Building Phase of Nanosatellite ESTCube-1 Completed
If all goes well, 2013 could be the year that Estonia conducts its first space mission.
ESTCube-1, a cubical one-liter nanosatellite built by students and their international partners, is now in one piece and is currently being tested for vibration endurance in Tallinn, ERR radio reported. The satellite will then be sent to Tartu, and on January 18 it will be taken to the Netherlands for final testing before it is sent into orbit.
Consumer goods innovation from Estonia - Grillcube
In summer 2012 Estonian company GrillSeason OÜ launched a unique product named Grillcube that makes starting a charcoal grill without flammable chemicals very convenient.
Grillcube is charcoal in a specially designed paperboard box. Thanks to its patent pending shape and internal air flue, user don't need to do anything else than just light the box with a match and in 10-15 minutes the charcoal is lit just by burning of the recycled paperboard and without any flammable chemicals. It’s convenient, good for environment and there is no possibility that natural flavour of the food will be ruined by lighter fluid.
Last summer Grillcube was sold in many large retail chains and garden centres of Estonia. Co-founder of GrillSeason OÜ Vahur Mäe said: "First season showed that there is a real need for a product like Grillcube. We have received feedback from many satisfied people who used Grillcube throughout the summer."
There has also been a great interest in Grillcube from export markets. "In upcoming year we are expecting to be selling in several retail chains in Finland and Germany. Next target countries are Sweden, Norway and France”, said GrillSeason OÜ co-founder Mart Raus.
Grillcube idea was awarded with the II place in Estonian biggest entrepreneurship competition "Ajujaht 2012".
More information: www.grillcube.com
Estonian start-up TransferWise tops UK magazine Top 20
UK magazine London Loves Business ranked Estonian start-up firm TransferWise as the best start-up company in the finance technology sector based in London.
“This peer-to-peer platform allows people to transfer money abroad at a lower cost than is traditionally offered by the banks. The system works by making sure there are people who want to swap euros for pounds, at the same time as someone wants to transfer pounds from the UK,” the magazine said in its “London's top 20 Fin-Tech start-ups” article, published in November 2012.
Billing itself as the “Skype of money transfer”, TransferWise enables individuals and businesses to send money between countries for a fraction of the price that banks and others charge, using a peer-to-peer “crowdsourced” model — where money destined for transfer doesn’t unnecessarily leave each country — to get the best rate on the exchange. It passes on those saving by charging a small flat fee per transfer. The exchange relies on there being someone at the other end wanting to change euros into pounds. In order to guarantee that there will be someone, TransferWise works with The Currency Cloud for added liquidity.
The company’s founders, friends Taavet Hinrikus (Skype’s first employee) and Kristo Kaarmann (Deloitte and PWC) came up with the idea out of frustration at the amount they were paying to send money back to their native Estonia. In 2010 they started thinking about launching the company, which they did in 2011.
Currently customers can have EUR/GBP converted into GBP/EUR, USD, Polish zloty, Swiss francs, Danish krone, Swedish krona and Norwegian krone. The company plans to add more currencies in the future.
Institutional investors behind TransferWise include IA Ventures, Index Ventures, Kima Ventures, Seedcamp and The Accelerator Group. In addition to these, the company is supported by some private individuals who have built, or are building, PayPal, Wonga, Skype, Betfair and Simple.com.
To date, the company has grown to 20 employees, and plans to double the staff within a year, increasing the head count in its London and Tallinn offices. The focus will be on maintaining its positive customer experience and new product development (e.g. mobile, debit card support and additional currencies).
TransferWise was also named as “Startup of the Week” by Wired UK in August 2012. Furthermore, articles about the company have been publised in the Financial Times, The Guardian, Forbes, The New York Times as well as TechCrunch.
BeneNavis OÜ – three men in a wooden mahogany motorboat
With nearly 4000 km of coastline, hundreds of years of shipbuilding traditions and numerous fishing villages, Estonia as a maritime country is proud to present its skills in making boats of high-quality craftsmanship.
One such company is BeneNavis OÜ, founded in 2011, with its elegant mahogany motorboats. Behind the name – BeneNavis – are 3 eager men – Indrek Pähnpuu, Hannes Lilp and Hans Peter Karanen.
The first BeneNavis prototype boat was assembled in 2010 by Indrek, who previously had worked in the ship building industry and acquired extensive know-how on how to build a vessel that he himself would want to use. Hannes and Hans Peter, sharing the same interest, joined later, and at that moment BeneNavis was born. Today, they produce handmade wooden mahogany boats – the BeneNavis Classic, a four-seater, and the BeneNavis Coupe, a two-seater. We had a chance to conduct a small interview with Hannes Lilp, responsible for the company’s management and marketing.
Why was such a company created? What was the driving force?
The driving force behind the creation of the company was the fact that wooden luxury boat building has taken a backseat in today’s plastic boat building world, and no less important was our desire to create positive emotions for our customers and certainly for ourselves as well. Our slogan speaks for itself – BeneNavis – Created with passion!
Have you also attended any fairs with BeneNavis boats?
BeneNavis has attended many fairs where visitors and journalists have been amazed by the beauty and comfort of BeneNavis boats. One of the last fairs we attended was Hanseboot in Hamburg, Germany. BeneNavis boats are on the market for the first season and one of our target markets is Germany, where there are many lakes and rivers that are perfect for cruising with our motorboat. Our first goal at Hanseboot was to introduce our product/brand, and the welcome from the market was very positive. We managed to expand our network of our clients and partners.
Picture taken at the Hanseboot, the 54th Hamburg International Boat Show. Juhan Parts, Minister of Economic Affairs and Communication, on the left, and Hannes Lilp, on the right.
What are the main target markets right now?
The main target markets right now are Germany, Finland and Russia. We are a small startup company and we have to concentrate on a few markets; but step by step we are expanding the markets where we are promoting our products. Right now we are looking for dealers and strategic investors who would help us to expand our sales in target markets.
What is the best achievement so far for the company or you personally when thinking about your work in the company?
Personally, I think that our team (Hannes and Indrek) did a great job during our first year of operation. The company´s documentation has been worked out in order to give us the right to produce and sell boats in the EU, we built boats for promotional purposes, worked out our company´s corporate identity, participated in five exhibitions – one in Estonia, two in Finland and two in Germany – and now we are working on our next product innovation.
Offshore company reveals plans to invest in LNG terminal
Offshore investment firm Balmoral Capital Holdings has announced a plan to invest 50–150 million euros in the LNG (liquefied natural gas) receiving terminal in Estonia.
The information about plans to invest in Estonia was revealed by Balmoral Capital Holding board chairman Rodney Kincaid when he was speaking at the 4th annual Baltic Energy Summit recently. However, it was not disclosed in which LNG terminal the investment would be made.
Three plans are known by the public to build LNG receiving terminals in Estonia. Sillgas OÜ plans to build a terminal in the north-eastern part of Estonia, in Sillamäe. The terminal will cost about 500 million euros and would be ready by summer 2013. The state-owned transmission system operator Elering, the Port of Tallinn and Dutch logistics firm Royal Vopakand are planning to build a terminal in Muuga Port, near Tallinn. Balti Gaas OÜ, part of local Alexela Energy, is working to build a terminal in Paldiski, also near Tallinn.