King.com celebrated its 10 year anniversary just before Easter, and gave itself a little bit of rebranding. Now that we're solidly out of the Web 2.0 era, King.com has dropped the .com, and is referring itself plainly as King. The new logo seems to harken back to its founding in Stockholm, as to my exhausted eyes the logo looks more like the Swedish word for King, Kung.
King may be an apt term - at ArcticStartup we're not hearing a lot about new Facebook game publishers anymore, but according to AppData, King has risen to the number 2 MAU spot after Zynga on Facebook, with about half as many estimated monthly active users. We covered King last in January, where they were then the third place Facebook developer, after Microsoft.
The Region Is Going Green: Click & Grow, Indoor Garden & Fresh Wall Are Crowdfunding To Bring Plants Into Your Home Or Office
Here is an overview of the 'growth', in the very literal meaning of the world, startups of the region. These companies are trying to bring the joyful experience of being a gardener into everybody's home and office. Without actually any need for doing anything about it.
After all, three startups from the ArcticStartup region, are seeking crowdfunding in the region: Estonia's Click & Grow, Finlands Fresh Wall and Indoor Garden. Click & Grow as well as Indoor Garden are aiming to allow you to grow a variety of plants at home without any gardening knowledge, skills or time investments. Fresh Wall, on the other hand, as the name suggests is going to put a huge wall of self-watering plants in your house or office.
Even without the ecosystem around Spotify we've got a lot of hot music startups popping up in the region - whose late nights of hacking are already fueled by Red Bull - so here's an opportunity for a much stronger collaboration. Red Bull has now gotten into the startup accelerator game, plugging music-tech startups into their networks and media properties, all while not taking any equity. The program, called Red Bull Amplifier will be based in London and is currently accepting applications from european-wide startups.
Red Bull already has a music label and eight recording studios worldwide, and is helping up-and-coming musicians through Red Bull Music Academy, so this seems like a somewhat logical step to make sure their brand has close access to the up-and-coming music tech and services that will help market their brand. On top of that, Red Bull is everywhere though events, giving startups access to real consumers.
In this week's Copenhagen StartupDigest, Nick Hawtin writes that a couple guys from Podio put together a website plotting Copenhagen's startups on a map. CPHstartups has a pretty cool take on the mapping concept, breaking down startups by coworking spaces, who is bootstrapping, who is funded, and (because the Podio guys put it together) who has exited.
Below is a dumb screenshot for a quick peek, but run over to cphstartups.com to dig into it yourself.
We have some image in our head about the seed funding environment and the needs entrepreneurs have to start up their companies, but the anecdotal stories we hear don't paint the full picture. We love stories with numbers, and there's no better way to get them then to ask you.
If you're running a company, we've put together an anonymous Google form with just a few questions. If you have a few extra minutes, consider filling it out! We'll compile the results into nice looking graphs in around a week.
Once Helsinki (and now San Francisco-based) Tinkercad announces it is shutting down its 3D modeling service for 3D printing and is taking it's technology into a new direction. Their describe Airstone, their new product, as a "simulation environment that turns batch simulation into a real-time environment where the user can interactively test different product designs." That's a little esoteric, but they basically leverage supercomputers to interactively test product designs, saving time for product engineers.
In addition, Airstone has also received Series A funding led by True Ventures, with new investments from Borealis Ventures and Lifeline Ventures. The details of the round were not disclosed.
So you have accidentally enabled data roaming while travelling and your iPad started syncing. Soon enough you will end up with a roaming bill that is likely to be more expensive than your phone. At other times, you actually need the internet while abroad but there is no WIFI or any other connectivity, so you simply must use the 700 EUR per gigabyte roaming fee to go online. This happens to be the current price ceiling for roaming costs as set by the EU commission.
Ukko Mobile, a Helsinki based start-up, is aiming to solve that through the use of patent pending technology which allows for a single-sim, flat-fee coverage in the whole of Europe. Basically you will get one data sim-card that will always act as a local card, no matter where you go. There will not be a need to purchase or switch sims ever again.
Reaktor POLTE Invests €100 000 In MyNextRun And Tell Us More About Their Hands On Investment Approach
Last month we were kidding about Reaktor Polte investing into a startup per week, but they are definitely keeping up the pace and this month they announced a EUR 100 000 investment into MyNextRun. The total round size for the company was €150 000. The startup allows anyone to find running events all over the world and to enroll directly through their service.
This is a niche proposition, but something that has definitely been a problem for the running community, especially when it comes to finding and registering for foreign events. The company already has over 10 000 users and are just waiting for the snow to melt and start the exponential growth stage.
The inanities of trademark protection has reached the frozen shores of Sweden, as Google's trademark protection lawyers reportedly gave the Swedish Language Council enough of a hassle that they decided to not to include the word "ogooglebar", or "un-googleable" into the new list of Swedish words.
The logic on Google's end was likely that they need to protect their trademark from becoming a generic term for web searches. But it only seems to highlight the inanities of trademark law, and sets up Google for all sorts of jokes about Google not wanting the concept of "ungoogleable" to exist in dictionaries.
The Google Analytics Of Emotions "Realeyes" Receives $3.2 Million From SmartCap And Entrepreneurs Fund
It is no secret that when people are asked to fill out surveys in marketing research studies that the answers tend to become skewed and biased thanks to the fact that they are made consciously. Wouldn't it be cool if you could use a camera coupled with technology from "Lie To Me" in order to tell what people are really thinking and feeling? Well, this is exactly what the London based but with Estonian ties Realeyes is doing.
The company is basically the Google Analytics of emotions and they are currently using their technology for analyzing emotional reactions to videos through the use of webcams and in-store cameras. This basically allows marketers to know exactly how effective their marketing videos are going to be and at which point exactly the consumers will feel happy, scared, confused and sad.
Apps for Barnes & Noble's e-book reader, the Nook, is not a market you hear a lot about, but perhaps that's because the money chain isn't propery in place. But that could be changing after Tartu, Estonia-based mobile payments provider Fortumo partnered with B&N for Nook in-app payments support.
In-app payments have been critical part of nearly every other device's ecosystem, which makes me curious why it hasn't been done of the Nook before. The massive free-to-play game ecosystem basically depends on it, making this a nice addition. The Nook is a small market, but Fortumo tell us it's an important market segment because NOOK Apps developers are reporting 3 to 4 times the app sales than with other stores.
Gajatri Studios, a Helsinki based gaming company that made the game Yoga Retreat for Facebook announced earlier this month that they have raised a new seed round of funding. The round comes from Dreadnaught Finance OY and Leena Niemistö as a private investor.
Their first game - Yoga Retreat, allows you to build and manage your own little Yoga getaway. While at it, you will be taught many different Yoga poses as well other other aspects of Yoga. Gajatri Studios is trying to make games that are focused on well-being and inspire you to take better care of yourself and Yoga Retreat is the first game that they built with this attitude.
Helsinki-based Appgyver's Prototyper has added Android and iPhone 5 support to their mobile app prototyping product, allowing anyone to quickly get a product up on their phone. We covered Prototyper not that long ago, where designers and developers could upload their wireframes or mockups into Appgyvers web platform, add simple buttons and native features (like a camera), and then spit out very basic app that you can show off on your phone.
Every Monday morning, I have about 40-60 tasks that I need to take care of and that is on a good Monday. Since studies show that you should do the most complicated and difficult ones first, the week starts with figuring out exactly which ones those are. This can be and usually is a daunting and difficult task that can take at least an hour. Thankfully, MorningList solves this problem (and many others) for me. The idea is extremely simple. It is hard for your brain to compare 40 things to one another, but it is very easy when they are paired together. So what MorningList does is allows you to compare tasks to one another and thanks to a clever algorithm, you can do this in just a couple of minutes.
If you have been to Estonian homes, you may have noticed that many of them have a little card-reading device next to their computers. It looks like a bank card reader or a memory card reader or something. To those that don’t know, it may create an illusion that Estonians are all hackers or something. The truth is, this device can read your personal ID card and can be bought very affordably at any Estonian bank. This is legally binding and also confirms your identity. This is why Estonians can easily e-vote, file tax returns, submit company annual reports, sign contracts or even start brand new companies in minutes all from the comfort of their own homes. It removes a whole level of bureaucracy and adds a lot of simplicity to the daily life.
Unfortunately, outside of Estonia this system and the likes of it are not that wide-spread despite the EU Directive on Electronic Signatures that was put in place in December of 1999. This is what Signwise, a Tallinn based company, is trying to achieve by integrating all the possible solutions under one roof. Before we can explain how that is going to happen, let’s take a look at what an Electronic signature really is. You might think that Signwise will have a lot of competition as there are literally hundreds of companies and start-ups that provide an electronic signature solution. For instance in USA it is extremely common to simply attach your scanned signature to documents and it would be legally binding by law.
Editors Note: I sat down for lunch with Anna Bessonova (@Annasnova), former writer at ArcticStartup, currently working at Finland’s PR Agency of the Year – Netprofile. We were talking about the value of proper communications and PR, and this is the guest post that resulted.
Amazingly many just love to trash PR. It’s expensive, its value is hard to measure and it’s not always clear how hiring a PR professional would help your startup. Besides, while people like to influence others, they don’t like the idea of being influenced. That is the double-edged sword that makes PR such a hotly discussed subject.
In the startup context the never-ending debate usually comes down to whether or not Public Relations (or any form of Communications activities) are worth paying for. At the end of the day, most of the communication tools are free, you’ve been on Twitter and Facebook for years and you can easily reach out to a tech blogger through a tweet. Besides, who can better know how to talk about your company than you?
Accel Partners yesterday closed a €367 Million fund to focus on Europe and Israel. With Accel London IV, the firm will invest in early-stage and growth stage companies in the consumer Internet, big data, cloud, SaaS and mobile.
The Nordics are a big focus of Accel's new fund, as they seek to focus on their success with Rovio, Supercell, Spotify, and QlikTech, whose listing on NASDAQ resulted in a return of over $400 million to the Accel fund - one of the largest venture returns in Europe.
If TV was invented today, what would it look like? That's the question posed by Magine, a Stockholm-based startup that's adjusting the TV.
To put it simply, Magine (think: imagine) is a cloud TV operator. And it's about time we got one. That cable going to the back of your box is nothing compared to the wonders of the internet, and instead of leaving you with the functions available to your three-year-old DVR box, Magine can deliver an awesome TV experience through the cloud, allowing you to do live or catch-up TV on your smart TV, smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Helsinki-ish based game studio Cute Attack has launched a new title on iOS entitled Captain Clumsy. Its a pretty cool game. It stars a clumsy pirate (given by hooks on both hands) who drops his gold from the top of the mast. You have to navigate him him down the masts to collect the gold, and avoid the jerk seagulls.
The game is launching with 26 levels, and they say there's lots of replay value. The app is free to play, and is monetizing through power-ups like gull smashers and coin magnets.
All entrepreneurs are gamblers, but building your startup on someone else's platform sets you up to a few more opportunities for systemic risk than the average startup. Stockholm-based Copygram is having fun with Instagram's API with a Instagram web-viewing platform and photo printing service. Now that Instagram is in the browser, Copygram is at an interesting stage of their company.
Copygram launched their web viewer well before Instagram had any native web viewing features, so they were able to build a solid online userbase through a well designed platform. Now that Instagram does give you some browser features, you would think their value proposition would have somewhat diminished. But that doesn't seem to be the case. We hear their web view still sees more than 3,300,000 impressions a month.