The overall winner of Estonia's largest business idea competition is Pagerr, who was awarded with € 30,000.
For the first time in the history of the competition, an investment of € 89,000 was made in the final by business angels from the Estonian Business Angels Network EstBAN. It was awarded to Aligner.
Pagerr, the winner of the competition, has created a technology that will help printing houses make smart use of the surplus. The solution directs the ordered publications to an otherwise unused paper in the printing houses, which enables the company to offer a cheaper price for the publications than when ordering directly from the printing houses.
The prize money will help Pagerr expand to Germany. "We have established our enlargement strategy and have already successfully started our expansion. The current crisis has dropped the printing sector's turnover by up to 80 percent. We see this as an opportunity to create new agreements and reduce the printing costs of companies,” said Rudolf-Gustav Hanni, head of the company.
Aligner won 2nd place in the overall ranking of the competition and received the business angels investment. Aligner is developing software that simplifies the translation of texts and editing in up to several languages in parallel. Aligner's unique algorithm synchronizes all languages, which in turn reduces the volume of language management. It has similar functionality to Google Drive, but in addition it automates the editing of multilingual texts.
"Changes in one language will appear immediately in all others. The six-month translation and coordination process is now a matter of minutes,” said Nazari Goudin, the co-founder and CPO of Aligner. Sandra Roosna, CEO of Aligner, pointed out that Aligner has users in 20 countries and their success in Ajujaht will probably help to add more.
The investment amount initially committed by the business angels unexpectedly increased to € 89,000 in the course of the final for two reasons. First, Aligner is looking to expand into foreign markets and actually needs an investment of at least € 200 000. Secondly, the coronavirus outbreak has made fundraising difficult for startups, making a larger initial investment important to Aligner's success.
Ivo Remmelg, President of EstBAN, pointed out that Aligner's idea has a pan-European perspective. "Pagerr and Sharewell were strong finalists, but for Aligner, the cost of scaling is the lowest and the market potential is the highest. We would have liked to invest in all three finalists, but this time we had not raised enough money. We will continue to follow the other finalists and are not ruling out possible investment in them as well,” said Remmelg.
Third place in the competition was won by Sharewell, a startup that helps companies find test users for new products and developments. Sharewell platform enables to create questionnaires and send them to the the desired target group. This way, customers get valuable feedback on their ideas and products fast.
Ajujaht is the largest business idea competition in Estonia that was initiated by Enterprise Estonia in 2007. It is an opportunity for people to challenge themselves in starting a business in a supportive environment. Previous winners include many well-known startups like Click & Grow and Timbeter. The competition is financed by Enterprise Estonia from the European Regional Development Fund.