This marks the end of our sponsored coverage of Graduateland, which came as a prize for winning the popular vote at our Arctic15 conference. But this won't be the last you ever hear about them! Their career portal is picking up momentum in Sweden by being implemented in Lund University and Blekinge Technical University. Patrick Lund, the CEO of Graduateland also tells me that it is their ambition is to add over 10 Swedish and more than three Norwegian career portals by the end of 2012.
On Wednesday, Vimpelcom, a major Russian mobile operator, announced it will deploy the NFC-based contactless payment system it implemented in St. Petersburg last year within the Moscow subway. Widespread commercial launch in Moscow is scheduled for the end of the year.
While most offline and online purchases made in Russia are still paid in cash, contactless payment experiments have been flourishing in several Russian cities over the last two years. Last October, Megafon, another leading operator, also launched NFC payments in the St. Petersburg subway, in addition to using the system for loyalty programs with several local banks and retailers.
I had to read this article on Tietoviikko (in Finnish) three times to realise that no, it's not an April fool's joke at all. It was published today and is apparently and very unfortunately true. The article is in Finnish, but it's about the government creating a strategy group to form a new strategy for the Finnish ICT-industry for the future. There are three really big problems in this approach. The first is that most of the people in the strategy group are the wrong people for so many reasons (hint: take a look at how their companies are doing). Secondly, just as no business plan is able to survive customer contact, no strategy is able to completely survive market contact. It's all assumptions against market forces. Thirdly, all the truly growing industries that work in the digital space have been left out, no matter how you cut the definition of ICT.
Let's dive in.
We were talking today at the office about all the different applications we use on a day to day basis only soon to realise the most of the applications I use on a daily basis are from the Nordics and Baltics. In this post I've done a short analysis on each of the applications and services I use, but they really make up the most important applications outside of my e-mail client (Sparrow) and browser (Safari). One could assume that since I'm working on a Mac there wouldn't so much options out there, which of course couldn't be more wrong. I find the most beautiful apps to be on Mac and to my surprise many of them are made here in Northern Europe.
My work involves writing content, recording audio, e-mailing and sales work - just to name a few different tasks. I also invite you to add your own applications in the comments below - would be great to see how people in different functions use different applications. Oh, and if you're wondering why these products get to be on the list? They create amazing products. I've paid for all the programs below, meaning I haven't received any free licenses for any of them.
Treesure, the location-based interactive storytelling app has told us they have created a location based game for the Linnanmäki amusement park in Helsinki. The concept builds off of what they've already created-- a service that creates entertaining stories and activities for children based on your location. The app will be available the whole summer at the biggest amusement park in Finland as part of a pilot program to test how users interact with the apps.
Fundedbyme, the Swedish Crowdfunding startup, has made a partnership with Internetfonden (the internet fund) to support and strengthen internet related projects through crowdfunding. Internetfonden gets its money through the surplus income generated from .se domain-name registrations, and its charter requires it to finance projects that promote the development of the internet in Sweden.
Ordering a pizza online and having it delivered is simple to consumers, but peeling back the covers you'll see there has been movements in the world that delivers pizza to your door. Delivery Hero, a Berlin-based startup recently raised €25 million bringing their total capital raised to €40 million. With that cash Delivery Hero has financed the acquisition on OnlinePizza Norden Group, a food ordering business that operates in Sweden, Finland, Austria, and Poland under the names OnlinePizza, Mat24, PizzaOnline, PizzaPortal, Mjam, and WillEssen.
Last year I remember reading news of Applifier's fast growth and funding round, and I remember thinking Applifier would be the new hot Finnish company we'd hear a lot of news from. But what has happened since then? I suppose I can partly blame myself for taking a job here and then leaving everyone in the cold, but to make up for it I caught up with CEO Jussi Laakkonen about what's new at Applifier.
The company is seeing "well north" of 150 million monthly users on Facebook, making it likely the largest cross-promotion network on the site. So far the company has swollen to 22 people offices in Finland and California. Like most regional companies, in California they manage publisher relations, business development, and sales, while the engineering is handled in Finland.
With the recent change of the Facebook fan pages to support the timeline, all pages now also have a cover image at the top of the page. Since we're really in this to support the growing startup ecosystems in the Nordics and Baltics - what better way to help achieve that than giving the cover image back to our community on the ArcticStartup Facebook page. This means, each week we will be promoting one lucky startup with a pinned post at the top of the Facebook page as well as in the cover image.
A stray copycat out there may be reason for some concern, however Rocket Internet has created a name and huge business for itself by cranking out copies at high speed, giving Groupon and other major players hell in Germany and the whole of Europe. Wrapp's press release also mentions they will soon be opening up in France, the Netherlands and the U.S., although the whole release only really serves the purpose of calling out Samwer brothers and say, "I'm coming to your house with these people, and I'm going to get whatever I want out of the fridge."
Rovio's head of animation, Nick Dorra, spoke at the MIPTV conference in Cannes where he announced Rovio will begin producing weekly short form animations, The Guardian reports. Each episode should last two-and-a-half to three minutes each, and will likely be released on a new video app. Rovio acquired the Finnish animation studio, Kombo in June of 2011 to begin creating their media content.
Another weekly wrap-up is here, summing up the news and events we didn't get a chance to write about. I'm hopping in and out of wifi in Stockholm after last night's ArcticEvening event, so here's a quick list with a few gems.
It's expansion season for seemingly every music streaming service from the Nordics and beyond. With Spotify's rapid grabbing of market share, competing services are differentiating themselves and aiming to get an early hold on users in countries where Spotify has yet to launch. What's remarkable is how many of these services are coming out of Scandinavian and Baltic entrepreneurs. Here's the rundown of the major players' growth plans:
Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis (The Estonian and Danish founders of Skype) recently announced they have plans to take Rdio to the whole of europe in the coming months, potentially hitting countries in which Spotify has yet to launch. PaidContent says that Rdio recently added Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Australia and New Zealand to its U.S. and Canada availability as well as quietly soft-launching access in Denmark.
ArcticEvening Stockholm was held last night at the Hub Stockholm, where around a hundred people from the startup scene gathered to talk about startups, growth and everything else. The guests on the panel included Carl Waldekranz (Tictail), Peder Stahle (iZettle) and Hjalmar Winbladh (Wrapp). I have to say that this was most probably the easiest panel I've held in a while - the reason was simple; these gents know their stuff. It made me think though, looking at all the successful companies in the room, what is it that Sweden has that Finland doesn't?
Copenhagen-based 23 Video has been providing video sites with a simple service to host and manage everything, on a customer's own domain, for a simple $675 per month. Customers are allowed an unlimited number of videos and have complete control of the design of the player. The company has always offered analytics, but recently they stepped up their offering to provide greater insight for their customers to figure out exactly how their users are interacting with online videos.
The Swedish Consumer Agency is considering leading an investigation into Apple's marketing of the iPad after receiving complaints that the advertised 4G connectivity will not actually function in Sweden. The new iPad has been advertised as iPad Wi-Fi + 4G, but in many markets but critics say that the 4G technology is not an applicable feature due to the differences in the 4G spectrum across countries.
I've covered Scoopshot in the past as well and I've found the idea really intriguing - most possibly for its simplicity. The app helps media companies crowdsource images from their communities through the app. The media companies can either freely purchase images the community has taken or give more detailed tasks for the photographers on specific topics. We've learned of some very impressive numbers on traction the app has achieved.
Two years after the Groupon fever hit Russia in March 2010, Leonid Gluzman, the founder of daily deal site aggregator Zina.ru, recalls the history of this thriving industry and shares its key figures and trends for the future. This interview is an excerpt from an in-depth research paper on Russian e-commerce that will be released next month.
How many daily deal sites are there in Russia today and who are the leaders?
In Russia, there are approximately two hundred such sites today. The two leaders are Biglion and Groupon Russia, with an approximate turnover last year of 3.8 billion rubles, or approximately $126 million, Biglion being number 1 with 2.2 billion rubles, or $73 million. Then you have a number of rather strong sites, including Vigoda.ru, Kupikupon.ru, Kupibonus.ru and Bigbuzzy.ru, whose monthly turnover can reach 50 million rubles, or $1.6 million.
Cognitive Maps Ltd. has released its first whitelabeled "corporate" version of the Hitlantis interface. The integration was made for Tekes to help visualize the projects the government agency is operating in.
The current Tekes project visualization was aided somewhat hand-on by the Cognitive Maps folks, but when the company releases their SaaS infrastructure later this year, they say the client will have a light and easy admin tool to control the inputs and outputs of the visualization. On top of that, they also have documented and fully functioning API's that can visualize many types of categorized data.
Editor's note: This post is part of a series of posts sponsored by Microsoft Finland. You can read the other posts over here.
In this article we talk to Jukka Partanen, the CEO of Digna IT Oy, which is a company that specialises in invoice collection services. They help companies manage invoice collection through their service instead of using expensive third party solutions, that can lower the amount of money your company would get. In essence, they're making more money for their clients by giving them more tools for collecting late payments.