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Tech Startup Realism with the Co-founder and CEO of Klaus

The tech world is enigmatic. From its exterior, we hear about seed capital, and massive rounds of series A, B, and C funding. We’re told about the seven “unicorn” companies founded by Estonians, with one billion dollars in value or more, and read about the bright minds behind them.

So is a good idea all that it takes to grow a successful new company?

Photo used with permission from Martin Kõiva

It didn't take long for Martin Kõiva, the CEO and co-founder of Klaus, to dispel this concept when I asked if he knew the recipe for a billion-dollar company.

When it comes to enticing investors with clever ideas, Kõiva says, ideas are “only one part of the equation and a less important one in my opinion. Any idea can be a billion-dollar idea if you execute it well. I'm definitely in the camp that does not value ideas too much.” To this point, Kõiva refers to the quote that says, “Ideas are just a multiplier of execution... Ideas are worth nothing unless executed...Execution is worth millions.”

He sees this distinction in the criteria of investors and also saw it before ever founding Klaus. Between 2014 and 2018, Kõiva was working at Pipedrive OÜ, an SaaS (Software as a Service) company which they describe as “the first CRM [customer relationship management] platform made for salespeople, by salespeople.” Pipedrive was founded in Estonia in 2010, and became a “unicorn” in November 2020.

If Kõiva had to name one thing that made the company stand out, it would come down to the quality of the people they hired. He says, “ the end, they determine...

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