Past events

sTARTUp Day will take place for the 5th time on 27–29 January 2021! It's been quite a ride from an idea in a community sauna to 4400 startup-minded participants gathering in the smart city of Tartu – let's take a look at everything that has happened.

sTARTUp Day 2016

The idea for sTARTUp Day was born in 2015 and straight away, the sTARTUp Tartu community started working together. On 9 December 2016, the very first sTARTUp Day took place at the freshly renovated Estonian National Museum.


Read more about the community and roots of sTARTUp Day here.

“With almost 3000 participants, the very first sTARTUp Day 2016 exceeded all expectations and securely pinned Tartu on the map as a hotspot for startups.”
– Startup Estonia

How it began:

Ϟ 2800 participants

Ϟ 1400m2 of space

Ϟ 45 keynote presentations

Ϟ 115 busy team members

Ϟ 3km of chords wired around the venue

Ϟ 5000 cups of coffee consumed


Speakers:

Jamie Dunn
New Business Sales, Kronos Incorporated
Helen Sildna
Founder, Shiftworks & Tallinn Music Week
Christian LeBlanc
Christian's Travel Vlog
Keiichi Matsuda
Director, Keiichi Matsuda Ltd.
John Sechrest
Mentor & Founder, Seattle Angel Conference
Damir Tomicic
CFO, Axinom
Gerd Kanter
Olympic discus thrower
Krzysztof Kanawka
CEO, Blue Dot Solutions

Top 4 Estonian Early-Stage Startups of 2016

One of the highlights of sTARTUp day was an intense pitching competition based on which .Contriber and EstBAN awarded the Top 4 early-stage startups – Deekit, Tebo, SportID and Nordic Automation Systems with the main award going to Deekit.

The winner of the “Estonia’s Best Early Stage Startup of 2016” title was Deekit, who saw international success over the next couple of years and was named a finalist at the Startup Europe Awards.

sTARTUp Day 2017

Although the previous year's event exceeded all expectations, the team was determined to take sTARTUp Day to a whole new level – in fact, sTARTUp Day 2017 won an award for The Most Innovative Conference in Estonia.

sTARTUp Day 2017 took place in the AHHAA Science center, with a 1000m2 heated tent outside to increase the size of the venue. The festival boasted 3000 participants and 100 speakers over 4 stages, making sTARTUp Day the biggest business festival in the Baltics. 

Fun facts: 

Ϟ The legendary Estonian rap superstar Tommy Cash headlined the afterparty, surrounded by a 270° video projection 
Ϟ 2000 venue maps were distributed to attendees
Ϟ 400 Jägermeister shots were given out to attendees lining up outside the venue in the freezing cold  
Ϟ 1500l of diesel was used to heat the massive outdoor tent
Ϟ A University of Tartu professor helped repair the floor of the massive outdoor tent the night before the opening – it's a community effort after all. 
 

Speakers:

Kersti Kaljulaid
President of Estonia
Rick Rasmussen
UC Berkeley, Silicon Valley native
Joseph Wei
LAB360 Hardware Incubator, Founding Partner
Oscar Kneppers
Rockstart, Founder
Nanci Govinder
Head Coach, Commission for Technology and Innovation
Peter Kentie
Eindhoven365, Managing Director
Kristel Kruustük
Testlio, Founder & CEO
Martin Villig
Bolt, Co-founder & Expansion Manager

Top 4 Estonian Early Stage Startups

Over 100 startups applied to the sTARTUp Day 2017 pitching competition from whom EstBAN selected the TOP 4 early-stage startups of the year. 

The Top 4 Estonian Early Stage Startup of Angel Investment Program 2017 were: GuestJoy, Frank.ai, Fitlap and Transformative with GuestJoy receiving the main award – a €160k investment from EstBAN. 


sTARTUp Day 2019

You may have noticed that there was no event in 2018 – that's because we pushed the date by a couple of months from December to January so we could all start the new year with buckets of motivation. From 2019 on the stage program spans two days instead of one, complemented by a day filled with side-events all over Tartu. 

How it went: 

Ϟ sTARTUp Day opened the renewed University of Tartu Sports Hall 
Ϟ 4000 participants 
Ϟ 120 speakers
Ϟ 350 startups
Ϟ The average outside temperature was a cool -30°
Ϟ The bravest startups pitched while drifting at 120 km/h on an ice road

“Come to Tartu and survive the cold, and then you will be your own hero.”
– Yumiko from Japan

Speakers:

Christer Fuglesang
1st & only Swedish astronaut
Peter Vesterbacka
Entrepreneur
Laurie Louvet
Founder, LEEVE
Patrick Mork
Chief Storyteller, madmork stories, ex-Google Play
Kadri Bussov
CEO, Estonian Student Satellite Foundation
Jason Dydynski
Brand Manager, Weekdone
Victoria Lennox
Co-Founder, Startup Canada
Alari Aho
Founder, Toggl

sTARTUp Pitching 

The 2019 edition of sTARTUp Pitching received over 250 applications out of which the top 4 were selected to compete for the main prize – a €250k investment from the NAP program and other prizes. 

Outvio was selected as the best early stage startup of the year with Tasker, PowerUp Technologies and GoTennis as runnerups.  


sTARTUp Day 2020

The January 2020 edition of the festival continued to grow and break all previous records, continuing as a flagship business and innovation event. 4400 participants, 150 speakers, 350 startups, 180 investors, 2500 matchmaking meetings, 45 seminars, 21 side-events, 191 press mentions – all in the midst of a true festival vibe, surrounded by musicians, fitness breaks and good vibes. We strongly believe in mixing business with pleasure to get the best possible outcome.


I was surprised about the size of this event and the vibes around it. It’s an area that is going to see so many good startups coming out of this area over the next 5 to 10 years for sure.
– Hjalmar Windbladh, Managing Partner at EQT Ventures


What else happened:

Ϟ €300k worth of awards were given out to sTARTUp Pitching winners
Ϟ 6000m2 of recycled carpet was used to cover the sports hall
Ϟ 200m2 of fabric used to create walls around a running track

Ϟ 4km of lanyards were distributed (and recycled)

Ϟ Over 6 hours of quality pitches filled the pitching stage


Milda Mitkute
Co-Founder, Vinted
Hjalmar Winbladh
Managing partner, EQT Ventures
Carlos Espinal
Partner, Seedcamp
Andres Schabelman
VP of Expansion, Fiverr
Jeremy Goldman
Author & Host, FUTUREPROOF podcast
Sacha Michaud
Co-founder, Glovo
Amy Guttman
Contributor, Forbes' Entrepreneurs
Johan Bergqvist
CFO, Bolt

sTARTUp Pitching

The prize fund for sTARTUp Pitching 2020 was a whooping €300k, including an EstBAN-led syndicate of up to €250k, equity-free cash and tickets to the top tech events around the world. The competition was tougher than ever and 32 startups were invited to pitch at sTARTUp Day. Out of those, the TOP 7 competed for the main prizes. 

Jeff App was selected as the best early-stage startup and secured a €180k investment, €10k equity-free cash and free legal counseling. Other winners include DriveX, Autom8, PayQin, Solfeg.io, Aligner and Adovinci.

Find out more about the 2020 edition of sTARTUp Pitching here.