With a name like Shark Punch and a team of ex-Rocket Pack founders recently freed up after being acquired by Disney in 2011, we were curious what was happening over at the game studio. So after firing off an open-ended email we were over at their Hakaniemi, Headquarters the same day to check out their first title, The Masterplan, which is being released as a Steam early-access on September 15 after quickly getting through Greenlight - PC game distributor Steam's democratic voting process for getting indie games onto their platform.
We know Estonia as a progressive and tech savvy country. Skype, #estonianmafia, favourable tax policy for startups, electronic ID, and internet declared as human right. What other tech news could possibly make us wonder? Well, there’s a 600 years old castle in North Estonia called Malla Manor that is set up to become a Bitcoin innovation centre, according to Finnish silver investor and Bitcoin entrepreneur Risto Pietilä.
Genetics testing is certainly on the rise. Companies with large advertising budgets like 23 and Me has started to become somewhat of a household name in the States, and hospitals and individuals alike are digging into the new technology to see what timebombs might be hiding in our genes.
New changes over at Rovio. Mikael Hed, Rovio's CEO for the last five years and son of Kai Hed, Rovio's controlling shareholder, is stepping down as CEO and will be replaced by Pekka Rantala. Reasons as to why the change in leadership was not mentioned in the press release.
We might start seeing more smart trashcans out in the world with today's news that Espoo, Finland-based Enevo raising a solid $8 million (€6 million) round to strengthening their ties in North America and Europe, with their eye on the Middle East and Africa. The round includes names like Earlybird, Lifeline Ventures, Finnish Industry Investment, Draper Associates and Risto Siilasmaa, among others.
As the story goes, back in 2010 Aalberg Audio co-founder Rune Aalberg Alstad was out with student friends in Trondheim, Norway and arguing with fellow guitarists about the best effects pedals on the market at that time. But Alstad argued that they all shared a common flaw - you've got to move to a fixed position on the stage to change the effects.
“At that moment it was like the sky opened up and the ideas for a remote controlled pedal just came pouring in,” says Alstad who shared with us the a classic back-of-an-envelope blueprint from that night:
Editor's note: This is a sponsored story for Pipedrive
Many startups struggle to do sales well. They begin with a great idea and build a product to make their vision a reality, but without selling their idea or product, the startup may die. Perhaps nobody knows this better than the Estonian Startup - Pipedrive, as they not only come from a sales background but the tool itself has become an extremely popular sales management CRM. They share some tips with readers:
As a Danish startup building an online platform for professional events, Conferize has our full attention. The company has now launched what they're calling V1, but to you and me it means a major responsive redesign of the platform with a few new features built in. It's a good move - the old Conferize was a little clunky, but today it feels like a polished platform that lets any event build a similar digital presence to what has made TED so successful.
After getting back from the lull of the summer it was time for us, and I'm sure other companies, to change up some processes and get organized. We've got an eye on startup tools coming out of the region, like Pipedrive for Sales, Flowdock for team collaboration, or any number of time tracking apps, but what tools are the most efficient companies in the region using to measure and stay focused?
Strapping on the Oculus Rift Dev Kit 2 headset and putting a PC connected Xbox controller in my hands, I'm suddenly aware of a strange landscape and a virtual helmet obscuring part of my vision. Similar to many of our readers I'm a Virtual Reality newbie, aside from a hurried first generation Oculus Rift demo of the roller coaster at a tech conference, or maybe that time I played Nintendo's Virtual Boy back at my friends house in 4th grade.
Camera apps have long specialized in certain areas, such as using one app to throw a nice filter on one picture, which you then send to another app to frame and mash up a few of your other pics. Over time, many of these camera apps have started to overlap, adding in collages or framing (for instance) as a feature buried in the app as an afterthought - but it was time for a social all-in-one camera designed for today's needs.
Helsinki-based Gajatri Studios has now gotten their title, Yoga Retreat, out globally on iOS, meaning that anyone with an iPhone or iPad can start up their own yoga retreat in a free-to-play game. Most free-to-play games we cover outside the puzzle genre seem to lean towards the male demographic, which is the opening Gajatri Studios co-founder Tiina Zillacus saw when creating Yoga Retreat.
Startup Shipbeat yesterday announced a $ 1.6 M (€ 1.2 M) investment led by Sunstone, SEED Capital and Klaus Nyengaard. The investment will be used to further expand product capabilities, hiring and complete key ecommerce software integrations.
Shipbeat was founded in early 2014 to develop an API which aggregates the services of leading parcel delivery companies.
If we’re to believe Aarno Pohtola, CEO of The Bodyshop’s Finnish and Baltic branch, BI analytics services are what’s keeping Finnish retailers afloat during these difficult times.
As its name suggests, BatCrab has set out to make an unusual combination of usual concepts work perfectly. The startup has taken a smartphone, a simple phone and a landline and made sure you would not tell a difference in terms of how easily you can manage your calls. Launched just a month ago, the company already has positive cash flow and is making the on-call customer service of about 500 SMEs in about 60 countries way easier.
Military bodies, power-plants, the countless of ships sailing the seas, all of them are examples of institutions that require reliable and secured long-range communications in order to effectively operate the demanding, sometimes dangerous tasks they’re responsible for.
Normal smartphone connections, even if equipped with custom built amplifiers, are out of the question: when distances are measured in thousands of kilometres and the data going through is of extreme importance, usual communication tools drop out due to their low quality transmission rates, or simply due to their unreliability.
The first solution to pop into the mind of a non-expert would be satellite communication, which is by no means far-fetched. However, there exist other, in some cases better technologies that can be used for similar purposes. In this case, that technology would originate from the Oulu-based startup Kyynel which we first wrote about last week when they announced a €2 million funding round.
With their first round open today there's a new player on the block when it comes to equity crowdfunding in Finland, joining the ranks of Invesdor and Fundedbyme. But this one is different - Innovestor pulls from the banking roots of its founders, and is bringing something different to the table.
Back in 2009 two former classmates Lasse Krügermeier and Janus Jagd started Cylindo, a company that provides interior design software that allows users to see how furniture would look like in their own apartments. Today, 5 years later the company is on the top of success wave! It has recently received funding from American venture funds Voivoda Ventures, Commerce VC, the Danish TradeShift CCO Christian Hjort, and a number of international businesses, reports TrendsOnline.
Some months ago we had a chat with Mihkel Tali, one of the co-founders of Driftband, the Estonian vision on fashion-ized NFC technology. We were well on our way on having the article pushed out, but then the launch got postponed (not to mention the website wasn’t responsive yet), and so began a long communication blackout. Fresh news kept on coming and required attention; Driftband slowly descended into the limbo of unfinished pieces.
Yesterday, however, Tali got back to us with good news: Driftband is about to launch, and the website is very much up and running.
Ask.fm, a Riga-based social Q&A platform where users receive anonymous questions and constitute their feed by answering them, was acquired by Ask.com on Thursday. With 180 million members in 150 countries and 40 million mobile app downloads, Ask.fm is world’s biggest Q&A social network and may seem an attractive deal. However, the unflattering publicity that Ask.fm has accumulated due to notorious stories of teenage suicides caused by anonymous cyberbullies and the abuse of platform’s anonymity by extremist organizations, makes many question whether Ask.com has made the right decision.
With this controversy in mind, Ask.com has announced their purchase by also clearly articulating their commitment to put Ask.fm users’ safety first and rescue the disgraced brand. ‘We would not have becoming involved in this if we did not think there was a bunch, a bunch more things that we could do to make it significantly safer,’ assured Ask.com CEO Doug Leeds in his interview to BBC last week.