Leaddesk raises €5.5 Million Series A

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.

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Finnish travel app CreateTrips closes €1.4 Million in seed

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.

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Blueberry Wall connects long distance relationships through printed photos

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.

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Shark Punch's Playfield raises €1.2 Million

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.

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A Good Sign: Corporates Joining The Startup Game

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.

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Mobile Developers Wanted: Act Qvik

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?

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With solid lineup of customers Wake changing how design teams work

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.

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Entrepreneurs on ice: The Polar Bear Pitch - LIVE!

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:

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SharperShape launches long-distance drone Next Eagle to scan forests even further

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.

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Swedish Innovation Compass to navigate you though innovation jungles

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.

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After free trials Sportsetter is bringing fitness activity sales online

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?

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#CPHFTW event celebrates successful funding - with special guest Mikkel Svane

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’.

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Crowdfunding Lithuania - Takeaways From The Event

Editor's note: this is a guest post by Toma Kondratė from Startup Highway.
On 17th February, 2015 S​tartupHighway​ 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 (N​ovus Aeterno ​and P​athologic)​, design (Esquoia​­ reusable notebook) and creative (Y​ou Can’t Escape Lithuania, ​W​e Will Riot)​campaigns, not forgetting impressive hardware inventions, such as R​ubbee​­ the electric drive for bicycles, Deeper​­ fishfinder for iOS and Android devices, and F​OODsniffer ​(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.

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Moggles: enter a virtual reality from the comfort of your phone

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.

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We test out Beddit with the launch of Beddit Family

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.

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Lithuanian Mobile Worker launches B2B with €500,000 Norwegian capital

Lithuanian mobile workforce management solution Mobile Worker who had reached 15,000 B2C users in past year announced that it has raised €500,000 from two major Norwegian private holdings JBO Holding AS and Uni Micro Holding AS and developed a B2B version. Long before the announcement Mobile Worker already had more than 100 B2B clients signed up for their upcoming solution.

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Hot graphics selling Zorg Entertainment's AG DRIVE

The first thing I ever heard about Zorg Entertainment was about a year and a half ago, a few beers deep at game company's rooftop where a racing game was being demoed, making the graphics all the more impressive. At the time, I heard there were just two guys behind the project which seemed amazing. But with Zorg Entertainment's AG Drive out on the market today, you can see that the polish and graphics haven't gone anywhere. The company boasts the game engine is able to render over 15 million polygons every second at solid 60fps, even on older iOS devices.

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Don't miss this livestream: Next week is Polar Bear Pitch

It's easy to say if you've seen one pitching competition, you've seen them all. But mark you calendars next week for the Polar Bear Pitch, this upcoming Wednesday the 25th where startups (and investors) are popping into an ice hole in the Oulu river to tell the world about their startup for as long as they can stand to be in the ice.

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Lifepuzl keeps track of your child's life

It seems easy these days to end up having your hands (or brain) full of stuff to remember. With piling deadlines, appointments and birthdays to remember, how does one keep up?

If staying organised with your family is on the top of your list, Sweden-based Lifepuzl believes they’ve got exactly what you’re looking for.

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Winner of TechChill Baltics: Edurio

TechChill Baltics continues to live up to its educational reputation - the winner of last week's pitch contest is Latvian edtech startup Edurio. The company is building a web-based self-evaluation tool for schools and universities. Drawing on substantial academic and field experience of its team members, exceptionally active collaboration with its customers and key stakeholders from the very early stage, Edurio has won the title in a fierce pitch battle with RingBe, SportID, Furnny and UpSteem.

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