Estonia has a vibrant and welcoming startup community eager to support ambitious individuals and startups. Among them are the projects of TalTech students. We spoke to members of four student startups from different stages of startup development that are solving issues from various fields. They are all connected by the entrepreneurial spirit of TalTech. Get to know them!
Concept: Reflective panel reducing housing heating needs and GIS/big data methods to design smart and bioclimatic housing. The benefits are increased energy savings, sunlight in buildings, and overall well-being.
Idea: One day in 2019, I received an email about a hackathon on the public street lighting in Paris. Later in the evening, I was eating pasta in my small student room, and this “Eureka” came to my mind: “We need light during the day! Paris is the “city of light” at night, I will make it the “city of light” by day”. In fact, in Paris, we hardly ever see the direct sunlight in the streets because the streets are narrow and thus always shaded by high buildings.
Team: I (Dimitri Ionescu) did 99% of the work during my free time besides my studies, and unfortunately, my teammates were only there to fulfill the “team” part of the contest.
Competitions and incubators: I was awarded the French student entrepreneur grand prize in 2019, and I was a finalist of ClimateLaunchpad 2020 for France (world cleantech contest, 3000+ startups). In Spring 2020, I went to the finals of StarterTallinn. You could have also seen me at CES2021 Las Vegas, and I’m in the race for the World Landscape Architecture prize in 2021.
Current stage of the project: I'm currently limited in my actual stage of MVP production and legal fundamentals, plus the legal part related to finance. I’m now 100% sure that I will come to Estonia to create my company here at the end of quarantine.
I’m finishing my master’s degree in August, and I’m writing my master’s thesis on my research related to the “engineering” part of my product and the patent. In other words, I’m now working on the startup full-time, and I hope to come to Estonia as soon as the beginning of May.
The pitch: My product is a reflective panel that redirects sunlight to your house. I also have new 3D modeling/big data methods to understand and control the sunlight in your project. The benefits are an increase of sunlight in buildings and well-being. Most importantly, it massively reduces your heating needs. Long story short, it’s a low-tech solar panel that does not produce electricity but significantly reduces your energy consumption. You can find more info on my website, book a free demo, and order samples.
What or who are you currently looking for? I’m looking for a co-founder in Estonia.
Concept: ePharmafy is a medicine management software that keeps track of the individual patient's medication and documents it.
Idea: The idea was first developed for TalTech Hackathon 2020. Our team members have personal and professional experiences with the topic of medicine. So together, we built and developed the idea further.
Team: Kristiina Kuldkepp is a pharmacist, Maarja Lember is a dietitian, Elen Vettus is an oncologist, Silja Elunurm is a lawyer, and Piret Sell is a pharma executive.
Competitions and incubators: We won TalTech Hackathon 2020. The main prize was an opportunity to participate in the Silver Founder program, which is ongoing now. We applied to the Prototron Spring round, which has just recently started, and we have been selected in the top 50.
Current stage of the project: We are currently building the MVP, and after that, we will start testing it with customers.
The pitch: ePharmafy is a modern and easy-to-use medicine management software that keeps track of the individual patient's medication and documents it.
The benefits for care homes are:
- reduces the nurses' workload by automating the communication with family members, family doctor, and the care home of the patient;
- keeps track of all medicines in your care home and easily creates mandatory medication reports;
- reduces medication errors.
What or who are you currently looking for? We are looking for a developer who is experienced in the Estonian healthcare system.
Concept: In ÖkoMotion, we offer bike electrification – we turn a regular bike into an electrical one.
- Give an old bike a new life instead of buying a new one.
- Save money as electrification is up to 50% cheaper than the average price of the best-selling e-bikes.
- Removable and waterproof batteries make it easier to charge the bike, allow to bike the whole day with a spare set of batteries, and not to worry about weather conditions.
How did the idea occur to you? In 2016 when e-bikes were entering the market, they were even more costly than today. Therefore, to reduce the cost and out of pure interest, ÖkoMotion founder Arthur Mihhailov bought all necessary parts and details and built his own e-bike instead of buying a ready product. In 2019, he came to StarterIdea Tallinn to form the team and develop the idea further.
- Artur Mihhailov, founder & CEO with over 5 years of practical experience in the electrical field
- Andrii Boryshkevych, project manager and MSc student of mechatronics at TalTech, 2 years of experience in mechanical engineering and product development
- Abdalla Sakkary, technical developer and MSc student of industrial engineering and management at TalTech with 3 years of experience in mechanical engineering and product development
- Valeriia Vasilenko, social media and content, BSc student of international business administration at TalTech
Competitions and incubators:
- StarterIdea Tallinn, September-December 2019: runner up (cash prize), and side prizes, such as mentoring sessions with SEB investors, accelerations to other competitions (Negavatt top 20, Prototron top 50), hosting services (Veebimajutus), access to the Latitude 59 conference, and a 6-month co-working space in Mektory
- Garage48, a one-day event that took place in November: runner up (cash prize)
Current stage of the project: We are working on social media appearance and initiating tryouts of the bike we have electrified to get end-user feedback. In the meantime, we are also finalizing the website and working out the details of the customer service and financial system. We are aiming to enter the market with the service at the end of May/June.
The pitch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcyG1qp97C8
What or who are you currently looking for? At the moment, we mainly need a person with experience in sales or a person who is willing to learn and develop in sales. As for consultancy, we would appreciate advice on finances. Besides this, sooner or later we need to acquire an office and manufacturing space.
Concept: Plastics are causing immense environmental issues. The easiest way to reduce their negative impact is for manufacturers to offer material alternatives. Klima8 is a sustainable manufacturer of consumer goods typically made out of plastic that uses waste wood as raw material instead.
How did the idea occur to you? I (Rahul Nair) have always been interested in business and passionate about solving climate change issues. I was then lucky to have interned at an organization called EIT Climate KIC (they fund climate-based startups). That's where I realized that I can do both: build a profitable business that solves environmental problems. Estonia has a lot of waste wood due to the timber industry. Upon researching more, I realized that this waste wood can actually be used to manufacture a lot of everyday consumer products (that would otherwise be made of plastic).
Team: There are a few of us from TalTech working on the project voluntarily. We are from different backgrounds but have one thing in common – the desire to build a successful business that does good.
Competitions and incubators: We haven’t participated in any competitions yet. We are still in the pre-revenue phase of the startup. We have, however, got a lot of help from TalTech’s on-campus business incubator Mektory.
What or who are you currently looking for? We are looking for people that can join us on a part-time voluntary basis, are passionate about solving environmental issues, and have experience in either the back end (manufacturing, logistics) or the front end (sales and marketing).