A newly launched Estonian startup seeks to provide a safe home for your bragging -- for professional networking purposes. For freelancers, contractors, and entrepreneurs it makes sense. Rather than a stuffy CV line that says, "Grew a multimedia business to thousands of customers," you can instead chart out the steps along the way, such as raising capital, bragging about influxes of users, learning new skills, and so on. Achoo saves these updates from getting lost in your Twitter of Facebook. And it cuts to the core of what LinkedIn provides -- a platform to show off your accomplishments -- but for the industries where you don't need such a contrived and professional front.
BIMobject may be operating in a small niche, but now they've become the intersection between architects and manufacturers at the early concept stage. BIM stands for building information modeling, and is now the standard way for architects to virtually represent their drawings.
Architects are good at putting the walls up and creating functional living spaces but their models would be empty without furniture, fixtures, and all the little things that can wow a client. This is where BIMobject comes in. They've created a platform where manufacturers can upload virtual representations of their products, which architects can select to use in their modeling.
In our thirteenth show we talk to Carl Waldekranz, the CEO and co-founder of Tictail. Tictail positions themselves as the easiest, prettiest and most social way to sell stuff online. In the show we talk to Carl about what led them to start Tictail and how they actually went about building the team. There are a lot of great small stories there, we strongly suggest you listen to them. In addition, the company has also worked with Spotify and Wrapp, designing their typeface for both of the companies.
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.
Most of the news we read these days are about the things that go wrong in our societies. We at ArcticStartup have always wanted to take a more positive approach to entrepreneurship by covering startups and events in a more positive, yet critical light. This post is all about happiness and Caine's Arcade.
Last year, a 9-year old boy built a cardboard arcade in his father's Auto Parts store and wanted to run it as a business. Despite all of his efforts (and my god, the ingeniouity put into those machines!) he didn't see a lot of customers. And then, the internet happened. Word about his arcade was spread around and soon enough a flashmob was organised to get people to his arcade.
The video below is this story. It will make you smile and have hope for humanity. It's 10 minutes long, but very much worth your time.
Issuu has integrated a Peecho Cloud Print button into their service, allowing the more than 2 million digital publishers on Issuu to have the opportunity to get their hands on a few copies of their publications. Peecho specializes in the "long tail" of publishing, printing low runs of magazines, glossy paperbacks, and hardcover books. All print jobs through Peecho are printed on demand regardless of the size or number of pages.
Peecho works with a number of production facilities around the world, and with Issuu it will automatically calculate the lowest price for a printed version, and displays price comparisons. Discounts kick in when more than 10 copies are printed.
A little over two and a half years ago, Finland saw a rise to a new kind of an accelerator program that would help early stage companies get further, faster. Back when it was first announced, the program was initially planned to be six years in length to be run in two three year cycles. Few of the goals set back then include raising €200 million in funding to the portfolio companies.
Today, the program announced five new accelerators as well as results from the first 32 months in existence. The program is a Finnish government supported initiative.
In addition to the five new accelerators, four accelerators remain from the original six. Back in July 2009, the program started with just three accelerators. The accelerators left are Cleantech Invest, KoppiCatch, Lifeline Ventures as well as Veturi Venture Accelerator.
Fast Lane Ventures and Bonial International have together launched Lokata, a Russian app that provides customers a way to search for deals and information on stores and restaurants based on their location. The app is released on iPhone, iPad, and Android, and is nearly a straight port of KaufDA.de, a service run in Germany also by Bonial International.
Lokata allows customers to find stores nearby, filter by products or brands, and provides alerts whenever their favorite products are promoted. The app also makes it easy to find stores' opening hours and contact information. But before you trek over to the store, you can also use the app to check out the store's catalog to find if they have what you're looking for. In Moscow they already have 531 retailers and restaurants indexed.
We've received word that Podio out of Denmark has been acquired by Citrix, a U.S. publicly listed provider of mobile and cloud services. The details of the acquisition were not disclosed, but Citrx's annual revenue in 2011 was $2.21 billion, and claims its products are interacted with by 75 percent of internet users every day. Sunstone Capital is Podio's largest shareholder and only institutional investor.
Podio has created a collaborative work platform -- somewhat like Yammer but with apps. Podio enables small and medium-sized businesses and teams within larger organizations to manage all types of business processes and associated workflows using pre-assembled apps from Podio’s free app market.
Forget linking to some low fidelity Youtube video next time you want to share a music track on your blog. Spotify has now launched a Spotify Play Button widget generator that can get visitors to your blog or website jamming to your tunes of choice with just one click of a button. Currently the widget offers a pretty simple integration -- no live following of a user's playlists or anything, but it should be enough to spice up music blogs with it's easy playback and nice big cover images.
You may have caught our past stories on Ovelin, the makes of Wildchords. The hot Finnish startup grabbed €1.1 million in financing from True Ventures last February, and their guitar teaching app has gotten critical acclaim the world over.
Currently Ovelin is hiring senior game developers, coders, game designers, and is growing the company further. At the moment the company is generally looking at new platforms and new instruments, and will be releasing some new packages soon that contain well known songs, but only from the public domain. Mikko Kaipainen, co-founder of Ovelin, wasn't willing to share anything else about licensing or future plans. But last week the company threw a party in Helsinki with the IGDA to promote their game and celebrate their successful €1.1 million funding round.
Put simply, Snipplist lets you snip "snippets" of text from anywhere on the web and share them with your friends. You wouldn't be too far off if you called it a Pinterest for text, and co-founder Kai Lemmentty says the service was created because it's still hard to share small amounts of information, even with Twitter and Facebook as the sharing platforms of today. In essence, Snipplist is searching to become the home of that 1-3 lines of an article or that killer quote that's too long for a Tweet.
We've covered Pipedrive a few times in the past, and even pay for our own license for sales use in the office. Overall it's a nice sales CRM service that helps users keep all their leads and sales ideas in place by giving a good overview of the big picture. At the core of the product is their sales pipeline that offers different steps where deals can reside as you move them forward towards closing. Over this past weekend Pipedrive has announced they hit their 1000th paying customer.
Over Easter in its opening weekend, the Finnish indie movie, Iron Sky, clocked in over €2.3 million in admissions worldwide. The film was released in theaters in Finland, Norway, and Germany to rave reviews from parody historical sci-fi fans. Iron Sky has followed a new model of film fundraising, where it has crowdfunded roughly 10% of its €7.6 million cost by selling merchandise and "war bonds" to fans intrigued by its concept. So far the movie has gathered a 7.8 rating on IMDB.
Those of you who pay attention to other tech news sources may have heard of the controversy surrounding the app "Girls Around Me," which took location-based checkins to a creepy level, allowing you to see grabbed public check-ins from Facebook and Foursquare of girls that are around you. Apple has since removed the app from the app store.
The startup was funded by i-Free, a St. Petersburg based venture fund, which we covered the funding of last July. The app itself was created by a team at a startup company called Places By Me, which aimed to help people find the more popular leisure venues. But rather than sticking to its model, the application pivoted to the Girls Around Me angle, which the company and i-Free claims had no particular gender bias.
I swear this is the last Wrapp expansion story (okay, at least until they launch in the U.S.) but it's been interesting to track their growth against the Rocket Internet competitor - Dropgifts. Wrapp is now launching in Taiwan, which heads their first expansion outside of Europe. Wrapp is already present in Sweden, the UK, and Norway, and will soon be live in Germany, France, and the United States. Everyone has their heads turned to Wrapp's U.S. expansion, where gift cards are a huge $100 billion market, but looking east Wrapp can take advantage of the huge gift giving culture present in Asia. Most gift cards in the States are exchanged on major holidays and birthdays, but in Asia Wrapp can possibly see a steady churn from more day-to-day use.
The 11th edition of The Global Information Technology Report 2012: Living in a Hyperconnected World was released by the World Economic Forum with a special focus on the transformational impacts of ICT on the economy and society. The Nordic countries rang in high on the list, withs Sweden ranking first, followed by Singapore and Finland. Denmark came in as fourth on the list, while Norway placed seventh-- one place higher than the United States. The report assessed 142 world economies to assess the impact of ICT on the competitiveness and well-being of the nation.
Spring is playing with our emotions as a light snow falls here in Helsinki. But it's a long weekend, and hopefully all of you entrepreneurs are taking some time off for yourself. If you haven't read much ArcticStartup this week, we had two well received stories on Finland's new ICT panel, as well as the Entrepreneur Tax in Denmark. And as always, here are some more links, betas, events, and jobs to keep on your radar.
This week has been a good week for ArcticStartup if you would quantify it over the traditional media metrics - pageviews and visits. Our critical piece on the Finnish government's decisions over a strategy group was read by some 25 000 people in just a couple of days. Yesterday on the other hand, our in-depth post on Denmark's questionable Entrepreneur Tax has also built traction around the world, mostly thanks to Hacker News.
As I was watching real time Google Analytics (which tell you how many people are on your site and how your site's analytics are developing in real time) on Tuesday as the ICT-strategy group story spread to new social circles, I noticed something interesting in the way Google treated us as a site. The realisation was that as more people found our story, Google also began sending more people through search results.
Launching its 1.0 version today is Karaoke World Cup, a service that allows people to compete in singing competitions online, or just to sing their favorite songs and share it with their friends. Currently the service boasts 700 tracks with one new English and one Finnish song added each day.
Karaoke World Cup is fun. I'm usually not a karaoke guy (even under the right uhh... mindset) but after going to the website I clicked "start singing" and gleefully butchered Barracuda right here in the ArcticStartup office. The service takes advantage of your computer's microphone and webcam to record your singing, which can be used to share with friends or compete in competitions. KaraokeWorldCup also uses SingStar style bars and gamification that tracks how on pitch you are. Unfortunately... it must have been broken the times I tried it.
GrabCad has told Boston.com that it has raised another "few hundred thousand dollars" in funding on top of the $4 million funding round it raised last january. The company offers a community oriented site for engineers creating 3D models, as well as offer a library of 3D CAD models they can use in their work. Their business model allows outside companies to run crowdsource competitions to design a solution to a particular problem, and then award money for the best design. That being said, many of the models are purely aesthetic or interesting concept products.