Estonia is one of the three Baltic countries, together with Latvia and Lithuania. Estonia is well known for having introduced a government system based on internal e-Residency: e-voting, e-taxing. Recently Estonia established e-Residency for all nationalities: a digital identity with the possibility of running a company online from anywhere in the world. So one would expect that online funding would be booming. But not in the beginning. Henri Laupmaa, the founder of Hooandja (www.hooandja.ee), first tested his idea for a crowdfunding platform on his friends 5 years ago, and most of them thought that Estonians were too reserved to put their backing of a project online. There was no word for crowdfunding yet in the Estonian language. He started with Hooandja in 2012 anyway, as a donation/reward based crowdfunding site for the creative sector. In 2015 he founded a second crowdfunding platform, now for equity crowdfunding: Fundwise (www.fundwise.me), because some of the companies which first raised money on Hooandja now needed more investment funding. Fundwise does not restrict itself to the creative sector, but it offers crowdfunding possibilities for gaming and artisan products. Estonia has only 1.3 million inhabitants which immediately raises the question of the financial sustainability of crowdfunding platforms. On the other hand, Estonia has the second highest amount of crowdfunding per inhabitant of Europe (p.29 of Sustaining momentum, the 2nd European alternative finance industry report, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, September 2016).
On Hooandja €1,990,210 has been raised for 629 projects by 64,215 backers (numbers retrieved on April 19, 2017). Most projects are about CD’s, movies and documentaries, books, festivals and theatre productions.
On Fundwise €551,757 has been raised by 7,403 investors for 10 companies (numbers retrieved on April 19, 2017). The current focus is on small firms which need capital to grow. Most of them sell artisan products, but there is also a game production company.