Skype – 2.6 bil $ web success made in Estonia

There is no doubt that Skype has managed to make the world a better place. It has infinitely simplified the way we communicate internationally. Nevertheless, very few people know that the foundation of Skype, the software that allows users to make free calls over the internet, has been called by the worldwide tech press ”a real baltic success story”.

Baltic development made Skype happen

The application software Skype was initially developed by Estonian developers Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu and Jaan Tallinn, the same developers that have started the peer-to-peer file sharing software Kazaa. Jaan Tallinn, the main engineer behind Skype, is now a well known worldwide specialist in P2P technologies and is the only one of the 3 initial developers which is still around the company, performing various tech tasks.

Even though the company is based in Luxembourg and most of the management and marketing jobs are done in London, the main development center for Skype is in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, and this is where over 80% of the Skype employees work. Due to this successful team of web developers, Estonia is now the country, which could be called the homeland of 2 technological super achievements Skype and Kazaa. Not to mention that Hotmail is another great Estonian development success.

The sky is the limit for Skype

Skype Limited, the company that operates Skype, was founded in 2003 by the Swedish entrepreneur Niklas Zennstrom and the Danish entrepreneur Janus Friis. The name of Skype comes from the initial idea of „sky peer-to-peer”. The 2 founders have decided to hire the same successful Estonian developers that made Kazaa possible for the development of the new Skype.

eBay acquired Skype Limited in September 2005 for 2.1 billion € (2.6 billion $) and later on, during november 2009 decided to sell a majority stake of 70% to a consortium comprising Silver Lake Partners, CPPIB, Andreessen Horowitz, and the original founders.

Skype recently reached 500 million registered users worldwide and the sky seems to be the limit for the plans that Skype owners have for their business.

From Skype to Erply

For Estonia, Skype’s international success has meant more than just 3 happy Estonian engineers who earned worldwide fame. It has also meant a big push to start new successful tech startups, looking more actively at international markets, something that has been very limited until now. A recent Estonian success, Erply, won the 2009 Seedcamp and is already profitable, proves that we will be hearing more and more great things about Estonian web startups.

10 books for online entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are all about experimenting, trying out crazy new things and learning from experience rather than from theory. Just like Oscar Wilde said “Experience is the name we give to our mistakes“. Nevertheless, it can sometimes be a good idea to learn from others’ mistakes as well. And what better idea than reading books sharing experiences of successful or less successful entrepreneurs?

Sweat equity – what’s it worth?

As an entrepreneur or a wanna-be founder you probably know that one of the main challenges you will need to face in the early stages is how to allocate equity between co-founders and their very different types of contributions. A difficult task, indeed, but obviously not an impossible one.

Sink or swim? 5 men in a start-up boat

Those of you who have ever taken part in or ever considered taking part in a Seecamp or MiniSeedcamp competition have probably noticed that the organisers advise to have at least 3 and no more than 5 members in the team. Where does this magic number come from? Is 5 a meaningful number in a start-up?

A winning speech for your elevator pitch

If you are an entrepreneur or a wanna-be start-up founder, you’ve probably heard that the first step in order to raise money for your start-up is to have a sexy elevator pitch. Are you ready to roll out your successful speech?

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Hello world!

We are here to support tech entrepreneurs on their way to success! We will be talking about founding a start-up, raising money, team building, strategy & marketing, VC and business angels partnerships and, of course, the legal aspects of a start-up business. Stay tuned and… web on!