Slush has grown to such a large conference that in order to be memorable, you need to stand out. To help our Arctic Startups succeed and we republished our Hacking Conferences article by Dmitri Sarle, who took on Dublin Web Summit this year like a pro. Yet we still see a wide gap in the degree to which startups are prepared for #Slush14 and are successful at getting their word out.
On Friday Nov 21 TechHub Riga hosted its opening event. Latvia's central startup hub has moved into a new bulding, twice the size of their previous office and able to fit in around 150 people. Among other announcements, Andris Berzins is stepping down as TechHub chairman and letting Ernests Stals take over the lead. Ernests is a logical choice, considered he was at the inception of what is now TechHub Riga as once started as Open Coffee Club and later grew into regular startup evenings. In addition, another member is joining the board of TechHub Riga - Raimonds Kulbergs, who left Big 4 consulting to build Funderful, the startup behind TechHub Riga fundraising campaign.
As evidenced by yesterday's article on Sharetribe, the "sharing economy" is going everywhere. One new startup now out of Copenhagen's Startupbootcamp is Sharingear, sort of an AirBNB for touring equipment that should make it a lot easier for bands to hit the road and make some money.
A lot seems to be happening on the tech side in construction work industry. Recently GenieBelt announced that they would be launching worldwide. Now Fieldly, a startup that works with helping field workers keeping track of progress and project management, has announced their first costumers outside their home-base, Sweden.
Over Slush, Sharetribe announced that they've picked up a solid $1 million from Finnish kingmaker VC Lifeline Ventures, giving them good cash to support their platform which allows anyone to run peer-to-peer marketplaces for buying, selling, or renting goods.The company's platform has seen good growth lately, used from everything from peer-to-peer surfboard rentals to helping find caretakers for pets. Previoulsy Sharetribe raised money from Reaktor Polte and Tekes, the Finnish government funding agency.
What do you value more? An experience, or a physical gift? Chances are you've already got enough stuff in your apartment, and what you'd appreciate doing something fun and exciting instead. As a startup founder and curator of experiences, it makes sense that I met Tinggly founder Linas Ceikus at the Surf Summit, an after-event from the Dublin Web Summit taking 100 entrepreneurs out to the west coast of Ireland for surfing and other adventures.
Editor's Note: This is a sponsored post by Pipedrive.
Sales is a bit of an involuntary passion of mine. Partially because I was raised in a family of entrepreneurs, my mother was one when it was virtually banned in the USSR, partially because I somehow ended up doing sales for most of my life.
When it comes to sales, there was pretty much everything: real estate sales, retail sales, online sales, corporate sales, cold calling and my favourite - door to door sales.
As someone that can't really play an instrument, I can get lost in music apps that helps you easily make catchy beats like you somehow know what you're doing. That's the fun part of Disco Fingers, a newly released iPad app that lets you crunch out tunes, throw in some voice filters, and share them with the community or your friends.
We have written several times about startups choosing London as their second base or moving there entirely. It is a logical step for many from the region.
To assist them in this process, there is the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), a commercial arm of the UK government. Their goal is to basically help UK based companies succeed internationally, while attracting international companies to set-up base in the UK. They typically hold consultation sessions, events, participate in the local startup scene in order to show companies what their options and opportunities are.
Last week it became known that Apple established a new R&D unit in Lund. The office space is suitable for about 10 people and has been operational for a few weeks now, reports Rapidus. The confirmation of Apple’s moving in came from the property owner Vasakronan, Anna Stenkil.
Catching up with funding news, the folks over at Sayduck announced over Slush that they've picked up €350,000 for their augmented reality solution targeting the furniture industry. This past January the company also raised a €350,000 seed, suggesting they had to burn a little more equity before a proper series A, but their solution is cool enough that they should be the ones bridging the gap between online retail and the real world. This latest round of funding should bring some good connections to the company, led by Arteel Ventures as well as Finnish media house A-lehdet, Finnish Design Shop founder Teemu Kiiski and Matteo Alessi among others.
For startup folks at conferences, WiFi is our lifeline letting us get some work done during talks, stay posted with the buzz around the event, and gives us piece of mind that our servers aren't destroyed when we're distracted with networking. You don't really notice WiFi when it works, but you sure as hell notice when it doesn't.
Last night entrepreneurs and investors piled into Copenhagen's third oldest church repurposed into an event space to see what's come out of Startupbootcamp Copenhagen's latest batch. Host Lars Buch started off the program by saying this was the most mature group they've had so far, and by the looks of the companies Startupbootcamp has managed to gather some good talent from as far as Russia and Paraguay and bring them to Copenhagen for three months of hard work and mentoring.
Finnish HTML5 app platform Appgyver has one of those paths that seems logical when you look back at their history, but would be somewhat impossible to fully realize when they first launched. Their new product, called Appgyver Workspace, looks like a promising platform for enterprises to finally take advantage of the power of mobile - a massively valuable turning point that hasn't come thanks to bloated corporate software banging up against today's 'Bring Your Own Device' policy.
We’ve brought you guides to Riga and Lithuania before, and we know quite a few were looking forward to Estonia. With Slush just finishing up, we hope it will be particularly useful for those flying in for the event and willing to stay longer and explore #Estonianmafia startup scene. There’s one quote that has been widely circulated among Estonian and foreign investors:
"If I see a company coming out of Estonia I am reasonably assured that it will be executed well. For its size, Estonia is generating more high quality startups than you would expect.”
- Naval Ravikant, Founder of AngelList"
Note: Updated with quote from Uber
With Taxify launching in Oulu two weeks ago, and in Helsinki yesterday, the taxi battles are starting to heat up in Helsinki. Timed with Slush, Uber surprised Finland by announcing they will be launching in Helsinki this morning but riders beware - Uber seems to have no cars are on the road. According to Taxify CEO Markus Villig, they may have had their taxi supply drop out underneath them overnight.
With Slush as the excuse to make some noise, Helsinki-based Upcloud shares they've launched the world’s fastest cloud hosting storage backend at just 20 cents a gigabyte. Looking over the graphs and information sent over by the company you can see that comparing services does get complicated, but as a comparison, similar performance on Amazon Web Services if it were technically possible would cost 87 times more.
Nokia was always extremely important in Finland, so with the Microsoft acquisition, everyone was wondering what they would do next. At the same time, a new player on the market - Jolla was taking a stab at the mobile phone market, and it looked like they could continue where Nokia left off. However with both devices announced at Slush, they will go head to head between each other and the rest of the world in a tablet space.
Since Seriously popped up on our radar last November they've shot up quicker than any Finnish gaming company in recent memory in terms of funding, hype, and polish. With their first title, "Best Fiends" launched this October Seriously has built strong lovable characters and a good storyline that they've plugged into gameplay not dissimilar to Candy Crush Saga. The company announces today at Slush that they've now raised another cool $5 million, bringing their total funding to $10 million (€8.01 million).
With experienced Finnish talent leaving their old jobs to form gaming companies like Supercell, Seriously and Boomlagoon, it's easy to think that the growth of the scene has only lead to new gaming companies but that's not the case. Helsinki and San Francisco based Omniata is branching out from their Digital Chocolate background to provide a better analytics solution for digital industries. What's notable is that despite their gaming background, Omniata isn't only focused on just the gaming industry. While they count local influencers such as Rovio and Playraven as customers, there are plenty of digital industries that could benefit from customizing user experience through data similar to what the gaming industry has done.