Remember Taxify? A little less than two months ago they launched their community based taxi summoning app in Latvia, the first focus country in an all-Baltic Taxify expansion package that had already taken promising first steps in its Estonian homeground.
Today Taxify is back in the news, announcing a recently closed $100,000 seed round, backed by multitude of angel investors from the US, Asia and countrymen from Estonia. A few of the mentioned investors include Märt Kelder, Martin Villig and Andrus Purde from "Skype Mafia", Toomas Bergmann (co-founder of fleet tracking platform Navirec) and Finnish serial entrepreneur Mikko Silventola.
Pavel Durov the former CEO of Russia's main social network, VKontakte and founder of Telegram quit his job at the beginning of this month saying, "it has become increasingly complicated to stick to the principles we once founded our social site upon.” Speculators gave an educated guess that Russian authorities have been pushing for more and more censorship on the site. Two days later, he apparently "unresigned," but that wasn't the end of this story.
Druov no longer wishes to work in Russia and moved the Telegram team in central Europe, and posted on Facebook that the team is looking for a location to set up with safe harbor. Telegram is a heavily encrypted messenger app.
Facebook is moving into the fitness and location tracking space, announcing the acquisition of Helsinki-based Protogeo, the maker of Moves. The acquisition size wasn't announced, but a Facebook representative told the WSJ that the size was "nowhere near the size of other acquisitions the company has made in recent months."
Finland has such a powerful education brand that about a year ago we wondered why more Finnish companies aren't capitalizing on that brand when it comes to education. Essentially we were asking, where were Finland's powerhouse EdTech companies that were making some noise and showing traction?
If you feel passionate about the internet of things and a summery Paris is high up your cool-places-to-go-to list, you might want to consider a trip to the Connected Conference, a hardware-themed startup event which will be held on June 18-19, 2014 at La Halle Freyssinet in Paris, France.
Landline caller ID did wonders for those riddled by spam callers and those too socially anxious to pick up the phone. But as we've shifted to mobile, we're more stuck with what's in our address book and clueless when an unknown number starts ringing in your pocket.
Well established companies, startups, and enormous corporations all share the unquenchable need for IT developers, which has led to an significant demand for platforms that provide dynamic services for outsourcing IT development. While IT means mingling with computers, it’s by no means entirely done by machines; the main operators are human, and as we all know it, humans tend to make mistakes.
Aismantas Bulanavičius, the co-founder and product manager of Lithuanian startup Aciety, is well familiar with the topic. His experiences in outsourcing product management through freelance job portals Elance and Odesk brought him nothing but disappointment in the form of incompetence and unreliability.
There are some problems that most of us can only dream of having, one of which must be to be rich enough to qualify as an institutional investor. Edgefolio, a Norwegian fin-tech startup is working on fixing the way the 2.4 trillion dollar hedge fund industry markets itself to this group. Founded by London-transplant Leopold Gasteen in 2013 they are currently in beta fine-tuning their product.
The Arctic15 pitching competition is back, where we get our readers to help us select the 15 hottest up-and-coming companies in the Nordic and Baltic region. With Arctic15 coming up May 27 and 28 it's then time to put them up on stage in front of our judges, investors, and swarm of attendees.
Finland's angel funding is getting beefed up.
Ten individuals, including Supercell founders, key employees, and others that have put together a €15 million fund managed by Lifeline Ventures' Timo Ahopelto and Petteri Koponen. The fund plans to put together angel rounds close to €500,000, which is big early money coming from a single investor compared to what we're used to seeing up north. Last October Supercell sold a 51% stake in the company to GungHo and Softbank for $1.5 billion.
"It's a little counter intuitive," says Ahopelto. "All the funds want to grow bigger - first you have your €10 million, €30 million, then €100 million. Our first fund was around €30 million we established three years ago. So now we're doing a €15 million fund, which is half of that."
Silicon Valley Investors, Best Latvian Startups, Nokia, Free Beer & Exciting Talks. Riga, Here We Come.
As you may have noticed by now, we are touring the Arctic region with our series of events - ArcticEvenings. They are getting everyone ready for our main event - Arctic15:Exit Path, taking place in the end of May in Helsinki (You can get Early Bird Tickets until the 28th of April). For each country, we have a slightly different schedule and agenda and boy are we excited about Riga.
First of all, we are really impressed by the recent quality of startups there, growth in the amount of investments, co-working spaces & the local conference - Tech Chill Baltics.
As recently published in an article from Trendsonline.dk, members of the Danish parliament have collaborated upon a proposal for a resolution which will ascertain crowdfunding as a proper form of financing in the country. This will urge the Danish government to increase funding for entrepreneurs and startups through the use of crowdfunding, by the end of 2014. In the future, this initiative should provide startups with the means to reach new heights; like Copenhagen based startup Airtame, whose crowdfunding campaign ended with a gain of over $1.2 million in finances, the largest yet to be seen in Scandinavia.
I made a recent trip to Estonia's lesser-known startup hub, Tartu. While Tartu has frequently been overshadowed by its big brother, Tallinn, it is in fact the country's ancient centre of education and science. It hosts Estonia's largest and most esteemed university, founded in 1632, while containing a beautiful and easily navigated old town centre. To top it all, every time I have ventured into the city the weather has been clear and sunny. Admittedly that is a total of two times, but I am confident it is always like that.
If you’re a music fan old enough to have lived through the years of the Sony Walkman, the boom box, and New Order, you’re probably familiar with the shortcomings of the cassette tape. You remember that irritating hissing noise that seeped through the speakers? How about the tape jam that cut you off in the middle of your favorite Echo & the Bunnymen song? Who would ever want to bring back that horrible music format, right?
Two fairly young Swedes behind the security startup Detectify (more on that later) set out one night with a goal of hacking Google. Finding potentially compromising exploits are their day job, and just for fun they wanted to see if they could get some of that hot bug bounty that large companies pay out if you find potentially compromising bugs in their code. The logic for a company like Google is that if they pay hackers, then they don't have the incentive to take advantage of the exploit themselves or sell it on the black market.
Punos Mobile, the creator of the meeting app Meeting Assistant, has now launched an Android app to take their in-meeting app into meeting rooms and board rooms where the iPad isn't the only player in town. Many of the Nordic countries' Apple fanboy entrepreneurs (I'm talking about myself here) may have only seen iPads in meeting rooms, but there's a bigger demand for productivity tools on Android tablets than one might intuitively think.
Recruiting platforms have already popped up in our news feed a few times during the past week, so since we’re at it, why not expand our coverage of matchmaking startups a little more?
Unlike Cruitway and Games Jobs Finland, which are, despite being highly specialized platforms, quite traditional in their matchmaking approach, Heebo takes recruitment processes towards a more philanthropic path.
Launches are a scary thing, whether it is a public beta, an MVP or a full blown launch. They require a lot of planning, there is usually a missed deadline or two and then there are all these people that use your product in a wrong way, or worse - no people at all.
There are many strategies to a successful launch. Some startups organize parties, others quietly push it to the app store and hope for the best. There is no best way, but it helps to have a bit of help: a good article here, an event to attend there, investors looking at you everywhere.
Oi yous lot! Shut up, sit down, close every other tab you’ve got open right now and focus on me. Go on, do it, I can wait.
Done? Right, let’s talk.
Dealforfriends is a new service for e-tailers (online retailers of goods, usually clothes and accessories) to generate more sales and customers. Soon to change their name to Vouper, the service enables e-retailers to reach a wider audience through the use of discounts that can be shared over Facebook.