The first thing I noticed about Tartu Estonia, when I arrived there, was the enthusiasm for technological advancement. For example, the quick charging stations for electric vehicles were 10 times more common there than in a same-size city in New York. The trend carried on to the Tartu Sports Center, where the sTARTUp Day 2019 was held.
It all started with a pitching workshop on January 23rd which continued to Global founders day later in the evening. For the 24th and 25th of January the event went on a lot like Slush in Finland: Matchmaking, Booths, Keynote Speakers and lots and lots of people!
We got an amazing spot for the Norded booth. A41 was right next to the matchmaking area so everyone who walked there or from there just had to see us. I also went there for 10 meetings of which 7 were actually interested in going to Kickstarter.com. I could call that a 70 % interest rate and to me it sounds pretty good.
The only really negative thing about the sTARTUp day was the food. It seems like Estonia has less people with special diets and there were no real options for gluten and/or lactose free menus. I ended up munching down pretty dry and boring salads for almost 3 days.
There were enough toilets though! There were approximately 4 000 attendees to the event and they had made sure that everyone could go when they needed to!
People were SUPER interested in the Norded booth! The main thing is that there are so few companies that concentrate on coaching people for crowdfunding campaigns, that people just wanted to talk to me and find out more.
Compared to SLUSH, the sTARTUp day, even with less-well thought travel arrangements, was a lot cheaper. Of course it is also smaller in size, but the technological advancement in Estonia is incredible and it keeps on growing so it is truly a country that will not be stomped on!
Of the speakers my absolute favorite was Peter Vesterbacka from Lightneer, known for the Angry Birds! His speech was about the tunnel that would be built from Helsinki to Tallinn for easy, round the year access.
Overall feeling of the sTARTUp Day was laid back, relaxed, compared to Slush events. Of course, there were less people, not so many booths, but the atmosphere seemed more accepting to long chats and true interest whereas Slush is all about fast and furious business. Which one is better, who knows, but at least I feel I got something more from Tartu by just talking with people without checking the time.
Catch our next week’s blog when I tell you about great Estonian innovations!