Our Goals


Estonian Startup Leaders Club was founded in 2009 to boost local startup community, strengthen direct relationships between founders, meet face to face in a social setting, share experiences and empower new young founders.

We expect our club members to get to know each other and cooperate closely. We use Slack, Facebook group and Twitter via #EstonianMafia hashtag.

How everything started


Estonian Startup Leaders Club was formed in January 2009 by a group of entrepreneurs, leaders of Ambient Sound Investment portfolio companies. They participated in a 4-module startup leaders’ training program in autumn 2008. After the training program finished, the participants wanted to continue sharing their challenges, experiences and getting advice from people working on similar early stage startups.

Back then the main goal was to share experiences — intimate details of failures and success — and therefore the form of a pretty intimate club seemed most suitable. Most startups and young CEO-s face similar daily issues — hiring good people, product development, funding, sales, setting up compensation models and stock option programs, establishing UK/US entities, IP & patents etc.

Today half of our club members are already experienced startup founders. We still share information and experience on daily basis. Close relations also lead to founding new startups together or joining each other’s startups — and the majority of awesome startups have been founded by people who know each other and have done something together well before starting the company.

Looking back now in 2019, our club has really served it's purpose on boosting Estonian startup ecosystem :)


2020 and beyond


The club was renamed to Estonian Founders Society in early 2020. This reflects the next phase of startup ecosystem and growing ambitions for the new decade. Our role has evolved from purely networking organization to wider representation of startups in Estonia and beyond.

Currently startups employ 1% of working population and create 3% of Estonian GDP. We explain the value and future economic opportunities created by startup ecosystem, which is not yet understood by many Estonians.

We work together with Startup Estonia, ITL (Association of IT and Telecoms), EstVCA, EstBAN, law firms, Estonian Prime Minister and different ministries to continuously boost Estonian legislation for startups:
  • keep more startup headquarters in Estonia
  • create simple and transparent stock option programs
  • enable global talent relocation to Estonia
  • employment regulation related to modern ways of working (remote work, gig economy etc)
  • solve legal issues related to KYC and shareholder transactions

We are grateful for Startup Estonia for funding us during 2019-2020.


Official data


President 2020: Martin Villig
Team & roles:
  • Avery Schrader - Foreign founders
  • Stenver Jerkku - Memberships & meetups
  • Sten Tamkivi - Estonian policy & partnerships
  • Triin Kask - Female founders

Eesti Startupi Juhtide Klubi MTÜ
Reg. No. 80305937
IBAN: EE662200221054671167, Swedbank

startupleadersclub@gmail.com
Want to become a member of ESLC?