Here's another Arctic15 video from the archive! We were honored to have Steve Huffman give our keynote presentation at the Arctic15 conference. In his talk, Steve tells us about his time at ycombinator, the Reddit story, and goes through the thought process behind his new startup, Hipmunk, which is bringing new innovations to flight search and hotel booking. You can find the video below the fold:
Ovelin, the creators of WildChords, have recently been on a rampage of success. Before the game's official release, they won the Slush 100 here in Helsinki and several other prizes including Best European Learning Game 2011 and Northern Dimension Music Innovation Award 2011. Now their app is out in the wild and has been topping the "free app" charts in Finland since its release, which is impressive for a music app.
It's easy to see why the game has been taking off. Everytime I see someone insanely "good" at Guitar Hero or a similar game, I ask myself how many more Mozarts or Jimmy Pages there would be in the world if all that focus was put in a musical instrument rather than mashing a couple buttons. WildChords combines the addictive features of similar video games with guitar exercises, so users get hooked on practicing on their real guitars.
Last night we got the chance to talk with CEO Otto Hilska about Flowdock's $650,000 seed funding round. The team of 8, currently working out of Helsinki, develops a web and desktop application that allows teams to easily track issues and collaborate in real time.
Flowdock first began talks with investors at the beginning of September, and Hilska describes the funding round as more of a happy surprise than a standard Angellist deal. Hilska was working out of Silicon Valley doing customer demonstrations, when another startup spotted their product and mentioned it to one of their investors. Flowdock wasn't seriously looking for funding at the time, but was happy to accept a deal put together by Gil Penchina, CrunchFund, Marten Mickos, and IDG Ventures.
Metro, the basic design principle behind the Windows 7 Phone, looks strikingly different when compared to other smartphone UI's. The clean lines, wide negative space, and strong typography offer a different perspective to the bubbly apps presented to iOS and Android users. Creating seamless interactions between apps and their operating system is important for a developer to build immersing apps and take the most advantage of the phone's "language" of gestures. Here we're going to cover exactly what Metro consists of (and it's more than just squares, semi-lightweight font, and white-space).
Ben Holmes has been a partner at Index Ventures since 2002, and has been heavily involved with Index's investments in Europe. In the Nordic region he currently sits on the boards of Gray Area Labs, Just-Eat, Rebtel, and Stardoll, as well as Mind Candy, Netlog, Notonthehighstreet, Shapeways in the UK.
He spoke with us to promote their newly announced €500 million growth fund, which will invest in emerging leaders with international ambitions. Below are the notes from the interview:
With digital books expanding beyond print, even outside the bulky desktop computers and laptops to the lighter e-book readers and the tablets, book lovers have more than one option to read books. I mean if everything is available on the go, why not books? uTales, a Swedish startup leverages the existing technology to create digital picture books for kids. The bigger advantage here is to make the book reading experience more interactive and thus interesting.
The startup germinates from the founders’ experience with bed time stories, the art of story telling that so many of us have enjoyed in our childhood and want to preserve the same for future generations. The idea is to engage, inspire and educate kids by bringing high quality picture books to the young ones globally. How exactly?
Tinkercad, a Helsinki based company that allows you make solid CAD drawings directly in your browser, announced it has raised $1 million in seed funding from True Ventures and angels Eghosa Omoigui, Taher Haveliwala, jaiku founder Jyri Engestrom, and Joshua Schachter. The browser based service is designed to make 3D printing more accessible to a wider audience.
Mobile Backstage, the multi-service communications platform for bands and their fans, is now available on the Android platform. The Android roll-out follows the launch of the service’s Facebook application last August.
Android owners can now use Mobile Backstage to follow their favorite artists, interact with other fans, play and buy music, check into gigs and much more.
Management isn’t just about having to manage your team at work or offices, it is essential everywhere where groups are involved. We at ArcticStartup are always on the lookout for interesting startups from diverse categories, keeping the interest factor in mind. Today we bring Liiqu, a startup that helps team management, for sports.
The startup helps you to effectively manage your sports team effectively. This offers an easy way to track statistics for the team and individuals as well as maintain effective communication amongst the teams. From where I see it, it is more of a tool for coaches of sports, be it football, ice hockey or footsal, to keep track of their team. Lets talk about the features separately and see what package Liiqu actually has:
Everyone has an opinion on Valkee, the headset that shoots bright light into the ear canal to treat and prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). It's not unreasonable to have some doubts about the device's claims; the theory that the ear canal contains the path to the brain's photosensitive areas is an odd concept to most laymen. And the device, which has small light bulbs inside what looks like MP3 player headphones, does seem strange enough to be touted on a late-night infomercial as a miracle cure for weight loss. But regardless of the misconceptions, this week scientists from the University of Oulu are presenting two peer reviewed clinical trials at the 11th International Forum for Mood and Anxiety Disorders in Budapest with strong results in favor of Valkee's claims.
Eat.fi, the Finnish restaurant search and review site, was acquired by MTV Media on Monday. MTV, one of the largest media corporations in Finland, plans to combine Eat.fi with its own food related site, Makuja, in hopes of building the leading online food and restaurant service in Finland.
Rumor has it that Eat.fi was in acquisition talks with an unnamed Finnish media company already in 2009, but the deal reportedly fell through due to differences in Eat.fi's valuation. No figures were disclosed on yesterday’s deal.
Minecraft has become an insane success story for the Swedish and Nordic indie games community. The game began alpha development in 2009, and shot up in popularity in part due its open style of play and creator Markus Persson's constant interaction with its vocal community. After hitting 4 million total sales this week, Minecraft (as opposed to Minecraft Beta) will be released sometime during their convention, Minecon, two weekends from now in Las Vegas.
The fourth edition of Startup Weekend Copenhagen is kicking off the 18th of this month, and is bringing along with it 54 hours of non-stop action, access to mentors, and Saturday night entertainment featuring Christmas Beer from Andrik Microbrewery. We've got a discount code for the ticket, and they have some great prizes for the first place winner:
Mark it down in your calendar - December 1st. That's the day we will be throwing a little pre-Christmas party together with Future Female. The event will take place in Siltanen, Hämeentie 13B here in Helsinki, Finland. The event is expected to kick-off at around 6pm. Even though, the event is free we'd like you to sign-up with a form that will be provided at a later date. To learn more about signing up to the event, join the Future Female facebook page. This is also the first time Future Female events are open for men.
Perhaps the most unique games I've seen for any smartphone have come from the Icelandic developers, MindGames. The company focuses on iOS games which you control with your state of mind via consumer brainwave headsets such as the NeuroSky MindWave, or the PLX Xwave. Since the company's inception in 2010, they have produced two games, W.I.L.D and Tug of Mind.
Sweden is the land of entrepreneurship. Though the population is rather small, the rate of innovation makes it to the top of the list in the world. Over the last five years, the entrepreneurship ecosystem has been flourished much more and now there are more monthly events, mingles and conferences for entrepreneurs. This post is my short notes for one of the famous events called 24 hour business camp.
Note: “Road To Exit: Start-up’s First Year” is a practical blog series addressing the most common legal questions and problems that a start-up company and its management faces during their first year of operation. The series is sponsored by Attorneys at Law Borenius Ltd.
The Budget Bill for 2012 in Finland was presented to the Parliament by the Government on 5 October 2011. The Budget Bill proposes a number of changes in taxation and some of the changes and their impacts on start-up companies and their shareholders are discussed here. Although, the Parliament still needs to approve the Budget Bill, it seems that the changes proposed will apply as of 1 January 2012.
HeiaHeia.com, the social tracker of physical activity, will soon be whipping Finland's youth into fighting shape. The Finnish Defence Forces are leveraging the HeiaHeia platform and launching a joint pilot initiative to improve the physical fitness of conscripts. The pilot, called MarsMars (loosely meaning "march, march" in Finnish), aims to increase physical activity among conscripts prior to the start of their military service.
Garage48 Tartu winner Qminder became part of the Seedcamp family last week after winning a Mini Seedcamp event in Prague. Qminder is the second team from the 48-hour hackathon to join the prestigious startup accelerator program in a short period of time.
Garage48 is about being quick, efficient and productive in the shortest possible time. You have a problem that needs a solution and all you have are a mere 48 hours or so to deliver a prototype. I think that is exactly the reason why many ideas springing from the event are about being quick and effective and “to wait” just seems a bit too alien for each. That’s exactly what Ordimo thought when it found the “wait” in waitress and thought about removing it altogether.
The startup launched at the Garage back in January is about providing a new take on self service for restaurants and bars. What Ordimo does is that it transforms your smartphone into a mobile waitress, where customers can order their items before they enter the restaurant. This translates to a quicker serving and more satisfied customers who don’t have to wait in line to place their orders.