The Story Of Wooden Labyrinth 3D

The Wooden Labyrinth 3D was one of the more popular Finnish mobile apps before the arrival of Angry Birds from Rovio. To this date, Wooden Labyrinth has been downloaded some 10+ million times. The app was developed in 2009 by Elias Pietilä in February 2009. We've covered Elias Pietilä before when he ran into problems with a game called Pajazzo with the Finnish Moneygaming Association (RAY). We talked to Pietilä about the success of the game.

Since the launching of the game, it has generated a couple of hundred thousand euros for Pietilä. In the beginning of 2009 the game was immediately being sold for a few hundred euros a day. After giving out the free version of the game, the paid version improved sales as well.

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Scoopshot Revolutionizes Media Photography

Scoopshot is a service by a Helsinki, Finland based startup PS2 Media Group Inc that changes the way media companies work with photos. It's a lot said, but I'm willing to back it up as a person running a media company myself. In all simplicity, Scoopshot makes smartphone owners photographers for media companies. Users can take newsworthy photos and send them to the service through the Scoopshot mobile app and sell them at a set price. Journalists writing stories can purchase the photos at the price the photographer has set. If they wish to purchase the exclusive right to use the photo, they pay ten times the set price. I talked with Petri Rahja and Jussi Liimatainen about the service and what the company is up to.

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Qminder Wins Garage48 Tartu

Last weekend, another 48-hour developing competition was held in Tartu. The Garage48 event saw lots of interesting projects being pitched, planned and completed. Yet again, looking at the summary of the projects - Garage48's attendants showed they have what it takes to become an entrepreneur. Not only are the ideas worthwhile executing, some of them managed to gain traction over the weekend already.

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Zendesk Gives Back To The Community

We often hear that once you succeed in something or achieve a goal, it's important to give back to the community that helped you get there. But how can you do that in practice? Zendesk, a start-up from Denmark that provides cloud-based help desk software, found their answer: they are opening a new development center in Denmark and are offering a year-long free subscription to their service for start-ups affiliated with certain incubators like Seedcamp, Startupbootcamp, HackFwd, TechStars, Startup Weekend and more. As Mikkel Svane, CEO, commented: 'Having been a small startup ourselves in Denmark, we recognize and are thankful for everyone who helped us along the way'.

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RIM Strengthening Forces In Northern Europe

I had a chance to talk to Paul Lucier yesterday at The Conference held in Malmö. Paul Lucier works as the Managing Director for Northern Europe and Russia at RIM. He's stationed in Stockholm, Sweden and working from there to build RIM's presence into the region. Everyone who's had their toes in the mobile streams long enough know that RIM is a serious player in the market with their Blackberry products and services. Yesterday I got the chance to see a few of their products and play around a little with the new Playbook that will hit shelves this September in Sweden. What's also good to know is that RIM is looking to build up its presence in the region, not only to sell more devices, but also attract more developer talent.

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Startups: Deadline For Arctic15 VC Meetings End Of This Month!

Startups, we're closing the signups to the VC matchmaking event, held on Friday September 23rd, at the end of August. This is because we have to book the meetings with the VCs, many whom are flying in from overseas. Therefore we ask you to sign-up immediately, if you'd like to have the chance to meet international VCs coming to Arctic15.

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Tuokio: Coin-Op Games Experience on iPad With Friends

A new gaming start-up has recently appeared on the Finnish start-up scene. Tuokio is based in Tampere and their core business are mobile games for everyday gatherings. To be more precise, they develop a portfolio of games for iOS devices. Founded in spring 2010, they released three games so far and are developing another game at the moment. Their games so far include King of Opera, Raiding Company and Blond vs Brunette Racing . We talked with one of the founders, Jouni Salonen, to learn more about what they do.

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Slidefy To Share Conference Presentations

Slidefy is a new Finnish service that targets a niche need with their offering. In essence, it's a slide sharing solution, but targeted at conference organisers and the like. Slidefy will work in such a way that conference organisers collect attendees' e-mails before the event and send them a link to the material the speaker has provided in advance. Then, during the presentation, users can focus on the actual presentation and not jot down points the speaker makes.

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Nokia Goes NFC: First NFC Enabled App In Ovi Store

A recent update to Nokia's Symbian operating system (called Anna) activates the NFC chip installed in their C7 phone and the first application featuring NFC technologies has just been added to Ovi Store. Xchange app lets user exchange business cards, photos and other information by touching other NFC-enabled devices. After the touch, information is sent to users by email and contact details are automatically saved in the contacts section. Symbian's update signifies Nokia's efforts to reassure developers and consumers that the company is not abandoning the platform and is going to support it until at least until 2016. 

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Arctic15 Less Than A Month Away

Arctic15, the one day conference that will see 21 international speakers on stage in Helsinki, Finland talking entrepreneurship and startups, is less than a month away. Now's a very good time to buy those tickets and confirm your attendance (you're also helping us by letting know of your arrival well in advance!).

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Erply Introduces NFC Enabled Magnetic Card Reader

Erply, one of the most promising start-ups from Estonia, provide software for small and medium-sized retailers who have physical stores. We have not covered the company for almost a year and meanwhile it has been quitely growing. From 2,000 business customers in March 2010, the company grew to 20,000 retailers who daily process over $2.5 million in transactions, according to the Wall Street Journal. Today Erply announced the launch of a magnetic credit card reader that is also NFC-enabled and is fully integrated with its existing cloud-based software. The device is priced at $50 and Erply will also charge 1.9% transaction fee, which is smaller than what its biggest competitor in the US, Square, charge their customers (2.75% per swipe).

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A Deeper Dive Into Supercell

I talked to Supercell's CEO Ilkka Paananen on where the company stands today and a little about their future plans as well. Supercell is a hot Finnish gaming company that closed a $12 million series A from Accel in May. We covered the company in February initially and it's come incredibly far since then. Supercell employs some 40 people in two locations and its Gunshine game has shown some incredible traction.

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Snipbase Is The Ads Scrapbook

Hopeinen Norsu (Finnish for Silver Elephant) is a Finnish company developing a service called Snipbase. Snipbase is a sort of a scrapbook for ads. This means internet users can click and save interesting ads and companies through online ads, for example, to Snipbase's database and come back to later see what exactly the company had to offer. Not only does it work online, the company tells us the service will work with print ads as well.

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Skype Acquires GroupMe For $85 Million

Skype, now owned by Microsoft, has announced that it will acquire GroupMe, a 16-month old group messaging startup for $85 million. There are no public statements on the price of the deal, but AllThingsD has come up with the figure referring to sources close to the negotiations. The startup was founded based on work done in a hackathon at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York in May 2010. During the 16 months of its existence, GroupMe has raised $850 000 in seed financing and later $10.6 million in venture financing. Needless to say, the payout for the investment in such a short time period is fantastic.

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Experiences And Learnings In Selling New Innovations To Companies

Editor's note: This post is a guest post by Ykä Marjanen, sharing his thoughts as an entrepreneur in selling new and innovative products early on in the startup life cycle. If you'd like to get your thoughts and experiences out to our community, contact us at editor@arcticstartup.com.

After 10 years of so called professional life I‘m ready to make honest analyses of my experiences in business, especially in the startup world. I’ve been working around innovative products and services my whole career, first as a researcher and the last five years in two startups as a co-founder, owner, manager, programmer and a salesman. I’m an engineer and not so fond of selling. But, when selling new innovations, I believe that the most convincing salesmen are the engineers. We just need to better understand the buyers and their reasons to buy, and also motivate ourselves to go out to meet them.

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Barisma Connects People To Bars, Clubs And Cafes

Ever wanted to discover what clubs, cafes and bars your town has to offer and what kind of people hang out in those locations? On Barisma you can find those answers. The Finnish start-up has been developing the concept and the website since 2009 and now it has gone live. For users Barisma is a search engine for venues with social networking features. You can either casually search for venues, discounts and people without registering, or engage with a service further by creating a profile, uploading rich media, commenting on content and connecting with new friends. For venues the website offers a marketing channel where bars, clubs or cafes can create and maintain their profiles, interact with their guests online, promote their events and offer discounts for Barisma members. 

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Well Done Arctic Valley!

The startup ecosystem in the Arctic Valley (pardon us for our selfish term) hasn't always been a very well functioning one. Not that it is extremely functioning today, we're increasingly getting more evidence that the world is noticing your startups, your efforts and most importantly - your passion to change the world.

This week Wired UK wrote a piece on the hottest startup cities in Europe. Three of the nine startup cities in the outlined story are from the region; Tallinn, Stockholm and Helsinki.

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Fluid Interaction Wins In Nokia's Calling All Innovators

Fluid Interaction is a Finnish tech startup working to innovate in the space of user interfaces. We covered the company back in April as they released Different Tack, a new way to view one's Twitter stream. Today they announced the company won Nokia's Calling All Innovator's Social Media category with their Different Tack app. This resulted in $150 000 as a cash prize.

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Mobile Backstage Launches A Facebook App, Names David Hazan CMO

Music fans are bands' most precious resource. They can take artists to fame and earn them money. Creating and maintaining a strong fanbase is, therefore, extremely important for any band. Mobile Backstage offers artists directly engage with their core fans through a fully customized mobile app. Now their solution is also available as a Facebook app, though for the moment it is in free invite-only beta. Artists can apply for an invite here. Steam Republic, the company behind Mobile Backstage, also hired a new Chief Marketing Officer - David Hazan, a seasoned professional in music industry that would help the Helsinki-based start-up establish presense in the US.

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Felix Peterson Of Amen Coming To Arctic15

We're extremely thrilled to announce that Felix Petersen is coming to Arctic15! Felix founded a successful location based startup, one of the first that got global traction in 2006 and grew it until 2008 when it got sold to Nokia. After that, he spent a few years at Nokia Nokia working at various positions until heading back into the wild to work on his next startup - Amen.

Amen is a startup in stealth mode and not a lot of it is known. However, it is reported that Ashton Kutcher together with Madonna's manager (and Index Ventures) have invested around $2 million into this Berlin based venture.

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