1. Please introduce yourself and your startup.

GaltTec is a deep tech startup founded and operating in Tartu since 2022. We develop and manufacture innovative fuel cell-based electric power sources. Our innovation lies in the use of unique ceramic microtubes as thin as a hair, allowing us to produce fuel cells up to ten times smaller than those of our competitors. We are a spin-off from the University of Tartu and are located in the Tartu Science Park campus.

All our founders have been more or less connected with the University of Tartu. As is typical for a research-intensive company, most of our employees, including the founders, hold doctoral or master’s degrees.

The founders of GaltTec (from left) Tanel Tätte, Glen Kelp, and Laura Elise Arvisto at this year’s Latitude59 festival in Tallinn, where they brought home numerous awards thanks to Laura’s inspiring stage presence.

Photo: Stephen Drake


2. What inspired you to start the company?

Our founders have been involved in researching and developing ceramic materials for a long time—our scientific director, Tanel Tätte, for 15 years. When our CEO, Glen Kelp, returned to Tartu with a PhD from the USA, it was a logical career progression for him to start building his research group at the university. However, Tanel, Glen, and our third co-founder and co-CEO, Laura Elise Arvisto, often met at Maarjavälja, and it soon became clear that the academically exciting topic of microtube fuel cells had great potential to bring a revolutionary change to our daily energy consumption. With that in mind, the foundation was laid for the commercialization of microtube technology, and the wheels were set in motion with great momentum.

3. How did the incubation program help your company grow?

The Sparkup incubation program introduced GaltTec and our founders to the local startup community, both in Tartu and Estonia more broadly. The network and mutual support are invaluable, especially for budding startups. Community events, where startup ideas could be exchanged until late in the evening, contributed greatly to this. The science park is also closely linked with sTARTUp Day, which made an already exciting festival experience even more enjoyable.

4. What were the biggest challenges during the program and how did you overcome them?

We joined the Sparkup incubation program at a very early stage—we didn’t even have a legal entity established when we applied. As first-time startup founders, the hardest part was figuring out what we didn’t know. This is where the benefit of mentors came in: guiding “green” entrepreneurs to solutions and helping identify bottlenecks and dead ends.

5. What are the plans for the company’s future?

GaltTec is just getting started. We are expanding our activities in Tartu Science Park and planning to start small-scale production. Customers are lining up, and our development team is working hard to make the use of electric mobility devices significantly more convenient in the near future, reducing the time-consuming battery charging to mere seconds of fuel refueling. Tartu is a great place for such business as highly educated labor is available locally, and the local community is extremely supportive. The stress-free living environment in Tartu is the cherry on top. In the distant future, our development and production units will certainly be found in other corners of the world, bringing us closer to our customers.

6. What advice would you give to future incubation program participants or young entrepreneurs?

Always boldly seize every opportunity! And if no promising direction is on the horizon, walk around with open eyes and create opportunities for yourself. Incubation programs always provide a wealth of knowledge and help build a crucial network, but like in life, there are always different, sometimes even conflicting opinions and recommendations. It’s important to stay true to your vision because only the entrepreneur knows where they want to go. At the same time, you should not let your arrogance take over and try to understand why the opposing side thinks the way they do, instead of falling victim to self-defense. All the small details together will give a strong tailwind to your sails.

7. If asked whether you would recommend the incubator program to a friend, what would you say?

I would definitely recommend applying to the Sparkup incubation program and, if selected, making the most of it. It is a fast track to getting acquainted with the local startup community and becoming a part of it.