In the end of the year, nearly 50 active women in the startup sector gathered for a morning coffee at Fotografiska in Tallinn to kickstart a regular think tank tradition. The event was attended by founders and executives of startups, as well as investors and startup ecosystem activists.
The idea to convene startup women came from Marko Russiver, one of the founders of Guaana, a platform that unites researchers and scientists. A week earlier Marko was surprised to discover that a large number of women who have founded startups in Estonia do not actually know each other.
“Support groups where you share information do generally more good than harm. There are specific problems of both men and women, and sharing information, even about operating in different cultural spaces, is of benefit,” Russiver wrote in his invitation to female startup founders and executives.
„Communication between people in such a small ecosystem like ours in Estonia helps prevent unnecessary risks and enables us to share resources, networking and knowledge, especially towards entering foreign markets,“ he wrote in social media after the event.
One of the leaders of the event is Kaidi Ruusalepp, founder and CEO of Funderbeam, who says that the group has great potential in supporting the founders of startups. She adds that mental support is even more necessary than capital. „We evolve through role models and opportunities, and this group can raise a new generation of female entrepreneurs, just like Skype and Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications ITL have raised a generation of tech entrepreneurs,“ she added.
Russiver, who invited women for the first ever meeting in such a large group, said that he will always support women as leaders and said that he will happily hand the torch over to new people to organize the following group meetings.
In addition to Ruusalepp, the group is now led by women with impressive backgrounds like Riina Einberg, who has helped build companies like Bolt, Monese and ZeroTurnaround as well as BaltCap Growth Fund partner Heidi Kakko, cybersecurity expert Liisa Past, co-founder of Tech Sisters Mari-Liis Lind, marketing specialist Linda Zagors and Latitude59 conference program manager Kadri Sundja.