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.
Uplause has signed an agreement with Dorna Sports S.L., a Madrid-based sports rights and management company. The partnership will make Dorna Sports the exclusive distributor and reseller of Uplause's unique crowd gaming solution in the Spanish market, also becoming Uplause's first major partner.
For those of you who haven't seen our past coverage, the concept behind Uplause is pretty unique. They make games for spectators at events by bringing the audience together to play one game. To interact with the game, the crowd can use noise, silence, clapping, motion sensors, and however else they are instructed. The games are shown on the stadium screens, or on the perimeter LED displays that go around stadiums.
Campalyst has raised a seed round of funding from Amsterdam-based venture capital firm HENQ. The size of the round was not disclosed. Campalyst creates return-on-investment analytics for social media marketing campaigns. About one year and a day ago, the company first came out of Garage48 with the idea of measuring conversions from Facebook pages, and has grown quickly to a become an full-service social media monitoring service. From Garage48, the company progressed though StartupSauna, and Seedcamp as it tacked on new features and new ROI analytics to measure.
Following yesterday's news of Nokia and Microsoft teaming together to to fund millions of euros into an AppCampus program at the University of Aalto, we caught up with Will Cardwell, head of the Aalto University Center for Entrepreneurship. Cardwell has ben understandably busy, but was kind enough to give us more details on how the program will operate, and what the program means means for the local community.
Rovio, the creators of Angry Birds, has announced today the acquisition of the game development arm of Futuremark - Futuremark Game Studios. The news were announced just now in a press release put out by Rovio. Futuremark is the parent company that owns Futuremark Game Studios, but also the one that has developed one of the most popular benchmarking software applications out there.
“They are an incredibly talented and experienced team, and we are thrilled to have them on board,” said Mikael Hed, Rovio Entertainment’s CEO. “Rovio’s success is founded on the excellence of our team, and Futuremark Games Studio is going to be a superb addition.”
U.S. President Barack Obama and his campaign organizers aren't afraid to tap into new technology if it helps spread his message. Aside from the obvious Facebook and Twitter profiles, Obama uses Foursquare for check-ins on the campaign trail, and uses Square (think iZettle) to take donations on the go, and is even on Instagram. Now we've seen two Helsinki-based startups-- ThingLink and Transfluent-- operating in and around President Obama's web presence.
We missed last week due to some scheduling challenges, but we're back this week a little earlier with our talk show. This week we talk to Petteri Koponen, the co-founder of Lifeline Ventures as well as the former co-founder of Jaiku and First Hop. He's got a colorful past with this companies and in living through them, built up an enormous amount of experience. Lifeline Ventures has also become one of the prominent early stage investors in Finland through their 19 investments.
We'd also like to thank our sponsor for this week - Kisko Labs, for supporting the show. Kisko Labs makes people happy by solving their problems with digital services. They've got a neat offering called Kisko Kickstart that will develop an idea into a minimum viable product in five weeks. This helps companies understand how the idea would work in a business environment.
Nokia and Microsoft have teamed up to fund up to €18 million in a mobile application development program at Aalto University in Helsinki. Together the two companies will each invest up to 9 million euros into the program, called AppCampus, over the next three years. The program has been set up to foster the creation of applications for the Windows Phone ecosystem, as well as the Nokia platforms including Symbian and Series 40. The program will begin already in May of 2012.
Spotify is reportedly trying to raise funding at a $3.5 billion valuation. The music streaming service has blown up since expanding to the States and partnering with Facebook, but still many are skeptical with the high valuation when comparing to other services. Hulu, the U.S. TV streaming service, was going to be sold for $4 billion last fall, although they have exclusive streaming rights to many TV shows and movies.
CrowdIPR has adjusted their pricing model, now allowing their intellectual property rights crowdsourcing platform to take advantage of freemium features. Also In early February, CrowdIPR also received $135 000 of additional funding from Northstar Ventures and IP Group, both UK-based venture capital firms. The company has also moved part of the operations to the TechHub in London, while also keeping a presence in Newcastle and Tallinn. CrowdIPR is still in private beta, but recently they have conducted close to 20 research projects with universities and companies from the UK, Estonia and Russia.
Garage48 Music took place in Tallinn last weekend. 20 ideas were pitched, and 14 gathered the necessary team behind them to take off. The majority of the ideas were focused on music and entertainment, and on the judges panel was Chris Douridas, a 2-time Grammy nominated music supervisor.
The winner, EasyRider, is a tool for festival and event organizers and promoters who deal with musicians. The service bills itself as, "The easiest and fastest way to create, manage, and share your band's technical riders.
Somehow it's Friday already, meaning we're getting you another roundup of news and events for you to scan through. One thing we would like to promote are our Events and Jobs pages, which are free and self-service for anyone looking to promote their job openings and happenings. Also If you have any news or press releases for us, feel free to share it by sending an email to editor (at) arcticstartup.com. We obey all embargoes!
Fonecta and DigitalBooker have signed a collaboration agreement where DigitalBooker's online booking system is being offered to Fonecta's corporate customers as a part of its existing service package. Fonecta provides media, customership, and consumer services for about 100,000 companies, most of who are are in Finland. DigitalBooker develops, sells and maintains web-based booking systems for beauty, health, sports, wellness and many other booking purposes. For these different purposes, DigitalBooker provides resource booking (for an object or room that may be in use), service bookings, and class bookings.