Holvi and Estonia’s e-Residency program: digital entrepreneurship comes of age

Five years ago, a group of enterprising young guys decided to start their own business. But, as they quickly found out, it wasn’t as easy as it seemed.

Right from the get go, they started running into issues. From basic things like buying equipment for the company to opening a bank account, keeping track of cash flow and managing their business finances, they faced endless bureaucracy, towers of paperwork and several other difficulties.

Unsurprisingly, despite their enthusiasm and boundless energy, they soon became a very frustrated bunch.

And who could blame them. Right?

A new way of doing business in the EU

Fast forward to today, and the landscape is very different.

People are more mobile than ever before. They travel more frequently and for longer periods, taking things slow so they can truly experience a country and appreciate its culture. At the same time, modern tools have made it possible to work from anywhere, at any time. And, many big companies are choosing to subcontract instead of doing everything in-house.

The result? Entrepreneurship has never been more popular. And the amount of self-employed people and small businesses continues to rise. Which makes sense. Why tie yourself down to one job and a single location when you can travel to wherever you want for as long as you want while making money doing something you love?

Estonia’s e-Residency program is a great example of this new way of doing business.

e-Residency of Estonia gives you instant access to the markets of the European Union — the second largest economy in the world. So, unsurprisingly, the program has quickly become a success story: 24,000 people from around the world are already reaping the benefits just under three years after it first launched.

Our young entrepreneurs have changed, too

And not just because they’re older.

At the time, the EU was revamping its banking legislation to allow digital payment institutions to start providing services. So, instead of giving in to their frustrations, they seized the opportunity and got to work. The result was Holvi — a payment institution created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.

Licensed and supervised by FIN-FSA, Finland’s financial service regulator, Holvi is now owned by Spanish banking giant BBVA.

But, more to the point, it provides entrepreneurs in Finland, Germany and Austria and e-residents of Estonia with a current account and business management app made by people who have been there and experienced the pain points of building and managing a new business first hand.

Holvi and the e-Residency Program: a completely online solution for the digital entrepreneur

Of course, obtaining Estonian e-Residency is only the start. Before you’re in business, you also need a company, banking services and other tools. This has sometimes been a bottleneck for e-Residents, because it raised a lot of questions like:

  • Do I need to visit Estonia?
  • What paperwork do I need?
  • How do I apply for a bank account?
  • In fact, where do I even start?

But the answer to these and other questions has never been simpler. Thanks to Holvi’s partnership with the Estonian e-Residency program, your new company in Estonia and the banking services you need are just a couple of clicks away.

Proud to be different

Banks usually require a personal visit to the branch. You may also need another connection to Estonia, such as a physical office location or a partner.

Not Holvi. As long as you’re not:

setting up an account is as easy as it gets.

Once you fill in the online form, we’ll carry out all the necessary customer identification checks and due diligence online in as little as two to three days. Everything happens digitally, including our communications. Which means you don’t have to leave your latest adventure to travel to Estonia. Have a problem or a query? Just pick up the phone.

And the benefits don’t stop when your current account with IBAN is up and running and you receive your Holvi Business MasterCard. You can also:

  • set up an e-commerce store in a few clicks
  • monitor your cash flow
  • send invoices electronically
  • see which invoices have been paid and which are pending
  • get powerful reports that make it easy to follow how your business is doing and what’s next.

Best of all? You can see everything in real time instead of having to wait for your bookkeeper to send over your accounts.

The future in one click

At Holvi, we share the same vision as the Estonian e-Residency program: helping entrepreneurs do borderless business and making it easy to adapt to a continually changing environment. So, we’ve set out to build the bank we needed five years ago to make it easy for you to get started today.

We think setting up and managing your business should be as effortless as possible.

Because life’s too short to waste on admin and other boring tasks.


Mika Setälä is a Head of Business Development and Partnerships at Holvi. He was working closely with Estonia’s e-Residency team to build Holvi business management services for e-Residents.

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