About a month ago, Max Niederhofer announced he was moving from his position as Vice President in Accel Partners' London office, to a Partner at Sunstone Capital's Copenhagen office. We caught up with him to talk more about his move, and about what entrepreneurs should know when negotiating with Venture Capitalists.
Creating and sending postcards from your own images is by no means a unique idea. There are a lot of companies offering the service. So when we first talked to Postify, it seemed like they were doing something that has already been done and then some.
However at a closer look, it seems like they do have a hidden gem in there. Instead of focusing on the end-consumer, they want to create a new marketing channel for companies.
The pan-European startup accelerator, Startupbootcamp, is announcing that each participating team in their new Copenhagen MobilityXL program will be offered a $1 million loan at the end of the program. As you guessed it, MobilityXL will focus on mobile startups, and will run in a 3 month program. Participating teams will still be given €15,000 for 8% equity at the beginning of the program, as in the past.
"Several accelerators have added eg convertible bonds on top of the normal offering but founders will still end up bleeding equity so we decided to introduce a much more founder friendly solution” says Lars Buch, head of the new Startupbootcamp MobilityXL.
The Finnish Ministry Of Transport And Communications Collaborates With SomePitching To Support Startup Activity
A new Finnish government initiative to promote the development of early stage digital start-ups in Finland is taken to yet another level by the cooperation between SomePitching and the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications. SomePitching and the Ministry have signed a contract to arrange six business idea competitions across Finland between 2013 - 2014. The contract relates to the Kide-program set up by the Ministry last year and SomePitching business idea competitions that have been arranged since 2010.
Startup accelerators are popping up all the time and normally it is not such an exciting piece of news. However today, Yandex, the Russian “Google”, announced a seed stage accelerator of their own. This is in-line with other corporations that are trying to be closer to the startup ecosystem, for example Google sponsoring TechHub.
Russia is an interesting beast with a lot of talent and ideas that will definitely be home to many great startups. However, there are still elements missing as was evident at the latest Slush, where many Russian companies pitched side-by-side with the rest of Europe. The ideas were brilliant but the presentation and pitching skills were often lacking.
Event app Vamos is adding more functionality than crowdsourced Facebook events, plugging into services like Eventbrite, Ticketmaster, and Ticketfly. The reasoning is pretty straightforward - there are more events out there than what's on Facebook, and plugging into paid events can generate some revenue.
I find Vamos to be one of the stickier apps out of all the apps I've reviewed, but it's likely because I fall squarely into their demographic of bored 20-somethings. Their app provides an easy way to see what's going on at the moment, and the Facebook integration gives you an easy way to see what your friends are up to.
Editor's note: This is a sponsored post with our partner UK Trade & Investment
A number of companies from the Helsinki region have moved operations to London to take advantage of the networks and connections available around London's Tech City. Among them count Foodie.fm, who has built a presence in Tech City to help bring their grocery shopping solution to the UK market, as well as Kiosked, the platform that turns images, videos, and applications into interactive storefronts.
Stockholm-based ShapeUp Club got a little bit of a shakeup yesterday after hiring as CEO Henrik Torstensen, ex-Spotify head of Premium Sales, and Marcus Gners, Vice President of Business Development at Stardoll. Their positions will be CEO and Deputy CEO, respectively. Both have a history of being advisors to the company.
The company's founders, Tove Westlund and Martin Wählby, will be heading up product development and sales. “I have been part of a couple of amazing growth journeys before and with the way ShapeUp Club is evolving, both from a product and company perspective, the potential is huge”, says new CEO Henrik Torstensson.
It is no secret online dating is surrounded by stories of disappointments and broken hopes. One reason is pretty simple - you never can be sure if the person behind the appealing profile picture is real. Fake profiles, hidden payments, annoying photos of kissing couples, clumsy nicknames is the incomplete list of what makes experiences of those seeking for a partner online so frustrating.
Helsinki-based Audrey has risen to a challenge to put an end to a disturbing faking game and revolutionize online dating experiences. Launched on 1 May in Finland, Audrey calls themselves the first real identity online dating service.
Two Swedish companies have partnered to improve conversions on mobile ads. Freespee, the mobile advertising "click-to-call" solution has partnered with, Tradedoubler, the internet advertising and marketing company founded in Sockholm in 1999. Tradedoubler has since moved headquarters to London, but have seen good growth. Today their network includes 140,000 website publishers and 2,000 advertisers.
It's been a few months since we've covered Freespree, but they offers a pretty interesting click-to-call advertising solution which they claim helps increase conversions.
Entrepreneurs looking for government contracts, update this negotiation strategy to your rule books. The Finnish Tax Administration is reforming their information systems, replacing seventy tax systems with a single one. Selected was the Fast Enterprises’ Gentax taxation software, along with Finnish-Estonian Nortal, who plans to implement the project for €62 million with the overall price of procurement running around €226 million over 15 years.
Also competing in the bid was IBM, whose bid of €38 million with a total value of €143 million over 15 years was rejected. The Finnish Tax Administration was able to do so under the public procurement laws, which says the contracting authority may reject abnormally low tender.
"There comes a time, when silence is betrayal" proclaims a Swedish anti-human trafficking website. It is one of the first projects to attempt to publicise their campaign using Swedish crowdfunded advertising site Take Space.
Nordic countries have been among the cutting edge few who’ve embraced the democratising potential of crowdsourcing in governance. Finnish Avoin Ministerio or “Open Ministry”, for example, crowdsources proposals for laws and agenda issues for consideration in the Finnish Parliament. The crowdsourced Icelandic constitution (and its current limbo) has become legend the world over.
Headquartered in Espoo, Rightware, develops embedded User Interface (UI) technology and performance benchmarking tools for mobile, automotive and consumer electronics industries, and announced today that it has closed $5.2 million in fresh funding. The Series B is supported by prior backers Inventure and Nexit Ventures, and a new investor Finnish Industry Investment.
The fresh investment will be used to further expand global sales. The money will also go on the continued development of their main product, the Kanzi UI Solution.
Since meeting Hoa's Tool Shop at the Stockholm Startup Day, I've been really interested in everything they're doing. They're a team of three psychologists and one developer who are cranking out applications and... tools to effect behavior change - which is a term they use a lot. Given their background they look a the world differently than most startup founders, and benchmark themselves differently from trying to "gamify" or "influence", but instead look at the word more clinically.
The main product they're developing is Viary, a tool for clinical psychologists and organizational consultants to drive behavioral change, and reduce the amount of face-to-face time needed to meet for therapy.
You probably could have seen this coming given the kind words by Peter Thiel in TransferWise's previous press release, but the PayPal co-founder has led a new €4.6 million ($6 million) investment into Transferwise through Valar Ventures. Transferwise raised about €1 million a year ago, led by IA Ventures, Index Ventures, and Max Levchin, another co-founder of Paypal.
“Innovation in the banking industry typically involves rent-seeking or unsound derivatives, which offer marginal benefits to consumers. TransferWise demonstrates true innovation in banking by enabling its users to retain their wealth across borders,” says Peter Thiel.
Planning drinks or events with your friends seems has moved to Facebook or Whatsapp, but there's still some room for a startup to value-add. One to check out is Helsinki-based Planify has just launched to help you put the pieces together. At the basic level they provide a location and event directory with a social focus. Clicking on a location gives you shows you the information you need, like a map, photo, opening hours, and and user comments and photos, so sort of like Yelp in that respect. But the real focus is in the name - making it easy to plan to meet up with your friends.
By viewing a location you can either add it generally to your to-do list, or you can plan it with your friends. So if you want to meet up at Bar 9 you can click the "plan this" button to add a time, and start adding friends. Additionally, once your friends start making open plans, you can find them in your friends feed, where you can request to join.
Ask.fm has been growingly rapidly and currently boasts 52 million registered users, over 20 million visitors per day and 180 million monthly uniques. To put that into perspective Reddit has about 9 million uniques per day.
However the Latvian based social Q&A site Ask.fm has recently been under a lot of pressure due to allegations of enabling cyberbullying that led to a number of teenage suicides. Last week we raised the question of why companies such as Ask.fm are the targets and if instead everybody should concentrate on the root of the problem.
It's been a busy week, but some news just hitting our radar is Spotify's acquisition of Stockholm-based Tunigo. Covering news late really isn't news, but to comment on the deal I think it's more exciting than the rest of the tech press would have you believe given our interview with Tunigo CEO Nick Holmstén just last March. I'm biased, because I'm interested in the area Tunigo has hinted at, but hear me out.
Silicon Valley Investment Circle Compared To The Nordics: Speaker Video By Henrik Dillman Of Coworks
Funding is one of the first things modern startups think about after they have an idea or a prototype. After all, in order to grow and scale fast, you need a lot of it. At last years Arctic15, Henrik Dillman, the CEO of CoWorks (formerly ManCx) shared their story on funding, valuable advice on using the whole community for it and compared the San Francisco investment scene to that of Sweden and the rest of the Nordic countries.
Ask.fm has recently announced that they have hit the 50 million registered users mark, making it one of the biggest social media sites in the world. Considering that they also claimed 9 million daily uniques in November 2012, when the site only had about 25 million registered users, it also makes it one of the most visited websites on the web with a current Alexa ranking at 168. That is a 236 spots jump since November.
The site boils down to a Q&A social network where anybody can ask each other questions. This would be all well and good, however as an option they provide full anonymity to people asking the questions. Combine that with a target group of 13-18 year old teenagers and you get a potentially dangerous mix, which has already resulted in a number of scandalous problems for the site with at least five suicides being linked to bullying on Ask.fm.