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Ceturtdiena 20.09.2018 | Name days: Marianna, Ginters, Guntra
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Estonia – second after USA in regard to the number of IT companies per capita

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Alan Martinson

Estonia is the second country in the world after USA in terms of the number of newly founded IT companies per capita. Nonetheless, Estonia’s as an exemplary IT country’s fame is somewhat exaggerated, says a “typical” businessman and investor Alan Martinson.

“USA is the leader in this regard, Israel follows Estonia. I calculated this myself using different databases. There are currently some 60 or 70 newly founded IT companies in Estonia that are worth investing in. More than there are in Finland, “- Martinson explains.

When asked whether it is true that Estonia is ahead of other Baltic countries in regard to the development of IT and e-services, Martinson said : “Yes and no. There is no simple answer. Sure, Estonia has good PR, but something has to be behind it. In regard to “e-Stonia”, e-management and e-services, Estonia was a leader some seven or ten years ago. In the meantime, other countries have come online, and it is unlikely we are still number one.”

According to Martinson, the secret behind Estonia’s success is the fact that “we are a damn small country” in a good location. Because of the size of their country, Estonians are forced to be much more international than Lithuanians. Estonia uses English language much more often than, say, Lithuania. Estonians write in English in their Twitter and Facebook accounts. All stories of success in Estonia, including Skype and Playtech, have been due to “luck”. The idea for Skype appeared when Estonian programmers met with Tele2 representatives. Playtech was born when Estonian programmers met some interesting people from Israel during some IT conference.

Finland’s close proximity and an often and comfortable ferry boat connection between Helsinki and Tallinn is another beneficial circumstance, with which other Baltic countries cannot hope to compete, Martinson believes.

“If a country has many contacts with other countries and their number keeps growing, if the country is open, if six million people cross the Finnish Gulf between Helsinki and Tallinn, it affects thinking, expands the network of contacts and changes a person’s view on what to do with his life. I think this flow of people through Finland, contacts, as well as the fact that 20% of Estonians travel abroad every year, is Estonia’s distinctive attribute that differs is from Latvia and Lithuania,” – he said.

At the same time, Martinson says that “in all my years of entrepreneurship though myself to be a “Baltic citizen”. I know people from all three Baltic countries equally well, and I know how to start a business here.” In Latvia, he had had close partnership with brothers Normunds and Janis Bergs, who founded the Latvian Fortech IT company in the ‘90s, which was then taken over by Microlink, which was in turn bought by Lattelecom and turned into Lattelecom Technology.

Martinson studied IT and mathematics at Moscow State University, where he achieved Masters in 1991. After that, he participated in many companies, in the field of IT, in the Baltic region as a founder, investor, manager or Board member.

Ref: 102.109.109.4071


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