There is nothing like being an entrepreneur. Of course that’s a bit challenging for many - especially to let go off the comfort of a monthly paycheck, but many aspire to be one. The problem is not everyone is bound to be one and even less are bound to be successful. However, there are many people searching for jobs each spring as they leave their schools behind, be it high school or university. CopenhagenStartups is a new initiative to help people find a job at a startup, something not many might have thought to be a viable start for a career path.
Tradeshift has just announced $7 million in funding from Notion Capital. Tradeshift pitches itself as the social network for businesses. At this first stage, it allows companies to send electronic invoices to each other without costs. Previously, it has secured seed funding from PayPal, who is also a technology partner for the company. Notion Capital is a venture fund created by the team that founded and sold MessageLabs for $700 million. Tradeshift had many other investment partners to choose from, but they chose Notion Capital due to their own experience in growing a company from a startup to a global success story.
Endomondo, a sports community based on real time GPS tracking for trekking, cycling etc has registered another milestone. The Copenhagen based startup was among the 25 developers selected to showcase their talent at the ongoing Google I/O conference. Endomondo Sports Tracker, the mobile app that transforms the mobile device into your pocket trainer can also boast of being the one out of the 100,000 or so apps in the Android Market to be invited for the same.
When you succeed at first, you have every reason to expand and take up newer and bigger challenges. That’s exactly what Startupbootcamp is doing after the very successful first edition, which was launched as a quarter long program in Copenhagen between August and November, 2010. It brought 10 teams of 32 selected entrepreneurs from 12 different countries, face to face with 75 top mentors in the industry. All that came with thanks to Startupbootcamp’s co-founder, Alex Farcet who put a good number of months to find the right mentors to guide these entrepreneurs.
I bumped into ge.tt a few weeks back and immediately fell in love with it. It's file sharing done right, simple, non-intrusive and extremely intuitive. Also, having ge.tt as a domain name does help people remember it. I had a chance to talk to Tobias Baunbæk, the CEO and co-founder behind this Danish based company. He shared the path they've taken and how ge.tt became to be what it is today, not to forget where it will go.
Danish Lumigon has unveiled their T1 mobile phone in a gala in Copenhagen last week. The phone uses the Android operating system bundled with Lumigon's own P-GUI software to give an extra kick to the user experience. The availability of Android has created an attractive opportunity for companies such as Lumigon to go after added design value in mobile phones, when the OS has been taken care of.
"T1 is built on Scandinavian craftsmanship and design, coupled with the finest materials such as steel, aluminum and scratch-free glass. These uniquely designed phones are also packed with features not seen in mobile phones earlier”, states Lars Gravesen, CEO and founder. T1 relies on Bang&Olufsen's technology for voice quality. It comes with a 480x800 resolution 3,5” TFT screen, based on the same technology as the Apple iPhone, the capacitive touch screen.
Podio, a Danish started formerly known as Hoist (see our story here), launched and announced a new CEO. Tommy Ahlers invested in the young startup at the same time as he took the helm as their new CEO. Ahlers is one of the most successful Danish entrepreneurs. He founded ZYB in 2005 and sold it for €31 million to Vodafone in 2008.
Podio is all about working smarter. Think Basecamp, but without the complexity. Huddle and Jive are close too, but according to Ahlers, the closest competitor will be the soon-reborn Yammer that is about to launch. Also a Finnish Flowdock comes close, but they were never able to emerge from the early Beta to full fledged product (see our story here). In a word Podio is a souped-up social platform with messaging, calendar, tasks and contact management with a proprietary Appstore for all the other tools for a smooth workflow.
Limited Partners or LPs, the people or institutional investors who invest their money in venture funds, are pulling away and the European investment climate is going from bad to worse. This is on one hand because of the dismal returns that the funds have generated and on the other hand because of the bloated management fees that some VCs collect without working much for their portfolio companies or for new deal flow.
Even if the general investment climate in Europe is getting darker Seedcamp is determined to make the early stage investing work in Europe. I talked with Reshma Sohoni, CEO of Seedcamp, at the Copenhagen Mini-Seedcamp about Seedcamp's past, present and future and what value they can offer for startups coming from the Nordics and Baltics.
Seedcamp model is to invest €50,000 in early stage startups in return for some 10 percent of equity. Beyond just the capital, they aim to connect entrerpeneurs with the best mentors across Europe, UK and US.
Seedcamp, the European seed investment program that originated in London has opened its Nordic Mini Seedcamp for applications. This year the Mini Seedcamp takes place in Copenhagen, Denmark 27th May 2010.
Mini Seedcamp Copenhagen is a one day event aiming to connect the 20 best web-tech, mobile and software startups with some of the leading entrepreneurs, developers, and experts from the European tech ecosystem.
Last year Seedcamp's Nordic event took place in Helsingborg, Sweden and attracted a decent line-up of startups. That said, there is definitely room for more quality applicants, not least from Finland. You can see our coverage from last year here.
We've been looking closely at the startup scene in the Nordics and Baltics for the last two and a half years and I have to say, the amount of events on the market these days is very attractive. There are a lot of different kind of events and I'm sure there's something for everyone. While these events have their own functions and drive their own agendas, there's no getting round it - they're great fun and will surely improve your business if not by any other means than at least by networking with the other visitors there.
We visited Lahti Cleantech Venture Day a few weeks ago and were able to talk to Richard Youngman of Cleantech Group. Richard is based in Cleantech Group’s office in London and is responsible for the company’s global membership offering – its industry-leading data, research, and conferences – as well as driving the growth of the group’s activities in Europe, India and the Middle East.
In the first video we discussed what will happen in 2010 in cleantech and whether Youngman believes the cleantech market in India is finally catching fire.
We also talked in length why he believes Copenhagen does not matter. As we all know, the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) is going on in Copenhagen, Denmark right now. Businesses have already a long time argued for a clear road map what kinds of policies governments will implement, what will be taxed, what will be supported and so on. The missing clarity will inhibit or at least defer all the investment decision to the new technology, which in turn influences the number and the amount of investments, trade sales and even IPOs in the sector, when nobody knows what horse to bet on. Youngman argued it's not quite as what is seems. See the videos below for more.
Over the years, as I have worked with several great designers, I have come to appreciate well designed info graphics more and more. At the same time, where I'm not that much of a designer myself but why I can help companies with their products' user experience is because I am one of the most impatient persons you'll ever meet when it comes to bad user interfaces - If I don't figure out right away what's happening with a given product, the interface is broken as far as I'm concerned. These two reasons added to the fact that I love big data go a long way explaining why I like Youcalc so much.
The company is not doing anything that revolutionary, but at the same time it just might be for those who use the product. In a nutshell, Youcalc is a Danish startup that let’s business people create and share custom reports and analytics on data from SaaS systems, in a very clear and easy manner I may add. And by business people I mean those impatient, busy people who can't concentrate to learn to use (let alone set up) a complex reporting tool even if their life depended on it because they are busy making that next sale. And that's what they should do, but that's also why they may need Youcalc. The company's mission is to create the world’s largest library of analytics apps by allowing business users to create and share those analytics apps. Here's Youcalc's presentation in ArcticEvening Copenhagen from a while back.
This is the first post in a series of posts on startups that presented at the ArcticEvening in Copenhagen at the end of June. First up is Nosco, a nifty Danish startup that's specialized in idea management.
Nosco offers an idea management tool Idea Exchange. An online suggestion box, where you buy shares in ideas. I don't have experience in using the product, but by looking at some of their customers' experiences, there's clearly something there. Much more than in my previous job, where the management tried to engage and encourage the staff coming up with new ideas by going through all the trouble of setting up a one new email account. So if you feel an urge setting up email@example.com as your new organizational initiative, check out Nosco instead.
Here's a taste of some of the magic that happened at the ArcticEvening event last Wednesday. Thanks for all the startups that presented and the incredible cool people present.
We had another amazing ArcticEvening event yesterday. This time we were at Copenhagen Denmark gathering local startups together to spread their love and tell the community about their products. The event ended up being on the eve of Reboot conference and needless to say we had wonderful time with many people in town for both events. A full house of passionate people either interested in entrepreneurship or entrepreneurs themselves.
We had altogether 16 startups presenting, each having 3 minutes to tell how they're planning on changing the world. And so they did. We filmed all of them and are now busy editing the footage, and will pushed it out to you guys as soon as we have the videos ready. It was a great evening and I had a blast. Thank you Copenhagen!
Before we get the videos out, here are captions that Paula got on film.
To continue our ArcticEvening tour around Northern Europe we will be organising an ArcticEvening in Copenhagen, Denmark on 24th June. The date is set so that it is in the eve of the awesome reboot conference.
We have still some 20 tickets or so left and you can reserve your free ticket here or at below. Go get your now!
We are going with a different format this time (no panel) and want to bring out all the best startups in the region. We have a amazing line up coming.
Here's the list of startups that will be presenting (we also might add a few extra appearances). The presentations start at 18.30 sharp(!), so be there in time.
At the end of the month just after midsummer, ArcticStartup will be organising an ArcticEvening in Copenhagen, Denmark. The date is set so that it is in the eve of the awesome reboot conference.
We have previously lined up a panel for our events, but since there is so much untapped startup potential in Copenhagen, we decided to set aside the whole evening for startup pitches and those who want to come and meet the startups. So if you're a startup and would like to receive Nordic wide coverage for your startup - apply for a slot in the evening. Have a look at the guidelines for applying below. Similarly, we'd love to see you if your interested in seeing and meeting a great line up of Nordic startups.
If you haven't been to ArcticEvenings before, we suggest you take a look at this video. The events are laid back and we've received a lot of compliments from organising these in other Nordic cities and now it's time for Copenhagen.
The venue for the event is the La Oficina located at Suomisvej 4. The event will begin at 6.30pm.
How do I sign up?
Tickets can be reserved below or directly from Amiando for free as long as they last. Without exceptions, in the past the tickets have ran out extremely fast, so make sure you are here to get your ticket. Make sure you'll show up at the venue if you reserve a ticket, or you'll end up on our black list which means there's no coming to our events in the future. We are able to host the event free of charge for participants due to our wonderful sponsors. Our sponsors are presented below.
In Copenhagen we have reserved the floor purely for startup pitches. If you would like to come and present your company - drop us an e-mail at info (at) arcticstartup.com and with a few sentences explain what you are doing, in what stage your company is at and why you should be chosen to present at the event. The occasion will be very informal so you don't need a slide deck nor a demo. We'd just like to hear you tell about your startup to the audience and meet the other entrepreneurs. Unfortunately we can't guarantee everyone a time slot to present (even though we do our best to fit everyone in), so we will make sure those with the best effort get a chance. Deadline for applications is 18th of June.
We will let you know by 20th June.
Our event is made possible by our Sponsors. Do take time to get to know them - they are one of the most interesting organisations in the industry. We hand pick our sponsors to bring value to the evenings - these guys are truly worth your time.
Sombiz is a Social Media Business Network of Finnish social media & Web 2.0 companies, research institutions, and other organisations and individuals operating in the field of social media.
Sombiz provides a network for organisations to collaborate, learn from each other, and create partnerships. By connecting business with research Sombiz is stimulating the creation of new innovations. The ultimate goal for Sombiz is to find new business opportunities and help companies to grow and go international.
Sombiz operates as a thematic network of the Finnish Digibusiness Cluster and is a part of the government funded Centre of Expertise Programme (OSKE). In 2008 the building of the Sombiz network was selected as the national “OSKE Top Project”. The project is funded by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy.
The background organisation of Sombiz is Technology Centre Hermia Ltd.
Sombiz is a Finnish-based network operating internationally. The strategy of Sombiz is a “BUGC” approach: linking Business, Universities, Government, and Communities in order to build and boost the social media business ecosystem.
Hammarström Puhakka Partners
Hammarström Puhakka Partners, Attorneys Ltd is a law firm specialised in business law. The firm has a good corporate practice with experienced M&A advisers acting constantly for domestic and cross-border clients. Specialists provide M&A services to public and private companies relating to assignments concerning private equity and venture capital transactions. The firm is constantly involved with complex transactions in connection with private equity firms and experienced in advising private equity/venture capital investors in divesting their investments.
Thomas Madsen-Mygdal and Nikolaj Nyholm
Thomas and Nikolaj are among other things angel investors and very active players in the startup market. They want to support the Copenhagen ArcticEvening and create value for the whole industry. You can follow them on twitter or read their blogs.
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Try out the online event registration system from amiando.
ArcticEvening, the event we organise in the biggest cities of the Nordic and Baltic region, is coming to Copenhagen on the 24th of June. The date is set for the eve of the wonderful reboot conference. The venue for the evening is the La Oficina pub at Suomisvej 4. Doors will open at 6.30pm.
Just as before, tickets to ArcticEvening events have sold out extremely fast since they are free - and so will they this time. Remember, reboot is held the next day so there will be a lot of people around. We'll open up the ticket sales on the morning of June 18th 16th 9am Danish time (UTC+2). Make sure come reserve your ticket fast when the ticket sales open. You're probably wondering what we have lined up for you?
Morten Lund, one of the most famous Danish venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, was declared bankrupt last week by a Danish court. Morten Lund gave one of the most touching presentations in LeWeb last year and also telling how everything went wrong with his newspaper in Denmark.
Mr. Lund lost more about 105 million Danish crowns in the project that he had personally loaned against his personal assets. 105 million Danish crowns equal about 14 million euros. Despite being declared bankrupt and having his house being taken away (as he writes in his personal blog), he is extremely positive about the opportunities that lay before him. He has received tons of e-mail and messages in support of his struggle and one investor even told him through SMS; "Hey Morten - let me know if you need cash for kids and their schools. We don’t leave soldiers behind".
Morten Lund has invested in 80 or so startups in the last decade, including Skype in which it is believed he has made most of his money. He is believed to have invested 50,000 USD into the startup very early on and made some 15 to 25 million USD in the sell off to eBay.
Many people online have questioned the interests of Morten Lund in his ventures, being so dedicated and ready to lose his personal assets in what he does. You don't see many people doing that, especially when you have so much to lose. It will be interesting to see how he will bounce back, I'm sure he will. His 80 or so investments will also be sold off until he has paid his debt to his creditors. In this economic downturn he won't be getting the best price for his investments.
Here's the first startup of a run down of startups that I saw at the Nordic Venture Forum last week in the beautiful city of Copenhagen, Denmark. All the startups present at the forum were seeking either financing from the investors or partners for their business.
Zero Point Software (Denmark) - Zero Point Software is a developer of intellectual properties in the video game space and their offering was two fold:
- They were looking funding for the game they were developing, namely the Intersteallar Marines.
- They were also 'selling' Real Time Voice Porting to the VCs present. Real Time Voice Porting is a technology they had developed specifically for games.
Interstellar Marines is a AAA science fiction First Person Shooter video game aimed at the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms. The game is positioned in a highly competitive but also equally profitable segment. According to the guys behind Zero Point Software PC and console sales passed $30 billion dollars in 2007, of which shooter games accounted for approximately 10 percent.
Real Time Voice Porting for it's part is a patent pending technology. It makes the gaming experience that much closer to what it would be in real life. For example if you talk to other users in a virtual bathroom while playing the game, you will experience how the reverberation affects the sound of your voice. In a similar fashion, shout your lungs out in a virtual valley and you will hear the echo of your voice.
In addition to the Interstellar Marines game itself and the patent pending technology Zero Point Software wants to rethink the game distribution model: the company aims to sell Interstellar Marines directly to the consumers without the need for a publishing deal. Whereas now a consumer pays about 75euro a game, the company wants to push this all the way down to 30euro a game.
The company also aims to build a social network around the game. It hopes this will reduce the investment risk by creating proof of market, ensure great quality through large scale focus testing and generate early streams of revenue. It aims to do this by letting the users play bits of the game along the way its developed, thus trying to get the gamers hooked and come back for more while at the same time creating a buzzing viral word-of-mouth.
The founders also emphasized that the game needs to be easier to access than pirated games, which would mean a user could play first 30 minutes for free and only after that she would have to pay if still interested.
The game trailer looks as good as any, even though it's a long way from blockbusters such as Halo3. Similarly, I have no doubt that the patent pending technology can be a success. What I doubt though is whether you can bypass the publishing houses as Zero Point Software is planning to and still reach a wide enough audience for the game to take serious market traction. Whatever you think about the big publishing houses, they still play a critical part in the marketing of the games and thus creating the awareness among the bigger gaming public. You'd need to have a hell of a game if you plan to be the next Halo3 (or a bigger hit) just with a viral word-of-mouth. That said, the startup is not just talk and no action -The Interstellar Marines trailer has already passed two million downloads and gotten an average user rating of 9.2 on GameTrailers.com. Nice going!
Many of the facts and figures are from the good people at Nordic Venture Forum.
Nordic Venture Forum 2008 is over and the winners have been announced. Just when I wrote (here) about how skeptical I was about Concilio Networks, they land among the top three companies out of the 50 firms that participated in the Nordic Venture Forum.
Nothing delights me as much as company proving me wrong when I've been critical of them. Here's the top 3:
- Concilio Networks (Finland) - Mobilizes and monetizes VoIP and internet community services
- NsGene (Denmark) - Developes novel cell and gene based products for the treatment of neurological diseases.
- Inmold Biosystems (Denmark) - Develops sterile polymere products with biomolecules immobilised into the plastic surfaces.
ArcticStartup congratulates the winners!
While talking to Concilio Networks's CEO, Kristian Järnefelt, in Copenhagen he showed me exactly how the company allows users of normal existing handsets to import their internet contacts from social networks. The user experience is much smoother than I'd expected -I could start chatting with a friend with two clicks: First I chose my contacts and then I just jumped into the relevant contact name as I do with any Nokia phone and I was ready to start chatting. Whenever I have my phone on it shows as 'active' in all the networks I choose to use, for example Google Chat or Skype. As soon as one of my contacts decides to start chatting with me I receive a SMS for every comment. Easy and simple.
I actually pulled out my Nokia N95 and fired up Fring to show Kristian that such a solution already exists, but just as Kristian told me, it takes 'forever' to wait the Fring to load and connect via WiFi or 3G. That said, I still believe it's an up hill battle to sell this solution to the telcos. This Kristian also admits.
All in all, I have to give this round to Concilio Networks. Kristian showed me how easy and effortless their product is to use. Not only that, It makes the world of difference where there are no 3G or WiFi networks in place, which would make it an ideal for South American market or even for Africa. Kristian told me that this might be the case, but that Concilio Networks has found out that to win the telcos' trust they need to find the proof of concept closer to home.
I still believe that iPhone might give them a run for their money, but even if that happens in some markets there are still nearly 3 billion other mobile phones to work with. ArcticStartup 0 - Concilio Networks 1.
I'll be writing more extensively on all the companies that I saw presenting in the conference in the coming days. Keep on the lookout for some interesting startups!
Concilio Networks is a Finnish startup offering a solution that allows users of normal existing handsets to import their internet contacts from social networks.
In effect, Concilio Networks’ Community Connect Solution (CCS) extends Internet communities, social networks and Internet voice- and chat services to any existing mobile handset.
CCS is designed to work with every mobile handset with no need to install any application software to the handset. Instead, normal mobile phone functionalities are used as such to access the services.
In an interview with Social Networking Watch, Concilio Networks CEO, Kristian Järnefelt, informed that the company is currently beta testing with a solution for Google Talk and that they have Facebook and Microsoft Windows Live Messenger support coming out in late 2008. After that it's MySpace's and Bebo's turn. He also added that they are keenly looking at OpenSocial due to the significant upside of bringing many social networks within one.
According to Mr. Järnefelf the company is build on the idea that Internet services could be connected with mobile handsets. A great idea, except that increasingly the handset can already do this with a decent user experience without a need for a third party. For example when talking about iPhone apps I am not sure if receiving status messages via SMS add value or whether it's just easier to tap the app icon and see all of the updated status messages with a glance and a flick of a finger.
I understand that this might sound like a very lucrative opportunity on paper for the mobile service providers to increase ARPU when they are struggling to differentiate themselves from being just a fat pipe for the data. But now when the iPhone started the 'arms race' for a satisfactory user experience I am not sure how thrilled the consumers are for paying extra fees in the form of higher phone bills just to add a middle man between the social networks and the carriers.
I am not suggesting that everyone will inevitable have an iPhone, but that is the direction the browsing experience is heading whether we are talking about iPhone, Nokia, Android, and so on. This does not happen over night, but nor does Concilio Networks have their software running on carrier routers any time soon as they are currently running their first pilot running with Telefónica Móviles in Spain.
When it comes to chatting, sending messages and calling over the Internet there is already Fring, even though admittedly the user needs to download a client to use it.
If Concilio Networks aims to beat the already existing solutions such as Fring and add something extra to the experience the sole handsets will soon offer their solution needs to be dead simple and unbelievably easy to use.
Concilio Networks is one of the companies which has been chosen to attend the Nordic Venture Forum taking place today in Copenhagen, Denmark. I will be also there talking to startups and investors. If you're attending, don't hesitate to come and talk to me.
If you're a startup or know of the scene in Copenhagen drop me an email at ville (at) arcticstartup.com or say Hi! in the comments and I'll contact you.
Moreover, I will be in town for the Nordic Venture Forum so do let me know if you are going and like to connect before Monday. Thanks!
Occasionally we intentionally divert from our primary focus on reviewing and reporting on internet and mobile software startups and growth entrepreneurship in and from the Nordic and Baltic countries to examine the European, the Baltic and the Nordic landscape for the entrepreneurs. Here's another take on the issue.
Dirk Van Quaquebeke, the founder of Tailor Nation (Facebook app here), talked to me about his experiences on running a startup while working at the same time in Deutsche Bank, where to set up your startup and whether London is the startup hub you should go to as an entrepreneur.
When I asked what would he do if given the chance to do a startup anywhere, Dirk said 1) do an MBA in IIM in India (given one is a business guy). 2) While at it build a team around you since you get access to the great talent pool while in India. 3) Given there's three founders, one stays offshore production center at India 4) pay people well & even incentivize some through equity 5) build a sales force through the founders located onshore like London (given its a product that needs a sales force).
Dirk emphasized that London is mainly a PR center where its rather expensive to live (something I can assure!), thus living in somewhere else like Copenhagen or Berlin might be equally good or even better option. He also pointed out that you can do development across the time zones, but if you can avoid it do so because you will be much more efficient.
I will disagree with Dirk especially on the MBA bit -if you do an MBA you will most likely rationalize yourself out of all the big ideas and dreams you had, and even if you can stick to your dreams the socialization effect among the MBA students will lure you to the nice (yet bored out of your mind) life at McKinsey. Naturally, there are exceptions for example if you have already started a couple of startups and you like to know a bit more about say finance. In the latter case, an MBA might be a good option to meet other like minded people in a place like Stanford and maybe even learn a bit. But as a rule of thump, avoid MBA schools!
What comes to the location, I believe one should build strong ties to the Silicon Valley (something Jyri Engeström, the Jaiku co-fouder, also reiterated) as it can significantly cut the time to market which might make a big difference from the time the window opens to the point where a competitor has already a critical mass and beyond your reach. That said, I still believe one should stick to the community s/he knows be it Copenhagen, London or Helsinki, since culture and support mechanisms like your family and friends make a big difference and if that is not a big enough reason you might loose not only time but also your money while trying to relocate and adjust.
We have partnered with the Nordic Venture Forum to bring more visibility for Nordic and Baltic startups among the investors in the region.
Nordic Venture Forum is a day long conference in Copenhagen, Denmark that will give the 50 most promising companies that have qualified to the conference a chance to present their business model to a long list of business angels, VC funds and other investors.
The Forum facilitates quality local and international deal flow, which aims to highlight the high level of growth companies in the Nordics and to increase the appeal of the Region for local and international venture capital and corporate investors as well as potential institutional investors in venture capital funds.
Nordic Venture Forum report that the impact studies of the Forum results show that 58% of the presenting companies managed to raise new investments following the event. An impressive percentage and if the raised funds are even in that ballpark it's definitely something to look out for to those startups that fill the application criteria. To qualify a startups needs to 1) be an independent company with operational headquarters in the Nordics, 2) active in ICT, life sciences or clean technologies (energy & environment), and 3) seeking growth funding in the next 24 months.
The applications are closed for this year but be on the lookout for next year and talk to the the organizers to see if the conference is a good match with your startup.
Dopplr, a service that lets you share your future travel plans privately with friends and colleagues, released a new version codenamed "Copenhagen" some time ago. There has also been other updates we've been writing about along the way. With this post I wanted to recap some of the developments and go a bit more into detail on how the new features are working for the users.
Among other improvements I can now publish my Dopplr profile page on the Internet for the public to see and for the search engines to find. This is a needed addition as it was frustrating to ask people to create their own profile if they only wanted to follow my whereabouts (yes, there was the widget, but only with one default disclosure option). Dopplr also plays along with what is a desired and much overdue positive trend among many social networks, namely giving users the ability to control how much information they want to disclose to the public. This is done via modules which the user can which on and off as she wishes.
After a little tinkering I was able to find my public profile, but there's still no way to do a search of public profiles on Dopplr's home page. This would be great addition especially since Google's Search bots hadn't found my profile yet, making it practically nonexistent.
Another very useful feature that Tripit already has and which Dopplr has now also added, is the possibility to input your trips to the service via email and SMS. Dopplr didn't stop there but let's the users also use Twitter to input one's itinerary. This was a positive surprise. It took me a few back and forth confirmations to make it work, but not too much to make it an inconvenience. After I follow Dopplr on Twitter I am able to input a new trip just by doodling my destination and the dates into Twitter and post the Tweet to add it to my Trips at Dopplr.
A user can also choose to use Twitter to post her itinerary 'silently' to Dopplr in which case it does not even show in her Tweets. I did this, but due to the usage limits that Twitter has imposed it takes a long while for the posting to go through. Once a trip is confirmed a user can also forward relevant emails such as hotel reservations to the service where they will be automatically attached to her trip.
Email, SMS and Twitter upload is a welcome addition that let's Dopplr to strike back as Tripit already added what was Dopplr's killer feature, namely the serendipity feature which allows me to see all my friends who use Dopplr and are in the city at the same time that I'm visiting there.
I found this quote (from Dopplr blog) fascinating on how Dopplr works out the the dates and other info from the doodlings we send them:
There are an awful lot of ways to format a travel itinerary. When people asked us to extract trips from emails, we looked at our long history of e-tickets, confirmations and reservations, and scratched our heads.
Inspiration came in the shape of Apple’s last OS X release, Leopard, and an intriguing feature called “Data detectors“.
We realised that instead of creating a piece of code to decode every email format out there, we could look for patterns of dates and place names in the text (and later, other information too) and turn those into trips.
A happy side-effect of this approach is that as well as extracting information from automatic reservation emails, it works well with short text strings like “I’ll be in San Francisco from 3rd July to 7th July”. This means we can work with many hand-written emails, with Twitters, and with SMSes too.
Of course it won’t work with every variation under the sun (for example, it’s most reliable when an email contains just a return trip in a single hop), but we’ve had very satisfying results in our testing. And of course every email you send us will be added to our test suite so that our engine can get better and better over time.
I've always liked Dopplr for its simplicity, but there has still been the feeling that its a one trick pony with its fascinating serendipity function. With the Copenhagen release this doesn't seem to be the case anymore and I could see myself move all my travel planning to Dopplr, if I only could access my full itinerary from my mobile with the same ease I can Twitter it up there. Something that Tripit makes possible even though not via Twitter but via SMS.
One can speculate if the new version is codenamed Copenhagen because Tyler Brûlé just recently nominated Copenhagen 'the most livable city in the world' in the latest issue of what is supposedly every city hopper's bible, Monocle. Regardless, I think Dopplr has made itself much more useful for all of us with its latest version.