A couple of weeks ago we covered Rebtel and their improvement to their iPhone application. Little did we know that last week they came out officially with a whole lot more than just free calls between iPhone users, as we titled the post. Rebtel has announced some cool new technologies to their application as well as making the free calls platform independent.
For the past couple of days I've been looking at different online solutions to setup a very simple online storefront to sell one physical item on behalf of our rugby club. While it may seem an easy and a quick task to do, it's surprised me with the amount of things I have to look into, not to mention the amount of insufficient solutions on the market. The work of setting up this storefront has opened my eyes to the fact that there's still a lot of room to set up a startup in the e-commerce space.
I'm not saying there aren't good solutions on the market, but most of them are aimed at those who want to run e-commerce sites full time with hundreds of SKUs. My guess is that if you look at only sports clubs, there are probably thousands of them who have about 10 SKUs they'd like to sell online, just in Finland.
While the increasing number of innovations from small R&D companies have made our lives easier, the process to legally register new products has become much more complex. Between 2003 and 2008 the number of patent filings has nearly doubled to 6.37 million filings per year, making it difficult for companies to research prior art before filing their patent application.
Some online tools like Google Patents have made aspects of this process easier and cheaper, but still lack the depth and quality of an expensive patent lawyer. The Estonian startup, CrowdIPR, seeks to bridge this gap by introducing crowdsourced knowledge from technology experts into this specialized area.
Thinglink has announced a printable version of its image tagging service called Rich Media Notes, which gives owners of NFC enabled devices the ability to interact with physical objects such as posters, flyers, photos and other print media.
Arctic15 was held almost a month ago and we decided to summarise what the 15 awesome finalists actually pitched and released on stage. This is a little bit of a promotion to our upcoming videos of all the pitches we're beginning to release soon on ArcticStartup from our event. So browse through the 15 finalists presented below in alphabetical order, presented in their own words.
Run by Finns, from all over the world, GamesMadeMe is looking to ride the HTML5 tech wave all the way. Their first game, Dollar Isle, is now out. There's a lot more in the pipeline and we talked to Juha Paananen, one of the founders and also the CEO of the company, to learn more. Paananen himself lives in Singapore. He used to work there, but decided to start working with a startup as the chance came up. The company is relatively young, it was founded in May this year and it's registered to Finland. They've also raised a small seed round from Lifeline Ventures.
The path to becoming an entrepreneur anywhere is wrought with obstacles. Most of the concerns come down to money and time but if you happen to live outside of your home country you also need to think of visas. One often hears horror stories about getting an entrepreneurship visa to the US. Here is my experience with Finland.
The story starts similar to many foreigners: I moved to Finland from the safety and comfort of my home country because of my girlfriend. I was lucky enough to find work despite my non-existent Finnish in a big international company. All was good until I started being more and more interested in entrepreneurship. Besides, things at work were not going so well, there was a lot of hushed-up talk about job cuts.
‘The future of print is digital’, we think the phrase has become obvious and clichéd but Issuu’s vision has become a striking reality. Today the Danish startup allowed its users to transform their print documents into ads with AdPages.
The AdPages service brings a concept similar to promoted tweets on Twitter just that it brings the same to documents across its platform. Users can promote their documents in special promotion slots on other related documents’ pages. Advertisers can set daily spending for ads and are only charged whenever a visitor clicks on the ad slot on the site. Meaning you don’t pay for impressions but clicks, which ensures users visit your product (a document in this case).
If you've ever been to a conference you know how important the buzz around it is. You need to follow tweets to check what people around you are thinking or view check-ins to see who's actually attending. The same applies to a lot of events, be it concerts or sports events. The problem is, though, that there is a growing number of ways to interact with others around an event but no single platform that would combine all of that rich content. Gignal has an answer for that. Founded in Denmark by Natasha Friis Saxberg, the start-up offers a social media billboard for events that presents all social buzz around the happening in one place (check-ins, tweets, comments, pictures and videos).
Bloomberg is reporting today that Rovio has announced it is preparing for an IPO in 2012. “We’re not ready to file for an IPO tomorrow. Maybe a year from now.” Peter Vesterbacka, the Mighty Eagle of the company said on Bloomberg TV. He also went on to state that the company is insanely profitable. The valuation of the company is more than a billion dollars, sources close to Bloomberg state.
BBC’s Global iPlayer iPad app, originally launched in July in 11 European countries, is now available in Finland, Sweden and Denmark. For 6.99 €/month or an optional annual subscription of 64.99 €, users will get access to BBC’s extensive archives from the last 70 years of broadcasting.
Finland has one of those peculiar western cultures where failure isn't tolerated. Failure isn't tolerated socially nor is it tolerated in the society at large. One of the most common outcomes of starting high growth businesses is that most of them go bankrupt. This means, that failure is at the core of high risk entrepreneurship. This is something that hasn't been accepted in Finland and the National Fail Day (in Finnish), celebrated today, is the first public awareness act to change this.
The annual Game Developer Conference Online is on its way on the new continent. Every year the conference also looks at the gaming scene to award the best online games out there. This year, Mojang with their Minecraft game and Grey Area with their Shadow Cities mobile game were victorious and won their categories. Mojang actually took home two awards (little over 6 months ago they took home 5 awards at GDC).
The conference is probably amongst the more reputable ones out there. It's attended by thousands of people and the top gaming companies of the world. Therefore it's a great place to be winning.
Radio is one of the few mass media technologies that has not been widely explored by start-ups. While many companies build services around music and news, few combine both in smart ways. Tuubio, a start-up from Helsinki that has been in stealth mode for the last 5 months, has just launched their service - a personalized radio app. For the moment it is available only on Android phones or tablets with a browser-based client and an iOS app coming up soon.
We interviewed Emil Eifrém of Neo Technology about a lot of things. He's the CEO and co-founder of the company and they just announced a nice $10.6M Series A round from Fidelity Growth Partners, Conor Venture Partners and Sunstone Capital. Neo Technology provides NoSQL, graph database solutions to its clients. Their clients are large, very large actually and they've signed on one Fortune 20 company as well.
Ambadoo is a new iPhone app coming to you from Malmö, Sweden. The first impression of the service was that it reminds me a lot of Jaiku. But it is a lot better and nicer to use and it's also available for the iPhone. Just tells us how much Jaiku revolutionised the industry with its service, if it's still remembered so many years after Google shut it down.. Having said that - Ambadoo is very much something I could use on a day to day basis.
Spotify has just announced its expansion to Denmark. It's probably been one of the countries with a lot of anticipation for the Swedish company to announce its expansion there. While Denmark isn't a huge market place, it's definitely a step Spotify needed to take - it needs to work in all markets to make it a consumer favorite.
Geolocation services are on the rise: more and more start-ups are building applications around check-ins, places, events and social media. Hyperclap, a Moscow-based start-up, decided to join the trend and offer their take on how best to combine all those aspects in one app. Their iPhone app lets you follow locations like bars, restaurants and clubs and instead of checking-in to those places users report from locations through messages and photos. The idea behind Hyperclap is to give a tool for movers and shakers to see what's happening in their favorite locations when they are there or when they are away. The app also generates trending spots to display the most popular places in towns.
Spotify's revenue in 2010 grew some 458 percent, according to public filings in Britain. The company financials were first reported by New York Times. The company's subscription business model brought in some $71 million while advertising generated $28 million. Despite the growing revenue, the company invested heavily into expansion and development (not to mention artist earnings) - losses for the year were $42 million, up from $26 million in 2009.
We have long lived with the word e-commerce and it won’t be wrong to request for a change in the naming convention, especially regarding social networks. Probably something like social commerce would do the trick. This is largely owing to Facebook, the network that has made brands more social. MySellr, is an Indonesian startup with Swedes on board, that tends to make the connection more important.
The startup provides an application within the largest social network, enabling anyone to start a fully functional e-commerce website from their fan pages on Facebook. This basically takes the challenge of distribution out of the question as you're around a lot of people. 800 million to be exact.