When we wrote about iZettle's partnership with Banco Santander, we mentioned that this is a big step for the company that will open doors to growth and expansion. Today, this is becoming a reality as iZettle announced its launch in Mexico today. Not a big deal, right? Wrong.
First of all, this is their first expansion outside of Europe, meaning that the company is on a path of growth in global markets. Strong presence in Mexico, the worlds 13th biggest economy, gives them the footing that the company needs to quickly spread across the Americas.
There's some sort of cruel inefficiency in the world when good TV shows get canceled only to be replaced by some mindless nonsense. Instead of just signing another internet petition the next time a show got canceled, Stockholm-based Reupp is organizing fans as a lobbying group to come together and support their show creators.
With this mission in mind, they've put together a crowdfunding mechanism to allow fans to pool together their money to donate to the producers or creators of the show. Founder and CEO John Noren explains that the point of it is to send money where it makes the most sense. He says in their research they've come across too much bureaucracy from Hollywood's side, and rather than negotiating with network executives themselves it makes sense to become a lobbying power under a creator or producer that can point to the Reupp campaign and lobby on its behalf.
A new discussion board concept beta launched in Helsinki last week, called Iroquote. It's designed to bring an update to community groups, and innovates on the discussion board concept to be easier to browse on mobile while fighting information overload. Google Groups, Facebook groups, or Reddit were designed for the desktop age, and browsing Iroquote you realize maybe things could be better.
Everyone seems to have strong preferences for forums and commenting, and Iroquote is different enough for me to take some getting used to. For example, Iroquote doesn't do threaded comments, which has become the main discussion board concept I'm used to from sites like Reddit and Hacker News. Their argument is that when browsing on mobile, threaded comments waste precious screen real estate, and they think they can present the conversation better by showing only the most relevant content while still allowing you to dig into the discussion.
Got a skin problem? iDoc24 is a teledermatology startup from Sweden with a few apps that allow users to send anonymously pictures of worrying skin conditions to a team of licensed dermatologists and get a response within a day. After several years of being available on the web and the App store, today iDoc24 launched their latest app STD Triage on Android. The name of the app speaks for itself - it helps anxious users get the dermatologist's advice on their possible STD symptoms by sending completely anonymous pictures of their private parts.
Since 2008, the startup has grown from the Sweden-based service into a global healthcare platform available in five languages. After STD Triage US launch on iOS in March 2013 the company now offers three different services and thus approaches global healthcare market on multiple fronts.Their first service iDoc24 allows anyone to consult dermatologists about various skin problems like rash or moles.
When Zach Braff chose to raise money for his latest film, Wish I was here, he chose Kickstarter – and crowdfunding. Although the ethics of letting such a big name onto Kickstarter were questioned, the platform is adamant that his presence drew others to the platform – and improved others’ chances of getting funding.
According to Kickstarter, Braff’s film (along with a Veronica Mars one around the same time) “brought tens of thousands of new people to Kickstarter. Sixty-three percent of those people had never backed a project before. Thousands of them have since gone on to back other projects, with more than 400 000 USD (300 000 EUR) pledged to 2 200 projects so far. Nearly 40% of that has gone to other film projects.”
You may not consider call center technology all that sexy of a product, but consider that Helsinki-based LeadDesk's revenue grew by more than 70%, hitting €1.2 million in 2012. The company has grown off of cash flow, making them a nice ICT success story in the Nordics.
LeadDesk was founded in 2010 by Lauri Pukkinen and Olli Sirkiä, who noticed the call center vertical had been slow in adopting cloud technologies, with some legacy systems dated back to the 80's.
Today online publishers have to earn their audience through catchy headlines in social media, but it's rough to gauge your Twitter engagement, aside from retweets and favorites. Twitter's new analytics page gives you some idea of the metrics you can easily derive, but twheel, a Finnish mobile Twitter client, can provide more information to publishers and brands about the actual attention each one of their tweets receives.
"Media doesn't own the reader anymore," says CEO Kalle Määttä, referring to how back in the day media consumers were locked into a newspaper subscription or three TV channels, but today online media consumers pick and choose the headlines that are interesting.
The big idea? Smart bicycle brake light. How can a light be smart? For one it knows when to shut itself off (Hint: when the bike is stationary) and when to start blinking again. It also detects deceleration, allowing it to act as a brake light.
The internet has done an awesome job of allowing us to share pictures of bad tattoos, but it hasn't necessarily helped people get better tattoos. At least these days it's easier to shop around online to find what style and quality local artists have, but it's still tough to ensure you get the exact design you have in mind before you go to a tattoo shop. That's all changing with the launch of a new Copenhagen-based startup, called Tattoodo, that is doing for the tattoo industry what 99designs did for graphic design.
If you were to google “bootstrap”, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a statistical technique. Similarly, if you read the biggest magazines you’d be forgiven for thinking that most successful startups take in outside funding. On the contrary: many bootstrap.
Bootstrapping a business is a less-talked about – and thus less glamorous – way to start a business. It’s nevertheless not just a potential way to get a business going, it can also be a very nimble and responsive way to run a start-up, one that entrepreneurs choose for the independence it gives them.
One Nordic start-up that made this choice is Mentimeter, which has been discussed on ArcticStartup before. ArcticStartup spoke to Johnny Warström, one of the company’s founders, about why their company chose to bootstrap – and how they got to the point of hiring an outside CEO. Indeed, deciding not to take outside funding was a deliberate decision to prioritise the founders’ independence:
Oslo's mobile authentication firm Encap has announced a major new investment from the ProVenture seed fund. The exact amount hasn't been disclosed, but rumours circling the web put the figure around the $2 million mark.
It's the second major investment in Encap from a Norwegian backer, adding to earlier money from Alliance Ventures. Norwegian startups tend to look abroad for funding rather than rely on the small domestic VC scene, so today's news is a welcome change.
Playmysong has been on a roll. Since July of last year, the web and mobile based jukeboxes have opened up in 32,000 location, and currently around 50 businesses in Helsinki are using Playmysong, including restaurants, cafes, and even a gym. On the business side Playmysong has a partnership with Mood Media, the largest distributor of music for small businesses in Europe. This means it's super simple for Mood Media customers to add Playmysong to their locations, and it helps Playmysong scale up sales.
In February we wrote how Stockholm-based Truecaller has hit 11 million users as they released name search to their crowdsourced reverse phone number lookup. It seems they've picked up the pace, as today they've hit another milestone of 20 million users. You've got to be doing something right if you're hitting numbers like that, and luckily they've shared how they've built their app to correctly target social sharing. It's an interesting read, so I encourage you to check it out.
The post can be found attached below:
Startup Sauna presented their Spring '13 batch last night, graduating all 15 of the companies that participated. Typically the accelerator will leave a couple out of the final cut, but it comes as good news that they felt all participating startups met their standards. As always, Startup Sauna's demo day drew a good crowd, the startup pitches were very well practiced, and the beer showed no signs of running out.
Startup Sauna captain Antti Ylimutka had a few minutes on stage to say farewell to the program, as this was his last batch he'll be leading since the founding of Startup Sauna seven batches ago. The program has high turnover by design - they feel its important to rotate new people into leadership positions so they can keep the accelerator fresh by "burning it down and building it back up" every six months. Ylimutka's special brand of energy will be missed from the program, and will be interesting to see how the new blood puts their own personality on Sauna. Ylimutka's farewell can also be found on the Startup Sauna blog.
Before Martin Borgs joined the crowdfunding scene, the largest amount raised for a Swedish film was 393,646 SEK (€45,000) in a month. On FundedByMe, the largest amount raised for any project on the “classic crowfunding” site was 257,914 SEK. Borgs made more than that in the first 2 weeks that his latest film project was on FundedByMe. He raised 550,000 (€63,000) SEK in total to “granska slöseri med skattepengar” or examine the waste of tax money in Sweden.
Gajatri Studios released their new Yoga Retreat iPad app in the Finnish and Canadian markets, their first new platform since launching on Facebook's gaming center. Yoga Retreat on iOS brings in many of the same elements as their Facebook game, but it's not a direct port. Users still run their yoga retreat, training customers and growing the real-estate of the game, but by looking the behavior of the Facebook game users they discovered that people enjoyed taking care of the customers, so the new release focuses more on the juice bar, meditation room, and steam garden, rather than just the yoga floor.
Yoga Retreat isn't an "educational" game by far - you're still hooked into the standard casual game dynamics - but the game does offer instructional animations for you to learn from, and send to your friends.
Today, iZettle announced a strategic investment of €5 Million from Banco Santander, the EU's largest bank by market cap and one of the largest banks in the world. How big is that? EUR 1.388 Trillion with a "T". iZettle started working with the banking group already a few months ago, when they announced a partnership which made iZettle available to Santander banking customers in Spain, their home market.
When we compare the investment size to iZettle's overall funding of over €35 million, then it is clear that this is indeed a strategic investment and the money is perhaps secondary. After all, when it comes to mobile point of sale solutions, the name of the game is partnerships. How many different parties and entities can you partner up that can help you grow in different markets? iZettle's US rival Square, for example, was backed by VISA when it clearly did not need the money.
Energy Micro products are found in many of the internet-enabled devices we use on a daily basis. Their energy-friendly MCU and radio solutions are designed to enable a broad range of power-sensitive applications for the Internet of Things (IoT), smart energy, home automation, security and portable electronics markets.
The internet of things is thriving: industry experts predict that the number of connected devices for the IoT will top 15 billion nodes by 2015 and reach 50 billion nodes by 2020.
We have recently written a story on how the Baltic startup scene is becoming "boiling soup" with a lot of exciting ideas and investors keeping an eye on the region. The "soup" is now spiced up with even more great news. Yplan, founded by two Lithuanian startuppers in London, has raised $12 million to pump into their American expansion. The funding round is led by General Catalyst Partners, the US venture capital group behind Airbnb. Among other backers are Ashton Kutcher's A-Grade Investments and BaltCap, the biggest VC in the Baltic countries. This isn't the first funding round for Yplan. At the end of 2012 the company was backed up with €1.3 million from Wellington partners and Octopus Investment.
Ever since writing our, Rovio's $42M Investment In 2011 Actually Went To Its Owners, we've been curious about the Angry Birds creator's ownership structure. What's most defining of the structure is is Kaj Hed's near 70% ownership through Trema International Holdings, followed by Niklas Zennström's Atomico Ventures and Accel Partners at roughly 10%.
In May's financial records, Accel Partners seemed to drop off and a new name was added to the list - Silavano Investments. Accel Partner Kevin Comolli tells Elina Lappalainen of the Finnish business weekly TalousElama that Accel has not sold shares, pointing that Luxembourg-based Silavano is owned by Accel.