We decided to interview William Wolfram, the CEO of DealDash. A startup that's registered in Finland, but operates mainly in the US market. Not a very common sight, but then again neither is the business DealDash is in. The interview is quite a long one, but then again - we felt it should be published in its entirety as it contains a wealth of valuable information.
When you mention startups, funding, mentoring and networking are the most essential ingredients needed by each aspiring founder. There are great ideas waiting to be put into practicality and the only thing that keeps them from shooting from their roots has been the absence of incubators and accelerator programs. Things have been changing and a number of startup accelerator programs and incubators have surfaced, this is where ideas are carved into reality, founders are provided guidance, the essential tips to direct them towards success and the ever needed funding.
This week Danish entrepreneurs in Copenhagen celebrated the creation of Founders House, a new co-working space for start-ups. The space was created by 5 serial entrepreneurs because they felt Copenhagen was missing 'a coworking space exclusively for talented die-hard tech entrepreneurs', as they state on the Founder's House homepage. People behind the project include Simon Schock and Michael Clausen, co-founders of Sortedam Ventures and 4 other start-ups that are now residents of Founders House. Tine Thygesen, former CEO of Venture Cup Denmark and 23video and one of the co-fouders of Everplaces. Another founder of Everplaces, Angelica Vargas, is the fourth person behind Founders House. Last but not least, Christian Risom, co-founder of Shape (now part of Founders House) and two other start-ups: Bronco and Importles.
Spotify has taken a major step forward today with the announcment of their new feature to enable iPod syncing. Previously, the company has enabled mobile syncing to only premium customers, but today - that too is being opened up to everybody. However, it isn't quite what you're expecting. Spotify mobile opening up to everybody basically means that you're able to use the mobile application to play your own MP3-files and sync them to the application from your computer. Nevertheless, this is a big step forward for Spotify in being the "one-music-application to rule them all".
Yandex has been on top when it comes to coverage recently and sharing another piece won’t be surprising. Unless it isn’t positive. BBC has mentioned that Yandex, Russia’s largest search engine has confirmed sharing confidential data with the state’s secret service; the FSB. Bad news, given that Yandex had set its eyes on raising $1 billion via listing on Nasdaq.
We're continuing our posting of research data and today's turn goes to video games industry. Venturebeat published a post on games data and the information filled video caught our eye. The video continues on the same path as our previous posts on the size of the app market (44 billion downloads by 2016) and game fundings and acquisitions in 2010.
The Helsinki based Aalto Venture Garage is putting together in international incubation/acceleration program for very early stage projects that should turn to startups later this summer. In total, 17 teams from the region were accepted into the program from around the Baltic Sea. 3 teams were from Russia, 2 from Latvia, 1 from Lithuania and Estonia as well as Sweden and the rest were from Finland (9).
An app for everything is where we are heading onto as almost everything goes mobile. By mobile I simply point at mobility and not just smartphones in the likes of the Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, etc, although these are the devices that take the cake away the instant you mention mobility. We have witnessed how the app stores have swarmed with applications of all sorts, from those associated to communication, social networking to gaming. You think of it and there is something available, a major reason why there is a crazy number of downloads taking places each instant.
A recent study was published by ABI Research, the gist of which states that the current trend of smartphone apps will continue successfully for at least another 5 years. Before I proceed with the exact download numbers, it would be better to jot down the number of applications available for various mobile operating systems:
Perhaps the worst issue with everyday articles on news are quite dry, primarily for the fact that the content is written by one person. Although there are comments section available and the integration of social media buttons that enable sharing on Facebook or Twitter, you can’t really alter content in any way. You can mention the errors in a post, make a very valid point but then wait for the addition to be made if the writer sees the error and more importantly make the amendments within the article.
For the third time, we are organizing an Elevator Pitch Competition for all startups and growth companies in the Baltic and Nordic countries. The competition will be held in Tallinn on June 3rd at the International Technology Law Association's IV Tallinn Conference.
Whether or not you're interested in applying to the pitch competition, check out the conference agenda (pdf) which features this year a keynote address by Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia, and topics like marketing and branding, early stage financing, and landing the first customers. The conference is free to attend, but space is limited and registration is needed.
Venturebeat has a story out on 2010 and how game fundings and acquisitions developed compared to 2009. Growth was spectacular and in terms of percentages, the size of the fundings and acquisitions rose by 130% compared to 2009. Thus in 2009 the overall size of the market in these terms was $819 million. The data is provided by IHS and is said to cover international markets. According to IHS, the numbers cover funding and acquisitions activity in all areas of gaming except mobile gaming.
Back in February we covered a new Finnish gaming startup called Supercell. It was founded by Mikko Kodisoja, one of the gaming gurus in the Finnish gaming industry. Supercell also received a significant amount of funding from London Venture Partners' Phil Harrison (ex-Sony global studio director), David Gardner, (ex-EA COO, one of the early investors into Playfish), David Lau-Kee, Paul Heydon, Initial Capital LP (fund founded by serial entrepreneurs) as well as Jari Ovaskainen (ex-Iobox CEO). However, Petteri Koponen, one of the founders and early stage investors in Lifeline Ventures tweeted something interesting before and during the weekend.
We talked about TruthFeed sometime back and its introduction of new features that included the Twitter Bot and the Historical Development. While we personally believe in doing our bit of reviews on startups and tools it is always a good idea to get in touch with people behind and interview one of the team members. We therefore decided to get in touch with TruthFeed’s founder; Johan Haataja to learn his part of story on the newly introduced features and TruthFeed itself.
Russian technology scene is catching up with the application hype. I-Free, a St.Petersburg-based Russian software developer and distributor for mobile apps, e-commerce and marketing recently released a new app Smartive. It is an Android app for searching and booking flight and train tickets. The app is targeted primarily at Russian audience and is refreshingly well-made with a pleasant interface and intuitive navigation.
There is so much good to write about Angry Birds that many people would think that Rovio has always been a record breaker from day 1. It has taken Rovio 7 years and over 50 titles to bring forth this insanely popular game for the masses. By mentioning 50 titles, I simply needed to mention that I myself wasn’t much aware of Rovio before I played Angry Birds (and so did almost all my friends).
Nokia Ääni blog, which is the Finnish equivalent of the Nokia Conversations blog, has just released in the past few days some interesting material regarding the Nokia Microsoft Partnership. The information trickles from a video with Kai Öistämö from Nokia's Corporate Development. In the video Öistämö outlines some interesting issues why Nokia chose to work with Microsoft.
This week mobile analytics provider Zokem launched their first panels and research products in India. The products are based on Zokem’s on-device metering solutions that capture passively all mobile usage as it takes place in people’s everyday life. The company is also working on entering the Chinese markets. 'In addition to our existing 9 panels in Europe and North-America, India and China are the next big markets where we want to play a role, in mobile audience measurements', commented Zokem's CEO Hannu Verkasalo.
Last night Mattias Miksche tweeted that Stardoll is looking for iOS and Android developers in Stockholm. Miksche is the CEO of Stardoll. This could signal a change of things to come for Stardoll. The mobile platform, especially the likes of Android and iOS, is something that is becoming more available to even the teenagers and thus it makes sense for Stardoll to try and tap onto this market. Stardoll has a simple styling game on iOS called Stadoll Fashion Spin, but it's only available for the iOS.
Foodie.fm, the startup we reviewed back in February last year. Foodie helps you with grocery shopping in a reverse way; lets you add a meal to your cart and breaks it into the ingredients that you need to prepare the meal. The value of the application is clearly in its ease of use - it basically combines your cook book with recipes and your shopping list.
This is a series of posts, written in co-operation with the Finnish Software Entrepreneurs to promote entrepreneurs working with software. This post is about Leena Klaavu from Enfide. This post is very different from the other posts in the series about larger companies. In this post Leena Klaavu explains how she started her company, where she employes herself and feels about running a business.
In this series, we try to dig deep into the backgrounds of the entrepreneurs and their companies. You can also win a ticket to Arctic15 by subscribing to the Finnish Software Entrepreneurs newsletter over here. Please note; the interview below is a translation from the original Finnish interview.