There has been quite a lot of development in the smartphone and tablet arena with the plethora of new devices making entry into the market. Not only have they evolved how we communicate and access information online, there has been a transformation how these devices have been used as well.
Think of it, when the iPhone invaded the markets it was considered to be the ultimate in mobility, and even more when Android devices made inroads. However that was just the beginning of a whole new transformation, the advent of the iPad changed a lot, at least in having the tablets flood in from all directions.
Open Ocean Capital, founded by some of the individuals that invested into MySQL before it was later sold to Sun MIcrosystems, has raised its third fund - Fund Three. The amount was reached in the first closing. Open Ocean Capital looks to use the funds to invest into startups in "Europe and beyond", pretty much meaning there is no geographical restrictions on those who can apply.
Valkee is the Finland based company developing a headset that beams light onto one's brain. It has enjoyed significant sales, but also significant criticism from many individuals and parties around. Last night, we saw first signs of evidence to prove that the device actually works as told. With the release of the scientific study, the company released a new version of their website as well. The new website discloses that they have studied the device and its effects since 2007 with the aide of 20 scientists in the University of Oulu in Northern Finland.
People like buying stuff. A lot of it. So much that they have abundance of good stuff they don't need. Usually the unsused items are wasting away in atticks, basements or closets. Netcycler built a web solution for this problem: it allows you exchange your old stuff for something you actually need. The start-up was launched last year in Finland and by the end of the year closed a 725 000€ funding round and expanded to Germany. Now the service has been launched in UK: not only because it's a big market but also because 'UK is a nation of hoarders' as their recent market research reveals.
This is definitely making things for Spotify as (unconfirmed) reports rolled out that Facebook will be launching a music streaming service. This is expected to be launched in the first week of June. The service is currently being tested and upon launch will have users of the social network seeing a Spotify icon just beneath the Photos and other links on the left hand side.
Travelmenu is among numerous online travel booking start-ups in Russia that recently closed impressive funding rounds. Runa Capital and Almaz Capital each contributed $800,000 to the project. Alexander Galitsky, Managing Director of Almaz Capital, commented: 'In Travelmenu we found a company that holds a promising position in the emerging market of online tourist services and in the future can claim a large share of that market'. The new investment would be used to attracted more users to the service as well as develop its infrastructure and establish a strong position in Russia and Ukraine.
'The future of print is digital', envisions Issuu, Danish start-up that offers an online publishing platform. They definitely have a point and their numbers support that. Their website delivers 3.4 billion monthly impressions globally and they claim 33 million monthly readers. Essentially the service turns any uploaded document into a beautiful online publication across all digital platforms. They are now encouraging users to build their businesses on top of Issuu with the new Reseller feature.
Experq started as a project during last year's Summer of Startups program organized by Aalto Entrepreneurship Society. It's main goal was to improve customer relations through feedback with the help of easy mass text messages. After the program ended, the start-up continued with focus on R&D and go-to-market activities. Experq have recently closed their first commercial partner (a significant player in travel industry). We just learned that Experq's team sold their company to another team who will continue working on Experq. No details of the deal were disclosed but this makes Experq the first exit from a Summer of Startup's program! To find out reasons for exit and details of the new project, we talked with Jens Sørensen, CEO, and Lauri Hynynen, COO.
Finnish game developer Supercell announced that it secured an investment of $12 million from Accel Partners, the leading global venture capital firm with a wealth of experience in the gaming industry. This is really great news for a gaming company that was founded only in June 2010. Their first game, Gunshine, was released this February as a closed beta and has proven to be quite addictive among the first adopters. Gunshine is described as a game that bridges the gap between browser-based massively-multiplayer games and social games, with deep online gameplay and extensive social features. Now that the product is about to enter open beta and will become available for everyone to play, the investment will help Supercell accelerate its growth, expand its team and also release new games and target new platforms.
Finnish start-up Cabforce entered the the taxi business scene back in 2010 with plans of building an IT solution for taxi entrepreneurs. The platform provided a web-based dispatch and fleet-management tool along with multichannel booking tools for passengers. This also included a user friendly software that helps cab drivers interact with both clients and dispatchers. Earlier last week Cabforce made announcement on expanding its cab business globally.
From an iPhone app to a Facebook application to other platforms, Foodie.fm has made it even easier to start using their service. Now users can try the application directly on Foodie's website without registration. If they decide to create an account, though, it would still take less than 2 min. Today Foodie is coming out with an improved version of their social capabilities. The most important enhancements are a revamped recommendations engine (now better tailored to users' dietary needs and restrictions), more detailed information about products and discovery of new content from friends through a newsfeed.
Not everybody works out to stay healthy but everyone definitely thinks or dreams of living that athletic lifestyle. All you need is a little encouragements and there are services dedicated to that end. Endomondo Sports Tracker, a mobile app that makes your smartphone a fully loaded personal trainer, is taking up the task of encouraging Wisconsin residents to buckle up for a ride.
Today Yandex announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 52,174,088 Class A ordinary shares at $25.00 per share. The shares will begin trading today on the NASDAQ under the symbol “YNDX”. Yandex is selling 15,400,000 shares and certain of its shareholders are selling an aggregate of 36,774,088 shares. Additional 5,217,405 shares were granted as a 30-day option purchase to the underwriters to cover over-allotments, if any, at the initial public offering price. As earlier stated, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank acted as lead underwriters and joint bookrunners on the deal.
Local and foreign developers take an interest in Russian mobile market. It is rapidly growing and given the country's 145+ million population it has a lot of potential. To find out latest trends, figures and facts about mobile and tablet market in Russia we interviewed Kiril Petrov, Managing Director, and Ilya Chernetskiy, Strategy Marketing Manager, from i-Free Innovations. I-Free is a St.Petersburg-based Russian software developer and distributor for mobile apps, e-commerce and marketing. It was founded in 2001 and it operates mostly in Russia and CIS. The company employs 350 people and apart from Russia and CIS has offices in India, China and Brazil.
GigsWiz, a Finnish startup that empowers artists to assist their promoters in selling more concert tickets online, revamped its site layout, making it way more interactive than the previous design. Moreover, as the blog post on the announcement of the new design claims, GigsWiz will soon release a 'shell bomb behind the curtain'. While waiting for it to drop, it is worth taking a closer look at the new design.
The concept of Startup Weekend has probably become familiar to any entrepreneur. The event gathers entrepreneurial-minded developers, designders and business master-minds to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups all in 54 hours. Start-up scene in Denmark has been very active with such events: a total of 6 were hosted over the last few years. Between June 24th-26th this year another such event will take place there, this time with a special twist - Mobile Copenhagen Startup Weekend. Ticket prices vary from 100-450 DKK (~13-60€) and judging by previous events they would go fast.
The field of recruitment has been luring in a lot of start-ups and entrepreneurs. It is going through fundamental changes, opening a lot of possibilities for innovation. Joberate is a new start-up from Finland that has built a service to explore these new trends. The company offers companies distribution of a job opening through various channels: social media, blogs, forums, native job boards and niche sites. Potential clients only need to post a link of their job ad on Joberate's website. Withing a few working days they would receive a proposal outlining the channels and prices Joberate identified as the best ways of distributing the ad. Clients can alter or decline the offer at no cost.
Last year an Iceland-based start-up Transmit launched a brand-managing software as a service tool Brand Regard. The service received undisclosed funding round in December and now has operations both in Iceland and UK. We talked with the company's founder and CEO, Geir Freysson, to learn how the company got started and what lessons can be learned from Geir's experience.
Geir received his education first in Physics in Iceland and then in Computer Science in UK, where he moved to in late 2002. After graduation he initially worked at British Telecom as a researcher. However, with time he got tired of 'writing reports that no one reads'. Around 2006, when the Web 2.0 started getting real traction in Europe, he got interested in doing something online so he quit his job at BT, moved to London and started working as a 'free-lance tech'. He also got involved in a couple of local start-ups as CTO but none of them took off. Though it was that experience that prompted Geir to build his own company.
Venture Cup has been doing a great deal to help entrepreneurship in the Nordics: competitions, events, mentoring. Their latest project - Venturecup.tv - is perhaps the greatest resource for and by Danish entrepreneurs. The concept itself has been around for a while: the first few videos about Cleantech start-ups appeared on Venturecup.tv's blog more than a year ago. However, the platform today appears as a fresh take on entrepreneurial story-telling. Venturecup.tv offers short and catchy videos (in English) about Danish start-ups and entrepreneurs, including latest trends and useful advice from experienced people in the field.