Wow, what a year it has been. We want to thank you all for reading what we had to say, and for taking part in the journey. On behalf of the whole ArcticStartup team, Merry Christmas!
It was an important year for the region and for ArcticStartup. We had to restart the blog and while it was tough, in the end our numbers improved significantly and we could not have done it without you. In addition to that we started venturing out and doing other exciting things such as the Minimum Viable Office, our co-working space in central Helsinki. Then there is Wire.as, which many of you heard about already, which is going to be our "Angel List" for Northern Europe and Baltics.
But before we expand on all of that, we want to give you a little Christmas present in the shape of the absolute TOP 10 articles on ArcticStartup.com in 2013. So let's get right into it:
What is a better indication of progress in the region than startups shooting for the skies? Quite literally. Some guys and gals from Copenhagen want to send a man to space, all by themselves and in a very lean way of doing so. This year, marked a lot of progress as they launched Sapphire-1, a rocket aiming to test the active guidance system, and it worked like a charm. They are one step closer to their dream, and in the process they beat a lot of records, such as: Most powerful amateur rocket ever flown and first amateur rocket flown with a payload of a full size Crash test dummy. The dummy lived, although a human would not have in the same circumstances.
Super success of Supercell was perhaps the most encouraging, motivating and captivating news of the year. Not only did it mean that we have yet another company in the Nordic/Baltic region that is valued at way over $1B, but it also meant that there was a successful semi-exit and that is always good for the community. There is now a whole legion of people inspired by the success, aiming to build "Supercells" of their own and we applaud the team for making it happen and for giving back to the community and also for supporting good causes. You should also check out the post by Neil Rimer from Index Ventures, about the whole deal.
The Finns are usually rather calm people, but some things just get them angry. Such as the copyright laws which caused police raids on little girls. In response, a petition was filed and was aiming to reach 50 000 votes. The black-out was initiated in order to bring awareness and so it did, causing the final petition to gather 51 974 votes. The parliament held the initial hearing on the 27th of November 2013, reaching a number of conclusions that you can read here (In Finnish).
Yapp, the TOP 100 list of Finnish startups stirred some buzz and caused a lot of interesting conversation. At the time the top startups were Rovio Entertainment, Dealdash, Web of Trust, Tuxera and Jolla. Today the top five are: DealDash, FingerSoft, Web Of Trust, Sumoing and Thinglink. You can see the full list here.
Some startups are just so focused on what they are doing that they barely get any publicity. They are under the radar. ArcticStartup loves finding them, in fact it is somewhat of a game at our offices - looking for hidden and unknown startups. Boy were we surprised when we found one that was generating over ¢25 million in yearly turnover and almost nobody knew about them. After the article, AdCash became an active supporter and participant in the startup scene and we are happy if we can claim at least a small credit in that.
Yes, we did it. We broke our rules. We wrote about a startup that is not form our region, but in all fairness we also did it in last years TOP 10 list. Oh and besides, when there is a company that is as exciting as iHelp, you just gotta break some rules if that means there is even a small chance to help them out in their quest to save lives. They already saved two, and to us, that is the most impressive startup metric we could think of.
One thing we don't like other than copyright laws seems to be roaming. After all, we travel a lot and roaming is just annoying. So everybody is trying to solve that. For instance there are mobile phone operators that do not charge for roaming in several countries, there are hardware solutions such as GoodSpeed, or software such as Roamer. Then there is Ukko Mobile that is making a data sim card that will have a flat fee and work pretty much everywhere in Europe. Our readers were very excited about that.
Lithuania made their mark on ArcticStartup with Dragdis, a startup that makes bookmarking and saving anything on the web a simple drag and drop. Oh and naturally it all goes into the cloud, so you can access it anywhere. It was cool to see them get as much traction as they did. Hacker News picked it up and everyone seemed excited by the possibility, even though there were already many alternatives such as the Evernote Web Clipper. Still, the options out there were not as simple as Dragdis.
One of the biggest news to hit the region was the Microsoft acquisition of the Nokia mobile & devices. This was a game changer for a lot of people, startups and the whole industry. Speculation was all over the web as to what this means, whether this will have a positive or a negative effect on the startup ecosystem, what it will mean for Nokia and more. People even tried to save Nokia by "outbidding Microsoft". In fact, Greg put it best by saying that Finland was going through the 5 stages of grief. Are we going to hit depression or go straight to acceptance from here?
If this year showed us anything is that when the internet thinks something is unfair, there is no stopping them. So our most popular article was when Paypal froze the money that the Icelandic MailPile raised in a crowdfunding campaign. The internet went nuts and we saw the power of Reddit. The fairly straightforward article quickly climbed up the Reddit ladder and very soon we found ourselves checking how well the servers were doing. The good news is that PayPal responded fast and lifted the restriction, so everyone was happy. Which we hope you will be too in 2014, Merry Christmas!
So there we are, the top 10 most popular stories of 2013. This is statistics, but we would love to hear from you about what stories you liked best yourself. In fact, we love feedback so feel free to drop us a line at editor (a) arcticstartup.com or tweet to us. Thank you for reading and see you soon (Publishing resumes on the 26th)! Merry Christmas!
The ArcticStartup Team:
Top Image Courtesy of Shutterstock // Christmas Funny