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.
Remember our coverage of rumors on the iPad HD launch where we wondered if Apple's new device would include Senseg's haptic feedback technology? Well in recent news, Apple has filed a patent for a haptic feedback system that differs from Senseg's patented technology, suggesting that they may not go with the Finnish company's tech. Apple's proposed method for providing haptic feedback would also allow the device to judge the force of a button press. The touchscreen would include a "haptic feedback layer" that could include piezoelectric actuators aligned in a grid pattern.
After news of layoffs at Sulake, the Finnish developer of the Habbo Hotel social community for teens, we spoke to CEO Paul LaFontaine, who told us that Habbo Hotel will further evolve into a platform on which third parties will be able to develop additional services. GamesIndustry International recently got up with Paul LaFontaine, where they discussed Habbo's market share and future plans with the service. The article is a good read if you're interested in the service, but below is a rundown of their stated plans.
Digital Sky Technologies, a Russian investment fund whose global web portfolio includes Airbnb, Facebook, Groupon, Spotify, Twitter, Zalando and Zynga, is seeking $1 billion for a new technology fund, Bloomberg reported yesterday, citing an investor presentation it has obtained.
The new fund, DST Global III, will focus on late-stage global Internet companies with a valuation of at least $500 million.
Nokia is using Audiodraft's platform to hold contests to create regional ringtones through crowdsourcing. This isn't the first time Nokia has crowd-sourced their ringtone through the Audiodraft platform, but it sends a clear signal that they have been pleased with the past results the contests have generated.
The new contests run by Nokia are to create regional ringtones for China, India, Latin America, South East Asia and Pacific, and Middle East and Africa. The prize fund totals over $37 000, with each winner receiving $1 500. It's not a bad amount of money, and it provides a great opportunity for a sound designers' work to be used on millions of headsets worldwide. The competition runs until 17 April, and the winners will be announced on 24 April.
In our past coverage of Graduateland as part of their winning the popular vote at the Arctic15, we took a look at some aspects of how Graduateland assists the job search ecosystem. For employers the Danish company offers Graduateland Recruiter, a free solution that allows employers to target and find fresh graduates to hire. We also covered Graduateland Gateway, a free plugin for universities' career pages that provides an end to end solution to help get their graduates hired. But on the other side of the coin, now we're going to look at what features are available to students, and how it affects their job search.
Index Ventures announces today that it has raised a €150 million fund dedicated to the life sciences sector. The fund was raised from several of Index's previous partners, but the fund included large investments from GlaxoSmithKline and the venture capital affiliate of the Janssen pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson.
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 post sponsored by Microsoft Finland, we take a look at a company, that is part of the Microsoft Bizspark program and try to understand what their feedback and thoughts regarding it are. The company we look at it is called BelleGames, an Oulu based gaming company - founded in 2011. They are creating non-violent, social games for various platforms including mobile and the web.
The founder of the company is Pirjo Ritokangas-Huttunen and she's also been an entrepreneur in the past. A lite version of their game Journey to Eden for Windows Phone was released in February this year, but the full game has been in development for five months.
The Swedish eye-tracking technology company, Tobii, has received SEK 143 million (€16 million) from Intel Capital. The investment implies that Intel is looking for new machine-human interfaces, which Tobii has been working on for 12 years. So far, Tobii has focused its technology in the world of advertising services, however it's clear the that the company is also working on human-machine interfaces using their eye-tracking technology.
Oktogo.ru, a leading Russian online hotel booking and travel company, officially confirmed yesterday that it has secured a $10 million round of financing. The news was leaked for the first time last month, but Oktogo’s press release has provided details on the operation.
VTB Capital has led the round, but Oktogo’s existing investors Mangrove Capital Partners, Ventech and ABRT – from Luxembourg, France and Russia, respectively – also took part in it. The new investment has brought the total equity capital raised by the startup to $15 million.
Much of the Finnish startup scene has been debating the aftermaths of an article Helsingin Sanomat (largest Finnish daily) published on Sunday about the CEO and founder of Muxlim Inc, Mohamed El-Fatatry. The title of the article, directly translated, is Mohamed's Bubble. We've covered Muxlim in the past as well. In the article, Helsingin Sanomat journalist Esa Mäkinen, paints quite a dim picture of the entrepreneur and how he received hundreds of thousands of euro in government support and then shut down the site.
Today a new travel startup is launching its public beta, which will allow users to explore destinations, plan trips, and get travel recommendations from friends. I know what you're thinking right now. Social travel? My heart's been broken too many times. I don't know if I can commit. But here's the thing. Many smartphone users are already collecting good bars, restaurants, and photos of tourist sites on their travels through location-based services, which is useful for sharing with friends. Unlike other social travel startups that require you to create new content, Stockholm-based Tripbirds builds off of many people's current habits.
"Where most [social travel startups] fail is getting critical mass because you need some content on the site to make it interesting." says CEO Ted Valentin. "What makes us different is that we're building Tripbirds on top of existing services as a travel layer -- on top of Facebok and Foursquare and Instagram, and even more services in the future."