We met Mantas Ratomskis, CEO of Eruditus, at the first Arctic Evening we hosted in Vilnius, Lithuania back in mid April. He introduced us to his team’s product LoomiDeck, an enterprise social network for collaboration and project management, which is gathering good feedback and users.
Last week I was up in Trondheim, Norway and caught the tail-end of their Startup Weekend. They had only enough people for about five teams to come together, but just the buzz around all these new ideas coming together was awesome to be a part of, if only for a moment. Luckily our Helsinki readers can participate in a Startup Weekend coming up over the 54 hours of this weekend.
This iteration of Startup Weekend Helsinki is focused on sustainability and the bioeconomy. They're looking for multidisciplinary teams - like coders, designers, idea people, business people, and basically anyone to come together and put together the products and services for the future of sustianibility and the bioeconomy.
Danish startup Playday are behind a successful SaaS workforce management program which is the leading software of its type in the Nordics. Now as they look to expand their operations worldwide and capture a huge, unexploited market they’ve partnered with venture capital firm Creandum to get the investment and expertise they need to realise their vision for growth.
ArcticStartup has as deep roots to Oulu as an expat can get- our Editor in Chief studied at the University of Oulu for two years, making him well versed in the bar scene. And as attendees to Midnight Pitch, we saw a ton of cool startups- especially in the hardware scene.
We've counted something like over 100 conference badges in our office from over the years, so we've learned what works and what doesn't when getting noticed at the event. We want to share our knowledge of how to hustle at an event (and share some beer) with the Oulu crowd.
TrademarkNow is the latest startup to pop up in the Helsinki startup scene. Their trademark checking tool has already cleared more than 5000 unique trademarks which, according to the company, translates into clients saving up to 10,000 working hours, or in other words, $3 million in unnecessary operational costs.
This effectiveness has not gone unnoticed; today TrademarkNow announced the closing of a successful $3,5 million funding round led by European VC Balderton Capital.
"Do you hear me at the back?... Yeah, alright, okay." Everyone knows this annoying phrase interrupting almost any meaningful event. And if you have ever been speaking at any of those events, you also know how awkward it feels when you are not even sure if the audience can hear you.
Most of us got used to live with this, while some went out looking for solutions. About a year ago three ambitious Latvians - Lauris, Agnis and Martins decided that there must be a better way. Having supplied schools with audiovisual equipment for about 4 years, they found an inherent problem at the very core of their business. Theoretically, the industry was considered to provide audio-visual solutions, while practically almost all focus was on visuals, with almost no products developed for audio.
Online advertisements are a tricky thing. When you think about it from the potential consumer’s point of view, it's mostly irritating, as it can make whatever online content you’re enjoying messier and less credible, perhaps even more so when the advertised products have nothing to do with your own interests.
Then again, if looked upon from the content manager’s POV, online ads are a necessary evil, without which revenues could be close to nothing. The owners need some carrot in order to keep websites up and running, but there has to be a balance; Too many ads simply won’t do (unless you don’t care about reputation).
The two Swedish men behind the social mobile application Skout, Christian Wiklund and Niklas Lindstrom, current Skout CEO and CTO respectively, are busy being businessmen in the toughest digi- and tech-startup hotspot of Silicon Valley. Just recently they acquired Nixter, a nightlife application that has its origins in Chile, but which currently operates in the coastal US metropoles of Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.
Finnish mobile gaming company Boomlagoon announced today it has raised a solid $3.6 million (€2.59 million) in funding in a round led by Northzone with additional investments by Finland's Inventure and 360 Capital Partners. This also joined Jari Ovaskainen and London Venture Partners, who previously invested in Boomlagoon.
Boomlagoon's previous title was Nobel Nutlings, a physics-based racer where you had to pilot some silly beavers to complete courses in all manner of wooden logs and cars. The feeling when opening up the app was that it felt very "Angry Birds" in the artwork style, and in the three stars you received when you successfully completed the course. The similarities in artworks style were for good reason - the team was from three ex-Rovio employees and cofounder Tuomas Erikoinen was behind the artwork of the original Angry Birds characters.
ArcticStartup is organizing our third Arctic15 event, a premium start-up / networking conference which will take place on the 27th-28th of May 2014. We need YOUR help to make it happen!
We’ve built an impressive line-up of speakers from near and far, and guarantee that our guests will find plenty of like-minded individuals to mix with.
It’s time to stop and take a moment of silence for the fall of another promising startup. ReadMill, the Berlin-based ebook reading app with Swedish founders for iOS and Android, announced in April that it will be closing and shutting down on the 1st July.
April is long behind us and the month of May is well on its way, hopefully bringing along a long awaited summer for us to enjoy. In addition to increasingly sunny afternoons, the focus of interest will turn entrepreneurial eyes and minds towards Arctic15: Exit Path, which takes place in Helsinki in little less than three weeks (!).
Even before Flappy Bird was pulled from the market by its creator, the app store was already plagued by people looking to cash in on the game type. Suddenly 8-bit side scrolling games were the rage, ranging from similar types of games like Red Bouncing Ball Spikes to almost exact clones like my favorite, Splashy Fish.
Despite being Sweden's second largest city and home to a good engineering university, we don't seem to get a good deal-flow of startups or stories coming out of Gothenberg. Despite that, as Spring warms up the region, Gothenberg is heating up thanks to a hackathon that brought the community together to create new apps and services.
Before Gothenberg Startup Hack happened we heard a lot of good buzz, thanks to an impressive list of backers- companies like Google, Spotify, and Dropbox were listed as sponsors. Additionally the venue set the mood right by being held in an old historic bank vault.
Our ArcticEvening events for Arctic15 keep going. Next destination Oslo, where our editor-in-chief Greg Anderson who will be leading proceedings again on the 8th May. He’ll be there to give a short talk, promote our amazing conference at the end of May, and facilitate a lot of networking among our Norwegian brothers and sisters in the startup community.
Fjuul, as you might remember from the last time we covered them, is the app that basically shows how well you've performed in your daily physical activities in terms of casual movement, stuff like walking or cleaning the house which when summed up totals up to 80% of your life spent while awake.
As we've seen through the recent Facebook acquisition of Moves, another Helsinki based health app which tracks daily movements through the user's locations, it seems the mobile health-themed tracking applications are on the rise, which only adds to the reasons why other health apps need to keep up to date.
It seems like a long time ago that we asked the question, “Where are Finland’s education startups?” We got some excellent replied in the comments, but now it finally appears that we’re getting some proudly talking about their themselves. Fantastec, makers of the Wonder Bunny game series have recently come to us with exciting news of a $800,000 seed fund investment they have secured.
In our second installment of "social video apps from Norway", a fun app to have in your pocket is Blink, sort of a Vine-meets-Snapchat-meets-Tinder that came out of Startup Weekend Oslo, the weekend-long hackathon. According to Blink co-founder Martin Jensen, the app has a good founding story:
Video apps are on the rise in Norway it seems with two apps either launching or announcing funding. Wonderloop is one of those, now having raised roughly $200,000 (€144,000) with half of that coming from a Norwegian shipping family, and half coming from a government grant. In total, Wonderloop has raised $400,000 (€288,000).
Last night in scenic Trondheim, Norway as part of Technoport, Swedish equity crowdfunding platform FundedByMe put on the second live crowdfunding event we've seen come together in the Nordic countries. Trondheim is clearly a student town with a strong engineering program, and the trend up on stage (and the other companies we visited) was a strong hardware hacking mentality, and in commercializing local university NTNU's research.