My special guest, Taavi Kotka, shares his insight on how their legal tech platform can enable your business to engage with your community and propel growth alongside loyalty. Taavi is the Co-Founder and CEO of the equity platform Koos and the former CIO of the Estonian Government.
In this episode, Tavi provides insights into leveraging communities, digital governance, and equity models to drive business growth while emphasizing the importance of engaging people around purpose.
The trend of community-based business models in the tech sector is driven by the recognition that empowered and engaged users can accelerate growth and boost retention. As the LegalTech sector develops, these models are likely to become even more accessible and, thus, integral to business strategies, shaping how tech products and services are developed, marketed, and embraced by users.
[01:31] The future of tech companies - how strong communities will be the ‘beating heart’ of every successful business.
[10:17] Discussion on the emerging challenges of digital governance.
[15:38] Taavi discusses the idea behind Koos and their billion-dollar give-back goal.
[19:59] How marketplaces use Koos for businesses to incentivize their suppliers and get meaningful feedback.
[21:44] Taavi’s insights on how they rapidly grew their client base.
[25:06] Top leadership tips to ensure success for your team.
[27:40] Setting up the HK Unicorn Squad, providing knowledge and skills in technology as hobby education only for girls.
[35:36] Wrap up - looking into the future of community-based startups.
Building a Community-Based Business
Taavi co-founded KOOS.io, a platform that enables businesses to interact with their communities. The idea is to recognize and rewards contributors to businesses, such as fans, customers, and supporters, by issuing virtual shares.
This fascinating business model can disrupt traditional businesses. As Taavi says, “I'm a big believer that communities are drivers for the future.”
The way businesses are run continues to evolve, compared to 50 to 100 years ago when the goal was profit and not as customer-centric. Taavi emphasized that communities are changing and evolving as well. Tavi believes engaged communities will drive future business as customers care more about issues like sustainability. Because of technology, communities are now fully aware that they are the assets that make it possible for businesses to be successful. Hence, Taavi said, “I think what is super important is that the companies have to understand that I need to give back to the people and back to the communities”. As we also discussed, their aim is to deliver over €1 billion in value back to communities from the businesses they have helped support and grow.
If you are a business leader, this insightful perspective can guide you to focus efforts not only on developing your products for certain needs but also on enhancing that product to further engage with and connect to your community.
Rapidly Growing Their Client Base
Since they started this year, they already have 60 adopters and will most likely continue to grow. They have customers in the UK and Europe, and this rapid growth is fascinating and inspiring for startup founders. I wanted to hear insights from Taavi on how they were able to achieve this.
For Taavi, it is simple. “We actually solve real-world problems. So, this is not new that founders want to give back to the people who help them. So that's quite common. There just hasn't been a proper tool for this. And now, there is the simplest source. You have a need. We have an offer. It's a good match”.
Indeed, this approach enables companies to reward community members like customers and suppliers with equity. It solves the problem of incentivizing support in a cost-effective way. Prioritizing the value and solution offered by your product or platform is a guaranteed approach to swiftly expanding your client base.
Addressing the Tech Gender Gap
Another topic that Taavi and I discussed is how Taavi contributes to addressing the tech gender gap. Taavi was involved in setting up the HK Unicorn Squad. It is a non-profit girls-only technology club that's provided coding and robotics education to a couple of thousand girls now in Estonia. Their goal is to cultivate a true interest in engineering, robotics, and natural sciences among girls aged 8-14 through practical and exciting assignments.
What is really amazing is Taavi’s experience of how his daughter was not allowed to continue her robotics education at school. He also realized that being a CEO of a very large software company, they only had three female programmers out of more than 600 employees. These realizations motivated him to help establish the HK Unicorn Squad, which now has 3000 girls as members and more than 1000 girls waiting to join.
This is indeed a truly admirable way of engaging with the community.
About Taavi Kotka
Taavi is an Estonian entrepreneur and advocates for digital transformation, a journey marked by pioneering initiatives and impactful roles that have shaped a remarkable path.
Currently, the CEO of KOOS, Taavi, is leading a transformative endeavour that empowers communities to share in the ownership of beloved companies, fostering a culture of collective success through virtual shares.
Taavi's professional journey began as a programmer, but his ascent was swift, propelling him to the position of Managing Director at WebMedia, now recognized as Nortal, the largest software development company in the Baltics.
Venturing into both public and private domains, Taavi's role as the inaugural CIO for the Government of Estonia stands as a testament to his leadership in the country's digital advancement. Pioneering groundbreaking initiatives like the national e-residency program, and innovative concepts such as data embassies and country-as-a-service (CaaS), he forged a trajectory of digital evolution.
Guided by the belief that technology is inclusive, Taavi founded, and his family now finance, the HK Unicorn Squad, a girls-only technology school, a project close to his heart. Over 3,000 girls across Estonia have gained technology education through this initiative, defying limitations often attributed to resources and teachers.
Taavi's vision is centred on a world where positive disruption stems from models that benefit end users through convenience, personalization, cost efficiency, or more. Firmly anchored in the conviction that execution vitalizes ideas, his ethos has been shaped by life's challenges, including a tenacious battle with cancer in his youth. This drive to enhance the world through digital innovation continues to be his compass, propelling him toward greater horizons.
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Rebecca is the Founder and Director of The Lucent Group. She has extensive talent acquisition and executive search experience supporting digital and technology businesses through complex changes and fast-paced scale-up periods. She works with businesses advising on C-level, technical and commercial appointments, workforce planning, strategic talent management, recruitment processes, and associated technology and employer brand development. She has led and built successful teams, led numerous C-level, VP, Director, and Head-of searches, and designed and implemented outsourced recruitment solutions. In 2019 she helped a FinTech client secure a place in LinkedIn’s Top 25 Start-ups in the UK. Rebecca is a member of the REC (MREC), a qualified career coach, Certified Interviewer (CI), and has professional qualifications in FinTech, HR, Leadership, Digital Marketing, Diversity, Unconscious Bias, and Talent Management.