Ok, we admit it - this is a bit light on news, but it deserves to be shared. One of the best metrics for the success of Rovio's Angry Birds has been the amount of user generated content people have created after being inspired by the game. There have been a lot of different products inspired by the game too. However, this is perhaps the best user created film on the game to date. It's very high quality, but also very timely - with the crisis in Libya.
Anything you see can be yours, that’s what Kiosked believes in. The startup revolves around the concept of Web Wide Shop and has developed a secure sales and marketing platform, transforming all content online into a marketplace.
Students in Finland have come a long way in a few years. Last night, Finland saw one of its most impressive events in support of growth entrepreneurship - all organised by a small group of passionate students. What makes this all the better, is that the event was covered by numerous national media and the panelists at the actual event included the hotshots of Finnish business environment; a mix of very influential business people and a group of startup entrepreneurs. The event was called "Finland Post Welfare", questioning the things Finland should work on to sustain its welfare status. It was put together by Aalto Entrepreneurship Society.
We live blogged the event last night in English as the event itself was held in Finnish. As it's not the best use of anyone's time to suggest that you go through the logs - we'll do our best to summarise the event in this post.
Leiki has announced it has entered into a partnership with Helsingin Sanomat (the largest daily newspaper in Finland) to personalise articles on the front page of its digital version. The digital version is the premium, paid version of the newspaper, that can be found online.
Playmysong is a Helsinki, Finland based startup making every mobile phone a control device for the digital jukebox in a restaurant. Last week the company announced that Overlook NYC bar near Grand Central terminal in New York has become the first venue in the United States to start using Playmysong. The company is tapping into the 160 million Apple mobile device market with their iPhone app. The basic service is free, but for a premium fee of $399 venues can get premium benefits as mood styled playlists and autoplay features.
Finland will have its parliamentary elections this spring, and Estonia just had theirs. I've come across quite a few candidates and politicians who don't fully understand the importance of early stage investments, call it angel investing or whatever you will, for the startup ecosystem and the economy itself. Some go even as far as stating, why should we give benefits to a certain group of business people and not everyone else? I've thought about this for a long time and I believe I've come across the most simple way to put the message across in a way that politicians would understand and respect the importance of it.
Microsoft has partnered with Rovio's Angry Birds to promote their search engine Bing. The promotion is done in a four part mini video series. It features characters from the popular game taking advantage of Bing to steal some eggs. Just on Monday we reported that Angry Birds is easily doing over $50 million in revenues this year and further distributing the sources of revenue over deals like this with Microsoft easily increases the overall return on the game.
Rovio is well on its way to stardom with Angry Birds. Business Insider reported last week that Rovio has sold more than 2 million toys already since October. In mere five months, the company has essentially generated at least 20 million euros worth of revenue through its toys (if we hypothetically agree on a 10€ average price per toy sold - they actually sell for $11.99 and $14.99). Plush toys are just one source of revenue for the company, other major sources include iOS apps, advertising on the Android platform as well as the Mighty Eagle add on.
Finland will be having its parliamentary this April. Naturally, entrepreneurship and welfare are on the agenda, but one aspect of entrepreneurship that has been missing is the lobbying of growth entrepreneurship. On 21st of March, Aalto ES will be putting together an event together with a whole bunch of organisations to promote growth entrepreneurship for the candidates running for parliament. The event is controversially called Finland Post Welfare.
Netcycler is the Finland based startup that developed an online service to help people recycle their goods. In the most basic form, it helps to do this with two people who find something else they're willing to exchange their own good for. This also works on a larger scale, where you may be giving someone else your good and receiving a good from a third person. Last week, the company announced they're opening shop in UK.
HeiaHeia, the Finnish originated service to help those exercising keep track of their developement, has announced the launch of their corporate white label service. The corporate version leverages features from the current service, but will be sold to clients through a SaaS-model. The launch of the corporate version will have no effect on the consumer service and it will stay free in the future as well, according to a blog post by HeiaHeia.
We've talked about Tuxera quite a long time back at Arctic Startup. The Finnish based company is the industry leader when it comes to providing NTFS, exFAT, HFS+ and other file system solutions that guarantee Windows, Mac and any electronic device interoperability. It had been quite a long time since we last talked about, hence we thought it would be good to follow up on the current situation with a brief interview. And it's good that we did - Mikko Välimäki, CEO, revealed that they multiplied their revenue 7 fold last year (which would mean it's closer to half a million euros based on the public records)*.
Groupon has made coupons hot again and other players in the field are taking advantage of that. A new Finnish start-up Dealium promises to deliver best group discount deals through a mobile app that sorts the offers based on user's geolocation and preferences. In practice, it means that walking through downtown of Helsinki users could browse through group discounts relevant to their needs and purchase the deal directly through their smartphones by checking into the cafes or restaurants they prefer. The notification would also be shared with the user's Facebook friends and after completing different activities within the app, users could collect virtual points and compete with other users. The service would be launched into beta in Finland in the beginning of April.
Angry Birds has been on the iOS devices as well as the Android platform for quite long now and reports are that Rovio is in works to bring this to the Windows Phone 7 devices. A bit surprising to me why they haven’t given the Microsoft’s mobile platform a thought earlier? Maybe it was Microsoft alone that had kept the Angry Birds from coming any sooner. We won’t dwell into this side of conversation and will simply stick to the news.
We had reported about the lawsuit against Web of Trust (WOT) last week and had mentioned that we will be inquiring Vesa Perälä, CEO of WOT about the same. While talking about the lawsuit alone would have been a repetition, hence we thought of providing a well rounded information on WOT as well. I was quite impressed with its growth, its community is expected to grow to 50 million by the end of the current year.
Digital image improvement or enhancement sounds heavy and immediately makes you feel that you need to be some Photoshop or other software’s expert. I for one accept the fact that Photoshop is a nightmare for me to learn, forget about being good. I have wasted a good amount of time performing Google searches to find a good tool to do digital image improvement. I will save that effort for a few readers and share PhotoEQ a pretty easy to use DIY software to edit or improve your images.
I might sound a bit too judgmental and far fetched when it comes to putting Sofanatics as being one of the most interesting startups from Finland. Primarily because it brings all football fanatics onto one platform that has the potential to be the buzzing stadium within a browser. Do I make sense?
The Mobile World Congress 2011 in February is a definite event to keep an eye on, especially when there is some interesting news associated to the Android based smartphones. There is definitely the same level excitement for quite some innovation in the mobile category but Rightware has plans to make display on Android phones, visually more pleasing.
A little over a year ago we reported on a Finnish media startup called Indiedays. The company put together a fashion, beauty and lifestyle network of bloggers, all under the same address to leverage their traffic and build a new media destination. I talked to the CEO and co-founder Esa Suurio about their development in 2010 and how they were able to exceed their goals.
Lets watch TV together, it could be anything, your favorite drama or something as addictive as a Football match. But don’t you think the idea of getting ready and walking to a friend’s place sounds a bit too tiring? And where’s the fun in all that when you have already watched a countless games together? How about jumping on the Internet bandwagon and having a more social experience? That’s what formed the basis of the launch of Sofanatics. The startup was launched back in February giving users a platform to cheer for their teams.
Last weekend I took part in a 48-hour event called Garage48. Garage48 is an intensive hackathon where on the final day teams gather to pitch their results. While we've written about these and similar kinds of events before, I thought I should take part this time round to see what the atmosphere is "on the ground". I had to take a day's rest and think about the whole experience and what it means before writing about it.
Many businesses are keen on making tourist and other guides for mobile. Fully customizable, based on peer reviews, suggestions by locals or existing tourist guides - you name it. A new addition to the field is a recently created start-up called Zonear from Tampere, Finland. Rather than bringing an all-encompassing travel guide directly to the consumer, Zonear provides mobile apps with customizable maps for service providers like travel destinations, museums and event organizers. The idea is that for each customer Zonear would create a unique map that would point the end user in the right direction, provide additional information and let them interact with the location or object. The app can be viewed directly from the web or be used offline if it's been downloaded in the browser once. It works across many platforms, can be fully customized for the brand and includes a simple analytics tool. Four years ago another Finnish start-up Whatamap tried to do exactly the same thing, so how is Zonear different?
Garage48 Helsinki will take place this weekend in the Aalto Venture Garage, where about a hundred enthusiasts will compete in a friendly manner to build the best business/product -combination in only 48 hours. We'll be bringing you updates through out the weekend and they will be added to this post. Garage48 has originated from Estonia and already two such events have been organised. The reason why Garage48 is worth following so widely, is the cross border effect it has - Estonians, Finns, Latvians, Lithuanians as well as some from the US and UK, all coming together for a weekend to build something great.
TruthFeed is a new social startup emerging from Helsinki, Finland that provides users with a platform to share their experiences with a global audience. The idea is to help people take informed decisions based on the overall experience others have had. Think for a minute, you are planning a trip to Helsinki, Finland and you have absolutely no idea what places to visit, what startups operate in the region or who are the top tech bloggers [other than those at ArcticStartup..] you can head over to TruthFeed and learn about all that. How?
iPad, iPhone that’s where the folks are rushing in and so must I. That is what Wesley Snipes must have had in mind when he signed up for Julius Styles: The International. The game comes from Lapland Studios, a Finnish game developer in association with Elstree Studio Productions and Red 27 Films. The release is set for June 2011 release but with Wesley Snipes as Julius Styles, expect nothing short of kicking and bullet riddled action. Oh there is some puzzle too.
Teenagers arond the world seem to be going crazy about Sulake's Habbo Hotel - the company announced today that 2010 was their best year ever with December being the busiest month. Habbo Hotel boasted 4.5M€ revenue from virtual goods in December alone. Unique monthly users also peaked the same month reaching 8.7 million, one-third of whom accessed the game through the Facebook application. Almost 200 million unique active characters have been registered to the site throughout its ten-year existance, 42.5 million out of them in 2010 alone. Habbo Hotel has also been making more money this year than last - annual user revenue grew by 25% compared to 2009.
Initiating and closing sales is a tedious process, often made even worse by complicated software that makes you fill out endless forms before you even start the work. Seems like people in the Northern Europe are particularly frustrated with existing CRM solutions and are busy building their own tools. Cases in point are a new start-up from Estonia - Pipedrive and an early-stage start-up from Finland - Deal Machine. Both companies offer sales management software but from different perspectives. Pipedrive from the point of view of experienced sales managers, Deal Machine from a young generation of innovators. What is the difference between the two and why would you choose either one of them?
Powerkiss have not released much news this year. Apart from a feature in VentureBeat in June and a mention in connection with The Europas competition, we have not heard much about the company. Just this month, however, they've been pushing out news stories like crazy. First we hear that they've partnered with Wayne's Coffee in Sweden and Finland. The coffeeshop chain's guests can now (in limited locations) ask for a Powerkiss wireless ring from the counter, plug it into their phone, put onto the Powerkiss-enabled table and recharge it during their stay. Next we hear that Powerkiss is the official wire-free provider for Santa in China. That's right: Santa Clause foundation has been hosting showrooms in China to promote Santa and other Finnish exports and Powerkiss has been one of those products. Last but not least, Powerkiss' wireless charger has been officially approved as an Apple accessory. Charging an iPhone/iPod next to you soon! Apart from all the glitz, the case of Powerkiss poses some interesting questions.
Jenkatehdas is a music start-up from Finland that's been operating in stealth mode for about nine months but publicly released their service this September. The company describes itself as a Finland's first online rock venue: they host exclusive live concerts in a rented studio and stream it in real time. The audience needs to purchase tickets to be able to view the show (4-5€) and can interact with the band by signing into the chat room on the website using Facebook credentials. Yesterday Jenkatehdas streamed their second third concert ever with Jukka Poika & Sound Explosion Band. Antti Eronen, founder and CEO, did not disclose the number of people watching the show but said he was "really happy with the number of tickets sold, since they were in triple digits". Most of the viewers stayed for over 50% of the show. All the more impressive given that the show was targeted primarily for the Finnish audience (all ads were in Finnish and the band is best known in Finland) and that the start-up is mere months old.
Every now and then I boast about the next big thing coming from the Nordics and now I believe I have found a seed for one of those monsters.
Social Shopping is one of the fastest growing online consumer markets and there’s a Finnish startup right in the middle. DealDash, a Finnish startup, is making $200k+ a month and has currently 130k+ users, and its growing fast. Their annual revenue run-rate is approaching the $3m mark and sales have doubled in the last 6 months.