Startups, we're closing the signups to the VC matchmaking event, held on Friday September 23rd, at the end of August. This is because we have to book the meetings with the VCs, many whom are flying in from overseas. Therefore we ask you to sign-up immediately, if you'd like to have the chance to meet international VCs coming to Arctic15.
A new gaming start-up has recently appeared on the Finnish start-up scene. Tuokio is based in Tampere and their core business are mobile games for everyday gatherings. To be more precise, they develop a portfolio of games for iOS devices. Founded in spring 2010, they released three games so far and are developing another game at the moment. Their games so far include King of Opera, Raiding Company and Blond vs Brunette Racing . We talked with one of the founders, Jouni Salonen, to learn more about what they do.
Slidefy is a new Finnish service that targets a niche need with their offering. In essence, it's a slide sharing solution, but targeted at conference organisers and the like. Slidefy will work in such a way that conference organisers collect attendees' e-mails before the event and send them a link to the material the speaker has provided in advance. Then, during the presentation, users can focus on the actual presentation and not jot down points the speaker makes.
A recent update to Nokia's Symbian operating system (called Anna) activates the NFC chip installed in their C7 phone and the first application featuring NFC technologies has just been added to Ovi Store. Xchange app lets user exchange business cards, photos and other information by touching other NFC-enabled devices. After the touch, information is sent to users by email and contact details are automatically saved in the contacts section. Symbian's update signifies Nokia's efforts to reassure developers and consumers that the company is not abandoning the platform and is going to support it until at least until 2016.
Arctic15, the one day conference that will see 21 international speakers on stage in Helsinki, Finland talking entrepreneurship and startups, is less than a month away. Now's a very good time to buy those tickets and confirm your attendance (you're also helping us by letting know of your arrival well in advance!).
Erply, one of the most promising start-ups from Estonia, provide software for small and medium-sized retailers who have physical stores. We have not covered the company for almost a year and meanwhile it has been quitely growing. From 2,000 business customers in March 2010, the company grew to 20,000 retailers who daily process over $2.5 million in transactions, according to the Wall Street Journal. Today Erply announced the launch of a magnetic credit card reader that is also NFC-enabled and is fully integrated with its existing cloud-based software. The device is priced at $50 and Erply will also charge 1.9% transaction fee, which is smaller than what its biggest competitor in the US, Square, charge their customers (2.75% per swipe).
I talked to Supercell's CEO Ilkka Paananen on where the company stands today and a little about their future plans as well. Supercell is a hot Finnish gaming company that closed a $12 million series A from Accel in May. We covered the company in February initially and it's come incredibly far since then. Supercell employs some 40 people in two locations and its Gunshine game has shown some incredible traction.
Hopeinen Norsu (Finnish for Silver Elephant) is a Finnish company developing a service called Snipbase. Snipbase is a sort of a scrapbook for ads. This means internet users can click and save interesting ads and companies through online ads, for example, to Snipbase's database and come back to later see what exactly the company had to offer. Not only does it work online, the company tells us the service will work with print ads as well.
Skype, now owned by Microsoft, has announced that it will acquire GroupMe, a 16-month old group messaging startup for $85 million. There are no public statements on the price of the deal, but AllThingsD has come up with the figure referring to sources close to the negotiations. The startup was founded based on work done in a hackathon at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York in May 2010. During the 16 months of its existence, GroupMe has raised $850 000 in seed financing and later $10.6 million in venture financing. Needless to say, the payout for the investment in such a short time period is fantastic.
Editor's note: This post is a guest post by Ykä Marjanen, sharing his thoughts as an entrepreneur in selling new and innovative products early on in the startup life cycle. If you'd like to get your thoughts and experiences out to our community, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After 10 years of so called professional life I‘m ready to make honest analyses of my experiences in business, especially in the startup world. I’ve been working around innovative products and services my whole career, first as a researcher and the last five years in two startups as a co-founder, owner, manager, programmer and a salesman. I’m an engineer and not so fond of selling. But, when selling new innovations, I believe that the most convincing salesmen are the engineers. We just need to better understand the buyers and their reasons to buy, and also motivate ourselves to go out to meet them.
Ever wanted to discover what clubs, cafes and bars your town has to offer and what kind of people hang out in those locations? On Barisma you can find those answers. The Finnish start-up has been developing the concept and the website since 2009 and now it has gone live. For users Barisma is a search engine for venues with social networking features. You can either casually search for venues, discounts and people without registering, or engage with a service further by creating a profile, uploading rich media, commenting on content and connecting with new friends. For venues the website offers a marketing channel where bars, clubs or cafes can create and maintain their profiles, interact with their guests online, promote their events and offer discounts for Barisma members.
The startup ecosystem in the Arctic Valley (pardon us for our selfish term) hasn't always been a very well functioning one. Not that it is extremely functioning today, we're increasingly getting more evidence that the world is noticing your startups, your efforts and most importantly - your passion to change the world.
This week Wired UK wrote a piece on the hottest startup cities in Europe. Three of the nine startup cities in the outlined story are from the region; Tallinn, Stockholm and Helsinki.
Fluid Interaction is a Finnish tech startup working to innovate in the space of user interfaces. We covered the company back in April as they released Different Tack, a new way to view one's Twitter stream. Today they announced the company won Nokia's Calling All Innovator's Social Media category with their Different Tack app. This resulted in $150 000 as a cash prize.
Music fans are bands' most precious resource. They can take artists to fame and earn them money. Creating and maintaining a strong fanbase is, therefore, extremely important for any band. Mobile Backstage offers artists directly engage with their core fans through a fully customized mobile app. Now their solution is also available as a Facebook app, though for the moment it is in free invite-only beta. Artists can apply for an invite here. Steam Republic, the company behind Mobile Backstage, also hired a new Chief Marketing Officer - David Hazan, a seasoned professional in music industry that would help the Helsinki-based start-up establish presense in the US.
We're extremely thrilled to announce that Felix Petersen is coming to Arctic15! Felix founded a successful location based startup, one of the first that got global traction in 2006 and grew it until 2008 when it got sold to Nokia. After that, he spent a few years at Nokia Nokia working at various positions until heading back into the wild to work on his next startup - Amen.
Amen is a startup in stealth mode and not a lot of it is known. However, it is reported that Ashton Kutcher together with Madonna's manager (and Index Ventures) have invested around $2 million into this Berlin based venture.
Who do today's men look up to as role models? According to a recent survey by AskMen, it's entrepreneurs! Out of over 2,000 surveyed men, more then a third (35%) identified famous entrepreneurs as their role models. The article explains the trend with two main things: men consider wealth and freedom key to happiness. Entrepreneurship can offer both, especially if you succeed. Interestingly enough, almost as many respondents identified themselves as their own role-models, which is consistent with another trend the article identified - men's eagerness to start companies has been trending upward since 2001. Thus, we have to thank the likes of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg for making entrepreneurship cool even in the mainstream.
Editor's note: This is a guest post by Timo Ahopelto. He is an entrepreneur and founding partner at Lifeline Ventures.
Health is the only industry not transformed by Web. Health is 10% of our GDP. It is more important to us personally than we realize. It is a massive opportunity for entrepreneurs to apply what already works in social web, mobile and consumer electronics.
I had the opportunity to talk to Jaan Apajalahti, the CTO and co-founder of Sopima, a company changing the way people work on contracts. Instead of passing around documents in e-mails and having a ton of different versions saved locally, Sopima allows companies and different parties to work on contracts in a much faster way by keeping them in a central location. More interestingly for the other founders and entrepreneurs out there, Sopima is built on Microsoft technology - Silverlight as well as Windows Azure.
Experts of the Russian gaming industry report that Russian gamers are less active in paying for virtual goods compared to their Western counterparts. Two of the biggest local social games developers, i-Jet Media and Progrestar, claim only 5-7% of all gamers buy virtual goods when playing. In comparison, about a third of gamers pay for virtual goods in Western countries (and about 60% of paying gamers buy goods at least once a month), according to the recent research by VGMarket.
Another big Russian game developer, Innova, noticed a further characteristic of Russian gamers: '...unlike gamers in the West, in Russia players want to pay for something that would improve their character's abilities, not change their appearances'. Though this is mostly true for massively multiplayer online role-playing games, not social games.
The Swedish indie (does it really account for indie anymore?) gaming company Mojang has released Minecraft Pocket Edition, according to Wired. The company release the game for Sony Ericsson's Android powered Xperia Play gaming phone. The game is currently available for the Xperia Play at first, but the company plans to release the game to other Android devices "in about a month's time", according to the Wired article.