• Latitude 59, a tech community event from Estonia, made its first debut in Nairobi, Kenya having witnessed an attendance of 100 Venture Capitalist (VC) funds, 600 investors and 800 startups from across 67 different countries.
• The event which was the very first on the African continent aimed to bring together tech startup communities from Estonia and Kenya, in order to build a global village for startups to thrive.
Estonia is now eyeing the Kenyan tech startup ecosystem with plans to build on not only investment but also maximise on experience sharing, knowledge transfer as well as talent acquisition and transfer.
Latitude 59, a tech community event from Estonia, made its first debut in Nairobi, Kenya having witnessed an attendance of 100 Venture Capitalist (VC) funds, 600 investors and 800 startups from across 67 different countries.
The event which was the very first on the African continent aimed to bring together tech startup communities from Estonia and Kenya, to build a global village for startups to thrive.
Latitude 59’s plan was to bring together founders with a mission to make companies from both countries go global.
Estonia's ambassador to Kenya Daniel Erik said Estonia is big on building connections and relationships.
Speaking during the event, he said the conference created an environment for founder-to-founder real-time engagement and connection for different tech startups.
“We are not a big investor and neither are we a big donor but we would want to share our experience and learn from Kenya as well,” Erik said.
“What we are trying to do is find out areas where we are common and one thing we have really understood is that we can bring the two startup communities together.”
Erik also noted that creating an environment that equates to ease of doing business, transparency and a digital signature goes a long way to making sure that startups innovate and thrive in their business.
“We want to see these communities re-investing back in their economies just like we have seen Estonian companies coming back to re-invest in our economy,” he added.
On her part, Latitude 59 CEO Liisi Org said the event took three months to plan and the focus on launching it in Kenya was very much intended and well thought out.
The flagship conference, she said, presented an opportunity for them to learn more from Kenya which is a bigger country than Estonia and equally has a larger population.
“Estonia is a small country and we cannot just do business in our country. We chose Kenya because I established a special connection with Africa through my best friend who resided in SA for quite some time and who also taught me more about the continent,” she said.
“I have always wanted to come to Kenya and the decision to come here came about in 2021 when I joined Latitude 59 as the CEO even though the event has happened for 12 years in a row now.”
Org noted that Kenya has so much potential and so many young people who graduate from college and university every year.
The event, she said, was a way to bring on board European and Estonian companies and show them that there is room for collaboration with young Kenyan entrepreneurs in the startup ecosystem.
“Kenya is a country that is of great benefit to Estonia and this event greatly exceeded our expectations having had over 700 people come through. Most people I spoke to were really happy to have been a part,” she added.
“This will definitely not be a one-time event.”
Admiral Markets African region director Boriss Gubaidulin said they main focus of the event was working with startups as they believe that they contribute greatly to the economy of a country.
“From the Estonian experience, we have a huge number of unicorn companies per capita and we have witnessed them giving birth to other smaller companies,” he said.
“We want the tech startup ecosystem in Kenya to be more empowered to give birth to other small companies as well. One way to do it is to leverage on the trust from investors just like our companies do back in Estonia.”
“If they can continue building on this as well as the influence, this is great as it also creates jobs that are paying well to even the tune of six-figures and this is very lucrative to young people.”
Gubaidulin said this goes hand in hand with companies being resilient and having a supportive society.