It's time for the Friday wrap-up, and Antti Vilpponen and I are in Tallinn for the Latitude59 conference. Antti got a chance to speak to Urmas Purde from Pipedrive (above) and the whole event has been interesting and inspiring. Expect a followup on Monday. As always, we've got more news, jobs, and events for you to attend. Quick plug: Be sure to come to ArcticEvening Helsinki on the 14th!
Last night Startup Sauna, the FInnish startup accelerator pulled of something that became Europe's largest demo day with some 750 registered attendees. We've also noticed something else this week with Founder's Week in full swing and Latitude59 taking place in Tallinn - we need to begin to prioritise startup events as we're simply running out of bandwidth. As we're also attending the Latitude59 event in Tallinn we weren't actually able to attend the Demo Day, but based on what we've heard - the Startup Sauna guys and gals pulled off another great event with an awesome late night after party.
TangaReef is launching today in association with World Ocean Day, mixing in social values with their dive center booking. The service can be described almost as a Hotels.com for dive centers, and is the first of its kind to bring dive centers all into one service. Why the Dutch and German cofounders decided to run a diving startup out of Finland is beyond me, but it's definitely a service that will bring a lot of value to tourists.
If you're planning on attending ArcticEvening Helsinki next week, now you have another reason to come - we're giving away four two day tickets to Arctic15 just like in Tallinn, Stockholm and Copenhagen. All you need to do is sign-up and attend the event.
If you think about it, it's impressive that the AaltoES kids were able to drag anyone away from sunny California and into the still-chilly north. It's even more impressive when you consider the entrepreneurs they were able to get up here. Founders' Week kicked off Monday and brought some movers and shakers from Silicon Valley for four days of events for the Helsinki startup community. Just as Steve Blank week got people buzzing last autumn, this week's event has really has become a movement that has gotten the community can rally around. Visiting Helsinki was Russel Simmons, the co-founder of Yelp; Sami Inkinen, the co-founder and President at Trulia; Paul Bragiel, co-founder at I/O Ventures, and Aaron Patzer, founder of Mint.
Editorial note: this post was originally published at my personal blog, but since it has sparked some good discussion I thought we should publish it on ArcticStartup as well. The post is dated May 31st and thus some of the references to time & date may not be 100% accurate.
I received a Quora e-mail this morning reminding me of the different topics of the service. For some reason I haven't had time to dig into the discussions there. Also, I find something in the service a little odd for my taste and thus haven't really been active in it.
However, e-mail had an interesting question that Evan Williams, the co-founder of Twitter had answered. The question in the e-mail was "What consumer Internet companies had a large number of users but failed to monetize?"
The answer excerpt in the e-mail I saw from Williams was "I can't think of one".
An interesting application of 3D printing is shown by London and Helsinki based MakieLab. The company announces their alpha launch of MAKIES, a user designed 3D printed doll. Along with the launch, MakieLab has announced their seed round investment of $1.4 million, led by early-stage investors Lifeline Ventures and Sunstone Capital. The round was also joined by Anime and gaming industry veterans Matthew Wiggins, Daniel James and Cedric Littardi of superangel-fund Ynnis Ventures.
Getting close to 20 full shows we decided to interview Kaspars Dancis, the CEO and co-founder of Cobook. The company creates an app that goes by the same name and can now be found in the App Store for download. Cobook App is the best, most simple and beautiful address book application out there. As you can see, we at ArcticStartup are quite fond of it. The app has been developed in Riga, Latvia by Kaspars and his brother. They have also joined the European startup accelerator HackFwd just recently and are looking to release a bunch of new things in the coming weeks.
Intoloop, the Finnish online child journal, has shifted away from the narrow topic of child development and has pivoted to become a social timeline for just about anything. It makes sense for the startup, they can now hit a much wider audience while still allowing users to use Intoloop for tracking their baby's first steps. But how will users interact with Intoloop when Facebook has everything but a trademark on the word "timeline?"
Editorial note: this article was originally written by Chieftain Elina Arponen for Tribe Studios blog. Tribe Studios builds Dramagame - a platform for high quality multiplayer story games. Tribe Studioes was also one of the Arctic15 finalists last year.
I attended an excellent panel yesterday morning which consisted of Paul Bragiel, Sami Inkinen, Russel Simmons and Aaron Patzer. The event was part of the founder’s week organized by Aaltoes. This topic of having kids/family came up in several audience questions and was a little bit foreign territory for most of the panelists.
I feel somewhat of a self-learned expert on the area and thought to write about my experiences. I’ve been running with Tribe Studios now full speed for 1 year and 8 months. My husband, Ville-Kalle, is one of my co-founders from the start. Together we have a boy that’s going to be 4 years in August. Currently I’m pregnant with the second one with an ETA in July. So how do we make it work?
ArcticEvening Helsinki will be organised on the 14th of June to discuss "Where are Finland's big startups?" The event will take place at the awesome Aalto Venture Garage from 6pm onwards. Sign-up now to enjoy the panel discussion, network and a plenty of cold drinks before summer holidays. We're expecting to have a good turnout of people as earlier in the day Aalto is putting on an event with Linus Torvalds and the Summer of Startups program has also kicked off at the Venture Garage.
Please take a look at the full program and event description here and also sign-up for the free tickets.
Iconfinder has received a $1.5 million (€1.2 million) investment from VF Venture (Vækstfonden) the Danish state-owned funding arm, and a follow up investment from an American investor who has not yet been disclosed. The company has built a name for itself by providing easy search for icons used by web designers, app developers, and even anyone making a powerpoint presentation. With the funding, the company says it will continue to develop the core product and work on commercializing the large amount of traffic they see. Iconfinder's founders also say they're ready to take on Google's search in this niche area.
Kiosked is an in-content sales and marketing platform that turns any sort of content into a media platform, and provides tools for creative brands to activate their content. Explaining it terms like that sounds meaningless, so we'll use the Norwegian lifestyle-clothing brand, Onepiece, as an example. Kiosked announces today it is now enabling OnePiece fans to share images and videos from the clothing brand on their blogs and Facebook timelines, which gives users' friends the opportunity to find out more and purchase the clothing directly from the videos and images.
With Ikea's new Uppleva TV system launching in Italy, France, Germany, Poland and Sweden sometime this week, we decided to wrap our heads around what they're offering. Their offering looks well designed, and you can tell Ikea has worked hard to make the TV and furniture concept into a complete system. While smart TV's are not unique, this will likely open TV web browsing and apps to a new market.
This integration seems a long time coming; I mean it's 2012 and we're just now starting to seriously mix technology with furniture. After this initial launch, the Swedish retailer will target additional stores and territories in Europe in the fall, eventually reaching the U.S. market in 2013.
A major player on the Russian e-commerce scene suddenly emerged in late May: a cash-back e-commerce platform called Clickandpay.ru that raised $60 million, according to its founders, to finance just the first stages of its development.
After a few months operating in test mode, the site has already enrolled more than 50 e-shops, including such market leaders as Ozon.ru, Lamoda.ru and Sapato.ru, with a total offer in excess of 100,000 items, said Commercial Director Levon Danilyants in an exchange with East-West Digital News.
New startup solutions are becoming a big part of offline retail, providing real world impact in how we shop and make money offline. Take for example this recent news that we missed while it was fresh, but still is noteworthy: Estonian provider of business software, Erply, and Paypal have partnered to bring a seamless mobile payment solution to stores under Erply's LikePOS. The solution allows customers to simply "check in" to a store when entering, then pay with Paypal at the checkout counter. It's an innovation that's quick and easy for consumers, and it provides retailers more insight into their customers and their shopping experiences.
When I go abroad I like bragging to people how much the startup scene is popping in Helsinki right now. Just going to an event or talking to entrepreneurs you get the sense that a bigger movement is happening around you, and you can feel a palpable sense of energy in the air. But after telling someone about the Helsinki scene, I usually get asked what the big startups coming out of Helsinki are right now. And I hate to say it, but I really don't know what to tell them after that. "Uhh, Rovio?"
When I first moved to Finland it was really a surprise to see how much of society shuts down during the summer. As an American it was unreal to me that a lot of people would take 3-4 weeks off at a time, but after surviving three winters here it becomes obvious you really do need to be out of the office as much as possible when the weather is so nice.
But entrepreneurs are not known for taking time off from work. With this in mind, we decided it would be interesting to informally ask Nordic and Baltic entrepreneurs how they will be working this summer, and find out what impact the summer holidays have on their startups. Next week we will follow up with the results, so feel free to pass this poll around until Sunday the 10th of June.
Groupnavi is a location-based iOS app for Facebook communities. It allows community members to post to their Facebook group's wall, but have the post geo-tagged and viewable on a map through the Groupnavi interface. By doing so, Groupnavi CEO and founder Petri Pennanen tells us that they're able to bring context into the location-based discussion by adding a location-based layer to your Facebook communities.
If you leave a message on Groupnavi, it functions as leaving a post on your Facebook community's wall. Members with the Groupnavi app can also see the location of where the post came from. And aside from posting messages, in Groupnavi users locate their selected communities in a privacy-friendly way without any identifying information on the map. This way you can see where other Groupnavi users (who are also in your Facebook groups) are hanging out. Pennanen tells us that this makes it easy to locate outdoor happenings such as summer festivals or the London Olympics.