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.
With Alibaba in the news for the largest IPO of all time, it's clear that connecting people that need things with people that do things is a powerful position to be in. Alibaba is the clear leader in the "real" world, but what about the public sector?
“The figure is astonishing and difficult to even understand," says Ville Heinonen, Co-Founder & CEO at Oppex. "Every year 10,000 billion dollars of taxpayers’ money is transferred to companies. The public sector, controlled by both local and national governments, buys all kinds of goods and services including everything from multi-billion dollar construction and IT projects to very niche products such as fire engines or swords."
Ever since Holvi co-founder Kristoffer Lawson got pushed out or left Holvi on his own accord, we've been curious where he would end up next. If you're looking for an in-depth article there's really no meat on these bones, but the names, numbers, and ambition level are interesting. Joined by Javier Reyes (with legal, accountancy and HR experience) and Pekka Nikander (a respected voice in secure IT) as a founding team, their new company, Solu, has managed to raise six figures from Taneli Tikka, Kaj Arnö of MySQL and Open Ocean, Edvard Sørgård from ARM, Robin Bade of Activeark and BuildIt, a leading investor and accelerator in hardware startups from Northern Europe.
If you thought last year's event was big, Slush is nearly doubling by welcoming an estimated 12,000+ people into their doors this Tuesday and Wednesday, which should make it an entirely different beast. To get the most out of the event it's clear you've got to hustle to cut through the noise and secure your objectives. To get you thinking, we're republishing our Hacking Conferences: Slush Battleplan to get the most out of your conference experience, which is a good how-to guide to the conference world. A properly updated version can be found in CoFounder Magazine, which you should easily find at Slush.
While the article is full of silly pictures and "Art of War" quotes, CEO of ArcticStartup Dmitri Sarle is a master of his craft. We recently were at Dublin Web Summit, a 22,000 person event, and somehow Sarle managed to hack his way into the speaker lounge to hang out with Bono, Peter Thiel, and a number of other VIPs. More war stories from Dublin include getting the garbage man to open up a gate to get him into a secret speakeasy for Paddy's afterparty, and also somehow getting the wristband to get on stage to help ring the NASDAQ opening bell.
You get out of conferences what you put into it.
Ever since sharing the same office as the Publishzer / TheFashionMag guys (no longer in development) I've been looking for more startup innovation in the fashion world. It's a huge market where money is actually flowing, but is an industry left untackled by the 20 something male startup founder that typically gets in touch with us.
Consumer electronics go through yearly improvements with new releases of Phones, Tablets, and other displays for our eyeballs. Cars on the other hand are not something many people have the luxury to stay current with on a yearly basis. 2014 brought sleeker, quicker, and even more user-friendly automotive experiences. Espoo, Finland based Rightware is a medium sized company helping Audi make their cars have a little bit more of your phone in them.
Finnish ICT service provider Anvia announces it has acquired a 25% stake in Tampere-based Varaani Works, a company specialized in data storage and content sharing. In Finnish varaani means "count on me", but also means "monitor lizard", so take that as you will.
Slush's website features a quote by Accel Partners' Rich Wong that says Slush is totally worth flying 20 hours from San Francisco. Since he and many others are already coming over, we thought it'd make perfect sense for our guests to see some more events happening nearby around the Slush dates. Here's our shortlist.
Jari Ovaskainen is a member of Finnish Business Angels Network and was recently awarded as European Business Angel of the Year 2013. He is truly a super angel who has actively supported Finnish startup companies with his international experience, networks, and investment capacity.
He made his first business deal in 2000 selling Iobox, a web portal he founded with Henry Nilert, for €230 million. Since then, His investment portfolio has increased with Supercell, Next Games, PlayRaven, Booomlagoon, Button, Stylewhile, Miivies, Doremir, and Atacama Labs He made his latest exit as half of Supercell was sold to Japan for €1.1 billion.
The market for fitness apps is becoming more and more specialized, starting with basic GPS trackers to tracking data in disciplines like cycling, surfing, and nearly any other hobby. But potential Internet of Things entrepreneurs beware: the number of activities left untracked by your smartphone is getting smaller and smaller with the Indiegogo launch of LOOP, a fitness system for women. The company hopes to raise $50,000 to get the device onto the market.
"The overall aim of LOOP is to motivate more women to do pelvic floor muscle exercises and to keep doing them daily," says Line Andersen, cofounder and designer of LOOP. "Every design decision has been made with this in mind, to ensure LOOP is as user friendly as possible and facilitates the exercise without any obstacle.”
If you asked me a few years ago I might have told you that mobile games, like a work of art, have something undefinable that connects with a player emotionally which is the main driver of its success. But that view has changed over the years as the industry has gotten better and better with free-to-play. Certainly there needs to be the right "undefinables" behind branding, but now it's clear that a formula of is emerging in regards to what games can become hits.