SWG Culture

Living and working the #swgmafia way – read on and find out what we stand for.

SWG Mafia story

Long long time ago (in 2012), in a small European country (Estonia) there were a bunch of successful tech entrepreneurs also known as the Estonian Mafia. They decided to give back and empower the next generation of tech entrepreneurs. They chipped in from their own pockets and created Startup Wise Guys – a fund and accelerator for IT startups – aka the SWG Mafia.

A lot has changed since 2012 – from 3 people the team has grown to a truly international gang of more than 20, from Estonia based accelerator we have expanded all over Baltics (and not stopping there), from 1 batch per year we have gone to running more than 4, from a bunch of mentors our network of bright minds has grown into hundreds and hundreds. We have had 2 major exits since then and the portfolio has grown above 145 startups with success rate higher than most European accelerators.

However, with all the change, the mission of Startup Wise Guys still stands the same as in the early days – we help techy founders become successful entrepreneurs and through that also creating role models and growing impact in the tech ecosystems in this part of Europe. And we are doing it the SWG Mafia way!

We help techy founders become succesful entrepreneurs and through that grow the impact in the tech ecosytem in this part of Europe.

SWG Mafia culture manifesto

This is what we believe in:

We are founders driven
SWG was built to help founders become entrepreneurs and we are true to this mission! We care deeply for the success of the founders we work with. In good times and tough times – we are on their side. Even being an investor, we keep the “founders’ hat” always on.
We are in it for the long-term
Not only are we in a long-term business, we also apply a long-term mindset. We are early believers and important catalyzers for both startups and ecosystems. It is a great responsibility which we carry with pride leading to long-lasting and strong impact.
We are passionate and ambitious
We do not work at SWG because we have to, but because we want to. We dream big and we are ready to go the hard way to achieve our goals. Being passionate about startups and our jobs, gives us energy to push with persistency and get sh*t done. Being experienced and serious about what we do, makes us deliver the best.
We are community and relationship builders, thus the SWG family
We develop strong long-lasting communities and caring relationships – be it among startups or wider with mentors and investors. We spark friendships and collaboration rather than competition. The “SWG Family” is a tribe of like-minded and passionate people from all over the world. It is based on common values of trust, openness, respect, appreciation and two way support.

This is is how we act:

We are team achievers
In our fast-paced and often remote work we are self-motivated and independent. But we also believe that we can achieve far greater things together than when we walk alone. We celebrate team-work, not solo achievers. We are ready to swap roles, jump in for help and take out the garbage, when needed.
We are straightforward with respect for the individual
There is no hidden agenda at SWG. We are clear, direct and sometimes intense, but always constructive and respectful. Our no-BS style is an act of kindness and respect to peoples’ time, money and lives.
We Think and Act Like Entrepereneurs
We are result-driven and strive to see the bigger picture, always. We seize opportunities when we see them, and we experiment, learn and move-on fast. We are challengers by nature! Thus we ask “why” and challenge ourselves and the status quo. We seek feedback and innovate on a daily basis.
We are international and embrace differences
SWG is one of the most international accelerators out there. We believe in diversity and see its fruits every day. We value our differences and remember that we have more in common than not. We are authentic and we respect others’ boundaries. SWG is a trustful environment where you can be who you are.
We keep a work-fun balance
We are hard workers, but we also know how to take ourselves lightly and enjoy the ride. Socializing, connecting, doing cool and crazy things together with the team, startups and the wider network is important to us. There’s always a positive vibe in the air and some say we throw the best networking parties in town. Tequila anyone?

The journey towards our culture

In the startup world the founders are usually either true culture prophets or they consider company culture the “fluffy, nice to have thing” once you grow big enough and need to hire people. We definitely belong to the first group, but it wasn’t like that always. We have learned the hard way, and we also regularly see amazing startups falling apart just because they have focused so much on building the product, that they have forgotten to build a company. And for that culture is essential!

Funny enough, many people started referring to our distinct company culture, before we had even written it down. Mentors would refer to the “amazing vibe”, investors to “the typical Wise Guys company”, some ecosystem partners to “best networking parties” and startups to “family”, and so forth. On top of that, we hired more than 5 people in a short period of time and realised that the unwritten has to be written down. We see it essential to provide a unified experience for every stakeholder, having so many remote locations, but even more so – strengthening the amazing culture that we actually have and a public promise to keep living it, especially when times get tough and decisions hard!

We are excited to see you joining our 2020 ride with the Baltic Startup Scene report! Please, fill in the form below and we'll make sure that you are among the first ones to find out what were the highlights at the Baltic ecosystem this year and what opportunities await us. 

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