From the left: Lauri Isotamm (Siena Secondary Fund), Andre Krull (Nortal), Kaarel Kuddu (Wise), Indrek Uudeküll (Prudentia Tallinn)
6 October 2023
TopTech 2023: Nortal wins a special prize as Estonia’s most active tech company in the M&A category
In the sustainability festival Impact Day, the grand prize of TopTech, the ranking of Estonia’s most valuable tech companies, was awarded to Wise while software development company Nortal received a special prize as the most active Estonian tech company in the category of mergers and acquisitions (M&A).
Rando Rannus, partner of Siena Secondary Fund that co-compiled the TopTech ranking, said that the awarding of a special M&A prize to Nortal is a recognition of the company that in recent years has increased its enterprise value very rapidly thanks to successful corporate acquisitions. At the same time, according to the compilers of TopTech ranking, it reflects a wider trend taking place in the Estonian tech sector to grow through M&A transactions.
„Estonian startups have long been synonymous with innovation, agility, and disruptive ideas. However, as these startups mature and reach a certain scale, they face a crucial decision point: whether to sustain independent growth or join forces with another startup or a larger entity through M&A,“ he explained. Rannus added that the year 2023 is a clear indication that M&A deals are no longer seen merely as exit strategies but as deliberate moves towards growth and innovation.
Andre Krull, CEO and board member of Nortal, said that the recognition of TopTech compilers was both unexpected and a pleasant surprise. "In spite of the continuing difficult situation in the economy, affected by the war in Ukraine and by interest rates that have risen to the highest level in a decade, we continue to implement our growth strategy to strengthen the value proposition for our customers and expand our brand as an employer. Important parts of our growth strategy are organic growth in home markets, expansion of new geographies, as well as acquisitions and mergers with companies with the right culture and ambition," he commented.
According to Indrek Uudeküll, partner of Prudentia Tallinn that conducted the valuation, in 2023 the Estonian startup sector saw an impressive number of exits (although not in monetary terms), i.e. exits of founders and original investors through the sale of holdings in companies. „The success of local startups creates a snowball effect (or should we say the Skype or Wise effect), which is clear proof of the maturity of the Estonian startup sector. The more there is local capital to finance companies in successive funding rounds, the more such generated value will remain in Estonia and the bigger the hotbed for our unicorns will be in the future,“ Uudeküll said in comment.
TopTech, the ranking of Estonia’s most valuable tech companies, was this year won by Wise (valued at 7.7 billion euros). On behalf of Wise, the first prize was accepted on stage at Impact Day by long-time Product Director Kaarel Kuddu: "We are honoured to receive this recognition right here in Estonia, where Wise has its roots and is home to our largest office. It's a tribute to all our 5,000 employees around the world who build Wise to make everyday life easier and save money for people and businesses with international lives. Looking at the TopTech list, we can be truly proud of Estonia's growing tech sector and hope to see more competition at the top of the list in the near future."
On the second place was Bolt (valued at 5.2 billion euros) and third was Veriff (valued at 1.3 billion euros). The valuation was conducted by Prudentia Tallinn, advisory of M&A transactions, and by Siena Secondary Fund that specializes in secondary funding in high growth startups.
The total value of 30 enterprises is 20.5 billion euros. At the same time it is 3% lower than a year earlier. This time the threshold value of a tech company to get into the TopTech ranking had to be a few million euros higher than last year (64 million euros). There were also significant changes in the ranking with 5 new companies making their entry and five strong players from last year’s ranking were relegated. Newcomers in the ranking are defense industry manufacturer Milrem Robotics (140 million euros), cybersecurity training platform RangeForce (85 million euros), cybersecurity tool that provides a state-of-the-art digital forensics solution Binalyze (90 million euros), developer of hydrogen technology Elcogen (224 million euros) and platform for automated trading in cryptocurrencies Bitsgap (128 million euros).
TopTech ranking is a tool that helps to gauge and analyse the potential of Estonian tech companies and their contribution to the local economy. The ranking is compiled on the basis of comparable time-specific valuations calculated with robust methodology.
To visit the Estonian 2023 TopTech ranking click here: https://www.toptech.ee/
Valuation methods of TopTech ranking:
Eligible for TopTech ranking are high growth tech companies that have at least one Estonian founder or that are registered in Estonia AND whose head office or at least 20% of whose employees are based in Estonia.
The equity value is calculated as follows:
The basis of the valuation is publicly available financial information and additional insights provided by the companies themselves.
Due to the nature of the technology sector (low debt ratio), we only evaluate equity as the enterprise value and equity value, in this case, are fairly similar.
- If a company is listed (including on alternative investment platforms or tokens on crypto exchanges) the market cap as of 31.08.2022 is used as a value;
- If a company has had a funding round in the last 12 months, the value is calculated on the basis of the last funding round;
- If a company has been sold in the last 12 months to a financial investor, the shares’ sales price is taken as a value;
- If none of the above apply, but a company has disclosed its financial data to TOPTech compilers or these are publicly available, then the valuation is based on revenue multiples using a sample of comparable companies, who have raised capital in the past 12 months or are listed on a stock exchange;
- If a company’s financial data is not available to TOPTech compilers and the company has not had a funding round nor been sold to a financial investor in the last 12 months, the value of the company remains unchanged from the previous year;
- If a company’s financial data is not available to TOPTech compilers and the company has not had a funding round nor been sold to a financial investor in the last 24 months, the company is not included in the TOPTech ranking.
The valuation was conducted by Prudentia, in collaboration with Siena Secondary Fund. The sources for publicly available information are Crunchbase, Infopank, Mergermarket, Startup Estonia.
Indrek Uudeküll, partner of Prudentia Tallinn; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rando Rannus, partner of Siena Secondary Fund; email: email@example.com