Last week's Thursday saw Mark Zuckerberg present a ton of new things at the Facebook developer conference f8 that will hit Facebook in the coming months. One of the additions, that was immediately enabled was the deep partnership with Spotify. For those who love to listen to music in a social way, this is heaven. You're able to dive into your friends' music habits whenever you're in Facebook. There are a couple of downsides to this and the most important one isn't the fact that your Facebook stream is a flush of Spotify updates. It's actually the fact that with the integration - Spotify has disabled any other sign-in method and now requires new users to have Facebook accounts. This is a huge gamble for the Sweden based music company that could backfire on it.
Endomondo, the company developing a mobile sports tracker application by the same name, has announced its $2.3 million financing round from Denmark based SEED Capital. Endomondo was launched in September 2008. The company's mobile app has gained substantial traction since February, when we reported it reached a previous significant milestone of 2 million downloads.
Just-Eat, a Danish originated, world's largest online takeaway ordering service has expanded to South America through a partnership with RestauranteWeb. The partnership in practice means that Restaurante Web will become part of the Just-Eat Group. The partnership will give Just-Eat a pool of over 1000 restaurants in Brazil initially.
RestauranteWeb was founded in 2004 by Luiz Jares and Marco Corradini. Jares commented “We’ve always known the huge potential online takeaway has in Brazil, and as the leading provider of food ordering services we are in a prime position to capitalise. Being part of the Just-Eat Group means that we will be able to offer both existing and new restaurant partners an enhanced service that will allow them to serve more customers than ever before.”
Last weekend Rovio and Uplause, two Finnish companies, premiered the Angry Birds Crowd Game at the Formula 1 race in Singapore. Uplause is a company creating differnent kinds of massive multiplayer games - the kind that you play in large stadiums and outdoor events, for example, together with thousands of players simultaneously. More than 2.5 million people have participated in the games so far, according to Uplause.
Close to 400 startup enthusiasts from all over the region came together in Helsinki to witness 15 stellar pitches from companies on stage at Arctic15 yesterday. The day was all about winning and despite the hard choice of the jury to pick one winner - all the companies already won, by getting tons of coverage and visibility on stage for their products and services. In addition to this, Amazon Web Services decided to give a substantial amount of credit to all the 15 finalists (we'll contact you directly regarding the details on this).
We'll be resuming our coverage tomorrow as today everyone is at Arctic15!
The Arctic15 mobile app has now been made available. The mobile app is, bowing to web based applications, all HTML5 and it's been put together by the wonderful team at Webcrumbz. Their team will also be at Arctic15, so go say hi to them! The app is your digital guide to the event and through that you can check the schedule, speakers, sponsors and also send questions to our speakers. Furthermore - it's up to the audience to decide on the audience favorite, who will win 5000€ of sponsorship from ArcticStartup. All this is available in the mobile app.
Head over to http://m.arctic15.com on your mobile to check it out - voting will be enabled tomorrow morning!
pa·tron - One that supports, protects, or champions someone or something, such as an institution, event, or cause; a sponsor or benefactor.
We're extremely proud to announce that Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade of Finland, Mr. Alexander Stubb, will act as the patron of Arctic15. This is very exciting as our efforts seem to resonate well in the top end of the Finnish politics. Even though Arctic15 has no political affiliations and we strive to keep it that way, having Alexander Stubb, one of the most international and active stars of the Finnish political scene supporting our event is simply put - fantastic!
Just as a reminder to everyone coming to Arctic15, we're fully sold out so come early - registrations will open 8.00. We've had no last minute changes, so everything is in order for a blow out event!
Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, has launched a new financing program to support growth companies developing mobile services and applications - Tempo. Having followed Tekes for quite some time and knowing how they operate, one could easily argue that Tempo is a sign of the organisation changing tracks fundamentally and putting most of its feedback into practice. I'll go through a few examples below.
First and foremost, "as agility and customer development are essential in mobile service development, companies must be able to launch a minimum viable product to find out whether there is a customer need for it". This comes in fact from the Tempo pitch itself. They're promoting MVPs as a way to find out if there is demand for services the companies are offering.
There’s a lot of noise lately about whether or not mobile apps are sustainable, or have any future. But so far, and despite some real challenges and issues, mobile apps have been nothing short of success.
The challenges for developers working on mobile apps range from visibility and pick up rates to loyalty and monetization. The majority of revenue generated by app stores today still comes from the top 100 apps and the “long tail” is often ignored. As the demand for smartphone real estate increases, the cost of acquiring new mobile customers is rising rapidly as well. Seamless payment and customer acquisition methods are other big challenges that apps are struggling to solve. Not to mention how inhomogeneous the two leading platforms - iOS and Android- are.
While none of the Nordic or Baltic countries have made it to the very top, despite our wishes, we are proud to see Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and Finland in the top 10 of the latest ICT Development Index (IDI). These global rankings come from the Measuring the Information Society 2011 report, published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). ITU is the UN agency for information and telecommunications technologies.
The top spot belongs to South Korea. The country has been termed as the most advanced Internet economy in the world and this is the second consecutive year that it has been ranked number one. This is by no means surprising given the fact that South Korea has:
In the seventh and second last video of the series, Derek Sivers talks about Ideas vs Execution. He goes to talk about the fact that ideas aren't valuable by themselves, but it's the execution that matters. Sivers explains all this through a pretty wacky real-life example. We'll be posting the last bit of the series on Wednesday, just before Arctic15.
Angry Birds: 1 Million Plush Toys And 1 Million T-Shirts Sold Each Month. The Game Isn't All They Have
Angry Birds is phenomenal. It's great, it's growing and it sounds pretty clichéd and something that is apparently obvious to almost everyone. The brand has amassed over 350 million downloads of its game on numerous devices ranging from the iPhone, Android to PCs and PlayStation 3 and that’s just the software side. What is also worth mentioning is how they have grown out of the gaming world on consoles to board games, Hollywood movie; RIO to stuffed toys. Calling it the Pac Man of our generation will by no means be wrong, though the comparison may not be totally justified.
The Angry Birds brand has made leaps outside the digital world, especially with their plush toys that they launched back last year. While that only garnered 2 million sales in the first quarter or so, the sales have rocketed to one million each month thereon. That’s not it, the plush toys are just half the story and the Angry Birds T-shirts are selling 1 million pieces a month as well.
We've covered Microsoft's new Windows 8 quite extensively this week on ArcticStartup from the Build conference, but the truth is - all this will have a lot of implications in the different ecosystems regarding mobile operating systems, app stores and what not. Furthermore, enabling Xbox Live to run as an application on Windows 8 OS will have huge possibilities for gaming companies.
As the series with Derek Sivers is turning to its end, the sixth video is titled "0.1". In this video Derek Sivers shares his thoughts on shipping early and getting traction for your MVP (even though he doesn't really mention the concept in the video). The last two videos, coming out next week will be titled "Ideas vs. Execution" and "CD Baby". The videos will be published on Monday and Wednesday, just before Arctic15.
Skype seems to have speeded up its release of the version for the Mac and the latest update of Skype brings the much needed Facebook integration with Skype 5.4 Beta for Mac. This is similar to the Skype for Windows, and the news is definitely a big plus for Facebook users who own a Mac. Pretty much completes the Skype, Facebook and Mac triangle.
The update will enable Skype users to send instant messages and connect with their Facebook friends, right from their Skype client, giving them the true experience of one stop communication. The update lets users:
Enreach is a new Finnish startup that has been founded by Kimmo Kiviluoto and Brian Jacobs. Kimmo Kiviluoto is the former CEO and co-founder of another data crunching startup X-tract. Enreach has a good amount of talent and understanding of the online behavior of consumers and the media business. They're also putting this into use in their offering. Enreach in short is giving premium publishers a way to better understand their audiences and then use this to target ads for better monetisation.
I once had a start-up with my dear ex-friends. At the beginning we had great plans for the company’s opportunities. In our most enthusiastic moments, we could almost feel the fortunes that were about to change our lives forever. The only issue that we really did not pay enough attention to was that we were about to enter into foreign markets without any practical management knowledge, local managers or even employees.
So what we did was that two of the founding partners (not me) moved to this foreign country, and started to manage the business and work for the company. Everything went well at the beginning and very soon we needed to hire three new employees that we considered at that time to be the most talented ones in the respective business and have the best contacts to safeguard our growth plans.
Yesterday at the Build conference Microsot CEO Steve Ballmer made a surprise visit on stage to talk more about how the company views new technologies and what this means for developers. He came out to further promote the importance of Windows 8 for Microsoft and what it also means for the whole company, looking forward. In addition to this, he also mentioned Nokia in his talk, but not in an extensive fashion. According to Ballmer, not only does Windows 8 change the approach to pretty much everything Microsoft works with, but it also changes the way how Microsoft views technology - the release itself will make Microsoft pivot and look at new technologies in a Windows centered fashion.
In the fifth video of the Derek Sivers - Uncommon Sense -series, Derek Sivers talks about switching your idea if it does not work. Wondering why we're sharing these videos? Check out the first post with Derek Sivers for more information. There are three more videos in the series and we'll release them this coming Friday, Monday and Wednesday - just before Arctic15.