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 at Comistar Estonia are a 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 350 clients every month, we're a healthy and stable partner for e-Residency entrepreneurs seeking support services in Estonia
It's 2012. The economy is slowly starting to build up again from the 2008 crash. We've been trying to create different businesses without much success in the last three years. Nothing has worked. We need guidance. We start sending emails to CEOs of other 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, and 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 firm named "Comistar" and asked if we want to create a Comistar office in Estonia. We accept, and this is how Comistar Estonia was born.
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 were our sole focus at the time. But things got worse quickly. We had 900€ left in the bank account in less than six months. The salary of the accountant and rent together were more than that. Not to mention that we had to pay ourselves as well. That 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 took 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 bad (we were calling Finnish entrepreneurs). We were changing and improving our offerings. But things started to turn around slowly. We began converting clients (we guess at least half of them were tired of our calls). And some early clients were picking up the pace, so accounting fees started growing. We went from 900€ in the bank in a few months 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 how we dreamed of having 15 000€ on the account as the next financial milestone.
e-Residency & Legal Services
A few years in, Comistar Estonia grew steadily before hitting a plateau in 2016-2017. We knew we couldn'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 a certified service provider at the e-Residency marketplace. And additionally, our management team grew with the right hiring decisions, and we also started to focus on comprehensive business services, including legal, tax, and business management 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.
Partners & Software
In 2019-2020, a few important things happened at Comistar Estonia. Three new partners joined, legal, accounting and software; with that, each partner started focusing on their respective fields and more on software to increase our value proposition to our clients. We saw that software-powered services are the future and plan to be part of that. As a result, we've built and launched our company management software, Zero To Scale. And we've set our goals on launching more features to improve our value proposition to improve our clients' lives.
In the past, partners mainly ran Comistar Estonia; 2021-2022 was a turning point where we started promoting our current staff, hiring more, implementing systems, and delegating tasks. With this, our client base grew, and our clients themselves grew. Comistar Estonia has had the most exponential growth in the last four years since its start in 2012. Sometimes it takes time before things start to develop. For us, it was our partners, our team and our clients for trusting us.
So here is our brief conclusion of the journey at Comistar Estonia. While it seems ten 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 we can start writing your story together.