Frozen-rails-2014

Sulake CEO Timo Soininen Steps Down

After leading Sulake for 10 years, Timo Soininen, steps down from the position of CEO and joins the board of directors, according to a Sulake press release. The board of directors has named Paul LaFontaine the new CEO. He was previously the vice president for Global Distribution at Disney Playdom. Timo Soininen has effectively taken the company from a small startup in the turn of the millenium to a multi-million euro business globally. Sulake is famous for its Habbo Hotel, online social community for teens. This March we reported on Sulake's revenues growing more than 20% from 2009 to 2010.

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TimeZynk Closes 220k€ In Financing

TimeZynk, a Sweden based startup, has closed 220k€ in their second round of financing. The financing will go onto further develop the application, by the same name, which helps track time consumption. The mobile app is useful for scheduling, time and availability reporting that allows for staffing and recruitment companies to lower their costs by offering more targeted resources.

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Arctic15 Exclusive: Derek Sivers - Uncommon Sense (2/8)

In the run up to our Arctic15 conference, we've announced an exclusive video series with Derek Sivers, the founder of CD Baby. The story why all this is relevant can be read from the introduction to the first video. In the video series he will share his advice and experiences in building CD Baby into one of the largest online music stores before selling it onwards. In the second video of the series, Sivers talks about the reasons behind a startup and questions entrepreneurs if they've understood the reasons one should be working in a startup.

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Where Are All The Girls?

Editorial note: This is a guest post by Natalie Gaudet, who is one of the key people behind Aalto Venture Garage and Startup Sauna.

You are sitting in an entrepreneurial event, in a room full of people. You look around and suddenly realize that the room is filled with men, boys and guys. Where all the girls you ask yourself?

Its a question asked more often than not. Aren't there women entrepreneurs? As one of the the lone girls in this field, I have decided to deeply look into the reasons why there are so few female entrepreneurs.

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Arctic15 Programme Released

The programme to Arctic15 is now out. It can be seen below and also on the event website. Basically the event kicks off at 9 and continues most likely until 6pm with possible delays to the schedule. In addition to the day programme - we'll have an awesome after party where we'll announce the winner of the Arctic15 competition. This of course means that it will be a full day of startup awesomeness! Do check out the conference programme below and purchase your tickets if you already haven't done so. The earlier you purchase them, the bigger chance you'll have that we'll have the time to print your badge in a proper way and make sure you have lunch! Actually we'll have lunch for everyone, but we'd really appreciate you buying the tickets as early as possible.

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Arctic15 Exclusive: Derek Sivers - Uncommon Sense (1/8)

From today onwards, we'll be starting an Arctic15 exclusive to release eight unseen videos of Derek Sivers, the founder and CEO of CDBaby, on how he built the company and sold it onwards. CD Baby was one of the first real record stores online selling CDs. Sivers sold the company in 2008, 11 years after founding it. But how does all this relate to Arctic15 you may ask? We actually invited him to the conference to share his advice, but unfortunately he was unable to make it due to other arrangements. However, he told us he really liked the conference idea and decided to allow us to broadcast this very rare video series of him sharing his advice to our community. Derek Sivers has roots in Sweden, so we'll try and get the man to Arctic15 next year!

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Should You Join a Startup? The Answer Is Increasingly Yes!

This article has two purposes. 1) Communicate the fact that a startup is handsdown the best choice for an ambitious developer, designer or an artist who wants to ship a beautiful product to the market, and 2) to get all the crazy talented people to join Grey Area or other local startups. Let me elaborate!

In the immediate aftermath of Shadow Cities success we are growing fast at Grey Area and we have been lately hiring a lot of new talent to our team.  As a result I have thought a lot about how can I convince talented people with plenty of options to choose from to join a young fast growing startup instead of a mature established company. Let me break my thinking down so you can see that the answer to that question really is increasingly 'hell yes I should join a startup!' and not just of my dreaming.

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Here They Are: Arctic15 Finalists

It's been a tough run up to the Arctic15 conference for startups competing for the chance to pitch on stage. The finalists have now been chosen by the secret jury and they are listed below. Close to 100 companies applied to the competition by the end of July and over the course of August 33 companies made the so called semi-finals and from those, 15 companies came out on top as finalists. The 15 finalists were chosen from video pitches the companies made. This is for two reasons. First, we wanted the companies to have good products and secondly, they would also have to be good in selling and explaining those products.

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Startup Sauna Keeps Getting Better

Editorial note: This is a guest post by Natalie Gaudet, who is one of the active people behind Startup Sauna - a Nordic and Baltic startup seed accelerator helping companies get further. While we don't usually promote individual programs as such, Startup Sauna is a great initiative, non-profit started by our good friends at AaltoES.

The Startup Sauna seed accelerator program is getting bigger and better. Since there has been an incredible response from Russia last year, the program decided to add three more Russian cities to the list. The number of coaches that will be mentoring the teams has also increased.

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How Startups Are Built In Tampere: Case Protomo & StartupStairs

Tampere is definitely one of Finland's start-up hubs, thanks to the New Factory. The entity was created in 2008 out of frustration with regional cooperation (or lack thereof). 'There was too much talk and paperwork going on between innovation programs and various institutions in the region', shares Jukka Matikainen, Program Director. 'We wanted to create sustainable cooperation between all those partners through concrete projects'. That is how the New Factory's programs were founded. Last time we reviewed Demola, an innovation platform for students and companies. This time in focus are New Factory's start-up oriented programs: Protomo and StartupStairs.

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A Cry From A Country In Structural Change

While this isn't exactly startup related news per se, it relates to entrepreneurship very closely. Furthermore, it's quite Finland centric, but I apologise for that, but I feel it applies to other countries in the region as well. Yesterday, one of the large paper machine companies in Finland, UPM-Kymmene, announced that it will shut down its Myllykoski factory in Kouvola. This will effectively cut the region of another 645 jobs. This is a lot for city of 88 000 that has also seen the loss of some 900 jobs through previous paper factory closures in the area. It's a difficult issue on a national level, but a very tragic issue on a personal level for those who lose their jobs.

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How Startups Are Built In Tampere: Case Of Demola

Uusi Tehdas (New Factory) is situated in the very heart of Tampere. The building is full of history: founded in 1835 it used to be a cotton factory and the biggest industrial building in the whole country. Today it's the local center of innovation and start-ups. Instead of old engine rooms, the New Factory has four programs that help students, entrepreneurs and innovators put their ideas into practice: Demola, Protomo, Suuntamo and StartupStairs.

Demola attracts students from all the universities in the area to gain study credits by building demo products for projects. Protomo helps creating start-ups by matchmaking talents, building prototypes and developing business ideas. Suuntaamo gathers a community of users from various backgrounds who are willing to test new products and give feedback. Finally, StartupStairs is an evolving program that helps most potential companies that come out of Demola and Protomo to get funded and expand to new markets.

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Interview With Steve Blank

Editor's note: This is a cross-post from the Steve Blank visits Finland -website. His visit and the awesome agenda for the week is made possible with the help of AaltoES, Tekes, Sitra, Teknologiateollisuus and others. Original text by Kalpana Shah.

Steve Blank is that rare combination of successful entrepreneur and inspiring teacher who’s also an insightful writer. His writings define, explain and predict trends that are sweeping the entrepreneurial world. Customer Development, Agile Development, the Lean Startup, The Four Steps to the Epiphany, Business Model Generation are all terms for methodologies that can actually help startups get on in life.

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Tero Ojanperä Leaves Nokia To Work With Vision+

Tero Ojanperä (pictured left), a member of the Nokia Leadership Team, will be leaving the company. Forget all the drama that you always affiliate with top executives changing jobs - this sounds really good actually. Ojanperä will be actually moving to work as a partner with Vision+, an investment fund that will be investing into mobile applications to foster the development of the Windows Phone ecosystem.

According to the press release, Ojanperä has built a long career inside Nokia, 21 years to be exact. Ojanperä has been working as the Executive Vice President of Services will leave the company at the end of September.

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Microsoft Student Partners - A Great Way To Get Involved

Microsoft Student Partners is a great way for students to get involved in the world of technology and services during their studies. The Microsoft sponsored program gives students possibilities to get acquainted with Microsoft technology, services and also meet interesting people in their events. I talked to some students at the Microsoft stand in Assembly 2011 -event held in early August to get their insight into the way they see the program.

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Last Call For Startup-VC Matchmaking For September 23rd, Deadline Today

Startups, today's the last day to sign-up for Arctic15's Startup-VC matchmaking day on September 23rd. The event will be held at Innopoli 2 from 9am to 1pm. So far we've received interest from tens of startups around the region, but would naturally like to offer this out to as many startups as possible (there are no prerequisites). All you have to make sure is that you'll be in Helsinki for the event if you're among the chosen companies.

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Yummi Apps Finalising Wizardia

A Lithuanian based social gaming company and developer of such games, Yummi Apps has announced that they are finalising work on their game combining social and mobile features - Wizardia. The game will connect these two mega trends in real-time to create a new gaming experience, according to the company's press release.

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The Story Of Wooden Labyrinth 3D

The Wooden Labyrinth 3D was one of the more popular Finnish mobile apps before the arrival of Angry Birds from Rovio. To this date, Wooden Labyrinth has been downloaded some 10+ million times. The app was developed in 2009 by Elias Pietilä in February 2009. We've covered Elias Pietilä before when he ran into problems with a game called Pajazzo with the Finnish Moneygaming Association (RAY). We talked to Pietilä about the success of the game.

Since the launching of the game, it has generated a couple of hundred thousand euros for Pietilä. In the beginning of 2009 the game was immediately being sold for a few hundred euros a day. After giving out the free version of the game, the paid version improved sales as well.

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Scoopshot Revolutionizes Media Photography

Scoopshot is a service by a Helsinki, Finland based startup PS2 Media Group Inc that changes the way media companies work with photos. It's a lot said, but I'm willing to back it up as a person running a media company myself. In all simplicity, Scoopshot makes smartphone owners photographers for media companies. Users can take newsworthy photos and send them to the service through the Scoopshot mobile app and sell them at a set price. Journalists writing stories can purchase the photos at the price the photographer has set. If they wish to purchase the exclusive right to use the photo, they pay ten times the set price. I talked with Petri Rahja and Jussi Liimatainen about the service and what the company is up to.

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Qminder Wins Garage48 Tartu

Last weekend, another 48-hour developing competition was held in Tartu. The Garage48 event saw lots of interesting projects being pitched, planned and completed. Yet again, looking at the summary of the projects - Garage48's attendants showed they have what it takes to become an entrepreneur. Not only are the ideas worthwhile executing, some of them managed to gain traction over the weekend already.

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