Artem Umanets in the interview with Raadio 4: “Nowadays, on the internet, you can buy anything, from groceries to a new car or apartment.”

In the time of the pandemic, more and more shopping occurs online. Artem Umanets, the board member of RIA.Com Marketplaces, answers the questions of the radio host Julia Lukashenkina in the interview with Raadio 4. What do people order from the internet? Is it possible to buy a car or real estate online? How to check if you can trust a seller and what to do if your goods have not arrived?

What do people buy?

Nowadays, you can buy anything literally from the internet. Since the beginning of the outbreak, a lot of companies that did not offer delivery, have reviewed their approach. They have started to promote their business online. And a lot of them succeeded. So on the internet, anything is for sale, from groceries to vehicles.

What else, apart from groceries? Can you buy such a significant thing as a car or an apartment?

The purchase of a car or real estate is a more complicated question. These days, when people have to stay in quarantine and limit social interaction, we need a different approach.  And our company was prepared. For instance, at our platform, which is the #6 automotive website in the world, we have implemented 16 types of vehicle checks. A person interested in a purchase of one or another used car has to verify the technical condition of a vehicle and check documents. Our technologies allow you to choose a car without leaving home and to minimize contact with others. Our inspectors do all the routine work. The same goes for our real estate platform, which is the nationally recognized brand in huge Ukraine. Thanks to the technology of 360° panoramic images, a person can virtually visit chosen real estate. Our inspectors, who perform filming, also check the documents for the apartment. As a result, a person receives maximum useful information without leaving home. In other words, we remove unnecessary steps for a client, so there is only one step left to sign a document for the purchase of a car or real estate.

Probably not every seller does this. How to understand that we use a trusted company that will guarantee secure shopping?

You should choose verified online-markets. For example, on Amazon, eBay, or Aliexpress, you can buy whatever you need. You should be careful with those shops that have recently been established and have a minimum range of goods. Another matter of concern should be visibly poor structure and quality of the online shop, also, is the case of suspiciously low prices. But if a website has a professional design, a wide range of goods, and client support, this is a good indicator. Money return from such e-stores should not be a problem. If you have any concerns about the particular store, you can always search for feedback on the internet.

You mentioned several platforms. These platforms work on the principle that you do not transfer money straight to a seller. But first to the platform that guarantees money return in case if your order has not arrived.

Yes. Most of the online stores work this way. This system protects both sellers and buyers. It is a plus of wide-known platforms.

What if you have ordered something, but your delivery delays? What does your experience show, is it a cause for concern?

As things currently stand, you should have patience and acknowledge the situation in the world. Lots of logistic companies are temporarily reducing their workforces. Naturally, it affects the timely delivery. If you are in a hurry with a purchase, it is advisable to look for it on the domestic market or, otherwise, postpone it.

What if you have not received your order after all? How do you make a complaint? In Estonia, it is more or less understandable. But if the purchase comes from abroad?

If you are shopping with a big company, you can contact the client support. Most companies provide excellent customer services, and you won’t have to wait long for help. In any case, if you pay using a bank card, you can always dispute a transaction with your bank. For example, at, we rapidly react to complaints regarding car sellers. Thanks to that, our customers trust us. This way, we build the internet of trust. We are confident that this is the future. Marketplaces OÜ released operational and financial results for Qt1 2020

The first quarter of the 2020 financial year was still another record high quarter for Marketplaces OÜ and its subsidiaries (the Group):

  • Total unaudited revenue for the quarter increased to EUR 3,789 thousand (+77% YoY and +12% QoQ)
  • Qt1’20 was a second quarter in a row with over EUR 3 million in revenue
  • Unaudited EBITDA for the first quarter of the 2020 was EUR 1,989 thousand (+92% YoY and +2% QoQ)
  • Qt1’20 was a fifth quarter in a row with over EUR 1 million in EBITDA
  • Total visits (sessions) reached almost 314 million (28% YoY, 5% QoQ)
  • Limited effect of COVID-19. The quarantine period has affected only 2 weeks within the quarter

Detailed Qt1’20 report is available in Reports and presentations. Marketplaces operates the largest Ukrainian online automotive marketplace (, online real estate marketplace (, general classified in Ukraine, general classifieds in Belarus and in Baltics. Marketplaces OÜ has received the A-rating and the “Strongest in Estonia 2015-2019” title

The international credit information company AS Creditinfo Eesti has issued Marketplaces the “Strongest in Estonia 2015-2019” certificate.

The Creditinfo rating is an assessment of companies based on 400 different economic, fiscal, and financial indicators. Creditinfo has issued Strongest in Estonia certificate to successful Estonian companies since 2006. According to the Creditinfo rating, the companies with A-rating are the least likely to fail. The chance of bankruptcy of such companies is close to zero. In last years the recipients of the award were companies like EuroPark, Hydroscand, Wavecom, and others.

In February of 2020, Marketplaces OÜ also received the award. The company is known thanks to its car retail online-platform ( is #6 world’s automotive website) and real estate platform ( is a nationally recognized brand in Ukraine). The credit rating is calculated on the basis of economic data from 2014-2018.

“ Marketplaces OÜ has maintained a constantly high A-group credit rating throughout the past five financial years. That is evidence of contribution to Estonia’s economy and fair business practices. A high rating is an indication of excellence: only 4,3% of Estonian companies can claim a constantly high rating”, says the document signed by the AS Creditinfo board member Ege Metsandi.

The board member of Marketplaces OÜ Artem Umanets says, in turn, that the award did not come as a surprise.

“It is a great pleasure to receive this award from the Creditinfo. It means that our clients can rest assured that we can fulfill our financial responsibilities. It is another proof that we are a trustworthy partner,” says Artem Umanets.

It is worth mentioning that Marketplaces have made their way to the Gazelle TOP-2020, showing good revenue and income results in 2018. According to financial analysts, the company will make it to the Gazelle TOP rating also in the next year. Marketplaces: Audited annual report 2019

On 3rd March 2020 the BDO Eesti AS signed the annual consolidated report for 2019.

The results of 2019 is a record high for Marketplaces in terms of all key financial metrics: revenues, EBITDA, net profit, and distributed dividends. Marketplaces audited consolidated annual report for 2019 is made available at e-Business Register and on investors’ account on corporate website

BDO Eesti AS have been delivering high-quality audit, business & financial advisory, and business support services in Estonia since 1991. BDO Eesti AS has prepared for Marketplaces annual consolidated report for 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016. Marketplaces OÜ released operational and financial results for Qt4 2019

The fourth quarter of 2019 financial year was another all-time high in financial terms and operational metrics:

  • Revenue increased to EUR 3,369 thousand (+77% YoY and +16% QoQ). EBITDA increased EUR 1,959 thousand (+100% YoY and +11% QoQ)
  • Total visits (sessions) reached almost 300 million in Qt4’19 (37% YoY, 9% QoQ), share of mobile is over 85%
  • Significant macro improvements — CPI of 4.1% YoY in December’19 (6 year low level) archived central bank’s mid term target under inflation targeting policy

Detailed Qt4’19 report is available in Reports and presentations. Marketplaces operates the largest Ukrainian online automotive marketplace (, online real estate marketplace (, general classified in Ukraine, general classifieds in Belarus and in Baltics.

Gazelle Congress 2020: who made their way to the TOP 10 of fastest-growing companies?

Gazelle Congress 2020: who made their way to the TOP 10 of fastest-growing companies?

On the 13th of February, the city of Tallinn held the annual event Gazelle Congress, where top-managers and company owners shared the stories of success. Also, the organizers announced the list of the fastest-growing companies in Estonia. Who made their way to the TOP 10?

Gazelle is a company whose revenue and income saw at least 50% growth. Around 1000 companies, whose profits doubled, tripled, or even grew by tenfold throughout the previous year, enter the list every year. But overall, there are only about 1% of Estonian companies in the Gazelle TOP.

Gazelle TOP 10 in the year 2020:

1. NV Trade OÜ 

Main activity: 

The sale of fuels, ores, metals, and industrial chemicals 

Revenue in the year 2018:1 862 886

Operating income (EBIT) in the year 2018: 382 292

2. Smartech Shop OÜ

Main activity: 

Retail sale of computers, peripheral units, and software in specialized stores

Revenue in the year 2018: 964 390

Operating income (EBIT) in the year 2018: 122 740

3. Imex Oil Trade OÜ

Main activity: 

The sale of fuels, ores, metals, and industrial chemicals. 

Revenue in the year 2018: 5 134 283

Operating income (EBIT) in the year 2018: 399 138

4. Tristore OÜ

Main activity: 

Operation of sports facilities and tour operator activities

Revenue in the year 2018: 876 971 

Operating income (EBIT) in the year 2018: 49 519

5. BHH Baltic OÜ

Main activity: 

Wholesale of wood and construction materials

Revenue in the year 2018: 1 765 793 

Operating income (EBIT) in the year 2018: 74 143

6.  Tandem Kaubandus OÜ

Main activity: 

Activities of head offices, wholesale of wood, construction materials and sanitary equipment, constructional designing, and tax consultancy. 

Revenue in the year 2018: 2 228 290

Operating income (EBIT) in the year 2018: 611 294

7. Energiatehnika OÜ

Main activity: 

Wholesale of electrical material and their requisites and electrical machines, inc cables

Revenue in the year 2018: 2 656 605

Operating income (EBIT) in the year 2018: 413 219

8. Roteh Grupp OÜ

Main activity: 

Construction of residential and non-residential buildings

Revenue in the year 2018: 3 017 810

Operating income (EBIT) in the year 2018: 479 549

9. Smartvent Group OÜ

Main activity: 

Installation of heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment

Revenue in the year 2018: 1 057 457

Operating income (EBIT) in the year 2018: 72 377

10. Pühaste Pruulikoda OÜ

Main activity:

Manufacture of beer

Revenue in the year 2018: 701 067

Operating income (EBIT) in the year 2018: 167 661

Estonian IT-company Marketplaces, which has grown over 50% as a result of a successful business in Ukraine, also was a nominee for the Gazelle TOP. The company is known thanks to its projects (one of the world’s TOP 6 car-selling websites) and (real estate website, which received the well-known brand award in Ukraine). The company’s board member Artem Umanets tells that in the following years, the IT-sector will have a real breakthrough in Estonia.

“Nowadays, IT-sector generates more than 15% percent of Estonia’s GDP. Thousands of IT specialists have moved to our country in the last few years. Within a few years, small IT-companies will reach a new, significant level. I believe that in the year 2025, around one-third of companies in the Gazelle TOP will be from IT-sector”, tells Artem Umanets “We can take our company as an example. It saw a 50% growth throughout the last year, and our analysts predict that this growth will also continue in the following years. Therefore, we plan to commit the IPO, but in the near term, we will enter the Nasdaq First North market at the Tallinn Stock Exchange. Marketplaces at the Gazelle Congress 2020

Katarina Holm about the Investment Club and investing for beginners

There was an annual Investment Conference “Investor Toomas” in Tallinn. The conference gathered over 600 participants. Investors were talking about last year’s profit, the return of investment, crowdfunding, and other topics. Specialists from Estonian company Marketplaces also participated as sponsors and spoke with Tallinn Investment Club founder about the background for creating such a club.

Katarina Holm is the founder of the Tallinn Investment Club. She knows everything about the successes and failures of those investing money in one or another business.

How did you get the idea of founding an investment club?

Our club has a narrow focus. Estonian speaking population can choose amongst many clubs, even based on their members’ sex. For Russian speakers, there was no such club existing. We have decided to fill a niche.

Was it planned as a commercial enterprise, or was it based on enthusiasm?

In Estonia, we do most of the things based on enthusiasm only for the development of society. There are people in Estonia who speak no Estonian nor English. They are interested in investing but do not participate in events and have limited knowledge of the topic. We want to help them to expand the vision. It, in particular, considers people who have just moved to Estonia from abroad.

There were more than 600 participants at the conference. Is that a lot?

This conference is the most significant investment conference in Estonia. In last year more than 500 investors participated also.

Do all participants engage in investing regularly, or is it mostly educational project?

The conference likewise is an educational project. The number of participants grows every year, and we should consider that there is some amount of beginner investors who have just entered the investment market. But also, there are some familiar faces every year. Experienced investors who have been engaged in investing for many years are the core of the conference. But there are always new ones also.

Were there any events, i.e., pension reform, which made people engage in investing themselves, without trusting their money to banks or other establishments?

Those people who want to think for themselves will always be interested in trying something on their own. And, for instance, the pension reform could be a positive step towards people learning to invest the money themselves. On the other hand, there will be fraudsters who will try to get into this money.

What would you advise to beginners? What one has to pay attention to, some specific market or financial indicators?

Beginners should invest in those things that they understand. If you do not understand biotechnology, you should not invest in this sector. Better to try the retail industry. People always go to the store and buy some goods.

How to choose the right company?

Usually, we consider known companies. These companies attract more public attention and therefore are transparent.

Artem Umanets, the board member of Marketplaces, in turn, speaks that such conferences allow taking a different on investments.

Thanks to such conferences, private investors can look at a business from different angles, learn about hidden risks. Perhaps some presentations have inspired people or even can save from future failures. Says Artem Umanets. Also, I should note that IT-sector has been showing constant growth in the last few years. Already today, it brings over 15% of Estonian GDP, and growth is inevitable. Thanks to e-Residency only, the Estonian budget gets millions of euros of tax money from IT companies. Unfortunately, private investors are very conservative considering the high-tech sector and invest money into businesses, which were popular 20 years ago. For instance, the profit of our company has been growing by 50% every year. Soon we are ready to enter the stock market. But are investors willing? We will see very soon.

Katarina Holm, the founder of Tallinn Investment Club, is talking to experts from Marketplaces

TOP 10 startups that impressed us at sTARTUp Day 2020

TOP 10 startups that impressed us at sTARTUp Day 2020

This year the sTARTUp Day 2020 event in Tartu gathered hundreds or smart and young people who were telling visitors about their developments and looking for funding. Out of hundreds of applications, the organizers filtered out 33 startups that gave a few-minute-long presentation in front of the jury. Here are the experts from the Marketplaces telling us about 10 most exciting projects.

“Estonian startups are second to none of the startups that we saw at the Web Summit in Lisbon at the end of 2019. These unique developments impact the automobile market, so healthcare and business sectors. Many startups are dedicated to making everyday lives of Estonians easier,” says a member of the Management Board of Marketplaces Artem Umanets. “Naturally, for us, as the founder of the website (one of the top six in the world), the spirit of DriveX startup was particularly close to our heart. It will help car rental services to simplify checks of their cars.”   

1. DriveX

Rauno Sigur
Rauno Sigur

DriveX – service for online inspection of cars after their return from rent. The idea of the project is easy to understand for anyone who has ever rented a car – it allows to verify the car’s condition before and after its use by the customer with the help of photographs. The technology must allow performing an online inspection of the car using an analysis of photographs. Fuel level, mileage, and various malfunctions will also be taken into account. If there is something wrong with the car, the system will automatically inform the owner or the car rental company. 

According to the founder of the project Rauno Sigur, this service will interest first and foremost B2B customers, i.e. car rental services, insurance companies, etc. The mission of the project is to add transparency to the car rental industry through the digitalization of all processes. 

2. Entify

Julia Ront
Julia Ront

Entify – service for verification of customers who are legal entities. The startup will allow automating the process of checks of potential contract partners with respect to numerous parameters. The result of the check is a detailed report with a rating score of reliability of the contract partner. 

According to co-founder Julia Ront, this service allows finding information about customers and partners from any location in the world with just a few clicks. Their companies can be checked with regard to money laundering and fraud. 

This startup is extremely relevant to today’s financial sector in the European Union. The European Union is introducing more and more regulations in the field of Anti Money Laundering (AML) or Know Your Customer (KYC), and automation of these processes is absolutely necessary. Any business must be ready for a situation where such regulations will be applicable not only to companies operating in the financial sector (banks, insurance companies, etc.), but also in other business sectors.

3. Wastefox

Joonatan Oras
Joonatan Oras

Wastefox – developer and producer of home stations for recycling of organic waste into fertilizers. 

The guys behind this startup have created one of the first composters that allow to turn food waste into fertilizers. As the owner of the startup Joonatan Oras points out, it can be done “with visible speed and elegance”. Such a product is first and foremost necessary for owners of private houses because it will let them turn recycled waste into fertilizers for the garden.

The mission of the startup is to take care of the environment through recycling of organic waste at the spot without its removal. Sorting of biological waste prevents it from becoming the source of CO2 emissions. Also, the biobox will allow reducing the frequency of waste removal.


Bouya Maalainine
Bouya Maalainine

ISACHAMP – two projects in one. First of all, this is a financial scoring service for developing countries that is based on social activities, analysis of behavior and other metrics that are not traditional for the financial sector. Second, this service provides loans for studies. Unlike a classic bank loan, the borrower returns not body and interest, but a part of his or her future salary. 

The owner of the startup Bouya Maalainine is sure that the more people earn, the better it is for our society. This is why customers pay to the startup a percentage of their income for a fixed period of time. But there is one special feature here. The customer does not pay when his or her income is low.

5. Vigo

Janis Slezins
Janis Slezins

Vigo – an online service for recovery from a stroke. The startup aims to reach an obvious and important goal – to digitalize best existing practices of rehabilitation after a stroke. It is important to remember, that other than physical damage that must be minimized in the hospital, another critical element of recovery is work on emotional damage. This online service aims to help people with that.

6. Lumebot

Kaspar Kikerpill
Kaspar Kikerpill

Lumebot – developer of industrial robots for cleaning of streets. The mission of the company is to replace big municipal machines (first and foremost tractors) with small (up to 500 kg) robots that will be able to clean streets from snow in winter and from everything else, from leaves to rubbish, during all other seasons. 

The founder of the startup Kaspar Kikerpill says that today operation of a robot still requires a remote operator, however, in future this function will also be automated.

7. – a startup in the field of power supply. The company has set a very ambitious goal – to change the traditional system of balancing of production and consumption of electric power in the network that was initially developed for the provision of power based on fossil sources of energy. The increase of the share of renewable sources of energy in the power balance leads to the need to change distribution systems. The team is sure that this goal can be achieved using the involvement of households and the development of a P2P network.

8. ColdPlasmaTech

Carsten Mahrenholz
Carsten Mahrenholz

ColdPlasmaTech – a German medical startup. The mission of the startup is to bring futuristic medical technologies from the Star Trek series into real life. 

As the owner of the startup Carsten Mahrenholz tells us, the cold plasma technology allows doing that already today, treating wounds and deep cuts. Such a medical device is already being developed by the Coldplasmatech team together with experts from the leading European plasma technology institute (INP). It will allow treating poorly healing wounds. In future, the comprehensive cold plasma technology will be available to the general public as a bandage material. 

9. Speakly

Speakly – a startup in the field of online education. The team of the startup implements a scientific approach to study of foreign languages – instead of learning words by heart it focuses on learning sentences and word constructions which are most commonly used in everyday life.

As the developers say, Speakly will help the user to learn 4000 most frequently used words in the order of their relevance. Thanks to this the level of foreign language skills will increase faster.

10. Promoty

Marelle Ellen
Marelle Ellen

Promoty – a marketplace for influencers and brands. This service will allow brands to maximize the efficiency of advertising campaigns in social media, and to establish order in the fast-growing influence marketing market (by reducing time and costs, author’s note). 

As Marelle Ellen of Promoty says, the service will allow any company to find and establish cooperation with influential people who are fans of a brand, and to honestly recommend it to its subscribers in social media.

In conclusion, Artem Umanets of Marketplaces said: “I would like to emphasize the highest quality of the organization of all events within the framework of sTARTUp Day 2020. From our point of view, the level was higher than the one of Web Summit”.

Miks Tallinna hooned kaotavad soojust? Artjom Umanets ETV+ eetris: hoonete tehnokontrollist termokaameraga

Miks Tallinna hooned kaotavad soojust? Artjom Umanets ETV+ eetris: hoonete tehnokontrollist termokaameraga

Eesti ettevõtte Marketplaces’i asjatundjad käisid hiljuti termopildistamas Tallinna hooneid. Termokaamera objektiivi sattusid mitmed tuntud ehitised: Stenbocki majast Superministeeriumini. ETV+ hommikuprogrammis kõneleb katsest ettevõtte juhatuse liige Artjom Umanets. Miks Tallinna tuntud hooned kaotavad kõige rohkem soojust? 

– – Kuidas tuli teil mõte selline katse läbi viia ja jalutada mööda Tallinna linna koos termokaameraga?

– – Soojuseenergia kokkuhoid ja soojuskadu on väga päevakajaline teema igal pool maailmas. Teeme tihedat koostööd Ukraina kinnisvaraarendajatega, sest meil on üks suurimaid kinnisvara projekte ligi 45-miljonilise elanikkonnaga riigis: Meile pakkus huvi viia läbi sarnane uuring ka kodulinnas Tallinnas. 

Saatejuht Andrei Titov näitab Stenbocki maja pilti, mis on tehtud termokaameraga. 

– – Mida võib öelda sellest hoonest, mis on ehitatud juba 1792. aastal? 

– – See hoone on rohkem kui 200 aastat vana. Kontrolli käigus nägime, et hoone kaotab soojust põhiliselt aknaavade, katuse ja, ei ole välistatud, et ka vahelae kaudu. 

– Aga kui võib küsida, miks see maja laseb sooja läbi? Millest see sõltub? Kas ehitusmaterjalidest, millest maja on ehitatud? 

– Kahtlemata sõltub väga palju ehitusmaterjalidest. Kuid tähtis on ka ehitustehnoloogia. Muide, ka praegu on üpris palju kaasaegseid hooneid, mille soojuskadu on tohutult suur. 

Järgmisena näitab saatejuht pilti hotellist „Telegraaf“. 

– Hotell „Telegraaf“ tähistas just hoone 141. sünnipäeva. Kui suur soojuskadu on siin? 

– Siin tekib samuti põhiline kadu läbi akende. Kuid nähtavasti on siin kvaliteetne sise- ja välisviimistlus. Seinad hoiavad sooja ja kadu on minimaalne. Sama ei saa öelda naabruses olevatest hoonetest. 

Saatejuht Andrei Titov küsib ka akende kohta. 

– Tänapäeval on moes maast laeni aknad. Kuid aknaid peetakse kõige suuremaks soojuskao põhjuseks. Kas see on tõsi? 

– On küll. Aga peab arvestama sellega, et on olemas energiasäästlikuid aknaid, mis tagavad nii piisava valguse läbilaskmise kui ka minimaalse soojuskao. 

Ekraanile tuleb pilt Superministeeriumist, mis sai valmis alles 2017. aastal. 

– Siin me näeme, et soojuskadu on vastuvõetaval tasemel. Kuigi seda on ikkagi märgata tänu klaasist ehitatud välisseintele. Sellele vaatamata aitab hoone energiasäästlikkus säästa sadu tuhandeid eurosid aastas. 

Järgmine hoone ekraani peal on „Radisson“ hotell. 

– On näha, et hoone hoiab soojust küllalt hästi. Kollast värvi, mis tähendab soojuskadu peaaegu ei ole. Kas see on nii?

– Jah. Põhiline soojuskadu tuleb hotelli fuajee ja trepikäikude kaudu. Samas hoiavad hotellitoad sooja väga hästi. Sama ei saa öelda hotelliga külgnevate hoonete kohta. 

– – Miks suutis hotell teie arvamusel jõuda nii minimaalse soojuskao tasemeni? 

– Ma arvan, et peamine põhjus on ilmtingimata ehitustehnoloogia, ehitusmaterjalide ja viimistluse kvaliteet. 

Saatejuht Jelena Solomina küsib, mida peaksid teadma korteriomanikud. 

– Me räägime nüüd Tallinna kõige tihedamini asustatud linnaosadest, kus inimesed elavad enamasti paneelmajades. Kui ma tahaksin oma korterit soojustada, kas ma pean seda tegema seda omaette või on hoopis mõistlikum soojustada tervet maja? 

– Enamikel juhtudel on parem võtta terviklik lahendus, kuid siin mängib rolli ka naabrite nõusolek maksta selle eest. 

– – Paljud inimesed, kes elavad soojustatud paneelmajades räägivad sellest, et kodus ei ole õhku. Kas põhjuseks on vigane ehitustehnoloogia või sellist nähtust näeb igal pool paneelmajades? 

– See on eelkõige ehitustehnoloogia viga. Miks? Maja soojustamist on vaja vaadelda tervikuna. Sama tähtsad on nii soojusisolatsioon kui ka küte ja ventilatsioon. Majas võib olla hea soojusisolatsioon, kuid puudub korralik ventilatsioon, siis jääb niiskus majja sisse. Soovitaksin alustada akende vahetamisest, kui seda on vaja, ja siis jätkata seinte soojustamisega.

Entrepreneur about the conference “Äriplaan 2020”: the business is growing, but there is a problem with banks

Entrepreneur about the conference “Äriplaan 2020”: the business is growing, but there is a problem with banks

The post was published in on 26th of September, 2019

On the 25th of September, the City of Tallinn held the largest business-conference, “Äriplaan 2020”, where owners of companies shared stories of their success and plans for the future. The board member of Estonian company Marketplaces Artem Umanets, who moved to Estonia from Ukraine, tells about what was impressive at the conference, and why, in his opinion, entrepreneurs underestimate Ukraine and what problems the business has nowadays.

The board member of Estonian company Marketplaces Artem Umanets
The board member of Estonian company Marketplaces Artem Umanets

Briefly about the conference

The conference has gathered a lot of interesting people who know firsthand how to make, invest, and even lose money. I agree with the owner of the Kaamos Group Kaido Jõeleht that entrepreneurs are the architects in the business world. Their role might seem insignificant from the outside, but their decisions are of fundamental significance. The most critical function of an entrepreneur is to gather a team of like-minded people, precisely what Kaido did. We try to follow the same path.

We should speak about the global focus. It is crucial to look for opportunities in export-oriented goods and services. This point was made by a few entrepreneurs (incl. Kaido Jõeleht, the head of Skeleton Technologies Taavi Madiberk, the owner of Estiko Grupp Neinar Seli, the founder of Funderbeam Kaidi Ruusalepp, the owner of Skinest Group Oleg Osinovski). In the opinion of the business representatives, Estonia is too small a country to limit yourself with the domestic market. Osinovski is sure that the best way of expanding a business is to start with the nearest and well-understood markets, e.g., Latvia and Lithuania.

It surprises me that a lot of people conduct business in Belarus, but ignore Ukraine as a new source for making money. Well, they should.

Ukraine as an investment destination

There are two directions for business development in Ukraine.

The first is the market for agricultural land. There are all preconditions to consider it the most extensive reform in Ukraine in the last 25 years. This country is already a big player in the global export market for grain and vegetable oil. All of this has been achieved on the leased land. It is hard to imagine what results could be performed on the land in the property of agricultural companies.

The second is the IT sector. The largest Estonian companies have already opened the development offices in Ukraine: TransferWise already in the year 2011, Bolt in the summer of 2019. Marketplaces also has the research and development office there. And judging by our projects (,, we can tell that Ukrainians are one of the best IT specialists in the world. And for the success of these projects, we owe it to the teamwork in this country.

What problems does the business have?

We can tell that the business in Estonia feels comfortable. There is a workforce. Not overabundance, but there is enough to choose from. But there is still one problem, the banks. There were questions raised at the conference considering the financial sector. In connection with the withdrawal of a few foreign banks from Estonia, the competition has disappeared. Now the decision to give a loan to a business or not can take up to even a month.

Local banks have become more cautious, and this will result in the slowing of international payments. All of that will affect entrepreneurs, as well.