GrabCAD Hosts Estonian President, Who Happens to Be Cyber Security ExpertApril 17, 2012
by Gregory T. Huang
The first sign that this was not a regular day was the State Police detail in the parking lot of the American Twine building near Kendall Square. Then, in the hallways, a group of secret-service types watching every door, and at least one person in a military uniform. They weren’t there to see Stavros, the Downstairs Cafe guy. They were there to guard Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the President of Estonia.
President Ilves was the guest of honor at a private gathering to celebrate the opening of tech startup GrabCAD’s new office yesterday. GrabCAD was founded by two guys from Estonia, Hardi Meybaum and Indrek Narusk (see photo below with the President). The company’s operations are split between Cambridge, MA, and Tallinn, the Estonian capital. “Luckily there is a good invention from Estonia called Skype,” said Meybaum.
The Estonian President has a very interesting life story. He speaks English like an American, because he grew up in New Jersey (the son of Estonian immigrants) and went to school at Columbia University. He is also an expert in cyber security and Internet issues, and he gave a talk on that at the Kennedy School of Government, after the GrabCAD event. Ilves proclaimed that Estonia is #1 in Internet freedom, and the U.S. is #2.
Meanwhile, GrabCAD is building an online community and marketplace that connects engineers with people and businesses that need things built. The company has accumulated a large library of computer-aided design models and tutorials that can be used as resources. GrabCAD, a graduate of the TechStars Boston accelerator program, had been using office space at Matrix Partners, one of its investors, before moving to its new digs on Third Street this week.