Garage48 e-Residency is around the corner. But who are the e-Residents?

On September 11-13th an exclusive Garage48 e-Residency hackathon will be held on the magical island of Vormsi. The focus will be on building apps and services using the Estonian open ID-platform to benefit both the e-Residents and service providers.

The Garage48 e-Residency hackathon wants to attract web and mobile developers, designers, project leads, marketers and visionaries in the field with crazy enough ideas to come and spend a weekend in the stunning Estonian nature to create working prototypes in an unforgiving 48-hour time frame. Participants together with expert mentors from Estonia and abroad will start the journey together to Vormsi island on Friday where accommodation, brain food and fresh air is provided by our good supporters from Vormsi island.

The hackathon is organised in co-operation with the international hackathon organisation foundation Garage48, Enterprise Estonia, Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the Information System Authority.

“We are teaming up with Garage48 to give Estonian developers the opportunity to conquer the world, to be the first ones to develop services on the digital identity platform. E-Residency will become the world’s standard for digital identity and the Garage48 e-Residency could become the stepping stone for the world conquering plans of the developers,” said Kaspar Korjus, the e-Residency Program Director.

Garage48 co-founder and technical mentor Priit Salumaa is equally thrilled of the digital identity concept: “The support of entrepreneurship by the Estonian governmental bodies is phenomenal and rare in the world. We in Garage48 have organised hackathons in 4 continents, but have not seen such digital possibilities to run enterprises as in Estonia. The e-Residency platform enables citizens of other countries and current partners to create businesses using Estonian e-Residency and be part of the truly innovative system.”

 “Our goal is to draw attention to the fact that all developers and service providers are welcome to develop services to the open digital identity platform. The e-Residency platform could in many aspects be compared to the Apple App Store, as it allows to create many needed services to e-Residents. It is very important that the new customer base is recognised by the developers and service providers, who may already offer their services to e-Residents,“ added Taavi Kotka, the Government CIO, Deputy Secretary General of ICT at Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications for Estonia.

E-Residency is available to anyone around the world interested in establishing and administering a location-independent business online. e-Residents can register a company online, perform e-banking transactions, access international payment service providers, declare taxes online, manage a company remotely, and digitally sign documents and contracts. Garage48 is organising the e-Residency hackathon to welcome everyone to join the revolution and be one of the first to create innovating e-services used all over the world!


But, what are e-residents themselves really thinking and have they been able to used the services already? We wanted to find out!

Vojkan Tasic (Serbia) - business ground transportation

Tell us a little about yourself and your current daily work.

My name is Vojkan Tasic and for the last several years I have been working on my Ph.D. degree at ETH Zurich and in Swiss startup Amphiro AG. Five years back I founded a tech company which consisted of tech blogs network, and nowadays it provides limousine service around Europe (www.limos4.net).

How did you hear about the e-Residency? Why did you decide to become an e-Resident of Estonia yourself?

I heard about e-Residency through one of regular news channels. As soon as I saw it, my eyes shined, because it was exactly what I needed. It was in the same moment when I did a research about where to open a branch of my company www.limos4.net (founded in Serbia). The reason for opening a branch (or different) company in some other country was inability to use modern payment services like: Braintree, Paymill, PayPal and others.

What does Estonia’s e-Residency mean to you? What digital identification based services are you most excited to use?

E-Residency doesn’t mean a lot to me personally, but it means a lot to my business that is now based on the Estonian company.

What do you think is the future of e-Residency? What possibilities does it create?

E-Residency is definitely the future of small business. I can easily imagine opening a company with all additional services comparable to buying an internet domain. I am convinced that Estonia is closer to this than any other country.

What apps and web services do you use the most in running your business and work?

Members of my company primarily use internet banking and tax office online services. Since we are still in the beginning, we haven’t used many other services. But this will change as our presence in Estonia grows.

What is the secret behind your success?

Well, I would use that word. According to my opinion there is no such thing as success, we are all on our road to it but no one has ever reached it. When it comes to the secret to success, there are always many factors that influence how successful one is. The combination of those factors are always different for different people.

What advice would you give to the participants of Garage48 e-Residency hackathon (future entrepreneurs)?

Don’t be scared to waste your ideas. If the idea is good and you truly believe in it, no one can steal it or implement it better than you can.

 

Jorma Tuomainen (Finland) - entrepreneur

Tell us a little about yourself and your current daily work.

I'm 32, been enterpreneur since 2013 (had done some freelancer jobs since 1999 while having full-time job). I currently do consulting, system administration and provide server management services from my home office (sometimes from abroad too). 

How did you hear about the e-Residency? Why did you decide to become an e-Resident of Estonia yourself?

E-residency was pretty well on the news in Finland before the launch, so I joined the email list and came to Tallinn in beginning of this year and went to police to apply for the E-residency, while I was in Tallinn anyway. Seemed to help me manage the business which I already had in Estonia so I decided to get it as soon as I read about it.

What does Estonia’s e-Residency mean to you? What digital identification based services are you most excited to use?

I have mainly used it to change äriregister entries and sign few documents. Accountant does tax reports so that is something I don't need to worry about. I'm still waiting to get my bank account to work with that, since I had that too before I had isikukood, those services are all linked to my Finnish personal identification code.

What do you think is the future of e-Residency? What possibilities does it create?

From entrepreneur's point of view, most problems come from taxation when company works abroad. So if taxes can be reported to foreign systems from Estonia, that would help a lot. For people in unstable/less-free countries it might help them run businesses and sign documents without their government having ability to interfere (at least that much).

How does the entrepreneurship climate in Finland differ compared to Estonia?

Lots, mostly in Finland people seem to think that it's stupid to even try and if you succeed, they basically think you are criminal and/or tax everything you make. It's not quite that grimm in the reality but that's the feeling most entrepreneurs have. Also the unpredictable tax policy is making it really hard to plan anything. People in Estonia seem to try more, take risks and work harder (also the non-entrepreneurs). In Estonia, flat tax and sensible corporate taxation compared to Finland's progressive personal income tax and taxing all corporate profit (even when not paid in dividends) and then giving millions and millions of euros to their friends' companies (the big ones).

What advice would you give to the participants of Garage48 e-Residency hackathon (future entrepreneurs)?

Not much, I recommend giving up the office, it is hugely expensive, and you loose 1-2 hours a day to commuting.

 

Sven Rosenberg (Estonia) - kliendikaardid.ee, service provider

Tell us about kliendikaardid.ee. What is the service about?

Kliendikaardid.ee offers appstore-alike marketing environment with loyal costumer management. We add the existing loyalty cards on the state secured national ID-cards and take them to the customer’s smartphone.

How did you come up with the idea? What were the main challenges?

I saw how SMBs were struggling with loyalty management and current systems were outdated or didn’t exist at all.So I came up with the idea to create a solution that gives basic customer management and powerful marketing tools to SMBs hands.

Plus we have such a great national ID-card which everyone has in their wallets. Everybody hates all kinds of plastic cards and they are always at home/car/wherever when you need them. So I decided to give an extra value to our ID-card and it turned out it was the right decision.

What does e-Residency mean to you and/or your business? What do you think is the future of e-Residency?

For us, it was a logical step to integrate e-residency cards to our solution, so every e-resident can get the same benefits as every Estonian. We believe that it’s very bold and innovative move towards residency, as we are a small nation, we have to come up with these cool new ideas.

What’s the secret behind your success?

I would say timing, everyday sales and listening customers feedback.

What advice would you give to the participants of Garage48 e-Residency hackathon (future entrepreneurs)?

If you have a MVP get out there and meet your potential customers!

  

Ignacio Munguia (Spain)

Tell us a little about yourself and your current daily work.

I'm a 30 year old Spanish engineer living in Amsterdam and working for an international Dutch bank.I work in the digital field, closely connected to innovation. Although I was raised in Spain, I have been abroad for almost 7 years, including a few months working as a tourist guide in Tallinn. 

How did you hear about the e-Residency?

The first time I visited Estonia, in 2006, I was impressed by the ubiquitousness of free wifi, which was quite surprising back in the day. Soon I discovered that was just the tip of the iceberg and that many digital services (from electronic ID to mobile parking) were available in Estonia sooner than in most of western European countries. So, since I've always been interested in technology and innovation, I started to follow the latest developments of Estonian IT more closely. That said, as far as I remember the first time I read about the e-residency was on twitter (but don't remember from whom, maybe @IlvesToomas himself :))

Why did you decide to become an e-Resident of Estonia yourself?

I'm very connected to Estonia. My girlfriend is Estonian, and I also have quite a few friends living in Tallinn, Estonian and foreign (even from my hometown in Spain!) so I visit the country at least once a year. So, why not becoming an 'e-citizen' of Estonia? I decided to apply even before thinking of any specific benefits.

What does Estonia’s e-Residency mean to you? What digital identification based services are you most excited to use?

To be honest, as a professional of the banking sector, the first thing I tried was to open an Estonian bank account. But it turns out you still have to physically visit a branch of the bank in Estonia. That was a bit disappointing. Once that sort of kinks are ironed out, I think the greatest added value is the possibility to open a company with a few mouse clicks.

What do you think is the future of e-Residency? What possibilities does it create? What services and apps for the e-Residency platform are in urgent need of development?

I think it's a great and bold idea. Only government-issued identification are universally accepted... but who says a certain government can issue an identification document only to their citizens? in many European countries digital identification is cumbersome or non-existent, so if Estonia can do the job better, why not? it's brilliant. And the great thing for Estonia is that it can be done at a low cost. Digital services are highly scalable; once you have them, there's little difference between offering them for 1,3 million people or 13 million people.And the benefits are huge. If anyone facing the pain of setting up a new company in Spain, Italy, Greece... realized that they could get a digital Estonian ID and set up an Estonian company (and therefore in the European Union and the Eurozone) with a few clicks, Estonia would get a nice profit from this. The main challenge is the integration with financial services, which are necessary if you want to make any kind of business. And there's still a way to go on that field. But I'm sure these hurdles will  be eventually overcome.

 

Garage48 e-Residency events are taking place in the framework of EU Structural Funds programme "Raising Public Awareness about the Information Society" and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.