Anna-Greta Tsahkna: As part of a business delegation, you’re not just some random Estonian start-up

Timbeter, a mobile timber measurement solution which was literally created overnight as part of the Garage48 hackathon, is conquering new markets. Participation in official visits has considerably contributed to this.

Timbeter is the world’s most accurate mobile solution for measuring, stocktaking and compiling reports on timber and is very easy to use. It’s available in 11 languages and is used in more than 60 countries.

According to Timbeter CEO Anna-Greta Tsahkna, the primary purpose of visits is to foster customer relations on target markets in which the company already has a specific interest. For example, during a coffee break at a seminar in Malaysia organised by Enterprise Estonia, Tsahkna happened to chat with someone who introduced her to a friend who then introduced her to another friend who worked for the biggest timber company in the region. She went through an entire chain of contacts during a single coffee break.

“Opening doors is definitely the biggest advantage of participating in visits,’ says Tsahkna. “It makes a big difference whether you’re just some random little start-up from Estonia or if you’re visiting as part of a national delegation. People’s attitudes are different, and doors which would otherwise have stayed closed to you open up.”

Tsahkna points out that Timbeter has also received a lot of help from local honorary consuls, who have arranged many visits on their behalf that would have been difficult to secure on their own.

“For the economy of a small country it’s vital that external representatives, politicians and diplomats all work towards the internationalisation of its companies and them getting established on foreign markets,’ Tsahkna emphasises. “It’s also extremely important that wherever possible, companies work together when entering new markets. Together we come across as much bigger and much more reliable.”

Established in 2013, Timbeter is currently targeting the United States, Latin America and Russia as its primary markets. So far, the company has participated in visits twice – in Malaysia in 2017 and in December this year in South Carolina in the USA.

Timbeter is still working towards tangible results, but useful contacts have also generated significant value.

“In terms of results it’s a lengthy process,” Tsahkna notes, “and we’ll probably be able to talk about specific numbers and contracts a year from now. But we’ve made lots of useful connections on our visits in regard to clients, and gained information as well on how to operate more effectively on one market or another.”

The CEO says that for companies it’s definitely worth participating in visits as part of a business delegation, but by the time they do, something already has to be brewing on the target market so that you can at least point out the doors you want to be opened to you.

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