This news is already a bit outdated by internet standards, but important nevertheless.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.
We reviewed Zerply a few months back, calling it the next generation professional network. We weren’t wrong as the recent flare in its usage has been immense, maybe we are following all those who are part of Zerply, but we see the name more often in our timeline. The professional network is beginning to monetize its platform and has taken another step towards it with its premium themes.
Its growing catalog added themes from Mike Kus, a renowned web designer and another one by Kyle Steed. The theme by Mike Kus is sleek and offers a quick overview of your social links and contact information on the top. In short where it matters the most.
Sofanatics, the Finnish social sports media startup, has decided to quit advertising on Facebook for the time being, citing increased costs and lower conversion rates as the main factors behind the rather radical decision. The company says that despite optimizing and targeting their ads on Facebook, customer acquisition costs have almost doubled due to higher click prices and declining conversion rates.
Joakim Achren, a Finnish entrepreneur, was one of the first entrepreneurs I met when we started ArcticStartup. He talked about his company Ironstar Helsinki with passion and of all the things they're building. Couple of weeks ago he posted a post mortem on his final touches to shut down the company and move on. He summarises the path they took with Ironstar Helsinki and outlines a couple of reasons why they decided to shut the company down, instead of pursuing other alternatives. We've also written about Ironstar Helsinki extensively, be it their product launch or the fact that Monty Widenius invested in the company in 2009.
The reasons that lead to the closure of the company were a failed acquisition and the failure to raise more funding this year. Nothing new there, but what I really respect with the all the emotional turbulence Achren must have gone through, is the effort he has taken to cover all this in a single blog post.
AutoAle is looking to enter the somewhat crowded car sales market in Finland. The company isn't all that unaware of the situation or unexperienced as you may think. AutoAle has been co-founded by Mika Fagerström, Hannu Kytölä and Dmitry Genin. Fagerström was the founder of the hugely popular nettiauto.com in Finland that basically took used car sales online. So what makes AutoAle better than the existing solutions on the market? In short - they're targeting the market of new or nearly new cars, something that is still being sold through traditional sales channels (ie. dealers). With AutoAle, dealers can advertise new or nearly new cars online to an audience that do not want to buy a traditional "used car".
Let's start off the week on a little bit of a lighter note. One of our readers sent in a couple of photos to us regarding our stickers. We give these out at our events and whenever we meet people and so on. He told us he'd had one of these stickers stuck in his washing machine for a couple of months now. It's been stuck there and gone through tens of washes without leaving any color. We don't manufacture our own stickers, but we're still extremely proud of their quality. Talk about heavy duty!
Editor's note: This is written by a Finnish entrepreneur Riitta Raesmaa, who wanted to cast her voice about her home country. We're glad to publish similar articles from any other country in our region - please get in touch with us, if you'd like to get your content published. This post was originally published at Riitta Raesmaa's personal blog.
Something exceptional is happening here in Finland. However I think that the foundation for that has existed a long time, only to wait its time to come. And it seems that the time is here and now. Let me explain.
I am a startup entrepreneur and I am considering myself very lucky that I have had the opportunity to follow somewhat amazing chain of events happening in the startup scene of Finland. The young crew from the Aalto University, so-called Aalto Entrepreneurship Society, has worked hard for two and half years, and finally this week they publicly proved that their vision and the actions taken truly are a very powerful force.
Every now and then we highlight a few good events people should attend to make the most of their networking, business opportunities or learning new things. There are three good conferences we believe people should watch in the coming month or so. They are Goto Conference organised in Aarhus, Denmark, Slush organised in Helsinki, Finland and StartupGarage -event organised in Tallinn, Estonia. All slightly different, but surely worth your time to check them out if they're of interest to you. Below's a short break down of each event.
Security is a prerequisite in the real world and perhaps more so in the digital space. And with security online, comes WOT that has been ensuring a safe browsing experience for the millions of users online. WOT announced another major partnership earlier, this time with Kiosked.
Kiosked is an online service that transforms online content into a marketplace. The service provides consumers with access to more information as well as making both online and offline purchases easy. Kiosked was also one of the Arctic15 finalists this year.