How to form an Estonian company without ever going to Estonia

By now everyone should know the Estonian e-Residency program and that’s not what this article is about. 14 months ago I decided to form my new company in Estonia and it’s been a great time so far. Everything is streamlined and simple. In the months running the new company I had many interesting conversations with friends about the company, taxes and nomad life.

This week a friend of mine decided to register for eResidency and walked through the company formation process with LeapIN. I am a LeapIN customer myself and have many good things to say about them, but one thing kept annoying me from the start and they haven’t changed. LeapIN is still promoting LHV as a “must have” bank account and say you have to visit Estonia to complete the company setup. Since LHV is much less “e” than the rest of the country, they require people to sign documents personally in their bank branch (e-Signature anyone?). For me that would have involved a flight from Frankfurt and overnight stay, more than €400 for an account opening— that would be the most expensive account of my life. However, this is not required. Don’t fly to Estonia just for a bank account!

After launching my new firm, I kept on insisting on alternatives to the flight. Turns out the bank only needs to verify the shareholder payment of €2500. I asked Holvi (one of the other banks LeapIN works with) and 🎉, they sent me an e-signed verification for my shareholder payment. My company setup was complete without ever setting foot in Estonia. Holvi works much like TransferWise and Revolut entirely online. Registration is done through the e-Residency card, that’s it.

I do plan to visit Estonia next summer for tourism, but not for a bank account.