Estonia-based LIFT99 has raised $2.3 million to develop a “founders to founders” skillsharing platform with the intention of creating more unicorns from Central and Eastern Europe. The investment was led by Taizo Son, founder of Mistletoe and Japanese gaming company GungHo. Participating investors also included Ahti Heinla, United Angels, Adam Omar Shanti, Agrello, Stefan Glaenzer and Passion Capital. LIFT99 was founded by Ragnar Sass, a serial entrepreneur, investor, and co-founder of Pipedrive and Garage48. The new skillsharing platform will be launched for testing in June 2018.

“We see immense potential and lots of talent in the CEE region but there is no uniting ecosystem, the localization of know-how and key networks is holding back unified development across the region," said Sass. "Well, what if we could bring that expertise online? A global software for this could have a huge impact."

“We’ve seen success stories like Skype, Transferwise and Pipedrive," added Sass. "The people behind these first-generation highly successful startups carry so much valuable knowledge. We wish to help the next generation of startup entrepreneurs succeed by tapping into that knowledge pool, no matter where their businesses are located in the world. With smart and highly precise matches within the platform, we can have the maximum impact with minimum effort.”

“These founders have created a scalable, community-centric business model that supports entrepreneurs, and offers members of the community unique on-demand value, increases the bonds within the community, and results in the creation of much more meaningful personal connections and professional collaborations," said angel investor Adam Omar Shanti. "We are thrilled to be a part of it.”

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