Eskimi, the Lithuanian-based mobile social network based on flirting, has announced it recently hit 5 million users, and is growing at 30 000 a day. The service has grown steadily in popularity in Africa, where desktop-based social networks have not meet the needs of every mobile user. Eskimi's largest market is in Nigeria, where the company counts around 2.2 million users. There is also a growing user-base in Ghana, South Africa,Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, where there are over 250 000 users each. Our last coverage of Eskimi six months ago reported they had 2.5 million users.
Last week saw the closure of hugely popular site Megaupload.com that functioned as a file-sharing site for individuals. That was the intention, but many used it to share illegal files as well. It has been publicly stated, that due to the fact that the service held so much pirated material - the FBI and New Zealand police arrested Kim Dotcom (previously Kim Schmitz). Kim Schmitz is actually half German, half Finn which qualifies him for coverage on ArcticStartup.
Yubico, a Swedish/American provider of online identity security has announced it has grown its user base by 90% in 2011. New customers include U.S. Department of Defense contractors, e-governments, and cloud technology. Along with the announcement, Yubico says it has ended 2011 with more than a million users and 18000 customers in 100 countries.
We've received news that tomorrow Blaast is launching "the world's first cloud-based mobile platform" in Jakarta, Indonesia in cooperation with the mobile operator XL. The Helsinki-based company is throwing a press event and hackathon designed to catch the attention of the local press and the local developer community, who are encouraged to create apps for the entirely cloud-based platform. Finland's Foreign Minister, Alex Stubb, is also in Jakarta and will likely attend the launch.
Blaast has been operating in stealth mode for some time, but what's been public is that the company's cloud based platform will essentially allow 'dumber' feature phones to behave like smartphones by running the complicated background processes in the cloud. Android already incorporates some of this ideology, but Blaast has built its entire platform on this concept.
Finnish social news aggregator Scoopinion is looking to capitalize on Twitter’s acquisition of competitor Summify. According to co-founder Johannes Koponen, Summify’s unanticipated exit and subsequent shut down has enabled Scoopinion to grow its user base significantly during the last few days.
Has Scoopinion caught a lucky break? Well, not really. It all comes down to hard work. The guys at Scoopinion were quick enough to react and engage in some aggressive marketing tactics, recommending the startup’s newsletter service as an alternative to Summify on all major news sites and blogs that covered the acquisition.
SoundCloud has just announced it has reached 10 million users. SoundCloud is a music startup currently in Berlin, but its roots lay in Sweden where its two co-founders Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss are from. We've covered the music service in the past as well a couple of times and they've definitely been one of the more interesting startups in Europe in the recent months. Just a few weeks ago the company closed a, reportedly, $50 million finance round.
Finland-based Cabforce launched officially at the Nordic Travel Fair last week. The service allows business and recreational travelers to book a taxi up to two hours in advance, and pre-pay with a credit card online. This saves the stress of being "taken for a ride" on a longer route in an unfamiliar city, and simplifies payment and language hassles with local drivers.
Editorial note: This is a sponsored blog post by Microsoft as part of their series Hear it from startups.
Imagine Cup is an annual competition aimed at students worldwide, who are looking to change the world. Each year students compete against each other in many different categories for the best application. Applications are judged by their real world potential in changing the world, but also how viable they are business wise.
This year the finals will take place in Sydney, Australia and Microsoft Finland will be sending one team from Finland to the finals. The team however, has to win the semi-finals in Finland first.
Imagine Cup has multiple different categories available, but if you choose to enter the competition local semi-finals will be held for the Windows Phone Challenge as well as the Software Design categories.
A market survey conducted by Norstat for the WiMP music streaming service shows that roughly 3 out of 10 Norwegians and Swedes have listened to music by streaming in the week before the questioning took place. The survey was collected in January of 2012. In Norway, this proportion increased 20 to 29 percent from June of the past year, while Sweden saw a jump of 27 to 29 percent, showing the early saturation of the market. Danish users are behind the times, with a jump from 14 to a current 20%. This low penetration can likely be explained by Spotify only launching in Denmark in October.
Swedish VoIP startup freephoo has updated its app with a bunch of new features that include Facebook and LinkedIn integration, as well as HD quality audio. The update is currently available for both the iPhone and the iPod Touch, with later releases planned for Android and the iPad.
PlayMySong has announced it has received $350,ooo (€271,000) in funding, allowing them to open an office in New York City and continue their reach in bars and venues between both coasts of the United States. In case you haven't seen our previous coverage, PlayMySong is a social jukebox mobile app that lets patrons control the background music you hear when you're out at a bar, diner, or at a similar location where the venue owner has the PlayMySong app running on iOS device connected to the sound system.
Helsingin Sanomat wrote an article on A.W. Yrjänä, the head of a successful Finnish rock band CMX, and how much money they made on Spotify and through record sales. Yrjänä is a multi-talent. Not only does he write and sing the vocals for their songs, but he also writes poems and books. He shares with us that Iäti, their album that came out in September 2010, wasn't really a huge success financially even though it shot to number one on the charts.
Unfair Advantage is out! Our guest this week is William Wolfram, the CEO and founder of DealDash. DealDash is a penny auction site with a lot of small innovations to improve the shopping experience. We talked to Will about pretty much everything related to DealDash; how he started it, what he did when he started the company, how they're doing financially and so forth. Listen in to hear the story of DealDash and what Will thinks of running a company that does revenue in the low eight figures annually.
Editorial note: This is a sponsored post by Graduateland part of their prize for winning the public vote in the 2011 Arctic15 conference.
Graduateland Gateway is a free plug-in for unversities to connect their students to an international career portal. By plugging into the whole Graduateland service, Gateway provides students with a wide vareity of international career options as well as other features like a CV template, online career counseling via webcam, event calendars, and so on. Graduateland Gateway is a fresh new service released by Graduateland, and only a few days ago it was implemented at Copenhagen Business School, one of the top business schools in Scandinavia.
Hammerkit, the Finnish cloud technology provider, today received €1.25 million investment from the North West Fund, joining Veraventure and Tekes as investors. The company produces scalable digital solutions for the global PR and marketing industry, and will use the funding to open a sales and development center in Liverpool.
Yesterday the digital gift card service, Wrapp, got another boost to their funding round and added anther big name to their board of directors. LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman has joined the board as Greylock Partners added $5 million to the company’s Series A funding to co-lead the round with Atomico. Wrapp received $5.5 million in November from Atomico and Creandum.
Sweden-based mobile payment and security provider Accumulate has been selected as the supplier of a mobile wallet service to 4T, a new payment solutions consortium created by Sweden’s four mobile network operators.
Taking advantage of NFC when available, the mobile payment service promises to be an alternative to cash and card payments in all payment situations, including point-of-sale, online, person-to-person and man-to-machine. According to Stefan Hultberg, CEO of Accumulate, the deal is a major breakthrough for mobile payments and an important milestone for the company.
Here's an event coming up for you startup folks around Malmö. Moll Wenden Attorneys, MINC, and Startup Bootcamp are putting together a 'Term Sheet Battle' March 1st from 17-20 at Moll Wenden Attorneys. What is a term sheet battle you might ask? It's sort of a public debate where entrepreneurs can learn the tricks and nuances of the term sheet negotiation process by watching experienced entrepreneurs and investors go head to head live onstage. The event is held in English and you can sign up here.
Adius is a free service out of Denmark that helps marketing managers and (anyone pitching to them) save their time by making it easy to find what the managers are and aren't looking for. Rather than being interrupted multiple times a day by SEO companies, PR agencies, advertising agencies, and so on, Adius seeks to solve the information problem by letting the "suppliers" know what the buyer's situation is.
Mogens Sejer Iversen, the CEO of Adius, believes that Marketing Managers would sign up for a service because they know that if they help the suppliers get a proper knowledge about their potential customers then the suppliers have a fair chance of either not continuing to pitch to the marketing manager, or to make a much more relevant pitch/meeting request, which can be sent digitally. To expand upon their service, they're also working on physical matchmaking based on the data they've collected on suppliers and marketing managers.
Spring 2011's Startup Sauna winner Campalyst has recently updated its service to become a more compete package for marketers. Campalyst was originally buit to measure sales generated through social media content by allowing marketers to track social media followers all the way to a purchase. But in their new update, Campalyst boasts several new features to manage and track your social media straight through one dashboard.