Reopening of the #EstonianMafia Wall of Fame with Niklas Zennström

30. March 2017

Thursday, March 30th was a BIG day for LIFT99. We hosted an event with Atomico, one of Europe’s single largest venture capital funds together with Niklas Zennström – the founder of Skype, Kazaa and Atomico.

We were honoured to witness a rare case of bringing together the founding fathers of #SkypeMafia – Ahti Heinla, Jaan Tallinn, Sten Tamkivi and Niklas Zennström. It has been eight years since the last visit to Estonia for Niklas and even more exceptional to have them all together on the stage.

Ahti Heinla, Jaan Tallinn, Sten Tamkivi and Niklas ZennströmInterview

After the first panel with #SkypeMafia, we had an exciting new generation of Estonian founders on a stage, alongside with Martin henk (Pipedrive), Kristel Kruustük (Testlio) and Lauren Proctor (Jobbatical). The panel was moderated by Teddie Wardi, partner at Atomico. Teddie is the one who led the latest $17m Series B round into Pipedrive and is responsible for investing Atomico’s new venture fund into Estonian startups.

How to start, build and scale global winners from EuropeThe theme of the discussions was on how to start, build and scale global winners from Europe. Alongside with the entrepreneurs and operators sharing their experiences on the journey. For Atomico, Estonia stands out on three main reasons: startup density per capita is higher than in many high profile European tech hubs, our world-class engineering schools and research and great founders with global ambition.

Opening of the renewed #EstonianMafia Wall of Fame

We were honoured to have Niklas Zennström to reopen the legendary #EstonianMafia Wall of Fame. As most of the startups on the wall are more or less grown out or boosted from Skype’s success, we had one board for Niklas to autograph. This board represents the “seed” that has had a tremendous impact on Estonian startup ecosystem. Companies like Skype are a huge deal for a small country like Estonia and have made an invaluable contribution to Estonia’s success.

Niklas Zennström signature

We shortlisted 15 startups for the #EstonianMafia Wall of Fame.

The criteria for getting on the wall is:

  • High growth company (min 80% yearly growth, ideally over 100%)
  • Revenue of last 12 months at least 3 million USD and/or Has raised investment at least 5 million USD
  • Startup has to pay significant amount of taxes to Estonia

The 15 brightest Estonian startups are:

  1. Transferwise
  2. Pipedrive
  3. Taxify
  4. Fortumo
  5. Zeroturnaround
  6. Lingvist
  7. Testlio
  8. Adcash
  9. Skeleton Technologies
  10. Toggl
  11. PlanetOS
  12. Starship Technologies
  13. Bondora
  14. Monese
  15. Funderbeam

LIFT99 wall of fame

The story of #EstonianMafia

For some years there’s been the buzz around that hashtag. If you are reading this and still have no clue about the origin of the story, we’d like to enlighten you.

The first usage came from Dave McClure, who founded and runs world famous 500 startups accelerator. Jüri Kaljundi (Weekdone) has described it how a bunch of Estonians were in front of the AngelPad incubator in San Francisco. They were smoking in the street and arguing whether a company was Erply or Zerply. Dave said: “Come on guys, you are the Estonian Mafia, don’t you know what company it was?” and then used the hashtag first time in Twitter too. We think it’s a good organic name that shows well that we are a tight-knit and close society.

We are excited to complement the Wall with the next stars from #EstonianMafia. If your startup submits to the criteria above, please contact us –

Last but not least. If you feel that you would like to be part of  LIFT99 Family, we have some exclusive working spaces left! Come for a tour and you won’t regret. Call us +372 553 9776

We keep lifting Estonian startups off the ground! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn for upcoming news.


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