The start of the year has been a busy one in the Estonian startup scene where TransferWise has made the biggest headlines with a lot of other positives news coming in as well.
At the end of January, Estonian founded and London-based money transfer startup TransferWise raised $58 million in a Series C round led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz with participation also from previous backers Sir Richard Branson, Peter Thiel's Valar Venture, Index Ventures, IA Ventures and Seedcamp.
Zervant announces today that it has raised €1.5 million to help expand its invoicing and accounting platform outside of the home Scandinavian market with a target set on Germany and France. The funding came from Conor, the Helsinki-based VC with €70 million under management, as well as Zervant's existing investors.
Our conference, the Arctic15, is coming up the 26th and 27th of May and it's exciting to be announcing the first batch of speakers!
But before we get to that, when we talk about Arctic15, we also want to tell you the philosophy behind our conference and events in general. We travel to a ton of startup events around Europe, and for some of them we have to ask, "what is the real value the attendees are getting here?"
That's why we've built Arctic15 to be an event focused on value for attendees - if you're going to pay for a ticket and give us two days of your life, we want to entertain, inform, and really connect you.
The last thing you want on your web app is to hear that sleazy people are crawling all over it, hacking your users either through brute force or using a stolen password to steal sensitive information. Despite the clamor from the technical crowd that developers should implement two-factor authentication everywhere your average user isn't going to take the time, which means you should be more proactive with your login security. Enter Malmö-based Castle.io which offers an intelligent drop-in security tool, now available in Beta.
Becoming location independent is easier than ever. Once you are able to work from anywhere as long as you have your computer and a Wi-Fi, why not exploit this situation to travel around the world, explore different cultures, religions, countries and learn more about the wonderful world we live in?
Would like to give it a shot? Great! Keep these 5 things in mind:
We've been following the buildup of Helsinki-based Leaddesk for some time now. Starting in 2010 by building modern software for European call centers they've seen good growth by building cloud-based callcenter services focused on the needs for salespeople to get deals done over the phone. After seeing after seeing over 1,000% growth back in 2013, they've now raised their first round, a €5.5 million Series A led by Dawn Capital as well as participation by Finnish Industry Investment.
Everything travel is going mobile, and Finnish startup CreateTrips is picking up users and travel bloggers for their nicely-designed iOS-based smart trip planner. Users can build guides to share with friends, as well as browse a large library of mobile travel guides curated by travel-related businesses and over 300 professional travel bloggers.
The age of the Internet of Things is upon us, and nowadays nearly any noun can be found on a crowdfunding platform with the ability to connect it to the internet. You might think it would be tough to throw the world wide web into printed framed photos, but Patrik Koze and Kaviraj Murugesan in Tartu, Estonia sees an opportunity in long distance relationships.
When sitting down at the Shark Punch office at the time of our last article, we spoke at length about how the game industry is rapidly changing thanks to the rise of alpha launched games - works in progress that have enough content for gamers to get a feel for the game but still early enough to see the game progress and help shape the direction. With momentum behind Steam's Greenlight program it seems like there's no going back to polished 1.0 game launches, and if you engage your audience correctly you can build a $2.5 billion dollar company, like Minecraft's rise from alpha.
While moving The Masterplan through Greenlight, it became clear to Shark Punch that there's new problem for game developers and gamers. Suddenly every game developer needs to be a better media about itself, and there's a discovery problem of helping gamers find great games. Originally Shark Punch worked on this platform as a side project, but has since raised €1.2 million by London Venture Partners in an Angel List syndicate with DN Capital, Reaktor Polte, as
well as private angel investors. The result is Playfield - a platform bringing gamers and game developers together - a response to Steam Greenlight's limited community features and restricted platform.
”We started the company initially to develop a new game called The Masterplan, but after many discussions with other game developers, we realized that discovery is a massive problem for both developers and players. The question is rarely 'is there a big enough audience', but 'how to reach the right audience’”, says Jiri Kupiainen, CEO of Shark Punch.
"The number one problem for game developers today is user acquisition and we know that Playfield will help game developers to get their games discovered by relevant gamers", Kupiainen continues.
In proper early-access mindset, Playfield has launched in an open beta, allowing you to follow, like, and comment on games.
For years there has been a great divide between startups and corporates. Many big companies had internal R&D departments and would never consider that working with, acquiring or purchasing from startups would make their business better. At the same time, startups saw corporates as giants that are hard to reach or to work with. Both were somewhat afraid to reach out.
Editor's note: This is a sponsored job posting, but please help support ArcticStartup by passing this on to your friends looking for work in mobile development.
How would you like to join a company that truly understands mobile? A company that has built many successful startups? A company that did not have any outside funding and yet built apps that are used by tens of million people and bring in significant revenues?
Designers are never happy, are they? While cloud storage companies like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box have skyrocketed thanks to being the easiest solution for teams to share documents and files with each other, they're more of a utility than a communication platform for designers who feed on iteration and motifs. No one really opens up Dropbox for inspiration, and thanks to that ideas, sketches, and updates don't travel far from the person who designed them.
What's the best motivation to cut to the chase? Standing in freezing water in a hole cut in the ice. With this logic, Oulu's Polar Bear Pitch doesn't need any countdown timers as entrepreneurs pitch their startup to a group of investors - the limits of the human body are enough motivation to get in, cut to the chase, and hurry into the sauna. We've gotten our hands on the Polar Bear Pitch's livestream, which you can find below the fold:
Well over a year ago we wrote a story on Sharpershape, the Finnish start-up company whose army of laser equipped drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) as they’re officially called, are scanning Finnish forests from the air in order to scout optimal pathways for power line constructions and maintenance.
The Swedish Innovation Compass is a digital hub for innovation in Sweden. It is a downloadable app that helps guide users through the complex innovation system in Sweden. Sweden has done a great job of building up the resources in the innovation system, but with that comes complexity. This line of thinking is exactly what inspired the Swedish Innovation Compass, a new tool that helps entrepreneurs, innovators, startups, SME’s, researchers and established businesses find and connect the most relevant available resources.
The fundamentals behind Helsinki and New York-based Sportsetter have always seemed strong. While it's hard to get into a gym routine, it's mentally harder to find (and show up to) new activities you might be interested in. Finding that rock climbing wall or a yoga studio can always be done tomorrow, and you'll definitely show up the day after that, right?
Last week a small scale but high-profile event was held at Plandays office in Startup Village: the foundation, that is the core of #cphftw, celebrated that it had been funded and established! With 85 startups having contributed a total of over € 100 000, it is enough to make the #cphftw movement being able to grow and prosper. Being funded this way by startups, the #cphftw foundation truly is ‘by startups, for startups’.
Editor's note: this is a guest post by Toma Kondratė from Startup Highway.
On 17th February, 2015 StartupHighway hosted a noteworthy event focused on successful Lithuanian crowdfunding initiatives that were willing to spread the word about their exclusive stories.
The speakers came from various industries and presented their projects, including most successful Lithuanian gaming projects (Novus Aeterno and Pathologic), design (Esquoia reusable notebook) and creative (You Can’t Escape Lithuania, We Will Riot)campaigns, not forgetting impressive hardware inventions, such as Rubbee the electric drive for bicycles, Deeper fishfinder for iOS and Android devices, and FOODsniffer (a.k.a. PERES) a smart device protecting you from food poisoning. Every participant shared his own story to shed a light on our minds of what it’s like to run a crowdfunding campaign. Here are all the valuable tips that will serve as great advice for all business starters.
With the technological advancements of recent years, virtual reality is turning from just a concept into something very real and accessible. Clearly Facebook-acquired Oculus rift won't stay the only contender on the block and in our brave new world you might not have to buy very expensive equipment in order to enter a virtual reality. In fact, and this may sound a bit crazy, all you would need is a smartphone and a pair of Moggles.
Editor's note: we were provided with Beddit devices to test out, but the article remains my opinion.
To start talking about Beddit, Finnish sleep tracking device, you have to first talk about the hardware.