Like many of our clients, we started from nothing. Here’s our storyline from the very beginning.
Today, Comistar has 4 offices in Finland, Switzerland, Estonia, and Los Angeles.
We are an certified E-residency service provider listed on the e-Residency marketplace and have helped more than 600 companies get started in Estonia. Serving more than 250 clients every month, we’re a healthy and stable partner for e-Residency entrepreneurs seeking support services in Estonia. But things haven’t always been good. And below, you’ll learn how we built our company from the ground up.
It’s 2012. The economy is slowly starting to build up again from the 2008 crash. We’ve been trying to start different businesses without much success in the last 3 years. Nothing has worked. We need guidance. We start sending emails to CEOs of different companies and offering our labour for free. One guy replies. A Finnish entrepreneur. We meet at Vapiano restaurant and end up starting an e-commerce business together – he puts up the capital, we do the work. In less than a year, we have to shut our doors and sell the business at a loss. But he has recently started a consulting business named “Comistar” and asked if we want to start a Comistar office in Estonia. We accept.
Office & First Hire
Once we committed to building Comistar Estonia, we needed money. The Finnish entrepreneur agreed to loan us 5000€ to kick-off the Comistar Estonia office. With that money, we rented a small cubicle office in the centre of Tallinn (when remote work wasn’t popular yet) and hired an accountant. Incorporations and accounting was our sole focus at the time. But things got worse quickly. In less than six months, we had 900€ left on the bank account. The salary of the accountant and rent together were more than that. Not to mention that we had to pay ourselves as well. This was probably the worst moment for Comistar Estonia and one where we did not know whether we’ll survive as a company.
Work Work Work
We had to do whatever it takes to keep the business alive. We had a list of emails and phone numbers and we started calling. Every day, every week. And we followed up via email or a call shortly after. It didn’t help that our Finnish was very bad (we were calling to Finnish entrepreneurs). Changing and improving our offering. But things started to slowly turn around. We started to convert clients (we guess at least half of them were just tired of our calls). And some early clients were picking up the pace, so accounting fees started growing. In a few months, we went from 900€ in the bank to 7000€. We’re fully aware that 7000€ isn’t exactly a lot of money, but it was a world of difference for us. We remember vividly, how we dreamed of having 15 000€ on the account as the next financial milestone.
E-Residency & Legal Services
In a few years in, Comistar Estonia was growing at a steady pace before hitting a plateau in 2016-2017. We knew that we can’t expect to grow like a tech company, but 2017 was a complete standstill. Then, a couple of things happened. First, we applied to become an certified service provider at the e-Residency marketplace. And additionally, we started to focus more and more on the legal advisory part of the business. As a result, 2018-2019 were the fastest-growing years for Comistar Estonia measured in monetary terms. Not a hockey-stick growth by any means, but something to be proud of. We also moved to a bigger office.
Partners & Software
In 2019-2020, a few very important things happened at Comistar Estonia. We started to focus more and more on software to increase our value proposition to our clients. Software powered services are the future, and we plan to be part of that. As a result, we’ve built and launched our own company management software called Zero To Scale. We also launched BankApply. And we’ve set our goals on launching more apps and software products to improve our value proposition. With the sole purpose of making the lives of our clients better.
This was a short conclusion of our journey at Comistar Estonia. While it seems 10 years is a long time to be in a business, it’s a glimpse of time in retrospect. We’re hopeful that you’ll join us, and together, we can start to write your story as well.