Spotify Reportedly Holding Fake Earnings Calls in preparation for IPO

The title says it all - a Quartz source leaks that the Stockholm-based company is so close to an IPO that the management have started preparing for quarterly earnings calls by going through the motions in practice. Lots of hints have come out of Spotify that the company is preparing for an IPO, such as hiring an External Reporting Specialist in February, and gaining a recent $200 million line of credit from a group of bankers including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Deutsche Bank.

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IRM software dominance at stake: Norwegian ex-pat ForgeRock lands $30 million Series C

Identity software company ForgeRock has been through what you could call a turbulent quest for treasure. Today based in Silicon Valley, ForgeRock roots its origins in mountainous Norway, where the company first saw daylight under the leadership of current CTO Lasse Andersen. The now all-American tech firm is challenging its big market competitors with a new type of open source Information Rights Management (IRM).

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Stockholm's Pingdom acquired by SolarWinds

In recent news, Stockholm-based Pingdom has been acquired by Austin, Texas-bases SolarWinds. Pingdom provides website monitoring, making sure your ops team or developer is the first to know about any downtime through a text message, instead of getting tweets, emails, or even worse - silence - about your downtime. Pingdom has been killing it with over 500,000 customers including giants like Instagram, Twitter, Ebay, GetHub, MailChimp, and more.

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Latvia's PhoneAd lets you select the ads on your phone

Over the years, as initially free apps reach the point where they need to monetize, many have gone the simplest path of in-app advertisements. For users to continue using the app this means either paying for the add-free version or viewing the ads for free. However, with the rising negative user sentiment about disturbing advertisements and no apparent signs from developer side of fixing the issue, ads have eventually become a tool of converting free users into paid ones.

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Solid Outsourcing From Bangladesh: Taskeater

What do you do when hiring people to do even the basic stuff becomes really expensive? With the crashing economy, most Finns will know the answer: you outsource production to a country where work is cheaper.

At least that’s the idea.

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Tinder for shoes? Check out SoSho

“Shoes, glorious shoes!” Oliver did not sing, but he had been a fashion conscious woman passionate about finding the perfect pair of shoes to match every outfit she owned... well then that would have been a very different musical. But it is the sort of music I could imagine playing every time someone opened SoSho, the self described ‘Tinder of shoes’. The free fashion app has just secured 70,000€ funding and its creators are ready to sing about it.

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Grey Area finally releases next title: Hero Hunt

Editor's note: Ville Vesterinen, CEO of Grey Area, is a founder of ArcticStartup

It's been a while since we've heard any news out of their Helsinki office, but Grey Area is back with a new title launched today - this time a tactical card game dubbed Hero Hunt. The gameplay is straightforward, the graphics are nicely designed, and the game has eaten up a good chunk of my morning since Grey Area CEO Ville Vesterinen passed the link my way.

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AmCham Finland Opens New York Office

Whether to tap into American consumers, investors, partners, or workforce, reaching the US is a common goal for startups throughout the Nordics. But the leap across the Atlantic is tricky for a lot of young companies, and finding a soft landing in New York, Silicon Valley, or anywhere between can be tough.

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PG Connects Helsinki: 10 Indie Games You've Never heard about

Earlier this week, ArcticStartup set up its mobile office in Helsinki’s Wanha Satama where the PG Connects: East Meets West mobile games conference took place. Apart from talking to a bunch of game publishers, indie game developers and art designers, we downed tons of coffee and test drove some really cool touchscreen games.

So kick back and take your mind off of the grim weather outside by taking a journey with us to explore the global and local mobile games scene. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover what’s your new favourite tablet or smartphone game to play inside, if mother nature decides that winter isn’t quite over yet after all.

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ProPlaza Connect Entrepreneurs to the Services they Need

“Many entrepreneurs say they want to be global from day one, we wanted to build a sustainable business from day one.” Lauri Lehtovuori, the young co-founder of ProPlaza, looks relaxed as he jokes about start up life but his comment reveals an understanding of one of the biggest pitfalls start ups face. Without a credible plan for how they will make money many start ups fall before their great ideas have found a market. Together with three friends Lauri is intent on building a company that will not just survive but also blossom, and they’ve started well. Revenue began coming in on day two. "We began by building a sustainable business model and solving a problem we saw on the market. It seems like a good start for us and we are really happy there is value in what we are doing."

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Spotify moving in the right direction with new API, but not there yet

Since launching in 2008 Spotify has had plenty of chances to blow your mind when it comes to their user interface. They've figured out that hooking up a music library to the internet is something people want, but they've played the user interface side of things stupid conservative, sticking closer to 2001's Winamp than a service that wants to blow your mind because it's 2014 and we can do crazy things with technology and music. Spotify is comfortable, but don't you think over the years they could have done more for interaction among friends and strangers than the follower bar? For instance, when was the last time you dug through Spotify's UI to see what playlists your friends have made?

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EasyBring forced to change name after trademark pressure

Have no fear readers, you'll no longer be horribly confused consumers by mixing up the name of Norwegian startup EasyBring with any other firms. The innovative crowdsourced package handling company we wrote about last week will take their crowdsourcing concept to heart and hear suggestions of what they should change their name to.

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GamePix and the AppCampus Highway to Windows Launch

Have you ever felt like you wanted to conquer the world? Of course you have, and so have I, but we know what a huge hassle world dominance can be, so most of us can’t be bothered to actually go for it.

Luckily there are games where your delusions of grandeur can be taken to. For example, Italian games startup GamePix offers an entertaining game concept that uses a real satellite map of the world as an online battlefield between players from across the world.

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Milestone Acquired by Canon, Rumored over €150 Million

Milestone, the startup which has been referred to as the “most unknown of the big startups”, announced today they have been acquired by Canon. Milestone has grown into a leading provider of open platform video management software. With over 400 people and 13 offices, Milestone has been one of the largest startups emerging from this region. Rumours about an IPO or acquisition have been around for a while, and today the news where finally announced.

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TechHub Gets Sweet New Crib in Old Town Riga

Riga has been popping lately - making enough noise to knock off Tallinn as the main hub of the Baltic startup scene. TechHub Riga, the coworking space, is at the center of the Riga startup community and its growth has reached the point where their offices are literally running out of space.

So what do you do when you're out of space? That's right, you get more space.

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GoPro on Steroids: This Latvian drone follows and films your extreme sports

The idea of your own tech pet has been around for decades. From Tamagotchi to Zoomer robotic puppies, every once in a while we designed and redesigned our ideal best friends. But have you ever thought it could also fly and easily follow you during skiing, biking, surfing, climbing and also film you wherever you go? A bunch of tech-savvy Latvians from Jelgava have created just this. And by wherever, they really mean – wherever.

Passionate about action sports and savvy in unmanned flying objects, the founders of AirDog aimed to create an ideal friend for extreme sports activists. The gadget is beautifully simple – all it takes to bring it to action is strapping the programmable remote on owner’s wrist or helmet. This is the only time you touch the remote – AirDog does the rest all by itself. The drone takes off, follows you, films your every move and then lands back – all completely autonomously.

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Daily deal land grabs not over, Bownty acquires Southern European competitor

It's been a while since we've written about the great Groupon-esque land grabs and wars that seemed to take over the early part of the '10s. As Groupon started becomming an everyday noun in the U.S., Europe was battling over who could become the regional champion with enough eyeballs to dominate the '75% off spa packages' space.

An interesting competitor that played the game a little differently was Denmark's Bownty - a startup that played aggregator to all the smaller Groupon-style companies in the market, and brought all their deals under one roof. What Kayak was to airlines, Bownty was to Denmark's and the region's Groupons.

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Nokia Spin Off PulseOn Launched in IndieGoGo

There’s a certain point in fitness training after which getting higher results becomes increasingly difficult. From there on, attaining physical goals will require more dedication and rigorousness but that alone might not be enough: planning and insights into your own training will help you better understand which aspects of training you need to pay more attention to.

Thanks to technology, this no longer means you’ll need to hire a personal trainer that will stand by you during exercise while taking notes and telling you what to do. Portable devices, such as the wristband launched by PulseON, can do the same analysis by measuring your heart rate during training and afterwards transmitting this data into a mobile application that translates it into tangible information.

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Online Fit startup Fitbay raises €1.47 Million

The Nordics and Baltics are chock full of companies trying to solve the problem of the "fit". Newest among them making some traction is Fitbay, a Copenhagen-based startup that's received €1.47 million in funding from Steadfast Venture Capital and Creandum. In January the company raised €290,000 from Jesper Buch.

What Fitbay does is it gets you to input your body type into their system so they can only show you clothes that fit that gorgeous shape of yours (it's true, ArcticStartup has damn good looking readers). To make their system better, they ask you to plug in some clothes you own where you like the fit - so if you've got some t-shirts that really make you feel like you're a greek god or some dress that makes your feel like a beautiful princess or whatever, then Fitbay can show you other clothes that will also fit like that.

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Appgyver launches Composer and starts targeting Enterprise customers

How do you think the app landscape (and the use of your phone) is going to change when nearly everyone has the tools and resources to build their own apps? That's what struck me after trying out Appgyver's new toolset, dubbed Composer, which brings down the required skill level needed to start making apps.

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