On Fridays we're going to start putting together a few links to good reporting done on the region, quick follow-ups to previous posts, events, and anything else we find mildly interesting or noteworthy. We don't know exactly what this Friday post is shooting for yet, but hopefully you might be better informed, cultured, and entertained.
When creating Android apps, your final product isn't necessarily predictable across the hundreds of different Android models. Your app can run into hardware issues like memory size, and sometimes you'll find that certain hardware API's that only work on newer devices. Also, some devices have different UI paradigms, while others add their own UI layer on top of the app. This means on some devices your app may have a complete failure to install, it may crash, or the resolution may give your app ridiculous layouts.
One way to ensure consistency is to test out all of your Android apps yourself, requiring plenty of phones and man-hours to install and run the tests manually. Or you could use Helsinki-based Bitbar's suite of Testdroid Android testing applications to automate and quickly run these tests across over 100 devices.
Voddler, the video on demand service for movies and TV series, is now expanding outside of the nordics. Since launching in Sweden, Voddler has over the past two years gathered around 1.3 million registered users in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, and is now making Spain its fifth market.
The common pattern that Nordic startups seems to follow is to tackle the home market and then expand to the UK to start targeting the English speaking world. But with competitors including Netflix and Vdio also fighting over market share, it makes sense to target underserved markets. On this, Markus Bäcklund, Voddler's CEO says, "Spain was an obvious choice for us as our first market outside of our home market of Scandinavia. It is a country of movie lovers, with good broadband penetration and an audience that is increasingly turning online."
Estonian startup Plumbr.eu has developed an algorithm to spot memory leaks in Java, and describe them in detail so that it becomes very easy for a programmer to solve the leak. While there is a plethora of applications available in the world for debugging Java memory contents, there still doesn't exist a product that would straight help you solve the leaks. And those of you who have worked with memory leaks know they are usually hard to solve, and without a special purpose tool it often takes man-weeks of time. Plumbr runs lightweight and in the background so you can spot memory leaks before you see any OutOfMemory errors.
As a woman in the startup community, Dalia Lasaite says she hasn't encountered any serious obstacles due to her gender, and even suggests the opposite: "Starting a company is always hard, whoever you are. But I find that women actually get more visibility and stand out easier as the tech community is made of men - so this is the advantage of being a woman entrepreneur."
Lasaite got into entrepreneurship in 2007, right after finishing her studies. After a bit of brainstorming co-founded the ride sharing website Geogoer, which seems to have closed down. At this time she was only working on the project part-time while simultaneously starting to work at an asset management company. But after playing around with that project for a while, the team got an investment from the Difference Engine accelerator, and Lasaite quit her corporate job.
A network worth mentioning that's playing a large supporting role in getting women interested in digital entrepreneurship is Future Female, Helsinki-based network of likeminded women who are inspired by new ideas and the world of digital opportunities. Future Female is for women, who work, use or are interested in technology.
The organization operates as a platform for women to mentor, share, learn, connect, contribute and enable the next generation of excellence via informal and interactive get-togethers, workshops and seminars. They pride themselves on being a friendly and easily approachable network, balancing business with pleasure. There are no age or title limits, you can come as you are.
Continuing now with some timely International Women's Day coverage, Tribe Studios is announcing they have received a €200 000 investment from Rauli Arjatsalo, Mikko Elomaa, Ville Skogberg and Kontro & Peuru Consulting Group Oy. Also, the company is changing the name of their interactive storytelling game from the working title, Stagecraft, to the aptly named Dramagame-- the reason for the change being they found the working title, Stagecraft, difficult to pronouce for non-native english speakers. Tribe Studios is currently testing Dramagame in a private beta, but should be releasing another round of invitations in the near future. There is currently no public release date announced.
It's always good to go back and get updates on Startups we've covered a while ago. Although we don't need a special occasion, we're using International Woman's Day to catch up on a couple startups across the region that are run by women.
Recently we spoke with Louise Brudö, CEO of Destly. We've covered their launch as well as their expansion to the Serbian and Croatian markets in the past, but for those new to the service, Destly is a travel deal curator that provides provides members up to 70% discounts on luxury hotels. The service is free to join, and has been growing rapidly since initiating partnerships with groups including CDON Group (the largest e-commerce group in the Nordics), Members.com, DN-Kortet (the member's club of Sweden's largest newspaper, DN) and with Stampen Group, a large Swedish media house.
At 10am PST today, Apple is hosting an event in San Fransisco expecting to provide some information about their new tablet, the "iPad 3", if you will. The new tablet is expected to boast a 2048×1536 resolution "retina display" screen like that used on the iPhone 4, where the pixel density is so great that Apple says individual pixels cannot be distinguished.
But the invite to the event (image shown above) also alludes to haptics technology, which The Guardian uses to predict that Apple has picked Helsinki-based Senseg's technology to power tactile feedback on the screen of the new device. And according to analysts interviewed by the Guardian, they're expecting to see more than just the high definition display.
This week we talk to the CEO and Co-founder of Flattr, Linus Olsson. Flattr is a social micro payment system that has recently received a €1.6 million investment that values the company at €10 million. We talked to Olsson about the investment as well as their philosophy behind Flattr. The company has also recently announced partnerships with 5by5 Network as well as Instacast, both working in the space of podcasts. Carrying with the interview, we decided to implement flattring to our podcast as well. If you're using Instacast on the iOS platform to listen to podcasts - you can now flattr us through the arrow link at the bottom of the window.
This week we are supported by Gapps.fi - a Helsinki-based company that brings the Google productivity tools to your workplace. They've got a special offer for all those who ping them and say they came from ArcticStartup. Also, they are looking for talented people to work with them in the area of sales and technical implementation. Big thanks to Gapps for supporting the show.
Finnish VC firm Open Ocean Capital has taken part in investing to a French company, Commerce Guys. The size of the round is $5 million in total and other investors that participated include Alven Capital and ISAI, the French entrepreneurs' fund. Commerce Guys are the creators of Drupal Commerce, one of the leading eCommerce solutions working with Drupal. Commerce Guys looks to serve internet merchants by helping them leverage the Drupal platform for their online stores. Open Ocean Capital is famous for supporting companies building value on top of open source projects, for example the likes of Drupal.
Ziliot, the B2B social network, has just released its public beta. The Finnish startup has created a clean-looking mix between a business directory and social network, where for example a company on Ziliot could promote their products and contact information, connect with their network, and keep their network up-to-date by posting updates. Ziliot has aimed their service at enabling SMEs, professionals and government authorities between the developed countries and developing countries to find and interact with each others.
If you're a game developer, one monetization strategy is to offer virtual goods and currencies. But what does the average independent developer know about the details and consequences of creating a whole economy within their game? And say you are a game developer that knows your supply from your demand curves, what are you doing creating purchasable hats for your game characters when you could be creating a high frequency trading algorithms that make you money while you sail around the Caribbean?
To shed some knowledge on the virtual economy, Virtual Economists are a Helsinki-based consulting company that publishes reports and data to help game developers get a better picture of the virtual economic ecosystems.
Cabforce continues with the good news about their cab-booking service, after recently launching and integrating into Estonian Air's web booking. The Helsinki-based company announces today that Gregg Brockway, the past co-founder of Hotwire and Tripit has joined in on their seed round. The size of the round, which includes Vera Ventures and KoppiCatch accelerator, with further backing from Tekes, was not revealed, but described as substantial.
"We have just announced that our service will cover the top 40 European cities by the end of 2012, and we are proud to reveal who is backing us in our mission. We chose Gregg as an investor for obvious reasons: he is one of the most respected names in the online travel industry and he’s experience raises the company to a new level", says Tommi Holmgren, Co-founder and CEO of Cabforce.com.
In an unprecedented experiment to ensure election transparency, most of Russia’s 94 300 polling stations were equipped with webcams offering a live broadcast of the recent voting.
The broadcast, which started at midnight, Moscow time, on election day, ended after all vote counting operations were completed. It was followed by up to 400 000 simultaneous Internet users on a dedicated website, Webvybory2012.ru. As many as 1 600 operators were hired to support a toll-free hotline to answer questions from site users and receive their feedback about technical problems.
Denmark's Tradeshift is moving businesses to the clear future by providing electronic invoicing services, but many suppliers still take care of invoicing by sending a PDF or email, which is a burden to businesses that have moved completely to e-invoicing.
With Cloudscan, a new service offered by Tradeshift, businesses are given a unique email address where invoices should be sent. After an invoice is sent to the email to the address, it is automatically converted to an editable e-invoice and is sent back to the supplier for verification.
Editor's note: This article is part of a series of sponsored posts for Graduateland as part of winning the popular vote of the Arctic15 conference.
To get a good feel for how Graduateland has worked for employers, we spoke with Bo Eriksen, CEO and co-founder of Trendsales.dk -- Denmark's largest online auction site for over 100 different categories of designer goods, including clothes, accessories, designer furniture, and more.
Trendsales.dk hopped on the Graduateland train early, only one or two days after its launch. "We bought the "Job exposure - Basis" promotion package," Eriksen says. "It was worthwhile and I would definetly pay for promotion again the next time. Typically we have very short application windows so we need to get a rather big burst in a short time frame."
Pocketfilm out of Sweden is leveraging smartphones, e-readers, and social media for a novel distribution of content. Video and TV shows are a standard way to get entertained on smartphones, but rather than copying the one-way-stream TV format, Pocketfilm's content pops up where users already are hanging out online.
The characters that would make up Pocketfilms' fictional world would all have their own stories and would live on social media, allowing additional content to be found on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Pocketfilm has announce it has received an investment from Almi Invest, although the size of the round was not discussed.
Eskimi, the mobile dating service and social network, was founded in Lithuania but sees the vast majority of its users in Africa and other emerging markets. The company has a high penetration in Nigeria, with over 2.4 million of its 5+ million registered users based in Nigeria. In recent news, the company has recently teamed up with Gecko Landmarks, a location-based service provider to deliver location-based dating and flirting services via mobile.
In a renewed round of innovation cooperation in the post-Soviet area, the Skolkovo Foundation, the Russian organization in charge of building a world-class technology hub near Moscow, is expected to start screening and funding technology start-ups from the neighboring CIS countries.
The CIS Economic Council will vest the Foundation next month with full powers to run a ten-year interstate collaboration program, the Armenian Mediamax news agency reported.