We all know that children like bright colours and music, even in the world of startups young companies are generally colourful and like to make lots of noise when attracting an audience. However sooner than any parent or founder would wish the teenage years arrive and for some the joy and colour vanish to be replaced by moody blacks and a lot of self loathing. Well Spotify have gone black, but they’re not miserable about it.
Not that this is a rule of thumb by any means, but when you take three men with doctorates and some computer science background, there’s a good chance they’ll come up with a pretty convincing business model for a startup. For example, when Dr.Jyrki Kontio, Dr. Niraj Aswani and Dr. Nilay Oza put their heads together and mindstormed Finland-based Klevu into existence.
How convincing the startup is will eventually be up to you to decide, but it was enough to recently raise and close a €250 000 capital investment round led by Finnish seed investor & accelerator KoppiCatch and joined by Inventure, as well as Finnish and Russian business angels.
This spring Finnish creative technology company Reaktor and gaming giant Supercell are getting behind a new event, called Hello World Open, designed to bring programming skills into the world spotlight. Consider it a programming competition that hopes to reach wide with Supercell's weight behind it. The way it works is that contenters will form teams of 1-3 top coders, who will compete to create artificial intelegence for a virtual car race. Signups are now open, and a complete rule set can be found on their website.
When talking about what makes a startup community come together, many people immediately identify gatherings and events as the cornerstone of building a movement. This was certainly the case when we first introduced the concept of ArcticEvenings, back in the distant 2009.
So with Arctic15:Exit Path looming on the horizon, we decided to bring the concept back and help you guys network and connect with each other even more. In the coming months, we want to bring ArcticEvenings to Vilnius, Tallinn, Riga, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, Tampere, Oulu & Helsinki. So keep on the lookout for the announcement of your city, and if you think we should come somewhere that is not on the agenda - do let us know.
Editor's note: This is a guest post by Edvard Nore
Top Pop Up was my attempt at creating a market for short term rentals of commercial real estate in Oslo. What AirBnB did for private rooms I wanted to do for storefronts that was free between contracts. In principle a very simple idea. Allow owners to capitalize on underused real estate, and open up the city to new forces. Never mind that I had never worked in real estate, this idea was in my naive eyes so good and so easy to sell to people that I thought I could just bootstrap it by myself. He.
So, I failed. I’m almost out of money, but mostly, I gave up.
Let’s start with the best part first: What went well.
Ever had the feeling sometimes there’s simply too many companies who offer the exact same thing? For example, think about hotels; Basically they all offer the same thing - which is rooms to rent for a night - however they differ from each other in quality, location and price. Cloud services are in this same category; All of them offer cloud data storage in some form, but prices vary, as well as their internal plug-ins.
How to decide which service best suits you? In the case of hotels it’s relatively easy as there are plenty of platforms that maintain huge hotel databases for travelers to browse from (one of the largest being hotels.com), but what about cloud services?
Editor's note: this is a sponsored post by UK Trade and Investment
London, a true and original European metropolis, and birthplace of William Blake, Punk rock and British tea drinking. Indeed, London has been home to many colourful things since its establishment more than a millennia ago, but during the last ten years it has provided fertile soil for a flourishing startup ecosystem - one which distantly reminds us of a Silicon Valley yet unprecedented in Europe.
Danish super-entrepreneur Janus Friis, most notably known as the co-founder of Skype along with other startups such as Rdio and Joost (not to forget one of his first projects KaZaA), has recently set up a hardware startup, Aether, that “makes thinking things”.
The first thinking thing Aether launched in the beginning of this month is the Aether Cone, an elegant high tech boomblaster device designed to adapt with all environments.
You could squeeze in all of The Wire (60 hours), The Sopranos (72 hours), Breaking Bad (47 hours), and Twin Peaks (23 hours). You could fly from London to Sydney and back five times (21 hours each way). You could tackle the audiobook recordings of War and Peace (72 hours), Infinite Jest (56 hours), and Les Miserables (58 hours).
Before the internet made global people interaction possible in a few clicks, all forms of travelling and accommodation were either a completely solitary challenge (thinking about old school hitchhiking here), or something to entrust a money hungry travel agency with. Since those times are long gone - or changed at least - we can now enjoy the networking opportunities and benefits offered by companies like airbnb, couchsurfing and blablacar, all experts in cutting the bills if you’re going out of town.
Sure, there’s plenty of companies out there who make corporation-set hotel and transportation prices avoidable (well, let’s say modifiable). However, this hasn't exactly been the case with long distance delivery, or has it?
Last Thursday we announced that Boom Beach finally made its way into the international app store after brewing a few months in a few test markets, including Canada. Checking the app store rankings this morning, now we see that Supercell's fourth title, Boom Beach, has made its way up to the #5 top grossing position in the U.S. as players aim to be the highest ranked among their friends.
The late 2012 shakeup over at Helsinki-based Sulake, the creators of Habbo Hotel, has been breeding new game companies. For those not versed in the comany's history, Sulake saw good international success for years with Habbo Hotel, a sort of virtual chat and game platform for teens. But that came crashing down in late 2012 when UK's Chanel 4 began calling the company a pedophile haven for failing to police the platform for sexual content. This caused Balderton Capital to exit their 13% share, and 3i to later leave their 16% stake. The company was eventually acquired by Elisa.
Let’s face it, what would a movie, let alone a game, be without an amazing soundtrack? Think about it; What melody pops into your mind when you think about Bilbo’s house in the shire? Or when the half-lunatic Jack Sparrow draws a sword on the deck of the Black Pearl? What about when Mario gets temporary superpowers after devouring a star with two eyes?
Yes, it’s obvious that music enhances the effects of any visual footage, but what’s less obvious is that good soundtracks aren't so easy to come up with. A soundtrack needs to evoke emotions relevant to whatever it is that’s displayed to the viewer.An amazing soundtrack on the other hand does that while having something catchy about it.
We're happy to announce a new speakers for our conference on May 27th and 28th dubbed Arctic15: Exit Path. For ArcticStartup's third annual event, we're also putting on stage Thomas Grota, Investment Director at T-Venture Holding (the corporate Venture Capital arm of Deutschte Telekom). In his free time, Grota also serves as a mentor at Seedcamp and hackfwd.
Grota should be a good speaker and contact for our guests for multiple reasons. His experience at a major corporate investor and acquirer should help present entrepreneurs get a handle on what Deutsche Telecom is looking for, and perhaps present investors will have a chance to shop for an exit or additional rounds for their portfolio. Additionally as a Seedcamp and Hackfwd mentor, Grota knows how to level to early-stage startups.
HTML5 mobile apps are starting to look and feel more like native apps, thanks to folks hard at work on the technology and platform side. These people include Helsinki-based AppGyver, who announce they've raised $2.5 million in what they’re calling “super angel” funding. The funding round was led by Initial Capital with participation by Finnish VC Open Ocean Capital. Previously Appgyver raised $1 million in funding after prototyper was launched, putting their total funding somewhere north of $3.5 million.
Since launching Steroids last August the company says more than 10,000 apps have been built on it. These users are said to include your average mix of startuppers and freelancers, but are also a growing number of Fortune 500 companies, like Accenture, AT&T, Groupon, SAP, IBM, and Salesforce.
Many see a huge potential in the Öresund region when it comes to startups and entrepreneurship. Interesting things here happen because of the interesting people.
Jacob Lönroth, whose name is associated with successful companies like TopVisible and Snabboteket as well as with the recent award of ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’, is sure one of those driven and inspiring entrepreneurs that make things happen here. In a chat with Øresund Startups he shared his story and vision of entrepreneurship as well as developments related to his newest venture – Revolt Invest.
The team of data scientists at Futureful have just released a new app, dubbed Random, that's designed to do just that - serve you content in a random (but meaningful) way. Our readers probably remember Futureful for the buzz they built up in Helsinki since 2011 after receiving investment from Skype co-founder Janus Friis and launching their first content discovery app, Futureful.
Helsinki game giant Supercell flipped the switch and now their fourth title, Boom Beach, is out on iOS. An Android version is expected by the press, but at this time it's unsure if Supercell has confirmed it. Supercell famously exited a 51% stake in their company to GungHo And Softbank for $1.5 Billion last October.
While Google represents an endless, “know-it-all” encyclopedia for most, some still manage to find areas with room for improvement. The Danish research project search engine FindZebra specializes in finding rare diseases simply from patient symptom descriptions. Developed by Professor Ole Winther (Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, Technical University of Denmark) along with his students, FindZebra takes a slightly different approach than Google when searching.
Editor's note: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Elance.
I wish Drinkster was active in Helsinki. This Danish startup offers cheap deals on drinks through a neat little SMS system that benefits the customer, the bar and Drinkster itself. The problem is that right now they are only in Denmark. They will start operating in Romania in the next few months, with some other countries in mind over the course of 2014, but no word on Finland yet. Until then we Helsinki folks can only look on jealously.