Despite this new found freedom, this new generation of mobile citizens faces many challenges, and a whole industry has cropped up to serve them, including many right here in Estonia, starting with the government.
Estonia is the first country to offer e-Residency, a government-issued digital ID card that offers access to public e-services in Estonia.
So far, more than 50,000 people from 157+ countries have applied for e-Residency, with the main motivation being an opportunity to establish and manage a location-independent company entirely online. As the country already has 99% of its government services available digitally, the potential for the Estonian government to serve more people, no matter where they live or work, is only growing.
Skype – an early e-Estonia success story
A few countries like to claim credit for their entrepreneurs developing Skype, but what we do know is that Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu, and Jaan Tallinn, Estonians who previously developed the P2P music-sharing tool Kazaa, were key to making the initial idea a success.
Skype offered the first chance for many people to experience making a phone call with added video and was instrumental in unlocking the potential for people to communicate effectively with clients and family members around the world.
While the company was eventually sold to eBay and finally to Microsoft in 2011, 44% of all employees are still based in Tallinn and Tartu, Estonia, and the company has served as a sort of practical business school for Estonia's entrepreneurs. Many current companies in Estonia were founded by Skype's early employees, and investors in the company have continued supporting the local startup ecosystem instead of simply resting on their laurels.
Today there are many competitors offering similar services, but Skype is still an important tool in the arsenal of people working and living abroad.
Transferwise – an emblem of Estonian startup mentality