream wild out there. Good Luck my friend !!
Posted on May 2nd, 2015 No comments
It is obvious that there would not be any innovation without inventions. As we look around we can see inventions everythere, unless we stand naked in the middle of woods.. So, thanks to Konrad Suze who built the very first electomechanical computer and Tim Berners-Lee who invented the World Wide Web I can sit here and write to you today.
There are also ladies who have done many awesome inventions, but somehow we know a lot less about them. Let me name just a few: Rosalyn Yalow, Marie Curie, Stephanie Kwolec, Ruth Handler, Mary Potts, Sybilla Masters and Magdalena Villarus.. Do you know what they have invented? If not, it is time to make a little Google search and find out, coz some of them have changed the World we know
Quin Estonia in cooperation with the Global Inventors & Innovators Network (GWIIN) hosted the 2nd international conference and exhibition for women inventors in Tallinn University of Technology from 24th-25th April. More than 100 lady-inventors gathered from Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Russia, Tadzikistan, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and United Kingdom.
The conference was opened by Tea Varrak, director of Mektory followed by Christer Haglund from the Nordic Council of Ministers and by our brandnew director of the Patent Office Margus Viher. Soon after this we heard opening speech by Bola Olabisi , founder and the president of GWIIN. Other guest speakesrs were Maila Hakala from QUIN Finland, Elinora Inga Sigurdardottir from KVENN Icland and Wanja Bellander from QUIN Sweden. The main organizer of the event was Anne-Mari Rannamäe, Pesident of QUIN Estonia. Interviews were made by StartupRadio & gallery of photos is available on FB.
* The next big event organized by European Union Women Inventors & Innovators Network (EUWIIN) will take place in London from 14-15 October.
Posted on April 23rd, 2015 No comments
As Europe is seeing its first massive startup boom I spoke to the man who keeps his close eye on latest developments in this sector – Tarmo Virki. Being a journalist of past 20 years at outlets like Reuters & Forbes, his focus has turned on to startups. Last summer he and a few other co-founders decided the booming sector was mature enough to face real, old-school journalism.
They decided to try to do something crazy, something really old school – a print magazine at the time of the digital revolution. “The idea was so crazy, we just had to go ahead and try this,” says Virki, for who one of the early positive signs was the energy youngsters from Arctic Startup, largest startup blog in Scandinavia, were willing to put into developing a print publication. There are reasons for this — niche print magazines which have their audience have done well despite the scrutiny from online publishing. It might be because of the experience – browsing the iPad isn’t just quite comparable with the fine touch and smell of the gloss paper and the way we browse magazines in trains and hotel lobbies …
Posted on March 22nd, 2015 No comments
It all started because of two men – Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann. The official story tells that both men came across the same old trouble – loosing money on their transfers. But being a good friends helped as they decided to top up each others bank accounts using Reuters mid-market rate. So, Kristo paid to Taavet the amount of his salary in pounds to London highstreet bank account and Taavet topped up Kristos account with euros in Tallinn. Doing that on monthly basis boys couldn’t stop thinking that there must be many more people like them who might need it as a service… and so the Transferwise was born. Surely there was something to do with this Skype thing where Taavet continued his work as the very first emploee. Inspirational as it was then, so became peer-to-peer useful once again. It is no secret that banks are taking off abuout 4-5% of money we sending overseas. As Kristo and Taavet figured out that there was no actual need to send money over physically they created a much smarter system to save our hard earned pennies So, how it works? Just check out the next video:
Now, if You think that You or your friend might need this groovy solution then go & check out the instructions and click here to get your first transfer sorted. There is a fee as little as 0,5% which is about 10 times less than banks charge us. To learn more about Transferwise watch Matt Covan interview with Taavet Hinrikus @ Cass Business School. TW is now operating on 101 currency routes and has established its presence at US market just a month ago.
* TransferWise has received investments for further development from Sir Richard Brandson, Peter Thiel, Index Ventures, IA Ventures, Seedcamp and the latest by Andreessen Horowitz in total of $91M , which values this company close to $1BN benchmark.
Posted on February 16th, 2015 No comments
The word “Cyber” is increasingly important in both civil and war terms. Therefore Estonia is taking steps further in cyber security. First of all we train people for those extraordinary jobs and then we test them also A great initiative has come from Estonian Information Technology College who invited students for the first Cyberolympic Games in Europe last Saturday, 14th February.
The event was opened by Kusti Salm, rep of Estonia to NATO and by the Chief of Cyber Range CPT Uko Valtenberg. After 8 hours intensive defending of computer systems from the Pineapplian Empire’ winners were next :
1. Jaanus Kääp, Estonian Information Technology College, Development of IT systems
2. Henri Ots, Estonian Information Technology College, Administration of IT systems
3. Andres Elliku, Tallinn University of Technology, Cyberdefence
There were 21 olympians participating in total including one lady. Event was supported by the Estonian Ministry of Defence, Tallinn University of Technology, Guardtime, ByteLife Solutions, Sisco Systems, and the cyber security company Vequrity.