This article is part of a series of city guides to innovation hubs around the world. Each guide features a set of locations to help connect innovators and entrepreneurs to like-minded communities across the globe. A city local—who’s also a leader of the SingularityU Chapter in that city—has curated these destinations to get you plugged into the network in no time.
Tallinn is the capital of Estonia, a country that has emerged over the last 20 years as one of the most advanced digital societies in the world. The birthplace of Skype, it has earned the nickname e-Estonia because of its vibrant tech ecosystem.
When visiting Tallinn, make sure you visit the e-Estonia showroom and peek inside the only government in the world that is fully operational in the cloud. Next, visit the numerous incubators, accelerators, and co-working spaces, such as the home of the Estonian startup community Lift99 or the Business and Innovation Centre of Tallinn University of Technology (TTÜ). Beyond tech, try a walking tour of Tallinn Old Town, one of the oldest medieval city centers in Europe, and check out Lennusadam, the unforgettable Seaplane Harbour that’s home to a maritime and military museum.
Meet Your Guide
Singularity University Chapter: SingularityU Tallinn
Profession: Ambassador of SingularityU Tallinn, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Estonia
Your City Guide to Tallinn, Estonia
1. Coworking Space: LIFT99
LIFT99 is the central hub of Estonia’s startup ecosystem, with a vibrant community of entrepreneurs who value growing together and giving back.
2. Makerspace: Mektory
Mektory, the Business and Innovation Centre of Tallinn University of Technology (TTÜ), brings scientists, students, and entrepreneurs together to work on real-world challenges in product development and technology transfer.
3. Local meetups/networks: Founders to Founders at LIFT99
Founders2Founders is a by-invitation-only meetup for entrepreneurs. Their event series brings in invited speakers, facilitates group discussion, and allows time for networking and socializing.
4. Best coffee shop with free WiFi: Gourmet Coffee
Gourmet Coffee has three locations in different parts of Tallinn. They use local, organic ingredients for their food and beverages, and their coffee is excellent.
5. The startup neighborhood: Telliskivi Creative City
Telliskivi Creative City is a collection of factory buildings that has been transformed into a popular hangout and office space with off-beat restaurants, art expos, flea markets, alternative theater, and clubbing. The reclaimed space is also home to Estonian startup heavyweights Garage48/Lift99, Funderbeam, Elevate, and over 200 other businesses, companies, and NGOs.
6. Well-known investor or venture capitalist: ESTBAN (Estonian Business Angels Network)
Estonian Business Angels Network is an umbrella organization for business angels in Estonia and its neighboring countries. The network reviews applications for entrepreneurs seeking investment and offers opportunities for potential investors to fund startups jointly rather than as individuals.
7. Best way to get around: Taxify
Estonian-born Uber rival Taxify is taking the world by storm with recent investment from Didi Chuxing; it’s also the most convenient way to get around Tallinn.
8. Local must-have dish and where to get it: Kotzebue Bakery
Kotzebue Bakery & Charcuterie showcases Estonian baking and curing with their sourdough breads, cured meats, and sausages. Try the famous oven-warm sourdough bread.
9. City’s best-kept secret: Whisper Sister
A cocktail bar reminiscent of a 1920s speakeasy, Whisper Sister is centrally located in Tallinn yet tucked away, giving it a cozy and classic feel.
10. Touristy must-do: Lennusadam (Tallinn Seaplane Harbour)
The unforgettable Seaplane Harbour is home to a maritime and military museum, complete with an underwater archaeology exhibit and historic ships to tour.
Let’s Do It! World was founded when 50,000 volunteers united to clean up all of Estonia in just five hours. In the 10 years since then, 20 million volunteers in 120 different countries have followed suit, uniting to clean up their communities as part of the Let’s Do It! program.
12. Local university with great resources: Tallinn University of Technology
Tallinn University of Technology (TTÜ) is the flagship of Estonian engineering and technology education, with an active business and innovation center, Mektory, that organizes technology transfer between the university and private companies.
This article is for informational purposes only. All opinions in this post are the author’s alone and not those of Singularity University. Neither this article nor any of the listed information therein is an official endorsement by Singularity University.