We covered Advant Games, a Finnish money gaming company, back in 2009 about their development and how they're building their company. Back then they had just Veikkaus, the Finnish lottery monopoly, as their client, but today work with all three Finnish money gaming companies and a a handful of foreign companies as well.
This week Spotify found itself under attack from indie labels, resulting in at least one of them (Century Media) taking their content off the music-streaming service. Their biggest criticism: Spotify pays next to nothing to independent labels. The owner of a New York-based independent label Mode Records, Brian Brandt, also shared that for 11,335 streams through Spotify they earned a meagre $36.98 (which still needs to be divided between composers and artists). In comparison, physical sales (which, according to Brian, still make up most of their sales) bring in $3-4 per sold CD. Thus, indendent label owners say in chorus, Spotify is destructive for their business. As Brian puts it: 'While the major labels and pop music may be able to reap a real income stream from Spotify simply due to the sheer volume of streams, the Spotify model is not financially sustainable for any indie niche label'.
Patric Blixt is the Chief Marketing Officer of a Swedish VoIP telephony company called Rebtel. He's been with the company since 2007 and will come to Arctic15 to share the story of the company and how they've been able to grow their company with such high growth rates. Earlier this year we interviewed the CEO of Rebtel, Andreas Bernström and he revealed that the company will do around $75 million in revenues this year. We'll be sure to ask the latest figure on that in September.
Bloomberg has a story on Rovio, the makers of Angry Birds, that they'd be looking for financing at $1.2B valuation. Bloomberg refers to two people familiar with the matter, but does not disclose who they are. What makes this financing talk a little more interesting (not that it would need to be at such valuation) is that Rovio is said to be in talks with a company in the entertainment business to take on a strategic investment. Similar offers have been rejected from large institutional investors Bloomberg's sources said.
Valkee is a Finnish technology company that has enjoyed a very controversial ride in the last year as people have questioned it for scientific backing regarding its claims. Valkee has created a device that shines light into the ear - somewhat like mobile music player where music is replaced by light. Today, Valkee has announced scientific findings to back their initial claims.
AaltoES is one of the more active organisers of different entrepreneurial activities in the Helsinki region in Finland and last night saw one of its programs coming to an end with the Demo Day of Summer of Startups 2011. This year Summer of Startups was organised for the second year running and it needs to be said out clearly that the quality and level of ambition these teams had this year, had tremendously increased from last year. During the event, I tweeted that it wouldn't be a surprise if some of the startups got acquired soon.
Kristian Segerstrale, the former CEO of Playfish, a social gaming company before it was sold to Electronic Arts for $300 million back in 2009. Today he leads the Playfish team in EA and invests through some smaller funds, like that of Lifeline Ventures here in Finland. Playfish wasn't Segerstrale's first startup. Before Playfish he sucessfully build up Macrospace that since then changed to Glu Mobile and went onto IPO into Nasdaq. Segerstrale was on stage yesterday at the Summer of Startups demo day event. He was energetic, inspiring yet very easy to approach - everything you'd expect from a man of such success and experience.
Monetizing content online is a wet dream of many content-creators. Some are putting their creations behind a pay wall, while others grudgingly offer their content for free, hoping for advertising revenue or spill-over effects in other business areas. Some start-ups, however, took it upon themselves to fight the trend and help content-creators monetize their creations without paywalls or other tricks. They simply offer viewers of the content micropayment options to reimburse creators for their troubles. Favor is one of such services that recently emerged from Rovaniemi, Finland. Users can publish any kind of content on Favor's platform (text, audio, video, pictures), share it elsewhere on the internet with a link and encourage followers to 'Return the Favor' - give a small donation (starting from $0.10) to the content creator. 90% of that money goes directly to the author of the content, the rest 10% goes to Favor.
Melt is a newly announced PHP Framework from Sweden. The framework has been coded by the team that was formerly known as Omnicloud, today the whole company has been renamed as Melt. The team includes Hannes Landeholm, Per Jonsson and Daniel Marklund. The same team is actually behind the web app Recurringly, which is still to be launched.
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).