COP 15 was a disappointment to many and there is now certainly a risk that policymakers leave the building, metaphorically speaking, leaving markets to take over and solve the environmental problems the best they can. Can they and should they?
Cleantech Scandinavia recently attempted to analyze Nordic cleantech patent application levels. The European Patent Office and OECD’s environmental directorate did a similar attempt analyzing cleantech patent application levels worldwide.
OECD carried out statistical analysis for basically all energy generation technologies showing a marked increase in wind, solar and hydro after the Kyoto agreement was signed. Their analysis also found that cleantech patent activity was dominated by Japan, US, Germany, Korea, Great Britain and France. (87% of solar photovoltaic patents were for instance handed in by Japan, US, Germany, Korea and France).
We just wrote about Xiha closing a $1m seed round as well as adding Jyri Engeström (Ex-Jaiku/Google) to their board. If that's not enough now the multilingual, cross-cultural social network comes out with its own developer program. A developer program is nothing revolutionary in itself, but shows that Xiha aims to innovate right on the heels of the fatter cats like Facebook by giving developers access to their APIs and facilitating embedding new products into XIHA Life.
XIHA developers will receive premium support, including customizing API calls to their needs and help with the integration to maximize the success of their app. Once the integration has been finished, XIHA promises to actively promote the new applications.
If the writing style of the posts at ArcticStartup.com would be processed and analyzed by an AI algorithm, what would be the outcome? Read on and you will find out the answer and get an update about interesting Swedish startups that are using AI techniques to improve the automated understanding of the ever-growing web content out there. This is the future so be sure to get a grasp of the basics right now.
Finnish VC Inventure has invested 2 million USD into Finnish mobile publishing platform firm Conmio. The financing will be used to support Conmio's international growth and product development. Conmio sees many opportunities for expansion due to the strong demand for mobile services. Conmio's target customers include media firms, device manufacturers and other companies interested in providing mobile solutions to their customers or end users.
The Jaiku co-founder Jyri Engeström, who recently left Google (see our previous story here), has joined Xiha Life's board. Both Jaiku founders, Engeström and Petteri Koponen have switched into the dark side, namely after founding several companies of their own, they have now moved into investing in new startups.
Engeström has started to do angel investing in a chosen few companies, while Koponen co-founded Lifeline Ventures, one of the Finnish Vigo accelerators (see more on the Vigos here)
This might not seem like a big deal, but it is. Finland has been suffering from a deficit of investors that believe in and understand the consumer Internet. Just recently we wrote about the state of the Finnish venture capital and the picture was quite clear: We need more entrepreneurs that have succeeded in the consumer internet to share their experience, inspire(!) and invest in the young guns who want to reach for the stars, but don't have much more than a boat load of energy to start with. Jyri, along with Petteri, are clearly on the right path.
I wanted to take a different approach to start your week this Monday. Being an entrepreneur is considered sexy by many, but very few people realise the amount of energy and work entrepreneurs invest in their ventures on a day-to-day basis. Working for minimal pay, with extremely high risk of failure while aiming for that nonexistent chance of success and making a dent to the way we live our lives - it's not easy. Sometimes a little push is needed and here's my two cents for that motivation.
Your work is important - keep at it, stay hungry, stay foolish and start your day by watching the legendary Al Pacino's inspirational speech in Any Given Sunday.
THINK is not a start-up anymore, though it was one in the beginning of the 1990s when the world experienced a similar recession. Their history is fascinating, with USD 150m invested by US car giant Ford during the companies ownership of the Norwegians, struggling after Ford sold them out in 2003, until in 2006 Norwegian Investinor and other investors bought the company. Under new management and with new strategic goals the company is ready to become a major player in the growing electric vehicle market.
Their vision is to provide a better way of moving, which is carbon and carefree. The result of their vision is an electric city car with a Scandinavian design and modern technology under the hood. The THINK City is manufactured in Finland by Valmet Automotive, who is also a shareholder and strategic partner. It seems the Finns are establishing themselves slowly but surely as a major player in the EV manufacturing segment, a very smart decision. But back to THINK.
In the Arctic latitudes we have a condition that most others closer to the equator don't know of, its called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or winter depression for the rest of us. It is mainly due to the lack of sun light we get in these latitudes during the winter time. According to the all knowing Wikipedia in Northern Europe 2% of the population suffer from winter depression and roughly 10% feel slightly down beat during the dark winter months. I personally only need a bit more sleep during the winter time, but I'm pretty hyper anyway, so perhaps a bad proxy. That said, Wikipedia also tells us that Symptoms of SAD may consist of: difficulty waking up in the morning, tendency to oversleep as well as to overeat, and especially a craving for carbohydrates. Other symptoms include a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating on completing tasks, and withdrawal from friends, family, and social activities. Some might think one is just describing the average Finn.
I got a call from Kai Lemmetty, one of the co-founders of Floobs, that they are filing for bankruptcy either today or tomorrow. Not a very pleasant call to get by any means, as they've been one of the most passionate guys in the ecosystem and been doing a lot of good for the startup scene itself by helping out with organising and live streaming events. The simple reason behind the bankruptcy is that their sales did not ramp up quickly enough to support their current burn rate.
ArcticIndex, our directory for Nordic and Baltic startups, people, startup jobs and events, just got iPhoned. ArcticIndex iPhone app is developed by Arun Prakash Rajendran, a passionate mobile entrepreneur living in Göteborg, Sweden. You can check out the App at Prakash's app gallery, or get it directly here.
I have used the app for couple of days now and love the ease I can check out the new events listings. Similarly, if you're looking for a startup to join its a whim to check out the latest jobs at ArcticIndex and see what the company is all about from the Index.
We will introduce more features for ArcticIndex soon, so make sure you have your iPhone App ready when that happens.
Ramine Darabiha, the founder and CEO, of MySites blogged about their service growth statistics. He's finally managed to get the growth curve to remind the commonly used hockey stick figure. In August 2009 they reached just a little under 2,5 million hits to their services and this has nicely grown through Q4 of 2009 to about over 6 million hits in December 2009. In January 2010, while the month is not over, they have managed to receive over 25 million hits to their services.
Massively multiplayer online games and Wii Sports are so last season, it seems. Uplause is a new Finnish gaming startup with quite an interesting a concept -- “Crowd Games” or Massively Multiplayer Crowd Playing Game (MMCPG) as the firm calls them. Uplause’s crowd games are developed for large events, where the audience can collectively participate in playing the interactive mini-games, real time, on location. See a quick overview of the concept in the video below.
The Future Just Arrived - Grey Area Is Developing A New Kind Of Mobile Gaming Genre From The Ground Up
Grey Area, a small startup operating in stealth mode, is gearing up to change the cityscape for everybody. I get back to how they are going to do this later in the post, but the story of how this startup came to be is equally interesting.
I first met the guys back in OpenCoffee Helsinki what must be more than a year ago. I remember Mikko Hämäläinen telling me how they were exploring possibilities to set up a company with two of his friends, Andreas Karlsson and Teemu Tuulari, from Ericsson. All three had started at Ericsson in 2003-2004 and met when they were put in the small team with the task of developing an Ericsson network node.
ArcticStartup have earlier reported about a promising Nordic visual search engine initiative – the Stockholm based Spezify.com, a visual multimedia search engine founded by Felix af Ekenstam and Per Persson, digital creatives and freelancers. Their concept have a great potential to grab a big piece of this market.
The Finnish Casual Continent aims to challenge the leading MMOGs with its new Crown of Byzantus browser based game. Speaking of leading MMOGs, one can mention Travia, OGame and Seafight which together have some 60 million registered users. All these games are directly playable from the browser and require no installation to the local computer. While the average revenue per user generated is only 1.5 euros, it is still approximately a 90 million euro market.
During the second half of 2009 Sweden held the EU Presidency, and the cleantech businesses of the country asked themselves: "How can we increase Swedish exports of Green Business?" Their solution was to collect companies in one building in downtown Stockholm, close to government offices and city hall, to allow Ministers, MPs, businesses and other interested people to have a look at what Sweden has to offer in cleantech.
For those who have not found this resource yet, I'd like to turn your attention to the wonderful list compiled by Larry Cheng on international Venture Capitalists who blog. He has compiled a list of the top international VC bloggers. The figures are interesting as the lists are created by average monthly uniques. On top of the list is not suprisingly, Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures with about 100 000 uniques a month visiting his blog.
Larry has also compiled the RSS feeds of the bloggers into Google Reader bundles/OPML files that help faster subscriptions to the blogs.
- Top VC Blogs: Top 10, Top 25, Top 50, Top 100
- US VC Blogs: California, Massachusetts, New York
- Global VC Blogs: Europe, Canada, Israel
- Entire Directory: The Global VC Blog Directory
Here's the link to Global Venture Capital Blog Directory
Photo by Kris Taeleman
The Finnish multi platform game developer RedLynx has announced that it has sold over half a million copies of its popular Trials HD game on the XBOX360 (via Kauppalehti). The game is worth about 1200 Microsoft points which accounts to about 15 USD totalling in 7,5 million USD in sales.
The company itself is also in very good shape financially. RedLynx is already showing some of the success in its finances as 2009 revenues are in the range of three million with a million in profit. Last time RedLynx was profitable was in 2004 with a 356 thousand euro profit. High fluctuations are natural in the gaming business as it takes a long time to build a game and very few are capable of pumping out new games on continuous basis to keep the company constantly profitable.
Daniel Blomquist of Creandum, a Swedish early stage venture capital company, has posted an excellent post to their blog analysing the differences between the Nordic countries to other countries as well as analysing the differences within themselves. In essence, Daniel goes on to confirm what Will Cardwell said some time ago.
Creandum has gathered a lot of knowledge about the Nordic venture capital market over the last two years to understand the ecosystem better and thus be able to work in it better. They now share some of this knowledge with us. Their main findings from the report were:
I know this is old and most of you have probably seen it, but I just had to share this with you. I tumbled into the video again and could not stop watching. If you're having a heavy and hectic day, take a few minutes to watch this. Its worth it and best of all, its true. A Classic!