Estonia has seen its fair share of startup buzz, but recently it’s been happening in the name of hardware. Estonian BuildIt, one of the first startup accelerators with a focus on physical devices, is accepting applications from 6-12 teams for its first 1st program taking place in April 2014.
Setting up a startup company can prove to be too overwhelming for many potential entrepreneurs who are too unsure of their success to take the necessary first steps. Estonian Garage48 has set out to change this mentality by organizing weekend-long conferences where team effort, positive attitude and motivating deadlines combined will create tangible results.
February 7-9, 2014, marked perhaps the most successful Garage48 event in its 4-year long history, and the first of its kind. The Garage48 Hardware & Arts was held in the city of Tartu, Estonia, and hosted over 130 members from the creative communities of engineering and design, making it the biggest Garage48 event so far.
There is one thing I absolutely love and that is gadgets. The beauty of the whole concept is that they are slowly turning from the geeky nerd fab into something a little more mainstream. With the advent of 3D Printing, hardware prototyping platforms such as arduino/raspberry pi and crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, we are truly in the age of gadgets.
Back in the day, when I tried to get the first ever MP3 CD-Player for a couple of hundred bucks, people though I was mad. Now, it is normal to chase gadgets and nearly everybody has some. However what is a lot more impressive, and important, is that we can all create gadgets without having to buy-out factories in China and raise millions of EUR’s in funding. In fact with some of the modern tools for prototyping, it should be possible to put something together in a matter of a couple of days.
When I first heard about Uber, I was confident that this would be my ultimate taxi app, if it ever reached Finland and/or Estonia. After all, it was super easy to use, it would get me a good taxi exactly when and where I need it and best of all, I do not have to wait on the phone for 5 minutes.
Unfortunately, Uber did not turn out to be exactly what I hoped it would be. After all it is rather expensive and there is basically no choice in what driver/car you get. Not to take anything away from Uber, they have their niche market and they are doing very well. It was just not something I needed and the same went for a lot of the people I knew.
What I really wanted, though, was an app that would provide me with a choice of all taxies in the area, ranging in price, quality and distance to my pick-up point. However, there wasn’t one. Until now, that is.
Last weekend, another 48-hour developing competition was held in Tartu. The Garage48 event saw lots of interesting projects being pitched, planned and completed. Yet again, looking at the summary of the projects - Garage48's attendants showed they have what it takes to become an entrepreneur. Not only are the ideas worthwhile executing, some of them managed to gain traction over the weekend already.
Garage48 is one of those startup weekend type events, where people gather together for about 48 hours and develop something that could potentially be founded into a startup. The concept isn't all that old, but the people behind it have been active. This weekend Garage48 will take place in Riga and in the coming months, a lot of other cities will also see a Garage48 event take place. In April (15th-17th), Garage48 will take place in Tallinn, at the end of August in Tartu. Later in the year Garage48 will most likely be visiting Stockholm and Helsinki as well. Additionally, the team will have 5 events in Africa this year.
Garage48 is an Estonian originated concept that is building up momentum nicely in the Nordics and Baltics. The event has been organised in Tallinn and Tartu previously and Helsinki will be its first international debut. Not a bad way to go abroad at all. Garage48 has had to make more tickets available a couple of times as people have been wanting to participate. The event will feature 51 Finns, 41 Estonians, 11 Latvians and a couple of individuals from the UK and USA participating in a 48 hour product development competition.
Garage48 is a boot camp style iniative to build new web services in just 48 hours. The concept has been a roaring success in Estonia, where it was started last year. This week, Garage48 announced that they'll be opening a co-working space in Tallinn in December for all entrepreneurs to use. Not only is Garage48 opening a co-working space in Tallinn, they are also organising one of their boot camp style weekend events in Helsinki in January in co-operation with AaltoES. I talked to Ragnar Sass, one of the people behind the concept and what Garage48 HUB will be like when it opens.
Estonian mobile service company Mobi and mobile mapping firm Nutiteq have announced that Mobi has acquired a 33% stake in Nutiteq. The investment will be used to strengthen Nutiteq's product development and international marketing. Nutiteq’s provides customized white label open mobile mapping applications for developers, service and content providers.