Microtask has been putting in a lot of effort in the recent year or so to expand their operations beyond the Finnish borders. They've been restructuring their business this fall by moving all Finnish operations to Tampere and focusing on setting up their US business on the other side of the Atlantic. We thought it might be a good time to talk to the CEO, Ville "Wili" Miettinen, about why they decided to move overseas and how it has gone for them so far.
Copenhagen originated Unity Technologies announced on Tuesday that its development platform for games and interactive 3D has surpassed 750,000 registered developers. This marks a 50% increase in developers in just four months and it appears that Unity is bringing the year to a close with continued record growth.
After receiving a $12 million Series B investment from Asian venture capitalists in July, CEO David Helgason predicted that 40% of Unity’s business will come from China within the next 18 months. No details were released on where the current growth is coming from, but the figures are definitely impressive. Over the course of the past year, the number of registered developers has tripled from 250,000 to 750,000 (26% active monthly) and Unity Web Player installations have doubled from 40 million to 80 million.
One Swedish startup that's in private beta, but still has popped up on our radar a few times is Tripbirds. We got in touch with the company and found out that they're building a social travel site based on Facebook, Foursquare, Gowalla, and Instagram to make it easier to get travel recommendations from your friends.
So say if you're going to Paris, Tripbirds would allow you to easily access your friends' check-ins and location tagged pictures to see where they've visited, so you can find or ask for recommendations. In this way you're able to get real reviews from people you trust, and not fake "outstanding!" reviews from hotel owners. This also allows you to get more personal recommendations than what non-partisan guides like Lonely Planet tell everyone.
Later this evening European time, Spotify is holding a Global Press Conference in NYC to announce "a new direction for the company". If the Wall Street Journal is to be believed, Spotify will announce a new push for third party apps to integrate with Spotify, starting with an "app finder" integrated into the service starting tomorrow. Right now we'll speculate away, but will also keep this post updated as more is announced.
(See updates below the fold):
You may have met some of the team behind the new Amsterdam-based Rockstart Accelerator if you were present at Slush in Helsinki, or the Startup Weekend Copenhagen. Over the last 18 months, the team behind Rockstart Accelerator organized Startup Weekend events all across Europe, in London, Copenhagen, Athens, Bucharest, Warsaw, Bratislava, Brussels, Prague, and Amsterdam where they saw about 200 startup teams and 3000 entrepreneurs participate. It's not a bad way to get to get name out to the freshest young teams across Europe.
Rockstart Accelerator is open to all types of startups, whether they are in technology, sustainability, retail, or other sectors. The Program starts on March 1, 2012, and the application period ends January 6.
Right now, event planning services like Eventbright and Ticketmaster are providing a decent way to buy and receive tickets, but not much more. A new Helsinki-based player called Flockified noticed that if a ticket service had a "organize this with your friends" feature instead of the current "I'm coming or nothing" approach, they could provide a service to both venues and users.
GigsWiz Ltd., the company behind Flockified, have based their entry into the ticketing market on some data. Analysis of the ticket purchase landing page data and doing further consumer research they found that 90% of customers exit the purchase funnel after the initial event discovery phase on standard ticketing pages.
We are always on the lookout for interesting news and startups, especially those coming from the people and teams we have already covered on Arctic Startup. From Utopic.me and its founder Jüri Kaljundi, who recently unveiled the new look of Utopic.me, we caught wind of a new news aggregator they've put together called StartupInMe.
StartupInMe is a news aggregator and Q&A community for startups. The basic idea is to provide startup enthusiasts and experts a destination to share opinions and remain up to date on all news associated to the global startup scene. While that might classify StartupInMe as “just another startup news aggregator”, you may enjoy it due to its tight focus, and the slow culture shift prevalent on other popular aggregators.
Clipsource is an online marketplace for news videos. Launched originally in Sweden in 2009, the service enables media companies to buy, sell or share news videos that have been produced in-house or sourced from viewers and readers.
The company aims to capitalize on the recent proliferation of video content on news and media sites. According to Dan Willstrand, CEO of Clipsource, "As online video advertising offers nearly ten times higher revenue per impression than standard banners, there is a strong economic incentive for the publishers to show more video".
Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves dropped by the ZeroTurnaround office the other day to acknowledge their contributions to the Estonian economy and to help promote and bring awareness to Estonia's IT sector. President Ilves knows a thing or two about the impact of technology and startups-- he was largely instrumental in the "E-estonia" re-wiring that seeks to promote the nation as an innovation hotbed.
Since the last time we've covered ZeroTurnaround, they've won three awards in a single year: the JAX Innovation Award, Duke’s Choice Award and the Estonian Innovator of the Year Award. And they've grown the team size by 250% in 2011 alone.
Need to find a gift for the holidays? Or do you find a lot of cool items on the web, and want to share them with a community who also likes unique stuff? A Swedish startup called Thingspotter might be the website for you. Thingspotter is a social product sharing service that helps you find, collect, organize, and share cool products you find on the internet. They describe themselves as "Like Twitter, but for physical things."
While you would think Microsoft would have leveraged the Windows Phone platform to get add more use of its search engine, Bing, but things are looking otherwise in Russia. The news coming from Russia’s Search Giant, is that Yandex is going to be used as the default search engine on all Windows Phone based devices in Russia. This announcement includes the company’s announcement of partnering with major mobile manufacturing giants like Nokia, HTC and Samsung.
Helistin.fi, a Finnish media property owned by Darwin Media, was hacked last night. According to reports, all user credentials were shared online. The site holds a popular bulletin board for young parents as well as a baby book service offered by the Finnish startup Starduck Studios. Intoloop Kids, the service Starduck Studios licensed to Helistin.fi remains unaffected by the hacking. Henri Liljeroos, CEO, stated on the phone to us that "the bulletin board on Helistin.fi was hacked and this does not affect users on our service, which is still up".
ArcticStartup will be going to Le Web this year to see how three days of conferencing will work out. Le Web, held in Paris will be on between the 7th and 9th of December. While the conference is pricey at 2300€ for a standard ticket, they did offer discounts for startups, students and freelance developers (all sold out now). Despite the steep price, it's the largest annual Silicon Valley gathering on this side of the Atlantic.
We'll be bringing you the highlights of the event, the controversies and debates. This year's theme is social-local-mobile, but don't worry - themes in the past haven't restricted conversation and we're bound to hear the latest trends across the board being discussed this year as well. We won't be doing any live blogging or tweeting, but in-depth coverage of the content that matters. The event has an impressive list of speakers and a program that will keep you busy throughout the three days.
The medical field has seen a continuous advancement of amazing new technology help treat patients, but the standard model of treating patients is still localized around doctors and medical centers. With a cameraphone in everyone's hands these days, iDoc24 has seen an opening in the dermatology field to treat patients who can be anywhere in the world. The service only uses authorized EU doctors to examine pictures sent by patients to give a fast diagnosis to better let a user know what their condition could be.
Every year Deloitte puts together a ranking of the fastest growing companies in Europe. We edited that list down, and put together all the companies featured in the top half of the Deloitte 500 that were in ArcticStartup's area of interest. The first number you'll see is the company's ranking on the complete European list of companies, and also keep in mind the final number is based on the percentage revenue growth over the last five years:
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.