Editors note: “Road To Exit: Start-up’s First Year” is a practical blog series addressing the most common legal questions and problems that a startup company and its management faces during their first year of operation. The series is sponsored by Attorneys at Law Borenius Ltd.
So you have the company up and running and your team is working hard on the service/product. In most cases, you soon start looking for funding beyond the usual friends, family and fools department. Building up an investment ready company affects pretty much everything you do in your company. You build up networks, polish your website and pitch your idea in the social media and various real life events (luckily, plenty of such opportunities are nowadays available). Here are some insights to financing round preparations from the legal perspective.
Sweden-based Freephoo is a fairly new entrant to the fiercely competitive VoIP market. Going up against the likes of Skype and Rebtel, Freephoo is very similar in concept, offering free calls through 3G/WiFi and low-cost “premium” calls to mobile or landline numbers. The company does have some additional tricks up its sleeve though.
Irregardless of the stagnent economies in southern Europe, the Danish online advertising platform, Adform, has opened up a regional office in Spain to target the growth they've seen since opening an office in Italy just 10 months ago. The company's cloud-based platform allows advertisers to manage the entire add buying process, from planning, buying, optimizing, and analyzing. In Spain, online advertising represents 15% of total advertising, in a market of more than €800 million.
Whether you're giving a presentation in a professional or fun setting, it's best to include interactive elements keep your audience engaged. A new service out of Sweden, Mentimeter, does just that by allowing an audience to vote on a topic using their smartphone's browser, and the results show up on the screen in real time.
Before Nokia's new fleet of Windows phones start moving globally, we should take a look at how the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace has preformed since it opened November of last year. Distimo has just put out a report called Windows Phone 7 Marketplace: One Year Later, which summarizes the size and trends of the WP7 marketplace. The report suggests that the marketplace is growing strongly, but obviously it still has a way to go before it catches up with the iPhone app store.
It appears to be a Spotify fest lately ever since the music streaming service announced their partnership with Facebook, bringing the service almost instantly to millions of Facebook users. Due to their reach in more countries, Spotify now announced they reached 2.5 million paying subscribers of the service.
While it would have been great if Spotify shared details on their user demographics, Spotify has kept this information in the shadows. What is more important here is that Spotify has managed to achieve this feat at a time where many listeners have been getting music for free from pirating. To have paying subscribers means that your users love the service and that they don’t mind paying a fee to avail more features, rather a “better user experience”.
HeiaHeia, the social sports and fitness tracker, has launched a new personal training program generator in association with Fazer and SATS. The generator has been one of the most requested features among current users of the tracker. Yesterday’s launch comes just three weeks after HeiaHeia announced a pilot partnership with the Finnish military to provide conscripts with personalized training programs.
Project management is definitely not one of the most exciting tasks if you're forced to use the most boring and non-interactive methods of collaborating with your team. First of all, lots of solutions out there involves too much for users to read, and secondly, most of these management and collaboration tools aren't really user friendly. On top of all that, these first two factors are already too burdened by you having to deliver at 100 percent efficiency. While many startups are stepping forth to make this a bit more interactive, Yodiz already is speeding the task of adding “Interest” to the intensity of project management.
Flattr, the Swedish micropayments service, is trying to get Pay A Blogger Day to become a thing November 29th of this year. I suppose the Day is about as organic as a Hallmark holiday, but it's a smooth way for the micropayments service to get its concept of tangibly paying bloggers for their work into the internet consciousness.
That being said, don't get the impression the Payablogger.org website is a Flattr-fest. They're taking a classy, laid back approach to get the concept out there. There they suggest you click existing "Donate" buttons on websites, buy merchandise, or click the Flattr button if they have one. On top of that, they have a list of popular blogs to donate to that don't seem to support Flattr micropayments.
Scoopinion is a community-based news recommendation and sharing service that uses a bit of a different approach to deliver content to your doorstep. While sharing a news item on Facebook or Twitter may sound easy, Scoopinion actually makes the process fully automated.
The secret behind the service is a browser app that tracks your actions on whitelisted news sites. Scoopinion measures the time you spend reading an article and tracks the movement of your pointer during the read. The gathered data is used to automatically rate each news article and to calculate its overall popularity. Whatever you read is also automatically shared with your friends and further rated according to how your friends read it. A collective feed of all the rated news articles is presented on the Scoopinion website, but in order to take full advantage of the service, users are advised to install the browser app, which is currently available for Firefox and Chrome.
I visited Cardfed's website not wanting to like it. At first I thought any sort of digitization or automation of physical postcards was a soulless idea, but now I believe they're injecting a new life of into the medium. Cardfed's offering can be split in two parts: first, they allow you to select from their wide collection of postcards, type in some text, and your card will be printed and sent anywhere in the world for €2.50. Alternatively you can also upload your own picture and send it for the same price. All their postcards are printed professionally on high-quality card stock, and are sent out from several locations worldwide within 24 hours.
Weather news can be of immense value, but with my personal experience with weather applications, I find them a bit difficult to trust. Firstly they aren’t very accurate, and secondly they are more for general areas than specific locations. I guess my complaint is that you can’t really be in control of receiving notifications and alerts based on your specifications. WeatherMe is one weather forecast and alert service that keeps customization at its core.
The startup was launched at the Garage48 Tartu and promises to generate accurate weather model for the users. The service relies on providing users with notifications when the weather in their vicinity reaches a certain condition. These notifications are sent in a time frame of 2-24 hours in advance, giving you ample time to react to changes in the weather. As mentioned, most of us already rely on the existing weather forecasts, but those aren’t short term. With WeatherMe you have that option to be as specific as you want, and to be notified whenever you want.
For the first of a series of posts we're doing in cooperation with Tekes Tempo, I had the opportunity to talk with Rami Korhonen of Playmysong about his financing through Tekes. If you're unfamiliar with Tekes Tempo, you may find a past article we did helpful as some background. In general, Tempo's goal is to quickly test products out on the market by providing financing as quickly as possible-- their aim is to provide financing within one month of a startup's application. The program's goal not necessarily to develop a finished product, but rather to gain more knowledge of markets and users.
But back to Rami and Playmysong. We've covered PlaymySong in the past, but if you haven't heard about them, Playmysong is a social jukebox app that lets you control the background music you hear when you're out at a bar, diner, or similar location. The new version of their iPhone app released last week shows your Facebook photo in the upcoming playlist, and allows you also host your own social stereo on your iPhone.
Shootitlive is a small change to your content management system that has big implications for online publishers. The Swedish startup is intended for news websites where on-the-field photographers can publish photos and video clips of current events live as they unfold, from any location with 3G coverage. The company was founded in 2008 by Eivind Vogel-Rödin and Martin Levy, and was created to solve a problem facing photographers-- after taking pictures you had to get out your laptop, upload photos, send them to your publisher, and maybe miss out on more action as you do so.
There are tons of great ideas out there, but it's hard to find them if you don't ask. The Oulu, Finland based startup, Liilak, defines itself as a "social ideation service," and it seeks to let users build off on another's ideas, or answer sponsored idea questions submitted by businesses or organizations. The result is a stream of ideas and a much more beneficial way to spend your time than complaining about your waiter on Facebook.
RentMama is focused on helping you find the right car for your convenience. While assisting users with car rentals, RentMama looks for big and small rental companies who have your specified car available. And it isn't limited to cars in just one region-- the big idea is to save travelers the few extra hours they spend searching for best deals on Google to find the best car rental deals during their visit. RentMama achieves this by bringing all car rental companies under one banner. Users benefit by having to visit one place to find the best deals.
Here we've got the last chunk of Arctic15 videos. See pitches by Meetin.gs, Graduateland, Holvi, Achoo, and Mepin. If you want more of the Arctic15 experience, join us for our pre-Christmas party with Future Female on December 1st, and keep your eyes out for our upcoming ArcticEvening events. Find these great pitches below the fold:
Movenote is a Helsinki-based cloud presentation service for when you can't give that presentation in person. The service allows you to record a video of yourself from your webcam while slides are show next to your video, and then save it for later. The service is flexible, and allows you to use pictures, PDF, PPT, doc, Excel, and other formats for your slides.
Success often follows where service providers or vendors improve their consumers’ experience. By gamifying the process of interaction with their brands, merchants can reward customers with points that can be redeemed as bonuses. This processes already exists on smartphones, bit currently other products aren’t interactive enough. Amooz steps in by improving your experience at cafés, bars and restaurants.
The Latvian startup partners with restaurants, bars and cafés to help users receive credits on their smartphone. The procedure is pretty simple and focuses on making the user experience interactive and can be explained in a few steps:
Twenty-five teams came together at the latest Garage48 hackathon in Riga, where the focus this season was primarily on mobile apps. Of the 25 teams, 13 were able to prototype an app, and last Friday the teams presented a variety of interesting projects. The winner of Garage48 and the audience favorite was Mustache Ninja, who put together a location-based Pacman type game that uses the streets around you.