Radio is one of the few mass media technologies that has not been widely explored by start-ups. While many companies build services around music and news, few combine both in smart ways. Tuubio, a start-up from Helsinki that has been in stealth mode for the last 5 months, has just launched their service - a personalized radio app. For the moment it is available only on Android phones or tablets with a browser-based client and an iOS app coming up soon.
We interviewed Emil Eifrém of Neo Technology about a lot of things. He's the CEO and co-founder of the company and they just announced a nice $10.6M Series A round from Fidelity Growth Partners, Conor Venture Partners and Sunstone Capital. Neo Technology provides NoSQL, graph database solutions to its clients. Their clients are large, very large actually and they've signed on one Fortune 20 company as well.
Ambadoo is a new iPhone app coming to you from Malmö, Sweden. The first impression of the service was that it reminds me a lot of Jaiku. But it is a lot better and nicer to use and it's also available for the iPhone. Just tells us how much Jaiku revolutionised the industry with its service, if it's still remembered so many years after Google shut it down.. Having said that - Ambadoo is very much something I could use on a day to day basis.
Spotify has just announced its expansion to Denmark. It's probably been one of the countries with a lot of anticipation for the Swedish company to announce its expansion there. While Denmark isn't a huge market place, it's definitely a step Spotify needed to take - it needs to work in all markets to make it a consumer favorite.
Geolocation services are on the rise: more and more start-ups are building applications around check-ins, places, events and social media. Hyperclap, a Moscow-based start-up, decided to join the trend and offer their take on how best to combine all those aspects in one app. Their iPhone app lets you follow locations like bars, restaurants and clubs and instead of checking-in to those places users report from locations through messages and photos. The idea behind Hyperclap is to give a tool for movers and shakers to see what's happening in their favorite locations when they are there or when they are away. The app also generates trending spots to display the most popular places in towns.
Spotify's revenue in 2010 grew some 458 percent, according to public filings in Britain. The company financials were first reported by New York Times. The company's subscription business model brought in some $71 million while advertising generated $28 million. Despite the growing revenue, the company invested heavily into expansion and development (not to mention artist earnings) - losses for the year were $42 million, up from $26 million in 2009.
We have long lived with the word e-commerce and it won’t be wrong to request for a change in the naming convention, especially regarding social networks. Probably something like social commerce would do the trick. This is largely owing to Facebook, the network that has made brands more social. MySellr, is an Indonesian startup with Swedes on board, that tends to make the connection more important.
The startup provides an application within the largest social network, enabling anyone to start a fully functional e-commerce website from their fan pages on Facebook. This basically takes the challenge of distribution out of the question as you're around a lot of people. 800 million to be exact.
Out of the blue, Facebook has announced that they have released a completely new iPad app (which actually is an iPhone app that works on the iPad as well). The iPad app enables games to be played in full screen and you guessed it, in HTML5. HTML5 allows the game play to continue across devices in a seamless fashion as users don't need to install any specific apps. More concretely, you can play a game in the office, continue on your mobile as you walk towards the bus and take out your iPad and continue where you left off. At least in theory.
This news is already a bit outdated by internet standards, but important nevertheless. Yuri Milner, the billionaire chairman of Mail.Ru has sold $59.5 million worth of Mail.Ru stock through his DST Global company. The sale happened towards the end of September, Forbes reports.
The move is significant for a few reasons. Firstly, the company went public in November 2010 so selling so much of his personal stake in the company so soon isn't a very good signal to the market. Furthermore, the stock has been heading downhill more or less since the IPO and this sale further pushed the stock down that day.
Utopic, a service created by Estonian Jüri Kaljundi and his team, started off as a way to understand what your friends are sharing online. This was back in March and there's a blog to remind us. I remember talking to Kaljundi back then and it was also a time when similar products were on the market, mainly from the US. It's refreshing to see the new direction of Utopic though - one that focuses on visual bookmarking and content discovery.
It's important to note the difference, even though one could argue that "you could already do this with the previous iteration of the service". It's not what you're able to do with the service, but what it aims to become. It's true, but the new UI and approach the service takes, makes the experience a lot more enjoyable.
About two weeks ago we reported on Facebook integrating Spotify to the social network for music streaming. A partnership that had mixed reaction from across the globe given that Spotify isn’t available in every region. At the end of last week, Spotify stretched itself further into our living rooms by announcing its partnership with Western Digital.
Rebtel has taken a step forward into becoming an even more attractive company on the VoIP industry. The Swedish company announced yesterday that they have released a new version of their iPhone app that will allow users to make free phone calls to each other. The requirement is though, that both of the users are using the Rebtel application and are on Wifi or 3G. The new update has also added a few nifty updates to make the use even more simpler and in doing so the company has taken, in my opinion, its biggest steps to catering to the online community in a more integrated way.
Forbes ran a great story on Sean Parker and Daniel Ek and in that story they also showed the e-mail that initiated the integration of Spotify into Facebook. In the e-mail, Parker goes on in great extent to talk about the different attributes of Spotify. The story also outlines the fact how hard Parker wanted to be part of Spotify, be it an investor, advisor or just help out.
The e-mail initiated a set of discussions that later lead to Daniel Ek sitting down with Sean Parker and Peter Thiel. They were to meet for 45 minutes, but the meeting went on for 5 hours. The rest is history as we know it. On September 22nd (the same day as Arctic15 for that matter), Facebook introduced its partnership with not only Spotify, but also Rdio and MOG. Below is the original e-mail Sean Parker sent to Daniel Ek and Shakil Khan.
A few weeks ago we wrote about Angry Birds being played with the Uplause technology at the Formula 1 event that took place in Singapore. Since we covered the items right after the weekend, we didn't have any video available. However, now we do and it just makes you smile. Take a look at the video below and see people in the audience participate in playing Angry Birds Fast and Furious. People participate by shouting, which is basically the control for the slingshot. Made us smile for sure.
Voddler, a company sometimes referred to as the Spotify of movies, is beginning to offer a subscription service for 7,9€ a month (or 79 SEK). The advantage for subscribers, or Voddler Plus members as the company refers to the plan, is that for a monthly fee they have part of the Voddler catalogue available to them at no extra cost. You read correctly - part of the catalogue. The downside is that you still will have to pay for some movies. For customers - this isn't as good a deal as it sounds.
The ever vigilant Swedish tax authorities are reaching into the pockets of Swedish app developers with a 25% value added tax, regardless of where the final sale of the product takes place. Starting this month, apps sold in the EU through third party distributors, such as Facebook or Apple's App Store, will be taxed twice - once in Sweden and a second time at the point of sale. Swedish app developers are understandably unhappy, as the double taxation puts them under a severe competitive disadvantage in the apps market.
In our series with Nokia we continue to discuss possibilities of developing for Symbian. This time we interview Kalle Koutajoki of Foodie.fm about their application and why they decided to go ahead with development on Symbian. Foodie provides an online service around recipes and shopping. Their application is able to give you a shopping list based on the recipe and also helps you see where the products are in the actual store and order the goods to your home door. Let's go ahead with the interview!
We won't be writing any long obituaries here at ArcticStartup, but I felt a post thanking him publicly is the least we can do. He changed industries and the world with his work. But more importantly, from where we're looking at this - he has helped create a ton of new companies, employment and innovation that leverage his work in the Nordics and Baltics. Keep building those companies. Stay hungry, stay foolish.
Thank you Steve Jobs, rest in peace.
Miivies is a new browser based 3D animation service available to consumers. The service enables users to create 3D short animations to portray their message. The offering is very similar to that of xtranormal, an online service that has been used quite a bit on the other side of the pond to create parodies of startup investments that have made circles in the startup ecosystem at least. The service is free, but if users want to share and finalise their projects they will have to purchase rendering tokens.
The Pharmaceutical industry is massive globally with huge funds for Research and Development alone. It is estimated that the spending on the clinical trials alone account for 40% of the budget allocated to R&D, which is an equally essential organ of any pharmaceutical company. The major issue regarding this is therefore finding volunteers for the clinical trials and is a cause of delay in drug development. Trialbee has come up with a solution for the same problem. The idea is to reduce the issues associated to finding the right volunteers using the Trialbee platform.
What makes Trialbee important is the fact that it addresses an unexplored market that has a demand in both the drug manufacturing as well as health care system. For example the pharma industry currently needs over 23 500 000 candidates to join over 10 000 studies globally. The financial burden associated to delays is huge, with one month of delay translating to $1 Million with overall loss in sales amounts to $15 to $200 Million. This of course varies for different drugs.