The Finnish social gaming firm Ironstar Helsinki has announced appointing a new CEO Tiina Zilliacus and expanding its platform reach to Facebook. Ironstar Helsinki runs a social gaming world MoiPal, which up until now has been available on the web and as a downloadable mobile application. MoiPal has currently 200.000 registered users in Finland along some international ones, and is now looking to accelerate the international growth.
People often forgot to unplug their chargers. If all Nokia cell phone users globally would plug off when battery is full charged, energy savings would be as much as 100.000 average-sized European homes annual consumption.
Powerkiss provides a new charging solution, which transforms a charger in to public product, instead of private accessory. The company has two products: a module integrated into furniture and a charging stick plugged in the device (cell phone or a laptop). The stick is plugged in and the device is placed on the charging table top. The battery is charged automatically. The charging time remains almost the same, depending on the device. Right now, the Powerkiss is able to power devices up to 40W, next year up to 100 W.
Powerkiss has signed the first deals with furniture manufacturers Martela and Isku on commercialization during autumn 2009. By the end of this year, Powerkiss will introduce the charging sticks for Nokias and mini-USBs (by October), Apples, micro-USBs and netbooks (by November). The company targets to introduce bigger laptops on the portfolio in Q1 2010.
Timo Ahopelto, Blyk's Head of Strategy and Business Development and a co-founder and the founding CEO at CRF Health is leaving Blyk to join co-founders of a new Finnish startup accelerator, Lifeline Ventures. Lifeline Ventures is also part of the Vigo initiative (see our previous story on Lifeline Ventures here).
Ahopelto said that he has enjoyed his time at Blyk, being part of the very first team, but that he had been thinking about setting up a startup accelerator already for a while, and when the team heard about Vigo they didn't wait. Blyk moving to its mobile operator partnering model, Ahopelto assures that Blyk is growing fast and the future for the company as youth media looks promising, even though some have their doubts. As an example of the new evolved strategy is Blyk's first deal with Vodafone in the Netherlands, where Vodafone will provide Blyk-branded consumer services to young people under Blyk user experience and ad formats.
Two Finnish startups, MySites (see our previous story here) and Dazzboard (see our previous story here) announced recently that they will partner up: MySites which has completely rebranded itself as 'social cloud storage' is now offering Dazzboard users (as well as everybody else) unlimited amount of data storage for free.
We talked to both, MySites and Dazzboard CEOs, to get to the bottom of what is happening with the services and what the co-operation is all about.
MySites, for its part, is going head on againts services like Dropbox or even Mobile.me, which are cloud storage services primarily for consumer use. Ramine Darabiha, MySites CEO, emphasized that "MySites is going for the social angle. Not just a file service, but the best way to share files while you're on Facebook and on Twitter." Darabiha adds that "MySites is aiming to be the most Facebook friendly cloud storage service by integrating with many Facebook features such as friends and commenting to name a few".
Somewhat surprisingly, one of the most efficient wind turbines on the market is coming from Finland. A good reason for us to shed some light on WinWinD and their excellent products. Jari Varjotie, the COO of WinWinD, took some time out of his schedule to answer my questions.
WinWinD was established in 2000 in the city of Oulu in Finland. The founder, Jouko Tiuraniemi, has a long career in the field of energy. In 1995 Tiuraniemi started to think about a new, highly efficient wind turbine, as he realized that the key to success was not to try to compete on their terms with the Germans and Danes who were dominating the market, but to create a turbine that would be technically superior. WinWinD chose the Multibrid technology as basis for the WWD turbine, and going forward with the Multibrid low speed technology was the first strategically important decision for the company. In 2001 the WWD-1 wind turbine pilot project was completed. The WWD-3, a 3 Megawatt turbine, followed in 2004.
A Swedish mobile technology startup Mobile Sorcery has gotten a Series A investment of undisclosed sum
a second round seed investment of 1.5 million Swedish Kronor (around 145.000 EUR or 206.000 USD)(Correction: the actual investment was a lot bigger, “a proper A round”, yet the exact sum is undisclosed) from MySQL founders David Axmark and Michael Widenius, and STING (Stockholm Innovation and Growth) Capital private equity fund. Majority of this round's investment came Axmark and Widenius, while for STING this was the second investment in Mobile Sorcery.
Do crabs and Coke have something together? Yes they do, both are fully enjoying the results of Waterix water technology. Finnish Waterix sells AIRIT aerators, MIXIT mixers and COOLIT process water coolers for municipal and industrial sewage treatment and process water cooling. In addition, Waterix is Finland’s largest manufacturer supplying aerators for natural bodies of water and market leader in waste stations' leachate water treatment.
Over 10 billion euros global aerator and cooler market has enjoyed even 10 per cent annual growth due to stricter environmental permits. The demand for COOLIT coolers increase, while it is not allowed to direct hot process water into the river flowing nearby. Waterix AIRIT aerators in turn, treat water by adding oxygen to water. The added oxygen starts the natural, biological cleaning process and bacteria split organic material into less harmful substances when bad odor or algae disappear in days.
Via Venture Partners, a Nordic venture fund, is to invest € 2.65 million in Swedish mobile marketing company PlusFourSix. PlusFourSix offers the mobile telephone as a marketing tool, making it possible for clients to create a mobile initiative for their marketing, without having to invest in expensive infrastructure.
According to Niklas Stålberg, the new PlusFourSix CEO as of 1 August, the money is raised to speed the company's expansion in Sweden and across the Nordics.
Anders Lindqvist, Partner in Via Venture, has been appointed as Chairman of the Board and Mattias Danielsson has joined the Board of Directors. Mr. Lindqvist says that mobile marketing is one of the fastest growing media channels with an estimated annual global growth rate of over 40 percent. We agree with cautiously, as its much easier to loose brand equity with badly designed marketing than gain paying customers. Regardless, PlusFourSix is the leading supplier of mobile marketing technology and solutions in the Nordic region.
I had a chat yesterday with Floobs' Kai Lemmetty, one of the co-founders about their company and how it has evolved over the last 6 months. I have no strings attached here financially or otherwise, but I was impressed the steps this company has taken since we first wrote about them back in October 2007. The new business is a lot more service oriented and the money does not flow in from technology as the idea was before.
Along with the new transformation of their business, they have opened up a new service called Floobs WebTV. This is the new service that they will officially launch on Monday and we managed to get a sneak preview on it. The service works in such a way that there are two major segments they are targeting with this; premium users and the mass market. Premium users in this case are football teams (I'm not talking about your sunday team, these guys are after the elite of the sport - more later) and the mass market includes those who can settle for fewer features and are happier with simpler services.
Swedish startup EmotiCards is one of the many projects that saw its daylight during the 24 Hour Business Camp earlier this year. Today, six months later, Emoticards have seven employees and have just launched in beta on the Swedish market. The Company is a self-funded joint venture project between Spontu, Pixell Productions and KST Info Services. The idea of offering to send real, printed postcards using ones own pictures isn't a unique one, but EmotiCards are trying to differenciate their service.
Environmental Approach With Premium And Free Cards
Apart from the obvious efforts to try to keep the interface very simple with few steps and easy payment, EmotiCards are printed on FSC-certified paper. Printing itself is as far as possible done locally close to the recipients thanks to the Xerox Premier Partner Network, shrinking delivery times and the need for air mail.
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BizSpark is a program which offers new software businesses and entrepreneurs access to Microsoft design, development, and production tools with no upfront costs for up to three years. Members can also connect with a nationwide community of Network Partners – investors, incubators, service providers, and entrepreneurial organizations – who are keen to help.
For more information, or to connect with a Microsoft BizSpark advisor, please visit MicrosoftStartupZone.com/BizSpark.
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CorrectMyText.com is a new social web service from Moscow, Russia. The service is built to help people learn foreign languages with the help of others online.
Cleantech Group released last week their Investment Monitor for Q209 (only for members). Globally, Q209 cleantech venture investments increased by 24 percent compared to previous quarter Q109 but was down by 38 percent on an annual level from Q208. Global cleantech venture investments totalled 1,3 billion dollars at Q2. The Group estimates that 84 per cent of total venture dollars investments was follow-on rounds.
In Q2, there was a rebound for cleantech VC investments and the Group believes the worst is behind cleantech venture capital.
The second half of 2009 is well under way as the late comers have finally returned from their summer holidays and the focus is once again put back into work. While the economies around the world are showing slight rebound from the nasty recession, things are still uncertain. This however doesn't seem to be the case with startups - the uncertainty has not startups all that hard, compared to the bigger giants. One proof of this is that many startups are still recruiting.
A new report by Technopolis Online, a for-pay information tool for all high-tech financing activities in Finland, states that Finnish high-tech growth companies raised almost €51 million in the first half of 2009, which is a 17% decrease from the first half of 2008. In addition, Q2 2009 decreased more than 50% compared to the prior year.
Let's break down some of these figures. To put things in perspective the €51 million was raised by total of 29 Finnish high-tech companies from both, venture capital and angel investors. This was 17% below the amount raised by 34 companies in the first half of 2008, and 74% below the amount raised by 26 companies in the second half of 2008. For anyone who has followed the recent trends, not surprisingly the second quarter of 2009 was the lowest quarter recorded since 2007.
Videofy.me is a Swedish startup enabling online video content publishers to monetize their content. The company was founded in August 2008 by Robert Mellberg and Oskar Glauser, both having their background in Internet communications and advertising. Neither one of them is a huge video blogger but as working in advertising they kept witnessing the fastly growing gap between the online video content on blogsphere and the lack of ad solutions available for the long tail content publishers. Since the release of the first beta for four months ago they've been gaining traction among content publishers.
I stopped by Robert Mellberg, CEO Videofy.me, at their office in central Stockholm to hear how the user-generated online video market is doing and what's on the drawing board.
AktieTwits.dk is a new Danish service for Nordic professional and private stock investors sharing investment tips or seeking stock information on Twitter. The idea is to bring all information flows together and structure the content, with the aim to ease real time monitoring of the market. AktieTwits is taking on the traditional message boards and media sites by aggregating real time instant messaging, to allow one feel "almost like standing on the tradingfloor," as the founder Jens Davidsen puts it.
The service is integrated with Twitter, meaning one can start participating in the AktieTwits community just by signing in to one's Twitter account. AktieTwits.dk uses own custom tags to catch users' Twitter tweets: "$$" for general market comments, and for example "$CARL-B", "$DANSKE" for comments on individual stocks. The site also shows all links to popular and related sites, including Youtube, Flickr, Jyskebank.TV, and own stock charts, as embedded content. In addition, AktieTwits offers also deeper information including stock quotes, charts, company data, and analyzing and screening tools for following the market on a daily basis. The website also has a good mobile version working with iPhone, Android, and Nokia Nseries handsets.
The service is not exactly a unique one, but could be successful if found useful by the local active investors. I would guess, though, that majority of them are focusing on home country trading with only partly attention to international markets, and thus also preferring to interact in their native language. Also, one might question selection of the domain name if indeed the service is targeted for pan-Scandinavian use. So far there are not that many features encouraging the community interaction either.
Anyway, there is for example a well-known Finnish investor magazine's online forum in which discussion on daily topics flows actively. Many of the comments are quite short, and could well be expressed instead in microblogging style in a service like AktieTwits. Considering you first need to begin and learn using Twitter is an additional hurdle in adoption, though.
"Even though different hybrid and electric concept cars are developed, current diesel vehicles with improved emission control and fuel economy will be dominating at least for the next 10 - 15 years. Traffic industry is huge industry with complex value chains added with interests from fuel producers and consumer behaviour. Modern diesel car offers still many advantages over other available solutions. Especially the market for new emissions control technologies is increasing boosted by legislation " explains Juha Kaartinen, CEO for Pegasor.
Mindtrek is the annual conference for social media, web 2.0 as well as digital media and business in general. In 2008 the conference gathered about 800 people from 32 countries with 150 foreigners attending the conference. ArcticStartup is extremely happy to be participating in this leading conference in its field. We will be helping out with the conference this year, so you'll be able to catch some visibility on our blog as well if you happen to participate. Mindtrek will be organised between September 30th and October 2nd this year.
Why do we like Mindtrek? Simple, the prizes are magnificent and without competition. This year, Mindtrek is hosting its launchpad competition to startups and innovative people with ideas. The main prize is 20 009 € including business sparring, internationalization, growth and financing services provided by Tekes, Finnvera, Technopolis Ventures, Finpro, Diges, Lexia, and Hermia. A lot of help and money to be won through a simple competition. It's not too pricey to participate either - entries are only 150€ per company. You can find more information on the competition on the Mindtrek website and to register, you should follow the instruction over here. The deadline for entries has been extended to August 31st.
Jerri Laine is the CEO at Innavation Manager where he helps companies with their Tekes and T&E-Centre funding proposals.
Tekes, shorthand for the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, is publicly funded expert organisation for financing research, development and innovation in Finland.
I have been asked this question dozens of times - as in the past I have been working in Tekes for seven years in evaluating all kinds of project proposals.
Since the year 2000 Tekes has grown to an icon of Finland’s innovation success story and it has had its implications. Tekes’ budget has grown remarkably, it’s staff has been grown and changing and it has got a lot of new norms, instructions and directives from it’s owner Ministry, from internal inspections and of course from EU. In short Tekes has got bureaucratic.