Arctic15 is getting close and we're getting very excited. For a couple of reasons actually. First of all, this will be the biggest event we've pulled together in a long time. In addition to that, we're going to have very high quality startups in the final, not to mention the speakers we have. We're going to announce the last speaker this week, but trust us - it's going to be hot. So for these, and a ton of other reasons - if you're thinking of coming, please book your ticket today. The summer special sale will end August 19th (or as long as tickets are available).
I had the privilege of interviewing Klaus Nyengaard, the group CEO of Just-Eat, a Danish originated company that currently employs over 400 people with revenues in the tens of millions of euros. First I was supposed to interview Nyengaard for an article on ArcticStartup, but the discussion flowed quite nicely so I decided to make it into a podcast. We touched on quite a few items of Just-Eat's business, including how they see expansion as well as plans for an IPO. We covered Just-Eat just last week and I have to say - very, very few people have reacted which such pace as Nyengaard did (not to mention he's the group CEO) to get back to me on the article.
This guest post is by Tor R. Grønsund. He is the founder of Lingo Social, a lecturer of Entrepreneurship at the University of Oslo, and the writer of the blog Methodologist. Follow him on Twitter at @tor.
As inventors of the object-oriented programming language and the modern GSM technology, you would expect Norway to have the perfect ingredients for a vibrant startup scene. If you, however, search this or any other notable tech blog for news on early-stage Norwegian startups, you would find next to nothing. While Nordic and Baltic startups seems to thrive, why don’t we see any ventures emerging out of Norway, several Nordic and European professionals questioned me. After talking to a handful of entrepreneurs, investors, and scholars about why this is the case, I discovered seven symptoms of the Norwegian start-up ecosystem that might explain why Norway’s tech innovation is lagging behind that of its neighbors.
BrowserTexting is a new startup from Denmark, which enables in a similarly named online service, users to send and receive SMS's from their browser. All you need at this moment is an Android phone to take advantage of the service. The company states that there are no limits on how many messages you can send and also, to how many people - which unfortunately might make it appealing for spammers. Nevertheless, it has interesting features such as the possibility to send group SMS's.
Customers today have an increasing number of ways to interact with brands or physical venues. They can participate in online communities in social media, voice their feedback on Twitter, check-in almost anywhere and benefit from discounted coupons. There is also a growing number of companies that help traditional industries and physical venues interact with their customers. The latest example from this region is Reach.ly, a Latvian start-up that has just launched a service for hotels to reach out to potential customers through Twitter. Their idea is fairly simple: tweets about travel are one of the top themes on Twitter; by capturing specific tweets that feature a town of destination and delivering them in a real-time stream to hotels Reach.ly help hotel administration easily reach out to prospective customers.
We're thrilled to announce that Richard White, the CEO and Co-Founder of Uservoice.com is coming to keynote at Arctic15. Richard has an extensive career as developer and a designer, but still very much from a business perspective. Uservoice.com has been able to disrupt the feedback market with their easy to use solutions. Uservoice also offers a helpdesk solution these days. Below is Richard's full bio and we're very excited to have him with us.
Nokia's been pretty good at pulling off stunts here and there with their devices. However, this one deserves a special mention. The film itself (embedded below) looks pretty normal and is a short story about a sailor. But only towards the end do you begin to understand the sheer size of the whole setup. Do take a minute or two to watch the making of video as well, it's embedded below the actual stop-motion animation itself. For the record, the phone used in the filming was a Nokia N8.
Just Eat is a Copenhagen based online service founded in 2000 that has created an online portal for food delivery. The company recently received another feather to its hat as GigaOM wrote about the company belonging to one of the 5 super star companies out from Europe (for record, other companies in that category were Rovio, Spotify, Vente Privée and Wonga, Northern Europe ftw!). Just Eat is now live in 14 countries and has 15 000 restaurants in its system. It's the world leader in online takeaway ordering.
We're starting a new partnership with Microsoft, as of this month, to discuss how startups are using Microsoft technology to take themselves further. The series is titled Microsoft Bizspark: Hear It From The Startups. Also, just like in the case of Nokia, we're looking to bring you information and content you haven't heard from anywhere else. We're thrilled to have Microsoft working with us! If you have any feedback or thoughts on what you'd want to hear about Microsoft and possibly how they work with startups, don't hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week the news surfaced that ThingLink hired Neil Vineberg as their Chief Marketing Officer. Neil is a PR guru with previous work experiences from leading communication firms like Middleberg Euro and Golin/Harris. Neil previously worked with two other start-ups from Finland: Applifier and Jaiku, which is where the connection probably comes from. At ThingLink he would not only oversee the company's marketing and PR but would be responsible for the start-up's busines development in the US. ThingLink will soon open offices in San Francisco and New York.
Sami Inkinen is perhaps one of the most successful Finnish born entrepreneurs in the Valley. He is the co-founder and Chairman of Board at Trulia, a real-estate service helping people find homes. He gave a talk last week at Aalto Entrepreneurship Society's event and shared some of his advice and experience as an entrepreneur. I was present at the event and I have to say it was one of the best ones I've seen in a long time.
Link: AaltoES Talk With Sami Inkinen (vimeo.com).
TrueCaller is a Swedish startup that tries to eliminate the existence of unknown or unrecognized numbers. We've covered them before on ArcticStartup, but now they've reached a milestone definitely worth covering. The company got in touch with us to announce that they have reached 50 million monthly lookups of unknown numbers on their service. Users can both look up numbers through one of their different mobile apps or then through a web interface.
Hardi Meybaum, one of the co-founders of GrabCAD, gave an interesting talk at Garage48 HUB last week in Tallinn on how to raise money in the US. He also explains a few of his lessons learned in doing so in a short presentation found in the blog post on Garage48 blog.
Hardi drew three rows on the wall “This is what it all depends: social traction, product traction and team traction. If you want to raise money in US, you need to develop 3 things: your network, your product and your team.”
QuestBack AS, the leading European provider of Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) services has announced the acquisition and merger of a German originated company Globalpark. Globalpark was founded in 1999 and has grown quite rapidly. At the moment of the acquisition, the company has also high profile clients such as Continental, Daimler, Nintendo, Sony Music and Bosch to name a few. Questback has been acquiring companies in Europe at an increasing pace in the last few years.
Walkbase is an interesting Finnish startup to say the least. The company has evolved from an Åbo Akademi university project in 2009 to a full grown startup, currently building up business in the US. The university project resulted in 2 filed patents as well as 2 years of R&D. So what exactly is the company doing? It's using intelligent algorithms on data from random check-ins to define spaces. This means that they're able to determine users' location inside buildings in a completely new way, incredibly more accurately than other available technology out there can do (namely GPS). The company has 4 founders and is backed by senior advisors.
Nathan Bowers states quite a controversial statement in his post from last year: "Can you name a web startup that got better after it was acquired?". He says he can't and gives a few examples.
Feedburner: Google folded them into their own login scheme. Google added crummy ad options to feeds. Otherwise the product is stuck. Feels undead.
What they should be working on: improving the display of RSS feeds, making RSS feel more like a human connection between publisher and reader, fixing the fact that when you put an RSS button on your site it’s a dumb, non-stateful button (compare RSS buttons to Tumblr or Twitter follow functionality).
Last night the deadline for Arctic15 startup competition closed. This morning, as I checked the final amount of companies who applied to the competition - my jaw dropped. All in all, 90 companies from the region applied to the competition. While we haven't yet had time to analyze the data on a more detailed level, each country is pretty equally represented in the applications. We'll now dive into analyzing these applications with our secret jury and choose 30 or so companies to compete for a chance to pitch on stage at Arctic15.
Many apps and browser-based maps help you find your way around a town and discover its attractions. You can always check what places visually look like with Google Maps but that does not (yet) apply to indoors areas. CityFinder from Stockholm, Sweden built a new service on top of Google Maps that offers a 360° tour of indoor and outdoor locations of interest like restaurants, museums, shopping malls, hotels and various other attractions. So far the map has only been built for Stockholm but Oslo and Copenhagen would be covered next.
In our quest to search new ways of serving our community better with interesting, educational, inspirational and most of all - useful content, we'll be testing a new type of post in the coming few weeks. The new type of post will be a link to an external website, preceded by "Link" in the title.
Timo Herttua of Dealmachine interviewed Ricky Yean in Silicon Valley earlier this year on finding product/market -fit. Ricky Yean is the CEO and Co-founder of Crowdbooster. Ricky Yean and his co-founder went through Y-Combinator to find the right approach for them to build their service on. He explains in detail how they persevered through many turn downs, but managed to find the right approach in the end. Videos like this are very useful, even though they aren't the length of an academic lecture. We'll try to do our best in the future as well to bring you valuable content on how to improve your chances of success in being an entrepreneur.