Even though this blog post will most likely be a feeble attempt in covering the importance and the effect of Steve Blank's visit to Finland and the region last week - I'll still have an attempt at it. Last week was packed full of action and discussion where Steve Blank talked not only with entrepreneurs but politicians, MPs and academia. He also upped entrepreneurship a few notches on the editorial importance for some of Finland's newspapers as he talked to a group of editors-in-chief (including us) why entrepreneurship is of vital importance to nations' success.
Steve Blank was visiting Finland last week to promote the importance of a working entrepreneurial ecosystem to the region. I have a feeling his visit will go down in one of those turning points in history for this part of the world. Not only did he incite more flames into the "Finnish spring" as he referred to the entrepreneurial revolution taking place in Finland, but he did so in a manner that politicians, mainstream media and academics can understand.
Wall Street Journal has written an extensive article about an undisclosed major US based internet company looking to open a data centre in Luleå, Sweden. The company is widely thought to be Facebook. The town has a population of about 50 000 and the investment into the area would be about 340 to 560 million euros. The reason Facebook is allegedly looking into Sweden is the advantage of cold weather.
Apologies to our regular readers for covering our Arctic15 event quite excessively recently, but the closer to it we get - the better we think it'll be! In addition to this, we wanted to let everyone know that we're sure that the event will be sold out by the end of this week. We've got only 40+ tickets left. Just during last week, we registered more than 100 tickets in a few days.
In the fourth video of the Derek Sivers - Uncommon Sense -series, Derek Sivers is talking about "revolution". He talks about the fact that when you keep simple and base your business on existing concepts, you're a lot closer to the clients. He also talks about building the monetisation system for CD Baby and shares how he came about it. Wondering why we're sharing these videos? Check out the first post with Derek Sivers for more information.
Tech start-ups come up with great ideas and build brilliant products but often lag behind marketing them. Main reason for that is usually lack of resources: entrepreneurs would rather spend their limited funds on developing a product than on marketing it. However, most agree that it’s important for your product to be known and talked about. We talked with one the main PR gurus in Finland Christina Forgård (founder and Chairman of the Board of Netprofile) who shed light on the world of PR and shattered some common myths and misconceptions.
In the run up to our Arctic15 conference, we've announced an exclusive video series with Derek Sivers, the founder of CD Baby. The story why all this is relevant can be read from the introduction to the first video. In the video series he will share his advice and experiences in building CD Baby into one of the largest online music stores before selling it onwards. In the third video of the series, Sivers talks about the fact that nobody knows the future. Sivers believes that if more people actually stated this, more intelligent conversation would follow.
Audiodraft, the Finnish audio crowdsourcing service (and startup by the same name) has landed a major partnership with Nokia to remake the hugely popular Nokia Tune. The most liked tunes on the Audiodraft page are actually very good and I'd seriously be thinking of using one for my iPhone.
Arctic15 is less than two weeks away. We've worked with multiple different organisations to spice up the week and it seems it's full of interesting startup action for everyone. In this post, we've covered the different events and activities taking place that week. We'll also link to this post from the Arctic15 website and update this accordingly.
Ever tried reading out mathematical formulas and notations? Sounds interesting but can be pretty tiring and difficult when you have an entire curriculum for the students or a site that uses mathematical notations excessively. And while a basic mathematical equation like 2 times 4 equals 8 sounds easy, think of reading out the following times and again:
Difficult by all means and I for one can relate to it. Not everyone is good at pronouncing the mathematical symbols and many a times users searching for content find it easier to hear than actually read. A service from Sweden, ReadSpeaker boasts solving the problem. The team behind the service isn't new to the industry and have been providing speech enabling web services since 1999. Anyways coming back to the new launch, the purpose is simply to make understanding math content easy.
Nils Forsblom, a serial entrepreneur and founder of Fruugo (among other companies) is building TenFarms, a web service that combines location-based mobile applications to broadcast user's life as it happens in real-time. 'You have loads of mobile apps that stream location and content - Gowalla, Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter. None of them, though, provide a stream of your real life as you go along', explains Nils. 'TenFarms is built around a 360˚ map view of the area around you and everything revolves around your location. You can broadcast your real-life experiences based on where you are and see what others are doing around you'.
Games, action, time-killers, fun - there are so many adjectives and verbs that can be instantly associated with games and gaming. With the rapid transformation of smartphones in the last 4 years, gaming turned out to be what it was never before. And this does not include the gaming consoles in the form of Xbox and the PlayStation.
We have seen how the Angry Birds became a sensation in mobile gaming, so much that it has had a movie around its theme, toys, board games, etc. That’s just one game that has done phenomenally well and there are others that enjoy success as well. We came to know about another game that takes advantage of features on your iPhone, iPad or Android devices called Sprinkle.
September's recruiting partner here at ArcticStartup is Blaast. Blaast is a very talented company innovating in the space of mobile and looking for exceptional people to work with them. Their offering is very interesting, so if you fit their open job descriptions I strongly suggest you contact the company for more information and apply. Check our coverage on the company earlier this year, when they raised financing.
Anil Hansjee, former head of Corporate Development at Google EMEA, joins Creandum the Sweden based Nordic VC firm as an investment advisor. Creandum also recently announced the hiring of Hjalmar Winbladh as a Venture Partner. The team continues its growth in knowledge, but also in the breadth of its networks.
“As Creandum seeks to build the leading venture firm in the Nordics, we strive to build a network of leading individuals to work with. These individuals should have superior deal flow, company building and investment experience, and international network. Anil ticks all these boxes. Needless to say we are thrilled to work with Anil to build global businesses.” says Johan Brenner, Creandum General Partner.
After leading Sulake for 10 years, Timo Soininen, steps down from the position of CEO and joins the board of directors, according to a Sulake press release. The board of directors has named Paul LaFontaine the new CEO. He was previously the vice president for Global Distribution at Disney Playdom. Timo Soininen has effectively taken the company from a small startup in the turn of the millenium to a multi-million euro business globally. Sulake is famous for its Habbo Hotel, online social community for teens. This March we reported on Sulake's revenues growing more than 20% from 2009 to 2010.
TimeZynk, a Sweden based startup, has closed 220k€ in their second round of financing. The financing will go onto further develop the application, by the same name, which helps track time consumption. The mobile app is useful for scheduling, time and availability reporting that allows for staffing and recruitment companies to lower their costs by offering more targeted resources.
In the run up to our Arctic15 conference, we've announced an exclusive video series with Derek Sivers, the founder of CD Baby. The story why all this is relevant can be read from the introduction to the first video. In the video series he will share his advice and experiences in building CD Baby into one of the largest online music stores before selling it onwards. In the second video of the series, Sivers talks about the reasons behind a startup and questions entrepreneurs if they've understood the reasons one should be working in a startup.
You are sitting in an entrepreneurial event, in a room full of people. You look around and suddenly realize that the room is filled with men, boys and guys. Where all the girls you ask yourself?
Its a question asked more often than not. Aren't there women entrepreneurs? As one of the the lone girls in this field, I have decided to deeply look into the reasons why there are so few female entrepreneurs.
The programme to Arctic15 is now out. It can be seen below and also on the event website. Basically the event kicks off at 9 and continues most likely until 6pm with possible delays to the schedule. In addition to the day programme - we'll have an awesome after party where we'll announce the winner of the Arctic15 competition. This of course means that it will be a full day of startup awesomeness! Do check out the conference programme below and purchase your tickets if you already haven't done so. The earlier you purchase them, the bigger chance you'll have that we'll have the time to print your badge in a proper way and make sure you have lunch! Actually we'll have lunch for everyone, but we'd really appreciate you buying the tickets as early as possible.
From today onwards, we'll be starting an Arctic15 exclusive to release eight unseen videos of Derek Sivers, the founder and CEO of CDBaby, on how he built the company and sold it onwards. CD Baby was one of the first real record stores online selling CDs. Sivers sold the company in 2008, 11 years after founding it. But how does all this relate to Arctic15 you may ask? We actually invited him to the conference to share his advice, but unfortunately he was unable to make it due to other arrangements. However, he told us he really liked the conference idea and decided to allow us to broadcast this very rare video series of him sharing his advice to our community. Derek Sivers has roots in Sweden, so we'll try and get the man to Arctic15 next year!
This article has two purposes. 1) Communicate the fact that a startup is handsdown the best choice for an ambitious developer, designer or an artist who wants to ship a beautiful product to the market, and 2) to get all the crazy talented people to join Grey Area or other local startups. Let me elaborate!
In the immediate aftermath of Shadow Cities success we are growing fast at Grey Area and we have been lately hiring a lot of new talent to our team. As a result I have thought a lot about how can I convince talented people with plenty of options to choose from to join a young fast growing startup instead of a mature established company. Let me break my thinking down so you can see that the answer to that question really is increasingly 'hell yes I should join a startup!' and not just of my dreaming.