Five things to achieve before applying for Estonia’s Startup Visa

Getting accepted into the Startup Visa programme of Estonia is a major step forward for any startup. It is beneficial to have access to the Estonian startup ecosystem and grab the opportunity to meet investors. While it is possible for any startup to get accepted, there are a few factors that need to be thought about before the founders decide to submit their company for consideration. Hopefully, our concise guide here will help you decide if you are ready to apply as well as what you can do to make sure your startup is ready.

Follow these tips to prepare your application and get the most out of the Estonian Startup Visa ecosystem.

Team: The competence of the founding team is a major consideration and can affect how a startup is evaluated.

Who will lead your business to success? The committee is not only looking for a strong product, they’re also looking for a strong and capable team. If the team’s skills match the business needs and show cohesive dynamics, there’s a good chance the business will succeed past the application process.

The most important part of the application is the questions about the founders’ backgrounds and the most impressive things they’ve done. They look for evidence that the founders are smart, effective, and determined.

MVP: Do you have a minimum viable product (MVP)? 

Startup Estonia Visa is only for businesses that have defined and sold an MVP.

You will need a live product for your application to get considered by the committee.  You must release your product and you need to get market validation before you apply that shows you can acquire users or customers.

Users/Revenue: Do you have customers and an established customer profile? 

The Committee wants to see if you know who you’re selling to and if you are willing to conduct extensive research to deepen those customer profiles. Some startups will need more traction than others. If you are going against entrenched players in an established market you will need to show more traction. You must prove that people are picking you over the competition.  

Technology: The earlier you are, the more convincing you will need to be

Hardware products require more resources and are more difficult to scale.

Your product may focus on a broad spectrum of technology, or on one specific kind of innovation such as AI or sustainability, and for a specific industry, such as retail tech or fashion.

However, you still must show market validation and a working prototype at a minimum. The earlier you are, the more convincing you will need to be. It’s also expected that your team has a background in software & hardware.

Market: How many people would buy your product?

Startup Visa Estonia’s committee expects your business to have the potential to become a multi-billion dollar publicly-traded company in 6-10 years if everything goes well.

You must have studied the size and the potential number of users in the market to show how big the market is. Calculating the size of their market is one of the most crucial tasks an entrepreneur has to calculate to see the potential value that the market has for their startup business. Without this data, you can’t create a viable business plan or be taken seriously when approaching potential investors.

If your startup doesn’t have a strong team, a viable idea, and plenty of traction, it’s not ready to apply to the committee yet. Because even if your startup is lacking just one of these factors, your chances of getting into are very slim.

However, if your startup isn’t ready yet, don’t worry, because we have the expertise to help you prepare your business model. No one factor can determine whether a startup will be accepted into the program, but meeting all or most of the above criteria can show whether a startup’s leadership is a good fit for the program.

When applying for the program, it is a good idea to take a close look at eligibility details to understand exactly what the program is looking for.

Is the Startup Visa programme eligible for your business model?  Contact us here to find out.

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