These days photos with text on them is the new medium of communication. Heading over to Reddit all you see are pictures with text. On Instagram it seems anyone younger than 20 is throwing all sorts of typography over filtered pictures. There's obviously a need to put words on pictures.
Newly founded Standard Ventures, an all stage VC investment firm based in Stockholm, has done some research on what you could consider their competitors and as a result they’ve rounded up a list of the top 100 investors involved in the Nordic tech boom. The list includes various big players and funds, including Venture Capital firms, investment companies, incubators, angel networks, corporate venture and government agencies.
Rotten Wifi, a new app from Lithuania, has some grand aims to grade and publicly shame all poor wifi networks around the world. It launched on iOS today and there are plans for Android and web versions to be out next month as well.
Remember a couple of video guys in blue hoodies running around Slush and their related events? Ympact was on their first stop in Helsinki to produce a startup documentary to tell the story of startup founders and ecosystem builders. The goal of their project, after touring a few more cities, is to help push young generations into becoming entrepreneurs.
Here's their Helsinki video:
Startup Wise Guys, an Estonian accelerator that was behind startups such as VitalFields, WappZapp, EpicList and Cloutex. They have gone through three batches of companies so far: Summer 2012, Autumn 2013 and Winter 2013. However since then we have not heard much about their plans for the future and were suspecting that there would be a change coming.
So a few days ago, they announced that they will change their focus towards B2B commerce and adjust their program accordingly by launching "BusinessTech".
If you want an idea of how app development is going to change over the next couple of years, consider this. Seventeen year-old Swede Joel Hellermark is one of the first to come from a new era of app developers - ones that have actually grown up using mobile apps. "I started when I was 13. I had all these ideas about apps I wanted to create and I just thought I would do one myself."
Global stereotypes usually claim that Finns only care about vodka, but this isn't entirely true; Finland has a very evolved culture in beer drinking. That’s why an app that let’s you get hints for beers and also shows you where your friends are hanging out and what they’re drinking has solid potential to grow across the country.
If you’ve ever seen Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, you’ll agree that had the young queen lived today, Bloglovin would be one of her addictions.
If you haven’t, you’ll have to take my word for it; Bloglovin is all about fashion, lifestyle and pretty much all the small guilty pleasures and the big “little things” of life, something, if not Antoinette, at least Coppola is very fond of.
Bloglovin users will be pleased to hear that the company just raised a $7 million series A funding, led by European investor Norhtzone and joined by existing backers like Betaworks, Lerer Ventures, White Star Capital and Bassett Investment Group.
Just Eat CEO David Buttress describes himself as an “anti cooking activist” on his business card, and while amusing it tells you something of the bullish nature of a company determined to make an impact. Well if a successful stock market floatation can be used as a measure of impact, and we’re going to say that yes it can be, then Just Eat are definitely making an impact.
What are you doing May 5th to June 4th? Will you be pushing your startup full-throttle, or will you still be staring at the wall in your office, and heading home at 17:30 each day? Startup Sauna, the accelerator gathering the best seed startup talent from the Nordics, Eastern-Europe, and Russia to a Helsinki-Silicon Valley based program, is still looking for driven startups looking to turn up the heat over the five weeks of their Spring '14 batch. You'll have to get in your application quickly though: their application period is closing this Monday, April 7th.
We love a good exit story on ArcticStartup. Applifier's acquisition by Unity got the Helsinki entrepreneurs excited, and quick and eventually lackluster build-up to the Swedish-founded King IPO was fun to speculate on. For us in the media business, an exit puts a big fat dollar sign next to a company name, which drives traffic and likes.
isePankur, the social-lending service, was established in 2008 and pioneered the concept of social lending in Estonia. The service allows individuals and small to medium-sized enterprises to borrow and lend between each other, skipping the whole traditional banking process.
As of yesterday, isePankur will be known as Bondora and the new brandification won’t be the only change to take place during the upcoming eight weeks in the Estonian p2p loan pioneer.
Several months ago, we wrote about the Swedish Bitcoin exchange Safello and their mission to make doing business with Bitcoin as simple as possible, although without the anonymity that some other exchanges pride themselves on.
They’ve now gone a step further, expanding their reach beyond the borders of Sweden and into the rest of Europe by enabling payment network/option SOFORT, which allows customers to pay for their Bitcoins directly from a number of European banks by direct transfer.
I have to say I've never had my timing this right in any business. Since last autumn I've been helping the biggest companies in Finland to connect with startups. Selling my services has been almost too easy.
This all started a year ago when I wrote a book about startup culture for EVA - a policy and pro market think thank. The pamphlet was called "Hoodie Dude and the Businessman" and it was delivered to every business influencer in Finland (and still downloadable on EVA's website).
Nordic and Baltic innovators, come forward and represent. The EIT ICT Labs have launched a pan-European entrepreneurship event called Idea Challenge and they are busy promoting it right now to draw in as many applicants as possible before the first stage closing deadline on the 20th April. Why’s it worth getting involved? Well there’s a €40,000 prize for successful participants, six months free office space, and mentoring from experts at the EIT ICT Labs Business Development Accelerator.
Good news for Finland's social TV startup Tellyo, which announces this morning they've picked up a €200k seed investment from international holding group GS Group and the supporting GS Venture Fund, giving them further runway to expand their social second screen solution throughout the TV industry.
Have you ever wondered how people copy clips of television and put it on the internet? Those clips of your favorite TV show of movie you found on Youtube are difficult to upload; you would have to have some way to save a TV recording on your computer (which is difficult for live television) and then find a way to put it up on the web. Who has the time to do that?
This news is a day or two late, but just to keep our readers updated we should write that Balderton Capital, one of Europe’s largest venture capital investors and behind breakthrough successes such as Betfair, Lovefilm, MySQL, NaturalMotion and Yoox, has announced yesterday the closing of its fifth European fund, raising a further $305 million and bringing its total funds to $2.2 billion to invest in European technology start-ups.
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.