Sports stadiums sell tickets by giving you a few hours of action-packed excitement, but when the athletes have to take a time-out, spectators are left to watch the grass grow, or maybe be distracted by a silly dancing mascot. But it's 2013, and it seems the last big technological innovation in fan entertainment was the t-shirt cannon. We were due for a company like Uplause to come around and bring to stadiums' jumbotron screens what's already been happening in people's pockets.
The Helsinki-based company provides fan-entertainment products that leverage a stadium's main screen, and plugs into visual or audio inputs for fans to collectively control the screen. Like in the video below, one half of the stadium can compete against the other by trying to make the most noise. Other games allow fans to play Angry Birds, for example, by leaning their arms.
Editor's note: This is a sponsored post to alert you to the crowdfunding options in the region. Research before investing - early stage companies are high risk.
Its the beginning of the month and hopefully you just received your salary and are thinking of where to put it. You could of course spend the money on food, drinks and clothing. However you could also consider thinking long-term and invest into companies that actually make those things in return for equity.
Crowdfunding is all the craze with companies such as Click & Grow from Estonia and Memoto from Sweden raising very large amounts in return for perks. However equity crowdfunding may be in fact the way of the future, where not only are you able to get the products of the companies that you back but also an equity stake for a long-term investment.
Our suspicions have been confirmed that Rovio's $42 million (€30 million) investment back in 2011 actually went to Rovio's owners, and not directly into the company. Rovio’s CEO Mikael Hed tells Elina Lappalainen at Talouselämä the reasoning behind the move was the same as Supercell's recent funding round, where $130 million went to its owners in a round closed February.
Hed is quoted as saying,
We're not in the situation yet where there's a 3D printer in every home and school, but the race of becoming the dominant platform for sharing and selling designs for 3D objects is getting more and more crowded. In Lithuania we have CGtrader, which we covered in February, and now out of Stockholm 3D Burrito has popped up on the scene.
“I love to make stuff with my 3D printer, but like most people I'm not a designer," says Max David, CEO and co-founder. "We created the 3D Burrito marketplace for people like us.”
Mancx, the business Q&A site has pivoted to Coworks, an online freelancing platform with a social recommendation twist to it. According to the company, the decision to make the switch was not because Mancx was not working as expected, but because the market was simply too small, whereas the online jobs market is expanding at an incredible pace.
What differs Coworks from the likes of Elance and Odesk is that they are not trying to offer you a choice from hundreds or even thousands of freelancers. Instead, they focus on your social networks to find freelancers that your friends and connections know and are willing to recommend. Basically they want to digitalize “word of mouth”.
Here's probably the first big acquisition of an Icelandic startup to a Silicon Valley firm. Earlier this week, San Francisco-based Jive Software announced their quarterly earnings, and mentioned that they've acquired the Icelandic startup, Clara. The reported price was approximately €6.8 million ($9 million).
We last covered CLARA four years ago, but their company has obviously taken off since then. CLARA was founded in 2008 by two college dropouts, and produces community analytics tools that allow businesses to understand, monitor, and engage with their members on online platforms. Today they have 16 people distributed between San Francisco, London, and Reykjavik.
M-Files is a company that is disrupting the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) field by getting rid of the standard folder structure and introducing an enterprise-wide document management system that is based on metadata. Basically their solution does not care where the data is but rather what the data actually represents.
According to the CEO, Miika Mäkitalo "one way to understand the M-Files metadata-powered approach is to look at the iPhone. When you put music on the iPhone, you don’t put it in a music folder, the device just knows it is music and it shows up where and how you expect it, grouped by artist, genre, date, etc. This is what M-Files does for information management, and when companies experience it, the effect is a revolutionary change in their business. Think Enterprise Document Management 2.0, or the combined power of Dropbox AND Documentum but for enterprise-scale businesses."
The problem of finding the right "fit" in online shopping is difficult but challenging. We haven't covered Stockholm-based Virtusize yet, which is a shame because it's an interesting solution to solving online fit. Rather than the robot-based solution we've covered with Estonia-based Fits.me, Virtusize offers a 2D measurement solution. Measuring a flat t-shirt with a tape measurer isn't as cool as a robot, but they claim scales better and offers an easier solution for their customers.
"The big difference that separates us is that we start with the garment rather than the body," says Peder Stubert, co-founder of Virtusize. "It's much more intuitive and clear for the consumer."
It's such an obvious metaphor for Finland's economy it seems to reach into cliche. In 2009, Google bought an old paper mill in Hamina, in Eastern Finland, and threw a datacenter inside. As Finland transitions from a tree-based to internet economy, new partnership are forming to make the best of Google's investment for South-Eastern Finland's regional economy, which has become somewhat economically depressed after the pulp and paper industry has moved out of town. The two biggest cities of the region, Kotka and Hamina showed unemployment rates of 17.2% and 12.6% respectively (compared with the Finnish national unemployment rate of 7.8% and the Eurozone's 11.4%).
The Helsinki-region's Aalto University and Startup Sauna are no strangers to creating new clusters. Their student entrepreneurial revolution has helped create quite the startup scene in the suburbs of Helsinki, and now the two organizations are working with financial support of Google and Cursor, the Kotka-Hamina Regional Development Company to organize new activities and contribute to the region's entrepreneurship scene.
When ArcticStartup was on tour to the UK thanks to UK Trade & Investment, we had the chance to meet innovative and exciting companies that were based in the Liverpool Science Park. One of these companies happened to be the Finnish Hammerkit, a company that have seen it all and was forced to change directions, adapt to the environment and fight to survive. As opposed to overnight success stories, Hammerkit is an example of all the hard work that startups need to go through in order to make it out there.
At the meeting, we had the chance to speak to the brand new CEO of the company, Simon Bartolo, who replaced Mark Sorsa-Leslie in February 2013. Bartolo shared his insight and plans for the future.
Helsinki has a new music app that's becoming the talk of the town. Started by a group of students from Helsinki, Sydney, and St. Petersburg, Clerkd launched last week to help you find and play new music.
The app mixes together music discovery with a local angle, allowing you to follow your friends and tastemakers, like bands, blogs or whoever you want. On top of that the map view lets you see whats popular nearby by giving each genre its own color. After selecting a location, you can just press play to get a playlist what music has been played in that general location though Clerkd.
Now Stockholm's transportation agency is identifying Uber drivers and denying them permits required for Uber's service, as well as stopping and fining Uber drivers on the street through the police. The transportation agency's explanation is that the permit for cars without a meter can only be given to companies that run members of the Swedish royal family, or senior managers in corporate positions. In Uber's terms, they've challenged the status quo, and now they're getting pushback.
Roaming Will Be Killed By The Nordic/Baltic Region. Roamer From Latvia Joins The Race Battling Roaming
Roaming. The ArcticStartup region is going to get rid of that beast one way or another. Whether it will be Ukko Mobile, Skype, HolidayPhone or the new kid on the block, Roamer remains to be seen.
With Ukko Mobile focusing on data sim-cards only, HolidayPhone sending you a bunch of sim’s by post and Skype demanding internet - in addition to the roaming killing name, Latvia based Roamer also probably has the best promise. If they are able to deliver, that is.
Let’s talk about online ads for a second. They are absolutely everywhere but most visitors don’t click on them because they are annoying, irrelevant and intrusive. While most publishers without millions of visitors get no more than a couple of bucks for perhaps a coffee. Overall, the only real winners are the companies in between, dealing the traffic and getting most of the advertisement revenue.
Influads, a Copenhagen based company is aiming to change all that by creating the worlds first completely free ad network. They have launched in 2011, got pre-seed funding from Kima Ventures and built a profitable company with over 700 publishers worldwide.
I guess we'll finally see in practice what great ideas VCs bring to the table. Stockholm-based Venture Capital firm Creandum is getting their hands dirty at the next STHLM Startup Hack, competing against hackers and designers in the same 12 hour competition. The event is taking place on the 11th of May, and looks to be like an awesome time. It's being thrown in a church, Skeppsholmskyrkan, with support from Spotify, Glesys, and Amazon, as well as Tictail and Uber.
Staffan Helgesson, General Partner at Creandum says "We're great believers in ecosystems and STHLM Startup Hack is a great initiative to further strengthen the community. Therefore Creandum is very happy to be a part of Stockholm Startup Hack and participate with our own team. Come and beat us!"
Whether you want to create an exciting infographic depicting beer prices in Europe, your overview of the Formula 1 season or on a more serious note your Nordic/Baltic Investment Survey - look no further than Infogr.am, as long as you have the data, that is.
Infogr.am went through the Startup Sauna accelerator in 2012 and has since been growing at a very impressive rate. As of today, they have created more than 700 000 Infographics and add more than 100 000 every month. They also have over 300 000 users at Infogr.am.
Do you find your day filled with scheduling meetings, meeting people, and then trying to manage the to-do process afterward? If you haven't done so before, it might be time to check out Helsinki-based Meetin.gs, who has relaunched with a nice facelift and a mobile focus. Their product manages to wrangle together all the loose strings associated with professional meetings by plugging into popular business tools.
To schedule a meeting, Meetin.gs now offers a fully brandable "meet me" page, which enables uses to create and publish a calendar page that makes it easier to schedule a meeting time, which solves the problem of that awful email chain where suggested times are pinged back and forth. This service plugs into the user's calendar, so occupied time slots are automatically blocked out. Meeting location is also included, so transit times and meeting durations can be accounted for.
The digital eyes of Europe are on Amsterdam today as The Next Web's sold out European Conference gets underway. Leading the Norwegian contingent is Swipe, one of 20 finalists in the eagerly awaited Microsoft BizSpark Startup Rally.
Co-founders Horia Cernusca and Håkon Eide have been hard at work perfecting their presentation software since winning Oslo's last Startup Weekend. Today they unveil their product, billed as "a new way to deliver and watch presentations - from any device to any number of devices, in real-time".
Just a couple of weeks ago, we asked our readers how much money they were raising and now we have the answer. Well, we have "an answer", considering the tiny sample size and complete anonymity. Still we were happy to see some very interesting and impressive numbers that speak for themselves, but at the same time there is still plenty left to analyze.
To make the results as pleasing to the eye as possible, we put together an infographic outlining the major findings. We are going to provide some analysis below. So without further adieu:
The Next Web's conference is kicking off, and with it is the European Commission's Tech Entrepreneur of the Year Award. What's noticible is the number of Nordic entrepreneurs up there on the list, especially Swedish entrepreneurs, who grabbed three out of the ten spots. Finland also makes an appearance through Rovio, naturally.
The list can be found here, but here's the copy-paste: