'Venture capitalism works like the solar system: when the sun moves, the rest follow',- said Lubov Simonova-Emelyanova of Almaz Capital Partners. The sun in this metaphor is Digital Sky Technologies (DST). The fund's sheer size and growing activity prompted other Russian investors to increase their investment activities. Russian venture capitalists are expected to make much more investments this year compared to 2010. The catalyst might have been DST's announcement of opening a new fund, DST Global2, which already invested in Groupon this January and is said to be negotiating a $100M-worth funding round with Spotify. Following the lead Almaz Capital Partners announced their plans to invest in four start-ups with the overall sum of investment comprising $30M.
Venture Bonsai, the crowdfunding platform we've covered in the past, has as of today, launched officially. Through the platform, any European based company can request begin a financing round and any investor from the region can take part in that round. The site is still invitation only, to keep the quality of the community high, but you can easily request an invite through a form on the site.
Seedcamp is coming up Stockholm on May 4th to find the gems of the region and connect them to investors and other people that can help them go forward. "We've seen a very strong group of startups coming out of the Nordics, and especially the technically focused teams are impressive", Philipp Moehring from Seedcamp stated. We recently covered GrabCad's success in winning both Seedcamp London and being accepted into TechStars, which should be a sign to everyone that the talent required is very much present at the region.
Experience sharing social startup, TruthFeed made entry to help users make better decisions as well as share their experience with a global audience. TruthFeed is easy to use, helps you with making the correct choices or decisions and it has made some updates. We covered the company earlier in this post.
When we called Uplause the Real World Massively Multiplayer Crowd Games, we weren’t wrong at all. The developers who create games for large events to enable the audience to collectively play interactive mini games. Uplause has recently made news with registering a milestone of hitting 2 million users.
According to Nokia Ääni, a new Nokia blog written in Finnish, Nokia has partnered to film and televise the Finnish snowboarding championships solely with the help of Nokia N8s. According to the blog post, all filming will be done on N8s between the 7th and 10th of April in Ruka, Finland. The filming will be done by a four man crew of Flatlight Films. This is the first time in history a full television show will be filmed with only smart phones.
Founder2be, a start-up that built a network that helps entrepreneurial-minded people find each other, has recently added some mighty force from overseas to its Global Alliance Program. First came the announcement of Startup Weekend joinning the network and this week Founder2be announced Your Story, the biggest online platform that shares stories about entrepreneurship in Indian, joining the Alliance Program. The program includes light-weight cooperation and promotion on both sides: Founder2be can help entrepreneurs find the team for their start-up and allied partners can further support the team to implement and develop their business. Founder2be's goal is to have at least one partner on all continents by the end of this year.
Skype has for the first time reacted to the public fury regarding their new Skype 5 update for the Mac. The app was released earlier this year and ever since it has received a lot of feedback, mostly negative, due to the large redesign many consider a step back from version 2.8. On Friday, April 1st mind you, Skype finally reacted to the feedback with a blog post.
We had mentioned Stardoll a couple of weeks ago regarding them counting days till they hit the 100 million member milestone. Another milestone that they hit over time was their 5th birthday. Yesterday Stardoll announced that they had been operational 5 years. It is worth noting that in 5 years, they have reached a 100 million members, something not many others are able to do.
Two guys named Dan Provost and Tom Gerhardt announced their second project on Kickstarter after their successful Glif-project. Glif, a simple accessory for the iPhone 4 was a huge success on the Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform, where it raised $137 417 from 5273 backers. Their new project, the Cosmonaut, is a wide-grip stylus pen for touch screen devices.
This project too, has attracted immense interest in a couple of weeks. However, the more interesting part of all this is the experiment the gentlemen did with a pay what you want pricing concept. Backers of The Cosmonaut could choose whatever amount the wanted, but there were only 3000 slots available and they needed to raise $50 000 to go ahead with the project. Dan Provost recently published a blog post explaining what people pledged when they were given the freedom to choose what they wanted to pay for the product.
According to Kauppalehti (in Finnish), the Finland based ZenRobotics has announced that it has signed Jorma Eloranta as their new Board Chairman. Jorma Eloranta is the former CEO of Metso. ZenRobotics specialises in creating robots to better sort recyclable material for waste management companies. While the solution may sound traditional, it is all but that. The company has created a very sophisticated approach to the problem with machine vision and other sensors.
This is a series of posts, written in co-operation with the Finnish Software Entrepreneurs to promote entrepreneurs working with software. This post is about Teppo Kattilakoski, the CEO of Granite Partners. The company develops enterprise risk and security management software.
In this series, we try to dig deep into the backgrounds of the entrepreneurs and their companies. You can also win a ticket to Arctic15 by subscribing to the Finnish Software Entrepreneurs newsletter over here.
Tradeshift, the Danish firm that has been in reports quite often here at ArcticStartup is making itself more useful with the announcement of bringing their applications to developers. To put it out more clearly, this would enable developers to build applications within the Tradeshift ecosystem.
Fluid Interaction is a Finland based startup that has just released an innovative Twitter client called Different Tack. The client is currently available for Nokia devices and they plan to make Android and iOS versions of the app available soon.
The app creates a new "infographical" presentation of the Twitter stream. The innovation of the app is in the user interface and the user is able to read the tweets by simply scrolling a turn dial on screen. According to the team, the "innovative UI is based on deep understanding of human perception and cognition".
According to VentureBeat, Rovio has announced that their Angry Birds Rio game has now been downloaded an astonishing 10 million times in just 10 days. This surely makes Angry Birds Rio the fastest game to reach 10 million downloads on a mobile platform. Overall, the company has enjoyed over 100 million downloads for its games in the past 16 months.
Zokem continues to make concrete its position as the leading mobile app and internet usage analytics firm to help improve research related to the same category. Zokem has been tracking audiences, publishing reports on current trends giving both content publishers and advertisers in depth insights on mobile users. The mobile analytics firm recently published a new set of research reports named the Zokem User Experience Tracker that is focused at the quality of device and the network.
Vigo accelerators in Finland are planning to start building funds to further improve their possibilities in helping with startups. This has been approved by a Tekes news release (in Finnish) and in a panel discussion last week regarding Vigo accelerators. Vigo accelerators are a new form of government effort to enable growth and development of startups into the right direction with the help of serial entrepreneurs (running the accelerators).
This week Toivo Annus, founder of Ambient Sound Investments and an angel investor from Estonia, challenged start-up communities in the Baltics to create a public service application that would attract 100 000 active monthly users from Baltic states by March 2012. The winner would get a $20,000 cash prize with no strings attached. The initiative is driven by Toivo's frustration with the fact that few start-ups in the region aim high and by his desire to encourage entrepreneurs build truly useful applications for a wide audience. The three main criteria for submissions are to make use of public data, to reach said number of users and to offer high value for the public like help save lives, reduce government spending and engage users in a meaningful way.
We've talked about the legendary Death Rally set to invade the iOS devices back in January. As per our last reports the game was set to release in March and as promised it is now available for download. It runs on your iPhone and the iPad. You can download the game here, just in case you aren’t keen at reading any further.
Online gaming and social gaming are the two biggest blocks of the gaming market in Russia. The market's overall worth has been growing by roughly $20M a year since 2008, reaching $250M in 2010. The 20-30% growth is expected to continue in the following years, estimates RIA Novosti. Between 3-5M people actively play online games, mostly MMORPG client and browser-based games. Even more people - between 10-15M - play social games on local social networks like Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki. Large as they might seem, those numbers pale in comparison to the number of online gamers in Europe or US. Russia is lagging behind due to its slowly developing Internet connections (especially in the regions), forbidding price of unlimited data plans and undeveloped online payment systems. At the same time, all of those are changing to the better which is why online gaming market is set to grow to $400M in 2012. Other facilitators of growth include social networks' growing audience together with a growing number of successful online games.