Lifeline Ventures, also one of the Vigo accelerators, has announced the launch of a €20 million fund for early stage growth companies. The investors in the fund include Pension Insurance Ilmarinen, FoF Growth, Sitra, Finnvera, Troll Ventures, Juuranto Invest and the founders of Lifeline Ventures. We talked to Petteri Koponen, one of the co-founders of the firm to understand more about the fund.
The fund is called Lifeline Ventures Fund I and it has an investment period of 5 years which is included with the 10 years of the overall age of the fund. The first five years of the fund lifecycle will be used to make new investments and the latter five will be used for follow-up investments.
Meetin.gs, the Helsinki-based meeting organization tool, announces today that it has made an acceleration deal and has received early-stage funding from KoppiCatch, an accelerator in the Vigo program. On top of that, Meetin.gs has found what seems to be a perfectly suited partnership with the Netherlands-based Seats2meet.com's network of business centers.
We covered Arctic15 finalist Meetin.gs in depth last fall, and noted its ease of use, low friction for new users, and the removal of unproductive conversations out of your email inbox. The service takes care of the whole meeting lifecycle, from planning a suitable time, collaborating on materials, and including online meeting participants through Skype.
BusyFlow has launched their cloud apps management solution publicly at the London Web Summit today. The Lithuania-based cloud platform has created a service to efficiently manage cloud applications in a team setting, allowing multiple users to juggle files, notes, and tasks. With the news of their launch, BusyFlow also points out they've updated the look of their platform, and has added a few tweaks, like allowing you to attach a Dropbox file directly to a wall post or a Pivitol Tracker story.
Good insight into how people are talking about your brand or keywords can be invaluable when shaping a marketing campaign. A Swedish company, Lissly, has built a social media monitoring tool that can collect, find, and sort data on how the web is talking about your brand. The company is plugged into many sources of social content, including Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, blog posts, and forum posts, which can help you figure out what you customers are saying wherever they are on the web.
We're back again with the Friday news roundup. If you want to add something to our list that we push out every Friday, do so by e-mailing us at editor (at) arcticstartup.com. Lots of things happening this week again, so dig through them and enjoy your weekend!
ArcticEvening Stockholm is just under two weeks away. In the three full days we've had registering tickets we've registered about 3/4 of all the tickets, meaning there are about 30 or so of them left. Our guess is they'll run out early next, if not earlier, so sign-up if you want to attend. The crowd is going to be great, but so are the panelists we have signed up. We have Peder Stahle from iZettle, Hjalmar Windbladh from Wrapp and Magnus Fredin from Klarna on stage discussing the future of commerce.
Like in Tallinn, we're going to be giving out four Arctic15 tickets to the attendees that come to the event (you'll receive information closer to the date). The Arctic15 tickets will be valid for two days meaning you'll be able to attend the exclusive first day as well.
Among US business angels, Esther Dyson is probably the one who has invested the most to date in Russia. Her portfolio includes no fewer than 15 Russian startups as well as Yandex, the search giant which she advises as a member of its board of directors.
In this exchange with East-West Digital News, Esther Dyson speaks openly about her business successes and failures. She also reveals why she considers Russia her “second country,” and why she thinks that information technologies could bring a better future to Russia by “reducing the cost of being honest.”
GigaOm reports that Spotify launched in Germany this past week without backing of GEMA, the German Society of Administration of Copyrights. The organization represents the copyrights of more than 64,000 members, as well as over 2 million copyright owners all over the world. Negotiations between GEMA and Spotify are still ongoing, with the final negotiations said to take place later this month. Spotify has always placed weight on the by-the-books legality of their service, which is why it is interesting they went ahead with the launch.
Tekes offers a wide variety of financing vehicles fitted to meet the needs of different types of companies in different points of their life cycles. Even going outside the startup sphere, Tekes supports organizations like heavy industry as well as academic and research initiatives.
But for most of our readers, there are a few plans designed to meet the needs of growing companies. Here are some details that are good to know about before going into your first meeting with Tekes. For most of you out there, the main funding vehicles offered are R&D funding, Young innovative growth enterprises, and work organization development.
Everplaces is a new way to curate and save the favorite places you visit (or want to visit). The service is launching globally today from Copenhagen, Denmark. We talked to Tine Thygesen, one of the co-founders of the company about the company's plans and where they want to take it. Needless to say, they're still far from the bigger vision they want to achieve, but after playing around a little and using the service - it does bring a nice breath of fresh air into the location based space of services. As of today, the service launches with an online service as well as a mobile extension to help save those places while on the go.
One aspect of the bigger vision the company is after is to make sense of the masses of location based information out there. "Quality over quantity" as Thygesen herself put it. The basic function of the service is to curate the best locations all over the world through social connections. In the end, you would end up with interesting places to visit, each tagged under a descriptive tag.
We've finally gotten our hands on the Kauppalehti Optio, which has an extensive interview with Marko Ahtisaari, the Executive VP of Design at Nokia. The article talks in detail about Ahtisaari's past, but also discusses his work to a great extent. Earlier today Reuters came out with a story that Nokia is working on a tablet device, but that's just half the story.
Check out the video posted below the fold. Is this what 2012 is supposed to be like? Is this... the future we're living in?
The video shows a demo of Sweden's 13th Lab's PointCloud browser used with the Metro Newspapers, who are the first to bring 13th Lab's technology into practice. For users it's pretty straightforward. If you go to Metro.se in the PointCloud browser, you'll instantly be able to take advantage of your phone's camera and interact online with the actual newspaper using augmented reality.
This week, well, this week was different on Unfair Advantage. Our guest on the show is Antti Vilpponen, the Co-Founder and CEO of ArcticStartup. We work in the same office, but haven't talked in detail how ArcticStartup got started and why it does what it does. Instead of having this discussion over lunch or beer, we decided to record it and make it into an episode of Unfair Advantage. We discuss the backgrounds of ArcticStartup, the role of media and also what are some of the ways ArcticStartup sees itself going forward. Fully experimental, so do give us your feedback in the comments!
Swedish social fitness startup FunBeat will soon launch outside its home market, where it has found a strong following. The company established itself in 2008 and going to become the largest training site in Sweden, with 200,000 members today, with 6.5M registered exercises in 1,300 sports, clocked in 2011 alone.
The company was founded by Olle Eriksson, who has been joined with former Nordic Google Marketing Director, Thomas Bergbom. He describes it, “In short, FunBeat is a Facebook for exercising, where you can share and compare all your logged activities and training targets with your friends. We also have an analysis tools that is purely addictive and inspires people to keep on going,"
A group of Finnish startups traveling in the US together with Alexander Stubb, Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade, rang the famous bell opening the trading session this morning in New York. Stubb is traveling with a group of startups in the US, meeting with members of media, investors and other stake holders while promoting Finland as a rising startup nation. Later in the journey, the delegation will travel to Silicon Valley to visit networking events, universities, internet companies as well as investors to promote the companies coming out from the region. Below we have a few photos of the event from this morning.
Editorial note: This is a guest post by Richard von Kaufmann, co-founder of Zipipop and Chairman at Reality Creating Media. He has studied in great detail the different crowdfunding opportunities for some of their clients and we thought that it would be a great chance to understand the industry by sharing his findings with our community.
Government-based innovation funding agencies around the world have a great challenge to continually identify the innovative concepts and teams with the best chances of success. In recent times there has been growing criticism of the effectiveness of some Finnish funding mechanisms, but similar issues affect public funding agencies around the world.
It is now generally accepted that diversity in team compositions leads to better decision making, and there is growing evidence that, given the right conditions, other means of increasing the range of opinions also produces better results.
This then begs the question as to the validity of relying on just two or three staff, or at best a small committee, to make decisions on the funding applications that are submitted to national innovation funding agencies.
This article makes the case for opening up the decision-making to involve larger communities, using known crowdsourcing principles and social technologies, to improve the quality of funding decisions. It also introduces the potential benefits that could come from developing a government-backed crowdfunding platform that would make it easier for private individuals to invest in early-stage startups.
isePankur, the social-lending service, was established in 2008 and pioneered the concept of social lending in Estonia. The service allows individuals and small to medium-sized enterprises to borrow and lend between each other, skipping the whole traditional banking process. The company has just opened up a white-label of their service, allowing other institutions to take a solid social lending platform to their area.
For individuals looking to earn a return on their money, isePankur displays auctions of people looking for money. From there you can analyze the credit history of the borrower and do your own due diligence by asking additional questions. Lenders can then make a bid specifying the investment amount and interest rate, and the system will automatically choose the bids with the lowest interest rates and combine them into one loan.
The Danes seem to be good at their file transferring services. A while back we covered the Atomico investment in Ge.tt, a smooth and simple file sharing service for those times you need to quickly send a file greater than 25mb. But for creative agencies or any other business that needs to move large files online, you don't want a quick one-off service like Ge.tt. You want a full-branded approach that solves more problems and lets your clients know you're the real deal.
Filecamp out of Denmark launched a few weeks ago and seeks to become the go-to web-based file sharing service for creative agencies and other businesses. They offer a simple service with a nice set of features; Filecamp allows custom branding, online proofing and approval tools, an easy web interface to handle permissions, and of course some space to put files online.
As a quick followup to the MegaUpload case, founder Kim Dotcom is still on bail awaiting a hearing on a US application to extradite him to face charges of infringing copyright on films and music, racketeering and money laundering. In his first interview after being released, Dotcom said, "I find it very surprising that this is happening because like I said we had legal advice all these years telling us that we are an online service provider and we are not liable for the actions of third parties." The full video is embedded below. Dotcom holds dual citizenship in Finland and Germany, which is why we figure we can provide a quick update every now and then.
Betabeat has dug up SEC filings about the Swedish travel startup, Tripl, showing that they've raised $300,000 out of a $500,000 debt round. This comes as Tripl's second round of investment, which was led by NYC based VCs. We covered their first round in May of 2011, where they also raised $300,000. The startup is currently based in Stockholm, however, on their job page they mention they're in the process of moving half of their team to NYC. Betabeat confirmed this to take place on the 19th of this month.
Early this February I spoke briefly with Peter Sullivan, co-founder of Tripl, who told me that they are currently undergoing "a very big product re-iteration," and they are waiting for some events to take place before they make an official announcement.