Yandex has had an eventful year: it rolled out a whole set of new features, invested into quite a few start-ups and enlisted on NASDAQ, raising almost $1.5 billion. Though after the initial hype of the IPO their shares were in decline. According to Q3 financial results released this week, the company is doing very well.
Their revenues jumped 65% from last year to $161.9 million and their net income grew a staggering 93% over the last 12 months reaching $53.5 million. However, their share of the Russian search market slightly dropped from almost 65% to 62.7%. Lost market share went to Google, who is trying to grow their market share in the region with the help of their browser, Chrome (popular especially among young people). Though, as Arkady Volozh, Yandex's founder and CEO retorted to Reuters: 'In the long run, clear market leadership is more important to financial performance than the magnitude of that lead which is likely to fluctuate over time'.
The digitalization of the publishing industry should make books easier for everyone to consume, but unfortunately ebooks are released into a world of fragmented platforms and formats. Publification, a new Estonian ebook publisher at the Springboard Accelerator, allows anyone with a browser to publish and read handsomely put together ebooks hosted on their HTML5 platform. Their browserbooks beta is set to be released sometime this fall.
Earlier this week at Nokia World, Nokia announced that it had partnered with Rovio and Angry Birds. In practice this means that all new Nokia Asha family phones will have Angry Birds pre-installed on it. A little earlier in the keynote, Stephen Elop announced that Nokia is making 14 phones each second. Think about it. It adds up to 1,2 million phones a day. Most of those phones aren't smart phones - they're phones being built for the emerging markets. Nokia Asha will be replacing the Series 40 phones and therefore, most of the phones Nokia makes - will come with Angry Birds pre-installed.
More Arctic15 keynotes coming up! This one's from Patric Blixt from Rebtel. Blixt is the Chief Marketing Officer at the VoIP operator that is surprisingly little hyped about, considering they're doing tens of millions of revenue only a few years after their founding. We had the honor to have Blixt share his thoughts on marketing and promoting startups in the early part of their growth phase. He talked a lot about the virality loops, which are a key component of Rebtel's success.
Information overload is a big problem online and there are many services that try to solve it: from good old RSS readers to various content discovery platforms like Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon or Reddit to social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook. Two entrepreneurs from Lithuania, Daumantas Dvilinskas and Mindaugas Krisciunas, decided it's time to move content discovery from social to interest graph, making use of all the existing services. That is how Pinevio, a social content discovery platform, was founded a year ago.
Ok, this is a story I was supposed to write earlier this week. First, when I set out to take some screenshots of the game on my iPad I ended up spending a good 30 minutes with the game before forgetting what I was meant to do. The game is addictive as hell and it's called Bike Baron. It's an iPhone and iPad game from Mountain Sheep (produced together with Qwiboo). It's also understandable why it took a while for Kimmo Vihola, the CEO of Mountain Sheep, to get back to my questions too. The game has shot to the top 1 spot in 62 countries, in less than a week. That's faster than Angry Birds!
On Monday Fortumo, the company probably best known for its in-app purchasing provider for Android developers, released an API for cross platform HTML5-supported mobile payments. This will allow app and game developers to easily integrate in-app payments for any mobile HTML5 based application. The service allows billing to customers' phone bills, which can open up a whole range of new customers who don't have credit cards.
Sony annouonced it is taking over the Sony Ericsson mobile phone joint venture by buying out the remaining shares of the Swedish manufacturer for 1.05 billion euros. The handset maker will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corp. This move is seen as a play by Sony to take further unify its games and hardware with its handsets, which have been kept seperate since Sony's 2001 takeover of Ericsson.
International development aid and tech startups is an unlikely but promising combination, as shown by Aspectus Ltd, a Finland-based startup that officially launched its online donation portal, Bank4Hope, on Tuesday.
Donations to developing countries have long been plagued by the lack of transparency and people are often hesitant to give away their hard earned pennies if the money has no concrete destination. This is the problem that Aspectus wants to address. Bank4Hope is the first online portal that allows private and corporate donors to follow their donations in real-time and get direct feedback from the beneficiaries themselves.
Update (3.11.2011): We've updated the information regarding Estonia to better reflect the market situation. After analysing a 3rd party data source (Refresh.lv) we realised Zizu's figures were wrong. They are now portrayed correctly in the data below. Please note that we have not changed the overall market situation of the Baltics, even though it would change slightly due to the change in figures from Estonia. Samad Mukhamedov from Zizu Project contacted us and we've discussed this over e-mail. According to their figures, they are number 2 in the Baltics in September, but due to the sheer difference in figures between Cherry's and those of the research site Refresh.lv's we are unable to replicate this. However, we wanted to bring this up as to make the figures as transparent as possible.
This post is a very comprehensive look into the daily deals, group buying market in the Baltics. We've also talked to the market leader, Cherry Media Group about the situation on the market and how they see it develop in the future. Despite being a fairly established trend in the world of e-commerce, the daily deals industry is far from saturated in the Baltics, but we're going to see consolidation among the players in the future. Cherry Media Group is the largest player in the market by far. According to calculations from the company themselves (that are available to the public, based on the deals the companies have sold), they have 49% market share in the Baltic market. Cherry Media Group operates in all three, Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian, markets.
The idea of putting targeted adds into confirmation emails for golf tee times and other active sporting events now sounds like a no-brainer to me for its ability to directly target active enthusiasts. But Traveas was the first to put it all together. The Stockholm based company didn't take the most direct path to affiliate marketing, but announce they hit some good numbers this quarter.
In September we covered the news that Facebook might be looking to place their server farm in Luleå, Sweden. Tomorrow, it will be confirmed as Facebook's company representatives will be holding a press conference together with local city representatives. The confirmation ends months of debate and rumors which have been circulating since last summer.
Have you ever visited a website and suddenly a person walked across your screen? This isn't the opening sentence of some Tron fan-fiction, I'm talking about interactive advertising. These advertisements walking all over the text you're trying to read are fairly annoying, but to marketers they're delightfully distracting. Latvian startup Videoavatars is providing a service to make these video overlays easier for web developers to create and implement by only adding one line of HTML to their website.
We're ready to begin releasing our videos from Arctic15. The first video we are going to share is the talk Felix Petersen, the co-founder and CEO of Amen, held at Arctic15. He went through 18 points and backed them up with personal experience from his previous ventures and his findings working with Amen. Arctic15 is the annual launch event we organise to bring in world class keynote speakers and showcase the talent from Northern Europe to attendees.
Nokia World, taking place in London, is the annual event of the mobile phone giant to showcase its new devices and also share plans for the future. Nokia has announced two new smart phones, Nokia Lumia 800 and Nokia Lumia 710. In addition to this, Nokia also announced a new smart phone family for the emerging markets - Nokia Asha. This post is a log of live updates from the morning keynote by Stephen Elop.
Gigaom has confirmed that Janus Friis, the Danish cofounder of Skype, is now developing a mysterious service called Vdio that will likely compete with Netflix internationally. Little is know about the company, but the logo simply asks, "Are you watching?"
Advertising is important for independent bloggers as it is so far one of the biggest revenue sources for them. VideofyMe, a Sweden-based start-up, is trying to serve that need by helping independent bloggers monetize their original video content. With their service bloggers can create videos in browser and on the go with their iPhones (Android app to be launched soon), easily publish those videos to Facebook or Twitter and earn some money from pre-roll ads that VideofyMe provides. The start-up has been working in the Swedish market since 2009 and is now going global.
A great travel site that was featured on Time Magazine's 2010 list of the Best 100 Websites somehow slipped our radar. Oslo based Stay.com is a travel website and iPhone/Android app that allows you to create your own personalized travel guide using exclusive information from 114 cities over the world. But Stay isn't just some nice website with travel pictures; Stay.com's cool feature is how easily you can access your sightseeing information offline.
Hot on the heels of Grey Area comes Lokus Digital, a Finnish mobile games startup that plans to take location-based multiplayer games to a whole new level. Founded by three University of Turku graduates, the company’s mission is ambitious - to blur the border between gaming and reality.
Tradeshift, originating from Denmark, has announced a $17M investment round from two Moscow based investors at a valuation of $137M , according to a recent press release. The investors in the round were ru-Net and Kite Ventures. The company stated the money will be used to speed up product development and expand into the North American market.