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Join us for the launch of Startup Europe Week in Brussels!

Join us for the launch of Startup Europe Week in Brussels!

Startup Europe Week (5 – 9 March) is the largest multi-event of its kind for startups in Europe. Its goal is to inform entrepreneurs of the support and resources available at a city and regional level. Join us as we collaborate with Startup Europe Week to launch the third edition in Brussels, on Monday 5 March.

Startup Europe Week, promoted by the European Commission and Startup Europe, aims to showcase the support available to entrepreneurs on a city and regional level. Regional diversity and local policy making still play a big role in shaping European startups, from helping entrepreneurs to incorporate a company, to providing grants or taxes breaks. For this reason, taking a local perspective is crucial to supporting entrepreneurs in Europe.

In 2017, #SEW17 saw 280+ co-organisers organize hundreds of events in 40+ countries. The week of events reached 100000 entrepreneurs across Europe, and as a grassroots movement achieved 18 million+ impressions on social media.

In 2018, #SEW18 will be held between 5-9 March. #SEW18 has 50+ countries involved, expanding to include global events in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

This year, the launch event will take place in Brussels, with a focus on the democratisation of entrepreneurship, both on a social and geographical level. The event will be organised by SEW and the European Commission’s Startup Europe, with the collaboration of co-organisers Hugin&Munin, EYIF, Startups.be and EuropaMedia. After a panel on the state of the European startup system, other organisations will take part in a panel on how to create Pan-European opportunities.

This exciting event will be attended by startup players from across Europe (entrepreneurs, policy makers, accelerators, incubators, corporates, media and universities), and will connect by live video to other events opening across the world. Join us in Brussels for the launch, or find your nearest SEW event online!

Further information
Join our thunderclap!: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/68229-launch-of-sew18
To find your closest SEW event, please visit: https://www.f6s.com/sew18
To attend the launch, please visit: https://www.f6s.com/sew18opening/apply  
For press enquiries, please contact: charlotte@startupeuropeweek.eu

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Eight startups will represent Belgium at StartUp Europe Awards in 2017

  • Creative, Cybersecurity, Fintech, Gastronomy, Green, Smart Cities, Social and Tourism categories are going to be represent at SEUA17

Brussels, 13 of February of 2018. StartUp Europe Awards is promoted by the European Commission and supported by the President of the Committee of the Regions, several members of the European Parliament as Ambassador and it is implemented by Finnova Foundation in collaboration with StartUp Europe.

Digital African Woman is the responsible for Belgium. They are a social enterprise dedicated to the innovation and support for female-led tech business ideation. The Digital African Woman provides our best Master trainers to help startups develop their product and identify investor. We provide the opportunities for these women-led businesses to move from pitching their ideas to pitching a product.

Eight startups will represented Belgium in Startup Europe Awards.

In Creative category Ochola.asbl is the winner. Ochola is a friendly place where you can discover all that Africa has to offer, is also the ideal place to discover new people in love with Africa, and to think together about a better future for this continent. Open to all and in a vision of cultural cohesion, we welcome you around a café to better reflect on the development of the African Continent and the promotion of the know-how of its descendants.

Cyberber Way Finder is going to represent Belgium in Cybersecurity category. This startup helps to create a community of women cybersecurity experts and build up a network of companies that have a need for qualified professionals. Cybersecurity is a social issue. It has the responsibility of keeping our online data safe, and of preventing cyber-attacks from threatening our safety, and critical public infrastructure that provide basic needs such as healthcare and mobility.

In Fintech category, Ewala is the winner. Ewala allows you to send airtime credit to your friends’ and families’ prepaid mobile phone abroad.

Chocolat Guérin Boutron is the Gastronomy representant. They are a prestigious enterprise that today fosters a global awareness where the identity, individuality and cultural diversity of itspartners are not only respected but celebrated.

In Green category the winner is Robin Food. Robin Food store is an application that aims to reduce the food waste of distribution by referencing products close to the final date of sale.

For Smart Cities category Parcify is going to represent Belgium. This startup helps you with your packages, delivering in just a few simple clicks. Parcify connects private senders and businesses to independent couriers that are heading in the right direction, through a crowdsourced delivery platform, to ensure a sustainable, cost effective and convenient delivery of goods.

We Love BXL is the winner in Social category. WeLoveBXL is a brewery of talent. Our mission is to co-create a diverse, dynamic and positive community-driven environment where youngsters can be teased, inspired and stimulated in their personal development process. A physical hotspot to connect in the heart of Molenbeek providing access to a variety of core and hosted recreational and professional activities. Investing in talent and potential by setting up valuable partnerships with relevant stakeholders. Aiming to reach as many youngsters, focused on creating a lasting impact by empowering youth in their socio-economic challenges.

In Tourism, Vindr is the winner. This startup is an online platform where you can choose different Belgian cities and the shops most used by tourists and thus be able to locate them on the map.

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Croatian best 6 startups will be representing this country in the StartUp Europe Awards 2017

  • Edtech, e-Health, Green, Iot, Social and Tourism are the categories in which Romania will take part.
  • PAR Business School is the Croatian Country Manager, they desire to make a change, education as an answer to a need for knowledge and care for the future generations.

Brussels, 24th of January 2018. StartUp Europe Awards is promoted by the European Commission and supported by the President of the Committee of the Regions, several members of the European Parliament as Ambassador and it is implemented by Finnova Foundation in collaboration with StartUp Europe.

In Croatia, Bussiness School PAR is the Country Manager. They desire to make a change, education as an answer to a need for knowledge and care for the future generations. PAR has become known as an innovative international educational centre, professional conference on leadership, the first higher education institution with an entrepreneurial incubator for students and the first sports academy, etc. Apart from the awards ceremony, they had panel discussion, with our dean Gordana Nikolic, Sven Maricic (University of Pula, mentor of Startup Braille Riddles) and Damir Medved (Head Consultant for Ericsson Nikola Tesla). Discussion was about Is Croatia a good country for innovations?

Mathrix is going to participate in the Eurovision of StartUp in the Edtech category. This startups think that education of math in modern age is based on different mathematical techniques and ignores creativity and logic which are primary in understanding mathematics. That causes repulsion towards mathematics instead of new way of thinking and intuition. The idea of project is to change approach in early ages and show the true face of math: it is everywhere around us.

In e-Health, ReDi Isokinetc is the winner. This company wants to improve and manufacture the newest line of very precise diagnostics and rehabilitation devices and become biggest European provider of isokinetic devices to the health-related clinics. Vision is to make therapies affordable to all the patients who need it and to provide them with better quality of life. Device is designed for both diagnostics and therapeutic purposes. This level of diagnostics allows us to have insight in the dynamic state of the knee.

Growncity is the winner of Green category. Their main product is the EcoBox. EcoBox is a mobile food cultivation system integrated inside a shipping container. EcoBox makes food cultivation possible in every part of the world. The EcoBox is 100% mobile and can be deployed on almost every possible location, allowing not only farmers but all people with basic computer and technical skills to set it up anywhere from rooftops of buildings to deserts in the middle east. ”

ePlanet Sport is the Romanian representation for IoT category. ePlanet Sport is a project based on idea to promote sport activities through web platform. Main goal is to connect sport community and to advertise the positive values through sport and education. ePlanet Sports goal is to connect people, people with disabilities, schools, students, sport associations, businesses. Sport events will be easy to track just by sharing events information on our network.

Social category winner is uScope. SCOPE presents first Croatian 3D printed microscope from University of Juraj Dobrila in Pula, Croatia. With special developed software this microscopic device is able to scan and analyse usual objects from leaf’s to other organic samples. Main software was developed by our blind student.

Balkan Roads is the Tourism´s category representation. Balkan Roads is an adventurous travel arrangement that will take you through all the hidden as well as well-known natural, cultural and historical beauties of Balkan peninsula in a tiny, old wreck of a vehicle of Balkan production.

 

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Luxembourg to be represented by 14 selected start-ups in the StartUp Europe Awards 2017

Agritech, Climate, Creative, Cybersecurity, Edtech, e-Health, Energy, Fintech, IoT, Smart Cities, Social, Space, Tourism and Water are the categories which will take part in Luxembourg .

The Country Manager from Luxembourg is Startup Grind, the largest independent start-up community that actively educates, inspires and connects 1, 000, 000 entrepreneurs in over 250 cities.

Brussels, 29th of January 2018. StartUp Europe Awards is promoted by the European Commission and supported by the President of the Committee of the Regions, several members of the European Parliament as Ambassador and is implemented by the Finnova Foundation in collaboration with StartUp Europe.

The Country Manager from Luxembourg is Startup Grid, the largest independent start-up community, which actively educates, inspires and connects 1,000,000 entrepreneurs in over 250 cities. It nurtures start-up ecosystems in 105 countries through events, media and partnerships with organisations like Google for Entrepreneurs. This global community holds monthly events featuring successful local founders, innovators, educators and investors who share lessons learned on the road to building great companies.

In the Agritech category, Evvos has been chosen to participate in the “Eurovision” of StartUp. This start-up designs and develops hardware, firmware and cloud integration services platforms. Their in-house hardware and software teams collaborate to ensure optimal interoperability between sensors, data acquisition devices and software.

In the Climate category, Swirl is the winner. This start-up is working in renewable energies in the digital society.

In the Creative category, Itondo will represent Luxembourg. The itondo app allows people to virtually hang any artwork on their own wall – to scale – so that art can be previewed live.

Trust1Team will represent Luxembourg for Cybersecurity. Trust1Team is an integrator company that provides its own products based on different open source frameworks in combination with their self-developed software, giving the opportunity to governments, enterprises and organizations to digitalise their processes in a secure and trusted way.

Edutech is the winner in the Edtech category. What this start-up does is to set up structures to teach effectively with tablets, as well as the implementation of technological systems for specific cases as a real-time distance learning with networked audio-visual devices or continuing education and pedagogical activities.

Doctena is the Luxembourg company selected for the e-Health category. This app helps people find and book a medical appointment.

Fintech will be represented by Investify. This start-up takes care of your assets according to your own ideas, so you can discover the topics in which you want to invest. Then they do the rest. Digital, flexible, passionate.

AirboxLab is the IoT winner in Luxembourg. They created Meet Foobot, the home air-quality monitor that tells you what is in the air you breathe, and controls your other smart devices.

In the Smart Cities category, Examotive has been chosen. They believe in intelligent automotive mobility solutions. As our cities become ever more congested, keeping people and goods moving is one of the world’s greatest challenges. ExaMotive was founded on the belief that the way vehicles are used must change, so they are working in Project Dragon.

Digital Inclusion is the Social winner. Digital Inclusion is a non-profit organisation that promotes social inclusion through digital technology.

For Space, OQTechnology will represent Luxembourg. OQ TECHNOLOGY satellites have orbits that allow them to scan the entire surface of the Earth offering customers wide visibility of their assets and the possibility to communicate with their sensors and actuators with near-real time communication. Their system is scalable and can accommodate any size of your assets and fleets with minimum intervention.

VR Creative is the Tourism category choice. Their mission is to bring meaningful and deep VR storytelling to life using GoPro arrays.

In the Water category, the winner is WETEQ. This is a vibrant Luxembourg-based cleantech company with a proprietary portfolio of innovative chemistry-based solutions for wastewater treatment. They help customers to reduce costs, increase process efficiency, and be compliant and eco-friendlier by solving their water and wastewater challenges.

 

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Europe is back: Accelerating Breakthrough Innovation

The independent High-Level Group of Innovators advising the European Commission has published its recommendations on how a European Innovation Council (EIC) should fund and nurture breakthrough innovation from start-up to scale-up.

In their report, entitled ‘Europe is back: Accelerating breakthrough innovation‘, they recommend that a future EIC provides simplified and flexible financing, tailor-made for the needs of the innovator and which incentivises private investment for rapid scaling up. They also recommend boosting awareness of Europe’s innovation successes and leveraging European ecosystems, so that highly innovative companies can benefit from expertise and partnerships from across Europe.

Four factors that hold back breakthrough and deep tech innovation in Europe have been identified:

  • Funding – Breakthrough innovation, in particular deep tech, requires large investments, over a significant time period. This is the kind of finance that is missing in Europe and presents a systemic failure;
  • Awareness- Europe needs a flagship initiative on breakthrough innovation that can attract the best innovators and connect local and sectorial ecosystems;
  • Scale – Europe needs continental scale to compete at global level;
  • Talent- Europe needs role models and champions.

The document should provide a critical mass of funding and expertise for high risk / high gain breakthrough innovation, which empowers the innovator and incentivizes private investment.

Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas welcomed the recommendations and said they formed a significant input for the development of a full-fledged European Innovation Council as part of the next EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The report was first presented to French President Emmanuel Macron at the World Economic Forum in Davos, who has made similar calls for a European agency for innovation.

Commissioner Moedas said:

These recommendations show how a European Innovation Council would empower our most talented innovators and stimulate an environment of risk-taking, entrepreneurship and scaling-up to the international stage. They come at a critical time in the preparations for the next EU research and innovation programme.


The Group’s chair, Hermann Hauser, co-Founder of Amadeus Capital Partners, said:

We are convinced that our fourteen recommendations – on funding, awareness, scale and talent – will constitute a step change in the impact of EU innovation support and help catapult Europe into pole position in the global innovation stakes

Bindi Karia, Start-upexpert and advisor and Member of the High-Level Group of Innovators added in the report:

Ecosystem players from across Europeare all involved in the Startup Europe project, andwhat has transpired is that these leaders fromeach country collaborating and learning from eachother borders. And it continues to grow. From citieslike Paris to Berlin to Stockholm to Lisbon, the keypeople in these communities know each other andare increasingly collaborating with each other, dealby deal and company by company.

 

Background

The High-Level Group of 15 leading innovators was launched in January 2017. Their recommendations will be considered in the Commission’s proposals for the future EU research and innovation Framework Programme (post-Horizon 2020) due to be presented by this summer.

The Commission has launched an EIC pilot programme (2018-20), to test out new approaches within the current Horizon 2020 programme to better support top-class innovators, start-ups, small companies and researchers with breakthrough ideas with scale up potential.

 

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Visual commerce platform Photoslurp receives €750K in investment

Barcelona, November 2017 – Photoslurp, the leading visual commerce platform in Europe, just received an investment of €750.000. Inveready Technology Investment Group, a leading VC in Spain, led the Photoslurp investment with participation from Bankinter VC (through the Entrepreneurship Programme of Bankinter’s Innovation Foundation), Caixa Capital Risc and ICF. This is Photoslurp’s first investment, since the company was co-founded in 2014 by Ben Heinkel and Eulogi Bordas, having been completely bootstrapped to this point.

>From the beginning, Photoslurp has been enabling brands to engage with their customers while increasing their conversion rates by incorporating customers photos and videos in their websites as shoppable social proof. Growing rapidly, Photoslurp is now the market leader in Europe working with over 150 brands in 20 countries. Links of London, Folli Follie, Tally Weijl, Cluse Watches, Adolfo Domínguez and Lindblad Expeditions are some of their flagship clients.

Visual Commerce Platform
Photoslurp’s visual commerce platform allows brands to leverage User Generated Content (UGC) created by their fans and customers. The platform scans social media for photos and videos of customers with a brand’s’ products and integrates them into the brand’s online store. By directly linking this media to products, they become shoppable and lead to increased conversion rates.

As a result, brands benefit from the use of this media by creating an engaging community feeling on their website, while enriching product pages with inspiring real-life social content and boosting their e-commerce conversion rate in the process.

Photoslurp’s extensive analytics suite allows brands to measure real-time the impact of UGC in their online stores as well as provides key ROI metrics. The best performing photos or videos are identified and can then be pushed to Facebook and Instagram to create high performing advertisements. In addition, the suite helps to identify and monitor brand evangelists across social media networks, enabling brands to further engage with them.

Scaling up the business
The investment enables Photoslurp to fully grab the momentum of visual commerce, by scaling up European growth and continuously increasing the added value for their clients by enhancing their technology. “Visual commerce is becoming more important by the day”, says Eulogi Bordas, CEO of Photoslurp.”With the diminishing results of online advertising, UGC is extremely important for both building a community and engaging with your audience, reinforcing consumer trust, driving traffic and increasing your ecommerce conversion rate. Brands embracing photos and videos of customers have experienced significant ROI increases and we foresee that – in addition to fashion, beauty and travel brands – UGC will become indispensable for many brands from other industries as well.”

“The growth that Photoslurp managed to obtain without funding, the technical level of the visual commerce platform combined with its strong leadership team more than validates the investment”, explains Roger Piqué, Founding Partner of Inveready Technology Group. “We believe the importance of brand engagement and UGC will continue to surge, making it a key component in digital marketing campaigns. Therefore we are excited to be a partner in the scaling of Photoslurp as a leading company of the future.

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THE MARKETPLACE FOR TATTOOS, TATTOODO, CLOSES INVESTMENT ROUND AT $5M

Tattoodo is a Copenhagen-based startup with the aim to become a profitable marketplace for tattoos. They recently closed their investment round at DKK31M (around $4,9M). 

Tattoodo was founded in 2013 by the serial entrepreneurs Mik Thobo-Carlsen and Johan Plenge. The platform covers all aspects of tattoo culture and it even lets users request tattoos. Tattoo artists can receive immediate feedback on the sketches they submit on the platform.

Tattoodo has today 20M users every month and 346K uploaded tattoos to choose between.

Second investment in one year

The investment was provided by both new and existing shareholders, including Christian Stadil, Daniel Agger, Jan Bech Andersen, Bjarke Ingels, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and venture capital fund Nordic Eye.

In December 2016 Tattoodo closed an investment round at $8,5M to expand to the American market. The company still struggles to become profitable, with losses at DKK 17,6M ($2,8M) in 2016.

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Latvia’s Droneplan creates drones for risky industrial inspections

Industrial inspections are a risky job.  To inspect overhead power lines, for example, a person usually has to climb up a high tension wire, deal with wind and weather conditions, and on top of that, perform a detailed inspection.  Droneplan, a startup based in Latvia, is creating intelligent flight planning software to enable drones to perform autonomous inspection.

Droneplan started as a hobby for founder Viktors Bikovs, who became interested in autonomous flight systems for drones as a student.  “I made my master’s thesis about this idea, and then I moved it into the next level and started to commercialize it,” he explains. The company was officially founded in June 2016, and since then the team of 5 has reached a piloting stage and begun doing inspections for initial customers.

Droneplan now consists of a 3-part software:  Intelligent flight planning software, comprehensive technology enables companies to plan, create, and analyze all forms of aerial data within an enterprise workflow

After an inspection, of for example, a power line is performed, the data is uploaded into the cloud, and machine learning algorithms help the user generate reports about any issues.

“Traditional inspections take about 3 hours, but in our case we can do a full inspection in around 4 minutes,” says Viktors.

Droneplan also reduces CO2 emissions, as many inspections traditionally must use expensive equipment like helicopters.  “In comparison to traditional equipment, we are a green inspection service,” says Viktors.

Droneplan plans to expand into the Norway and Finland, as well as diversify their products with applications especially for wind farms and telecommunication towers.  They recently showcased their products in Norway at Oslo Innovation Week, one of the most important startup events in the Nordics.

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Survey: Exits by Finnish BA’s are profitable, but the risks are high

A new study on the profitability of angel investing, made by the Finnish Business Angel Network (FiBAN) together with Ruben Moring (Åbo Akademi University), is the first broad study on the national angel activity in Finland.  This is the largest study made about the angel exits in the Nordics.

By Claes Mikko Nilsen

For professional angel investors, the role of exits is vital and maintains interest towards startup investing. The study covered 126 business angel exits measuring the Internal Rate of Return (IRR) that observes the profitability of the whole investment lifecycle. The key results of the study show that the pooled IRR is 25% and overall realization multiple is 3.75. This shows that the IRR of the exits of professional business angels in Finland is excellent and in line with international studies. However, more than a half (54%) of the exits that were reported during the survey were unprofitable. Also these results are in line with the general risk level of the business angels.

The survey included only one IPO and no unicorn exits. Therefore, the results show that also smaller exits can be quite successful. The average holding period in Finland was 5,5 years, which is longer compared to the international level. Finnish business angels have also been very active with their portfolio companies; on average they have used 28 hours in a month for a company.

“This survey is an excellent initiative to raise understanding on the profitability on angel investing, and compare the activity internationally. By these means, the results seem excellent. Even if an entrepreneur is not expected to actively think of the exit possibilities, for many investors this is a matter that needs to be planned.” comments Torsti Tenhunen, Chairman of FiBAN, in a press release.

Investors with exits behind them bring positive returns

Even though the returns have been excellent it’s important to notice the high risk of angel investing. Investors’ experience and activity in the startup scene avails the probability of making positive exits.

“It’s been interesting to compare the results of the survey to my own exits. I can see that gaining more experience in angel investing, and having wider network covering the startup ecosystem really supports my possibilities towards positive exits. In my experience, many investors that have made exits will do new startup investments.” says Riku Asikainen, Vice Chairman of European Business Angels Network (EBAN).

FiBAN will continue making and developing IRR survey also in the future, aiming to make Finland one of the leading countries comparing startup data to business angel activities.

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A hands-free mobile ticketing solution is being publicly tested in Estonia

Estonian travel tech company Turnit is starting a public beta test for its hands-free mobile ticketing solution Turnit BiBo, which enables seamless public transportation usage for the passengers. The test is conducted in the city of Tartu, Estonia under the brand Jiffi and is planned to launch at the beginning of 2018.

The road to hands-free mobile ticketing started in 2015, when the founder of Turnit, Andres Osula, had an idea to make the public transport paperless and as convenient as possible. Enter Turnit BiBo, a mobile ticketing solution for urban and suburban mass transport systems. It started as a startup called Jiffi, which won Ajujaht 2015, the biggest startup contest in Estonia. On the 1st of October 2017, Jiffi moved under one company and brand Turnit. Thus Turnit Bibo was born. The name Jiffi will remain in Tartu as the name of the application the passengers will use.

Turnit BiBo as a platform uses custom-made, secure Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons and micro-locating technology to detect accurately when smartphone-equipped passengers enter and exit the transport vehicle. It detects when the passenger enters and exits the vehicle meanwhile taking care of the payment automatically. The passenger doesn’t even have to take their phone out of the pocket. „The validation works seamlessly without any user action needed. This results in superior user experience for the passenger,“ explains Osula.

But the seamless experience for the passenger is only the first half of the solution. The CEO of Turnit, Andres Birnbaum, says that in addition to ticketing, Turnit BiBo functions as a source of information. „It provides highly valuable check-in and check-out data that is crucial for efficient route planning, multimodal transfer management and flexible pricing based on customers’ actual needs,“ adds Birnbaum.

Currently, Turnit BiBo is being piloted in the city of Tartu, Estonia, where the initial phase of closed group testing was successful. By the end of the first test, there were 2840 trips done with Jiffi in Tartu.  The next step towards commercial launch is the public beta testing that began November 13It involves around 2000 testers, who are actively testing the system until the end of 2017. „The goal of this next stage is to collect more data from a bigger user group, because there are many different types of phone models that we need to test. A bigger test group brings out the specific needs and problems of different phone models that we can solve before the official launch. Making the system as reliable as possible for every user,“ said Birnbaum.

Turnit BiBo is planned to launch in Tartu at the beginning of 2018.

Turnit is a travel tech company with more than 20 years of industry experience. They provide mission-critical software technology and consultation to passenger transport industry. Company’s Turnit Ride platform is targeted for operators who require complex logistics management, dynamic pricing, and flexible responsiveness to the market situation, maximizing their revenue while streamlining their business processes. The platform, delivered as full service, processes around 8 million seat reservations annually and its services are used by over 40 operators across the world, including industry leaders like Transdev and Nettbuss. Their second product, Turnit BiBo, enables hands-free ticketing and crucial data collection in urban public transportation. Company headquarters with 50 employees is located in the digitally driven country of Estonia.

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