Moscow-based IBS Group, one of the largest IT service providers and software suppliers in Central and Eastern Europe, unveiled in late January its new ‘cloud’ platform, DMMessenger. Designed specifically for the energy and utilities market, the platform empowers smart grid solutions with a collaborative tool for regulating energy consumption.
According to Mikhail Minkevich, vice president for technology services at Luxoft, a key asset of IBS Group, DMMessenger’s cloud tool enables electricity suppliers to process large amounts of data about electric consumption and lets them interact effectively with their customers.
Those of you that know us, also know that we regularly read The Economist. It is gets delivered straight to our door steps after all. In fact it is one of the most respected publications here at ArcticStartup. So when the Arcticstartup region was covered in The Economist the other day, we were extremely happy. There is even a HN Discussion here about the article.
This is good news for the region and good news for Arcticstartup, as hopefully a lot more people will recognize our region and the "Arctic Valley" after the magazine is distributed worldwide. It was especially nice to be called a "celebratory blog" by The Economist themselves. Anyhow, enough about us, this week we have plenty of news, links and a whooping 16 new jobs.
Oprea is an old timer in the Scandinavian digital scene, but that doesn't mean that they haven't stopped innovating. The Norwegian company has seen sizable growth on their mobile browser; they've recently revealed that more than 208 million people used the Opera Mini app in December of 2012. Due to these numbers, they're going after the growing demand for a mobile payments flow that makes sense.
To do so, yesterday Opera's payment arm partnered with Italian Neomobile to bring one-click operator billing to the Opera Payment Exchange (OPX) service.
I would estimate that within my tenure at ArcticStartup the amount of electricity used to send us pitch emails could power the ISS. Ok, that's an overstatement. But the fact is that we get a lot of emails and I've become a connoisseur of the pitch. To help support the symbiotic relationship between entrepreneurs and ArcticStartup, here are some tips you can use for crafting your emails. This is mostly common sense, but it can't hurt to write it down.
First of all, we're accessible.
Feel free to send us emails about anything to Editor@ArcticStartup.com. It'll get to everyone.
We're excited to see that we're not just talking to ourself, The Economist has written a special report on the Nordic startup scene with the subtitle, "The Nordic region is becoming a hothouse of entrepreneurship". Next week's cover issue will have a nice focus on the Nordic countries, as shown by their released cover.
As huge fans of The Economist, we recommend you read it for yourself for a good outside prospective on the scene.
What's your take on the article? The main concern about our entrepreneurship scene raised is:
Right now we're reading about how the J.O.B.S. act is going to change crowdfunding in the United States, but I think it's worth pointing out we actually have a head start on equity crowdfunding in Northern Europe. The countries in the ArcticStartup region have their own legislative quirks, but equity crowdfunding is here, there's no doubt about it. And it will be very interesting to follow what happens to the funding landscape as the public consciousness catches up and more deals are run.
A few companies actually have their own equity success case. On FundedByMe, Stockholm-based Virtuous Vodka successfully raised SKr 1,000,140 (€116,000) from 103 investors. On Invesdor, NetOutlet raised €53,000 from 15 investors, but they didn't make a big splash about it, leading me to suspect it wasn't incredibly crowdfunded. But these platforms are growing. Last night I attended the (Stockholm-based) FundedByMe event in Helsinki as they officially opened up their equity crowdfunding platform here, which got me thinking more about the movement.
Editor's Note: This is a guest post by Mikko Silventola, partner at Annia Capital. Should also be noted that Silventola sits on the board at Frontier Projects International.
Are you interested in expanding your start-up company or growth company to the Middle East? During my past five months in the Middle East, I have personally met really many Finnish and Nordic entrepreneurs looking to expand their business to the Middle East markets. Many companies visits here with a bigger delegation and try to meet as many potential partners or customers as possible. I believe it is quite easy to meet and get meetings with Arabs but difficult to get money out of them!
The Estonian creators of Toggl time tracking software have launched their newest product, TeamWeek, which is targeted at team-management professionals. Rather than constantly updating a chart, you're given the simplicity of an Excel sheet easily accessed in a browser, but designed for a multi-user environment.
“Gantt charts just suck,” as TeamWeek’s lead engineer Krister Haav puts plainly. “As soon as you print them they’re out of date. So we created the antidote.”
You wouldn't be surprised if the military was using local geomagnetic field characteristics in order to search for underwater submarines. But it's another thing altogether when this type of technology can be put right into your smartphone for completely new uses. That's is what IndoorAtlas has done; by using a similar principle they enable indoor navigation without any anchoring to WiFi nodes. Now they tell is they have just closed roughly €500 000 in funding from both local and US investors.
So let's pretend you're out shopping and you see three bedazzled iPhone cases that are solid candidates for your chirp. Yes, in this hypothetical you are a 14 year old girl. You're out with your lame mom, so how are you going to get that second opinion to find out what's the real hotness on the streets?
Boom, with Photopoll you can quickly take pictures of all your choices to get your friends and the public to vote on the best one. It's useful for trying to figure out the best ice cream flavor, or for answering more abstract hypotheticals like "best place to go vacation". As long as it has a picture to go with it, you can poll it.
More Scandinavian music news for today following our earlier news that Rdio is officially launching in the Nordics. Soundrop, the Norwegian social music platform made popular through their Spotify app, has brought its "listening rooms" to be embedded on Facebook.
It's a big deal for the company - they're now leveraging multiple sources for content while serving up simultaneous playback, making them less dependent on one licensing provider. Rather than Spotify serving the content, the music on Facebook is handled by VEVO and YouTube. The embedded rooms provide the same simultaneous voting, chatting, and playback experience as in the Spotify app.
There is no doubt about it, the war for online music streaming space is on and its about to get nasty. Prior to today, the competing companies, Spotify, Rdio, WiMP were only getting ready for battle. Counting troops, building war machines and marking territory.
Today, Rdio announced that they have launched free web music streaming in 15 countries, including pretty much every country in the ArcticStartup region with the exception of Latvia, Lithuania and Iceland. Now this is not a big news per say, as we have already covered the fact that they have silently launched first in Denmark and then in other Nordic countries.
What do we know about e-commerce in the coming years? Well for one, it's going to play a bigger role in our life. And two, it's going to be a lot more social. Helishopter is a new Stockholm-based startup still in beta that's attempting their own take on social recommendations to e-commerce. They provide recommendations through machine learning, as well as social features like recommendations based on what your friends have clicked on or purchased.
James Pember, the biz dev guy behind Helishopter, tells us they're well aware that e-commerce is a crowded space, and that giants like Amazon are already moving towards social shopping. But they feel that there is still room in the market to improve, and that they've got the tech to best tackle social shopping.
I find it interesting to follow what Seedcamp and the other big European accelerators are doing. It's useful to see what the trends are, and I also enjoy selfishly finding hot new services to check out before my friends. The following list has been invited to the Seedcamp London event, including three startups from the ArcticStartup region: Actual Reports and GateMe from Tallinn, and Together from Gothenburg.
Here's a quick drill-down of the local teams, followed by the full list of accepted teams.
Let’s face it, at most events the actual investors are usually a minority but most startups are looking for just that - money. No matter how you spin it, money is needed to start, run and grow a company. So it is always great to see an event that is specifically tailored towards this goal.
I attended Enterprise Finland Venture Forum the other day and quite enjoyed the fact that there were around 70 people representing various VC’s and investors compared to just 26 companies that were pitching. Many of them were international VC’s that made the trip from cities such as London, Paris and Munich.
The pitching companies were also not just a bunch of random companies that applied to the event. A special VC committee pre-selected and screened the companies that they thought would be the most interesting to the investors and then sent out the invitations.
RZD, the Russian state-owned railways monopoly, has just launched a free mobile app offering train schedules and allowing travelers to purchase electronic tickets. A click-to-call function allows users to reach the company’s call center easily.
From the comments that can be found around the web and from the people that attended the awards, it seems that Europas is the fastest awards event out there. After all, it finished 20 minutes ahead of schedule, which is not something you see too often at a startup event.
But this is not why you are reading this, you want to find out just how well did Arcticstartup Region startups perform. Going in, there were quite a lot of startups, vc’s, entrepreneurs and accelerators that were nominated from the region. Thankfully, going out the results are quite good as well.
I love me some tunes, and I love innovative web stuff (even if they're a little rough around the edges), so I was pleased to see that some of the projects built during Spotify's Music Hack Day last weekend were thrown up on Hacker League to poke around. The event took place last weekend at Spotify's new office in Stockholm, and was Spotify's first external Music Hack Day. I just took a few things that looked interesting to put up here, but browse the full list of submitted (and in progress) projects.
Super Mutroid - As shown in the top image, it's a music/rythym platform game with a Super Metroid theme. Reminds me of Bit Trip Runner. Download is here (if you have Mac OS 10.8). Haven't tried it yet, but will when I get a spare few minutes.
Editorial note: This post is part of a series of posts in collaboration with Lappeenranta University of Technology to promote their expertise and tools in commercialising research based innovations.
The debate continues whether oil will run out or not. Regardless, companies constantly seek improvements in efficiency and reductions in costs for better competitive edge. Visedo, a company located in the campus area of Lappeenranta University of Technology, is building electrical components to machines that help save up to 40% in fuel costs. These machines run fully electric or hybrid engines. While Visedo does not build the engines themselves, they supply the key components to make such engines run. Some of the products include permanent magnet generators and motors as well as heavy duty inverters and electrical drivetrains.
Big news out of Denmark today. Tradeshift, the E-invoicing and payments platform, has announced a "multi-million" dollar partnership with Intuit, the creators of the QuickBooks platform. The partnership will give Tradeshift access to the 5 million businesses who use QuickBooks to and drastically scale up the number of SMEs that use Tradeshift's free e-invoicing standard.
They explain in their blog post: