Honoring Estonia’s Role in Glia’s Success and the Significance of this Recognition to our Teams on Both Sides of the Atlantic
We are honored to announce that Glia has been inducted into the Estonian Startup Wall of Fame. The company now joins a strong lineup of Estonian success stories, becoming the first startup with a non-European founding team to earn a spot on the wall.
The #EstonianMafia Wall of Fame (housed in Lift99) celebrates the biggest success stories that emerge from this close-knit community. It began when a group of “first-wave” Estonian entrepreneurs who found their success set out to build a community and support system for other startups in Estonia. Initially they grew the local startup scene through Garage48, a hackathon organizer. Eventually, Lift99 spun off as a coworking community and the heart of the country’s tech and startup ecosystem, founded and supported by entrepreneurs from the likes of Skype, Bolt, Pipedrive, and GungHo.
While the display is simple, what it stands for is remarkable—a startup community enabled by one of the world’s most forward-thinking and digitally advanced nations that has been independent for only thirty years.
Glia has been embedded in Estonia’s startup community since we began developing our Digital Customer Service software in the Southern Estonian university town of Tartu in 2012. While CEO Dan Michaeli and COO Justin DiPietro work from the New York City office, CTO Carlos Paniagua has called Estonia home for over a decade. As a Tartu University graduate, he knew that Estonia’s strong startup community and world-class engineers would provide a rich foundation for building Glia’s vision.
“Once we secured angel funding, the priority was getting engineers on board to start building. We asked ourselves, who were the best engineers we knew?” he recalls. “I immediately thought of a few guys from Estonia, who I worked with during my studies. Throughout this journey, many people have been with us from the beginning. It’s great to see our team and the company growing and developing together in Estonia and globally.”
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes Estonia and its tech community so special, but one thing is unquestionable—it’s one of the world’s most prolific startup unicorn breeding grounds. With seven unicorns (startups with valuations of over 1 billion) under its belt, this tiny Northern European country has the world’s highest number of unicorns per capita.
Our 150% revenue growth last year and a total of $107M raised to date met (and significantly exceeded) the Wall of Fame’s qualifying criteria, placing us next to unicorns with globally recognizable brands like Wise (formerly TransferWise), Bolt, and Pipedrive.
It’s been an honor growing alongside these and many other outstanding names in this nation of trailblazers. We believe that having our roots deep in the fertile soil of Estonia’s startup scene has helped us build the strongest possible foundation for our products and teams.
Our connection to Estonia is visible every day: More than half of our global employees are in Estonia today, including our world-class engineering organization that drives our success. We can also lay claim to a slightly tongue-twisting title: Estonia’s best-funded tech startup that’s not founded by Estonians (according to this crowdsourced database). Meeting rooms at our HQ in New York are named after Estonian cities, and Estonian history lessons help our diverse teams learn more about the small country that sparked Glia’s success.
Glia was raised in Estonia and it’s where we’ll continue to operate and expand here. But our teams are truly global, and our identity is shaped and strengthened by every Glianeer who joins us, whether they’re in New York, Arizona, or the tiny Estonian island of Muhu.
This diversity is what fuels us, keeps our company culture thriving, and inspires us to always support each other (and our clients) fiercely. As we continue to reinvent the way businesses serve their customers in a digital world, we’re grateful to Estonia for empowering us on this journey.