The first ever company established online using Smart-ID was today accepted by Registration Department of Tartu County Court. Previously, this was only possible using an Estonian digital ID card or mobile-ID.
It just became even easier to establish a company online in Estonia. Online company formation is now possible for Smart-ID users through a new self-service portal provided by Unicount.
Unicount connects directly to the Estonian Business Register through an API, while offering additional tools, services and guidance to make the process of creating a company more user-friendly. It is also now the first portal to integrate Smart-ID for company creation, which is not yet possible directly through the Estonian Business Register.
Smart-ID is a mobile app launched in 2016 by SK ID Solutions for online verification and digital signing. It's already compatible with a wide range of services in Estonia, including banking and tax filing, and is particularly popular with e-residents who are unable to use mobile-ID. The Smart-ID account needs to be registered on or after 8 November 2018 to be used for company creation through Unicount as this was the date when new Smart-ID accounts gained Qualified Electronic Signature status equal to Estonian mobile-ID and ID-card.
The Estonian Centre of Registers and Information Systems, the state agency that operates Estonian Business Register, launched company registration API at the beginning of 2017. It was made to be used by service providers who assist Estonian e-residents with online company formation.
Ingmar Vali, the Head of Court Registers department at the Centre of Registers and Information Systems, said: " We developed this API to give service providers an opportunity to develop a better user experience by combing public and private services. Today we see that around 7% of companies are registered via API, which is about the same amount that comes from notaries. Today’s news about Smart-ID shows us that we can move faster in cooperation with private sector."
Ivar Veskioja, a member of the board of Unicount, says enabling Smart-ID for online company formation was an obvious next step: "We need to provide great user experience for smartphone and tablet users too. This means that ID-card cannot be the signature tool. We had to act knowing that Smart-ID already has twice the number of users compared to mobile-ID accounts in Estonia. Now every Estonian resident or e-resident can use any smart device to register a company online."
Veskioja stated that registering an Estonian limited company in their self-service portal can potentially be done in three minutes.
Liisa Lukin, the Head of Business Development at SK ID Solutions AS, says that many public services can already be used with Smart-ID, but not company registration: "So this is good news for everyone using Smart-ID, but most of all our e-residents, who cannot get a mobile-ID account. It is good example of private and public sector cooperation in opening up government services to new users.”
Unicount started serving e-residents in the autumn of 2019, enabling easy Estonian company formation for one-person businesses through a self-service online portal. As of 9 of March this service is accessible to anyone with Estonian personal identification code and capable of signing with Smart-ID, ID-card or mobile-ID.
SK ID Solutions is the partner of the Estonian state in issuing certificates for national identity documents. The company introduced Smart-ID in Baltics 2017. First 18 months saw a million Smart-ID user accounts registered, three years later they have over 2,6 million users doing over 50 million transactions every month in more than 200 e-services.