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.
So normally we have a couple news links, but this week we are chock-full with some interesting articles on the Nordics and Baltics. That's good news on its own, but there are also a lot of great events coming up to check out as well. Have a good weekend everyone!
ArcticEvening Copenhagen was organised last night at the to-be-emptied Nokia premises just out of the centre of Copenhagen. The evening was full of interesting discussions and presenters included Kristel Verhasselt of Magento as well as Jussi Koskinen of PayPal. Our main event was a fireside chat with Tommy Ahlers who made my job as an interviewer extremely easy, sharing a lot of advice to the audience with just a few questions.
As said, the event was held at the Nokia Campus premises, a place that will be emptied by the end of June. The space looked eerily empty already, but its future isn't as bad as one might think. In September, a university will be taking over the facilities and in doing so Nokia is also donating millions of DKK worth of gear to the university.
In April we did a bigger story on Danish entrepreneurs' movement against what they called the iværksætterskat, or Entrepreneurs' tax. The tax got its nickname by levying an additional 25% on any shareholder with less than 10% ownership of a company, which is typically a startup company.
This made the marginal tax rate roughly 67% for any investor or entrepreneur who fell into the bracket, making it extremely difficult for Danish entrepreneurs to attract capital, exit, or keep up with their taxes whenever they received an investment. Now, the Danish government has put in a proposal to finally remove the tax, after being in place since 2010.
Its tough to remember how huge Rebtel is for an internet service, considering how dominant Skype is in the VOIP space. The Stockholm-based service just hit more than 17 million users, growing at 650 000 users a month. Customers are logging in over 1 billion minutes a year, with projections for an $85 million dollar run rate for 2012. That's not bad. The company tells us now they have released an iPad app that provides free Rebtel to Rebtel user calls, as well as calls to any phone for rates that can be up to 60% cheaper than Skype's.
For those of us without a designer on staff, presenting data in an attractive way is not an easy task. Sure, you can pop some data into Excel and put together a quick chart, but it's not pretty, it's not interactive, and it feels so 1998. The Riga-based team behind Infogr.am, currently a part of both HackFwd and Startup Sauna, has put together a nice looking service that presents data in a pretty and powerful way. It help storytellers to bring their story and tell in more visual way, but also to bring more traffic to the story though social elements.
The company officially launched their beta last week, and has seen 25 000 users register, with 10 000 coming in the last week alone.
Facebook has an ungodly amount of money burning in their pocket post-IPO, and the rumor mill has started grinding out stories that the social media giant will buy Opera, the Norwegian desktop and mobile browser company. I suppose it would be a logical move for Facebook. Getting into the browser game would give them a dominant position as the home base for the web, and Facebook has been rumored to be working on a mobile operating system, of which a solid mobile browser is a key component.
We haven't covered Opera much, even though they're probably the most well known Norwegian software company. Even though they haven't gained a sizable market share, by now they seem more like an institution as old as the web, rather than a startup. They've been around since 1995, they're listed on the Norwegian stock exchange, and the company boasts 750 employees around the world.
A key to public speaking is interacting with your audience, but so far technology has been more of a distraction for the audience, rather than tool for engagement. A lot of people are carrying around a device that can interact with the internet, and Mentimeter is taking that processing power to make it easy to get audience response. We covered the company last November, but now we should catch up with their major design update and mention they have a new collaboration with Swedish top-domain foundation .SE and their event, The Internet Days Conference 2012 (Internetdagarna).
Valkee, the bright-light headset manufacturer that claims to treat S.A.D. and other mood disorders, has seen its fair share of criticism after rushing to promote the scientific legitimacy of the device based on what came across as weak evidence to many people.
But more research on Valkee has been published, showing that light has a biological response in the brain. Unlike the past studies on the effects of the Valkee headset, this study was run in a placebo controlled environment and measured the physical response. The 51 participants were blindfolded, and bright light was delivered to the ear using optical fiber, which does not heat up. The paper be found online in the World Journal of Neuroscience.
“No IPO is being planned. Facebook’s IPO has destroyed the trust of many individual investors in social networks, so [our] IPO is postponed indefinitely,” Vkontakte’s founder and co-owner Pavel Durov tweeted on Monday, answering a Russian journalist’s question. Durov had expressed his IPO intentions a mere five months ago at the DLD tech conference in Munich.