Sunstone Capital has now added Max Niederhofer as a partner in its Copenhagen office, after leaving his position as Vice President in Accel Partners' London office.
Niederhofer has been working the last 11 years in growth companies in Europe and the United States as both an entrepreneur and investor. He started and sold Qwerly, a data marketing business, and as a Principal at Atlas Venture, he has been involved with companies like DailyMotion, Seatwave, and Moo. His personal investements include Last.fm, among others.
In October 2012 we held the Arctic15 conference in Helsinki, where a panel discussion between venture capitalists took place. This discussion proved to be rather interesting, controversial and extremely useful for everyone who wants to understand more about Venture Capitalists and get some tips and advice in regards to talking to them.
The discussion took place between Aman Ghei of Accel partners (Invested in Rovio, Supercell, Facebook), Johan Brenner of Creandum (Invested in Spotify, iZettle), Vitaly Rubstein from Rubylight (Former Co-Founders of Odnoklassniki.ru, invested in Ask.fm) and Dmitri Sarle from Arcticstartup as the moderator. During the discussion some "dirty little secrets", as Johan Brenner put it, were revealed. For a complete video, scroll down to the bottom and enjoy the show.
We're super excited to announce more speakers to Arctic15. Our new bunch of speakers include representatives from organisations such as Airbnb, iZettle, Accel Partners, Jolla Mobile and Startup Sauna. We've still got about 20 more speakers to come which include the representatives from the 15 finalists.
Yesterday we revealed how Rovio's $42 million investment last year actually went to one or more of its founders, by the look of their financial statement that was filed with the Finnish authorities. We received a lot of feedback regarding that article through e-mail, but also in comments through other channels. The overall attitude seems to one of caution, that we should be careful for digging up information and discussing it in public.
This publication is all for growth entrepreneurship and we feel that the more discussion around these topics we have, with the right attitude and manner of course, the better off the Northern European startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem will be.
Rovio is not a taboo that should not be discussed. It's one of the best things that has happened to the Finnish startup ecosystem in a long time. The execution of its vision will become a case study for future MBAs on how to go about global growth. Believing that if we gave successful companies peace and quiet as media, and thus avoiding studying them in detail, in the fear of damaging the company's future potential is at best superstition.
Lifeline Ventures, also one of the Vigo accelerators, has announced the launch of a €20 million fund for early stage growth companies. The investors in the fund include Pension Insurance Ilmarinen, FoF Growth, Sitra, Finnvera, Troll Ventures, Juuranto Invest and the founders of Lifeline Ventures. We talked to Petteri Koponen, one of the co-founders of the firm to understand more about the fund.
The fund is called Lifeline Ventures Fund I and it has an investment period of 5 years which is included with the 10 years of the overall age of the fund. The first five years of the fund lifecycle will be used to make new investments and the latter five will be used for follow-up investments.
Out of Norway, ForgeRock, the open source vendor behind the I3 Open Identity Platform, today announced it has received $7 million from Accel partners. ForgeRock's products are mainly used for identity management in authentication, access management, user entitlements, federation, and identity lifecycle management.
The I³ products family maintained by ForgeRock includes OpenAM (access manager), OpenIDM (identity manager), and OpenDJ (java directory service) among others. ForgeRock technology is built on open standards and deployed by a global network of system integrator, consulting and training partners.
The Finnish Arvopaperi magazine has announced the ownership structure of Rovio, the creators of Angry Birds. The information has not come up in any IPO filing, but through public information in the Finnish governmental registry. The biggest chunk of the Rovio is owned by Trema Holdings International BV, the holding company of Kaj Hed. Kaj Hed is Mikael's father and Mikael is Niklas' cousin. It seems that Accel and Atomico, who together invested $42 million into the company last year, own around 20% of the company.
One startup we last covered in 2009 but deserves and update is Prezi, the cloud based presentation software that differentiates itself from the standard office presentation software by zooming in and out of of concepts, rather than the standard forward transitions of square slides. While we don't have any breaking news to give you, we do have nearly three years of updates to catch up on.
Just a couple of weeks ago we wrote that Supercell would be announcing multiple new games in early 2012. Well, one of them will be Battle Buddies, and will be available for tablets in the first half of 2012. Supercell's first game, Gunshine.net focused on bringing the experience of social, real-time multiplayer gaming to as many people as possible. Since then, the Helsinki, Finland based company has proved the concept works and raised north of 10 million USD from Accel Partners and others.
We talked to Harry Nelis, a partner at Accel Partners, about startups, entrepreneurship and Europe as well as many other topics. When we shot the video, Nelis had just come down from the main stage at LeWeb where he participated in the traditional Money Panel. Accel has been able to discover and invest into some of the most successful startups out there. Some of their portfolio companies include Facebook, Groupon, Spotify and the list goes on.
I'm writing this from LeWeb, actually from the back of a mobile sauna the Travelling Salesman Crew brought in. It's about the only place I could find a seat outside of the main hall to work a little. If you are in LeWeb, do pay the sauna a visit! Loïc and Geraldine have been able to pull together one big event once again in Paris with some 3300 people from all around the world.
It must be part of the evolution of LeWeb and technology conferences in general (us included with Arctic15), but most of the content in the first day of Le Web this year seemed to be full of product launches.
There’s a lot of noise lately about whether or not mobile apps are sustainable, or have any future. But so far, and despite some real challenges and issues, mobile apps have been nothing short of success.
The challenges for developers working on mobile apps range from visibility and pick up rates to loyalty and monetization. The majority of revenue generated by app stores today still comes from the top 100 apps and the “long tail” is often ignored. As the demand for smartphone real estate increases, the cost of acquiring new mobile customers is rising rapidly as well. Seamless payment and customer acquisition methods are other big challenges that apps are struggling to solve. Not to mention how inhomogeneous the two leading platforms - iOS and Android- are.
Finnish game developer Supercell announced that it secured an investment of $12 million from Accel Partners, the leading global venture capital firm with a wealth of experience in the gaming industry. This is really great news for a gaming company that was founded only in June 2010. Their first game, Gunshine, was released this February as a closed beta and has proven to be quite addictive among the first adopters. Gunshine is described as a game that bridges the gap between browser-based massively-multiplayer games and social games, with deep online gameplay and extensive social features. Now that the product is about to enter open beta and will become available for everyone to play, the investment will help Supercell accelerate its growth, expand its team and also release new games and target new platforms.
TechCrunch just released the story that creators of Angry Birds, Rovio, has raised an astonishing $42 million round in funding. The funding has been raised from Accel Partners, Atomico Ventures as well as Felicis Ventures. The round was co-led by Accel Partners as well as Atomico Ventures. Niklas Zennström, the co-founder of Skype will be joining Rovio's board.
MobileBeat announced yesterday that GetJar has raised a whopping $25 million in its third round of financing. GetJar's founder and CEO Ilja Laurs is from Lithuania, but the company has been headquartered in the US for many years. This round of financing came from Tiger Global Management and Accel Partners. Accel Partners also led the two previous rounds. With the third round of financing, GetJar has raised in total $42 million.
We were surprised by the news and called around to see what was the case and found out that the guys at Comeks were equally at ave after hearing the news. Clearly there had been a misunderstanding of some kind.
To be sure, we wanted to let the dust settle and see whether Comeks is still in business after couple of months.
Couple of days ago I talked with the Comeks co-founder and CEO Arto Viitanen and he answered from the Comeks office and told me that he did not have much time to talk as he was hacking away on Sunday night for the looming deadline. Clearly Comeks was and is still in business.