Groupon announced this week that they are going to partner with one of Russia's biggest social networks - Odnoklassniki. This means the social network's users will soon be able to buy Groupon's discounted deals with one-click without having to leave the Odnoklassniki website. Odnoklassniki is owned by the Mail.ru Group, which in its turn is owned by DST, which last year invested $135M in Groupon. With so many overlaps, it is not surprising that Groupon made a deal with that particular social network, even though it is not the biggest in Runet (Vkontakte is).
It has barely been a couple of weeks when we last reported of WOT achieving a milestone with 2 million registered users and there is one more news already. The Web of Trust might have grabbed attention of all those users but it appears to be in hot waters right now.
Duunitori ("job-market square" in English) is a service by the Finland based Skyhood. It's a recruiting service with a few interesting twists and it has gone head on with the traditional household names in the market. However, the most interesting aspect of the service perhaps is that in all quietness, it has become the largest job listing service in Finland, according to Thomas Grönholm, co-founder of Skyhood.
Stardoll, a virtual environment for teenage girls, has recently announced a partnership deal with JCPenney, one of America's leading retailers, to launch a new line of Stardoll-branded clothing and accessories. The line is to be launched during this year's back-to-school season and it will be available in 300 JCPenney department stores across US as well as on their webstore jcp.com. The partnership is a major deal for Stardoll and a logical extension of their services. Millions of teenage girls have been using the website to create and fashion virtual dolls - bringing a similar experience into the real world can prove to be very lucrative. On top of that, TechCrunch has reported that Stardoll is about to enter a licensing deal with a toy-manufacturer Mattel to produce branded toys from the game. Stardoll is clearly onto something here.
Applifier certainly sprung up some interesting competition in Facebook as it revealed just how successful it has been. Blog!Flow has taken this same concept to blogs, who would like to receive more visbility and readers. In short, they too, are promising new readers for free who use the Blog!Flow banner on their website. The cross promotion network takes some of these advertisements and sells them onwards to those wanting to buy more visibility.
The service has been launched into closed beta by the same team that worked on Videoflow. Teppo Hudson leads the team and we talked to him about their plans and where Blog!flow stands currently.
One major issue with a smartphone lover is that of heading into a block with a particular device. Which is one major reason why some hardcore smartphone addicts are found switching from device to another or always looking for a way add an extra functionality to utilize the power of the device. There has to be something more substantial that we must be able to do with smartphones, like the iPhone, Android based devices or those from Nokia. That’s what folks at Montroller think.
Back in December we shared an interview with Martin Koppel, CEO of Fortumo regarding the deal with Rovio. Fortumo is a mobile payment company operating across 30 countries helping online games, developers with monetizing their applications or games with its easy to use and instant mobile payment service. The news today however is that of Bad Piggy Bank is now ready for integration.
Supercell is a relatively recently founded startup to say the least. It was founded in the summer of 2010 by gaming professionals with experience from Remedy, Digital Chocolate and Sulake. The team members have experience in publishing 165 games on 12 different platforms so I'm at ease to call this bunch a group of heavyweight veterans. But like real artists, these veterans can ship - today, they've released a roleplaying game called Gunshine.net. It's an isometric 3D game built on flash. Just to remind you, the company was founded a little over 6 months ago so they've achieved a lot. Gunshine.net takes place in the near future, in Dawnbreak City, of whose control Labycore mega-corporation and other opposition groups are fighting for.
Digital image improvement or enhancement sounds heavy and immediately makes you feel that you need to be some Photoshop or other software’s expert. I for one accept the fact that Photoshop is a nightmare for me to learn, forget about being good. I have wasted a good amount of time performing Google searches to find a good tool to do digital image improvement. I will save that effort for a few readers and share PhotoEQ a pretty easy to use DIY software to edit or improve your images.
ZenRobotics is a technology startup from Finland working in an area that many would easily overlook. The company is using artificial intelligence and machine vision to sort out recyclable material from garbage. There's a lot of fantastic progress behind the concept already; they have a killer team, funding and paying customer that happens to be the largest environmental company in Europe. Let's take a look at all this in more detail.
A couple of weeks ago we brought to your attention Founder2be - a tool for finding fellow entrepreneurs to work on your start-up idea. Turns out many of you embrased the concept, giving the start-up an impetus to tweak the service and deliver some exciting updates. Having got some feedback, the team behind Founder2be sat through a weekend of coding and as a result the service has a lot more social features: from commenting on and rating ideas to improved profiles. Oliver Bremer, founder and CEO commented: 'In addition to enabling people to specify their skills and how much time they can contribute to a project, we also included in a field where they could choose how big a financial contribution they could make given the right team and idea. The surprise was that already after 48h, there was over €100,000 in the system!'
All About Symbian's Rafe Blandford was on Sunday in Barcelona to listen to Stephen Elop and Jo Harlow talk on how Nokia plans to transition to Windows Phone over the years and what this eventually means to the developers and consumers. Naturally, many feared that no one would be interested in developing software for the platform anymore now that it has been publicly announced that its development won't be continued indefinitely.
According to Mobile News, T-Mobile is introducing something all mobile operators Europe wide should adopt to increase data usage, something mobile service developers would certainly applaud. At Mobile World Congress 2011, Deutsch Telekom Chief Technology and Innovation Officer Edward Kozel has announced fixed fees for data roaming for its customers - anywhere in Europe.
MobileBeat announced yesterday that GetJar has raised a whopping $25 million in its third round of financing. GetJar's founder and CEO Ilja Laurs is from Lithuania, but the company has been headquartered in the US for many years. This round of financing came from Tiger Global Management and Accel Partners. Accel Partners also led the two previous rounds. With the third round of financing, GetJar has raised in total $42 million.
Distimo, a Dutch company that does app store market analysis, has recently published a study comparing Android Market and Windows Phone 7 Marketplace in US for January 2011. The reason those two specific mobile app stores were chosen was because both had the highest growth rates during the last month: Windows Phone 7 (WP7) Marketplace rose by 30% and Android by 18%. The study also included Apple, Blackberry, Ovi and Palm appstores to compare with Android and WP7 marketplace. With the announcement of Nokia's and Microsoft's new cooperation, the study is well-timed and brings out some fascinating trends in the mobile appstores.
I recall mentioning in my earlier post about Skype adding 350 jobs to its firm and how it had a lot of other markets to expand into other than Europe and Asia. Not all markets offer high 3G bandwidth penetration, a reason why many mobile users aren’t inclined to use Skype. People at the firm are aware of this and they have been working out partnerships to leverage all sorts of markets and make Skype a more global mobile communication service.
Last week, the Danish based Podio closed a relatively large $4 million round in Series A funding. Sunstone Capital led the round. According to Tommy Ahlers, the CEO of Podio, the funds will be used to grow the sales of the company and also finance key hires.
Podio is a new kind of an enterprise software, looking to disrupt how people work. The service has many different features to take an organisations work routines online and ease them with simple to use tools. Podio's tools can be used in a variety of ways - from company intranets and extranets, project management and recruiting solutions, to CRM, business intelligence and company-wide social platforms. We talked to Tommy Ahlers about where Podio is currently and how it intends to grow during 2011.
Last week we wrote about Mr. Goodliving and its parent company RealNetworks closing down the company in Finland. The downside of the whole episode is that close to 50 people will lose their jobs. The company is playing the game until the end in a very stylish way. Today we noticed that instead of hiring new talent, they're showing the list of people they are firing. A great way to find new homes (in the meaning of work) for the talented individuals inside the company.
Last week PayPal announced that it has opened its micropayments solution to the public globally. In essence, it's a better way for developers, content creators and publishers to charge for small amounts of content quickly. PayPal has designed this new service to be more useful for small, quick payments instead of the traditional way of purchasing and paying for services with PayPal where you have to leave the original website you were on.
Remember TrueCaller? A Swedish startup that we covered last year, a application that removes anonymity from any call that you may receive. That’s one of the most worrying things when it comes to calls from unknown numbers. TrueCaller simply takes charge of finding the identity of the caller and let you know who the person is.