According to many, Applifier is one of the hottest startups in Finland and with over 150 million active users in their gaming cross-promotion network - rightly so.
Last year, they announced Everyplay. Which in most basic terms allows in-game replay recording. However it also acts as a gaming video social network as you can share your game replays on Everyplay, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. This, according to Applifier, will drive organic growth for game developers.
The 'Let's Play' style of YouTube videos where gamers narrate and play games has become a gaming staple, but fairly impossible for mobile games. While some may argue that there are more than enough 14 year-olds with cracky voices talking about games on YouTube, mobile developers have reason to want to get in on the action - lots of gamers like to check out videos of real gameplay to see how the game looks and plays, rather than checking out the polished and animated game trailers made by publishers.
This is the big idea behind Helsinki-based Everyplay, a spinoff of Applifier. Everyplay is an in-game cross-game social network where mobile gamers to be able to record and share screencasts of the games they're playing without awkwardly holding a camera or jailbreaking their phone. Today they've beta launched a feature called FaceCam, which takes advantage of your phone's camera to record videos of yourself while playing the game.
This is old news now, but I'm sure some people haven't about Applifier's Series B funding so we'll put a few words down. The Helsinki-based company this week raised $4 million (€3 million) to expand their Everyplay network, a social network built around gameplay recordings from mobile games. The round was led by Lifeline Ventures, including investments from MHS Capital, PROFounders, and a number of Angels. This investment follows last February's €2 million investment.
Yesterday I took a Skype call from Jussi Laakkonen, the CEO of Applifier, after he told ArcticStartup he had something awesome to show us. The Skype video pops up with him on his walking desk. I should mention for those of you unfamiliar with the concept, it's similar to a standing desk, except that you're slowly but constantly moving on a treadmill, rather than just standing (or sitting) all day.
"Greg," he asks. "What is the most powerful way for you to discover a new game on your iPhone?"
If any of our readers do a lot of negotiations over Skype, I have to recommend you put your camera right in front of a walking desk, because it looks like he's slowly coming after me.
"Uhh, recommendations from my friends?" I respond.
"Exactly," Laakkonen says, and goes into a smooth pitch of Everyplay, Applifier's new cross promotion product that should seriously shake up mobile games. At its essence, Everyplay is an in-game social video network that enables players to share replays from their mobile games, complete with a video of their face, voice from the mic, or just the action on screen. Today Applifier is announcing Everyplay's beta with a select group of developers.
Last year I remember reading news of Applifier's fast growth and funding round, and I remember thinking Applifier would be the new hot Finnish company we'd hear a lot of news from. But what has happened since then? I suppose I can partly blame myself for taking a job here and then leaving everyone in the cold, but to make up for it I caught up with CEO Jussi Laakkonen about what's new at Applifier.
The company is seeing "well north" of 150 million monthly users on Facebook, making it likely the largest cross-promotion network on the site. So far the company has swollen to 22 people offices in Finland and California. Like most regional companies, in California they manage publisher relations, business development, and sales, while the engineering is handled in Finland.
We missed last week due to some scheduling challenges, but we're back this week a little earlier with our talk show. This week we talk to Petteri Koponen, the co-founder of Lifeline Ventures as well as the former co-founder of Jaiku and First Hop. He's got a colorful past with this companies and in living through them, built up an enormous amount of experience. Lifeline Ventures has also become one of the prominent early stage investors in Finland through their 19 investments.
We'd also like to thank our sponsor for this week - Kisko Labs, for supporting the show. Kisko Labs makes people happy by solving their problems with digital services. They've got a neat offering called Kisko Kickstart that will develop an idea into a minimum viable product in five weeks. This helps companies understand how the idea would work in a business environment.
Those are the strategic figures of the Finnish gaming industry at the moment. Last night, prime time news in Finland covered the gaming industry in proper spotlight and outlined a few key figures of the industry. This year, the gaming industry is expected to generate 165 million euros in revenue and in doing so they employ 1200 people. Despite this somewhat significant size of the industry for such a small country, it has yet to see any real public acknowledgement from media at large or politicians. The downside of all this is that there are very few schools who teach anything related to the games industry.
With the hype surrounding the new Nokia Windows phones, perhaps we will start to see more apps developed for the Windows Phone 7 marketplace. To get any traction, new and existing apps are going to need some healthy promotion to reach customers. The Lithuanian cross-promotion network, AdDuplex, seeks to help developers gain traction and monetize their apps through in-app advertisements.
We've been speculating about Applifier going mobile for a few months and now it is official: Applifier is beta-testing their mobile game discovery tool. Since smartphones and tablets are gaining mass appeal, game developers are increasingly building products that work across all mobile platforms. But here, just like in browser-based or Facebook game, the number of available games hinders discovery. Applifier's new mobile tool helps cross-promoting games through a pop-up bar inside the game that recommends games based on user's history. A similar tool has worked wonderfully on Facebook, helping hundreds of publishers grow their userbase faster. The new tool is now available for the iPad, iPhone and iPod. Support for Android will be launched later this year.
For the past 3 weeks or so we've been promoting Applifier and their recruiting needs. Applifier is one of the fastest growing Finnish companies and like many of its kinds, one of the hardest things to do to support the growth is to find the right people. We've come up with an interesting promotional product and we think it's a good fit for companies looking to find the best people for their company.
Applifier has just announced that they have launched "Games On Applifier", essentially a Facebook app to help users discover and find new interesting games. Applifier is Facebook's largest cross promotion network with 55 million monthly active users (MAU). Previously, Applifier has enabled game publishers to promote their games through their banners, but this takes game discovery and recommendations to a completely new level.
Applifier certainly sprung up some interesting competition in Facebook as it revealed just how successful it has been. Blog!Flow has taken this same concept to blogs, who would like to receive more visbility and readers. In short, they too, are promising new readers for free who use the Blog!Flow banner on their website. The cross promotion network takes some of these advertisements and sells them onwards to those wanting to buy more visibility.
The service has been launched into closed beta by the same team that worked on Videoflow. Teppo Hudson leads the team and we talked to him about their plans and where Blog!flow stands currently.
Big day yesterday for Applifier as the cross promotion bar on the popular social network, Facebook closed $2 Million in seed funding and announced its expansion into web based gaming as well. We reported just a couple of weeks back of its plans for expanding into the Silicon Valley, speculating what news it might have for us by spring. All those news are important, but there's another worthwhile mention; the addition of the retargeting to Applifier's cross promotion bar.
For the third time ever Mobile Dev Camp will take place on Saturday 26th February in Helsinki, Finland. The event is a special treat for 200+ developers, business people and proud geeks who want to find out the next big thing on mobile. Mobile Dev Camp is known for launching new platforms and products before they are out in the mainstream. For example, at its first event in 2009 the organizers presented Android platform when it was not even out in Finland. Last year Rovio and Windows 7 were the highlights. Back then few people knew about Angry Birds and no Window 7 phones were around. This year Applifier and Samusung Bada will be at the center of attention. On top of that, the event includes a competition for developers to create a simple and fun application for different mobile platforms in 48 hours. Each platform has its own category and a great prize, like a new Wave mobile phone in Samsung's Bada category. Best part: the event is completely free, though you should probably register to let organizers know how many people to expect.
Applifier is making the move to the valley, as soon as Jussi Laakkonen, the CEO can get his visa from the US embassy. He has basically packed his bags and his waiting for that one document to arrive before boarding the plane. Applifier isn't completely shifting focus to the valley, although they're putting a lot of effort into it. Jussi Laakkonen will be the first to go for now and he'll be focusing on business development and building the US side of sales and relationships for Applifier. They've also hired a person to help out with business development on the valley side.
Quora has become a great source of information for entrepreneurs, and pretty much anyone interested in a specific topic. In short, Quora is a well executed question and answer service that is currently in beta. WIth this, they've been able to choose who they want to let in while this in turn has helped them keep the quality of the answers very high. Another interesting aspect of the service that startups should take notice of, is the people they've managed to get on board. You can find lots of famous startup CEOs there answering questions and helping people understand more about their companies. Enough about Quora though. There was an interesting question in Quora regarding which Nordic companies make more than $10 million annually and Saul Klein had answered it. He answered a similar question about companies based in London that interested a lot of people, so it's definitely interesting to look into this as well.
The Kinetik, a Danish StartupBootCamp company, is offering cross promotion advertising on mobile apps. The concept is very much similar to that of Applifier's. The Kinetik offers tools for developers to attract new users to their apps for free. The company is able to offer free visitors as developers also advertise other apps in their own. For each installed app through the advertising, developers will receive credits minus the commision by The Kinetik.
Last night's ArcticEvening was definitely one of the best we've managed to organise. I think we managed to nail a couple of things right; fantastic speakers and a great atmosphere among the crowd. The evening started off with sponsor messages from Culminatum, Microsoft and Veraventure. Microsoft is basically looking for 5 companies that leverage the cloud that they could help promote and take global. Veraventure disclosed in the evening that they will be making 24 early stage investments in Finland next year if they find good deal flow - another fantastic opportunity right there. The event was the official after party of the IBP Camp Helsinki, and you can read the transcript of the live blogging that took place in our previous post.
Earlier this week we announced the date and setup for our upcoming ArcticEvening in Helsinki. The tickets are now available for free registration below. As a summary, we'll be having presentations from two very interesting speakers and founders of companies on their journey and how they got to where they are now.
The event will be held on 4th of November, from 6pm to 10pm in Korjaamo (Töölönkatu 51), Helsinki. We'll start the event soon after 6pm, so try to be there as early as possible. Thanks to our wonderful sponsors, we're able to offer everyone a complimentary drink upon arrival - so do take a minute to get to know our sponsors as well.
ArcticEvening Helsinki is also the official after party of IBP Camp Helsinki held earlier that day in Korjaamo as well. The day will feature world class speakers, including Andreas Ehn, ex-Spotify and Timo Soininen, CEO of Sulake. Themes of the day handle productization, challenges of the international sales and marketing with scarce resources, building the international team, and successes and failures in internationalization. Highly recommended, if you're in Helsinki for the day as well. For more information, check out the IBP event page.
Applifier is indeed on fire - they came out as the winners of the main prize (20 010€) of the MindTrek’s Launchpad competition. Press jury’s award worth 4000€ was given to Hitlantis and Intoloop took home 1000€ prize from the audience vote. General opinion among MindTrek audience and judges was that all pitches were of higher quality than in previous years.
Jussi Laakkonen from Applifier entered the competition with a very strong case. Their cross-promotion platform helps Facebook games attract more users faster and cheaper. Applifier’s rapid expansion has awed a lot of onlookers: their userbase grew from zero to 55 million in less than 10 months (updated) 100 days and Jussi confidently claimed that the company has not stopped growing yet. The pitch was full of energy, can-do attitude and quite a bit of arrogance, all of which are definitely encouraged in any entrepreneur. Though in an earlier interview with ArcticStartup Jussi politely avoided disclosing how much revenue they are making, he made it clear that it is quite substantial. There is some scepticism around Applifier’s business model as it is easy to copy and replicate so should a different company enter the market with cheaper prices Applifier would be in trouble. Nevertheless, congratulations for winning the main prize - it sure is a sweet reward for the company’s mind-boggling success.
Reporting from the Mindtrek conference, I managed to have a chat with Jussi Laakkonen the CEO of Applifier about their service and what's been keeping them busy in the recent months. Only a little over a month ago we reported about the company reaching 55 million monthly active users (MAUs) within Facebook with their cross promotion network. Applifier is the successful (I think we can give it to them already easily) full company pivot from Everyplay, which used to be a 3D social game in Facebook.
Mindtrek is one of the notable technology and startup oriented conferences taking place in the Nordics that startups should pay attention to. Why? For one, they are giving away 20 010 € worth of prize money to most attractive startups that match their Launchpad criteria. This year's finalists, that will be pitching at the event, have been announced. They are listed in alphabetical order below.
Applifier is a new Finnish startup that was pivoted from Everyplay, which was originally a social games developer. Applier is a cross-promotion network of independent social application developers on Facebook. It's user base has blow up over night and gone from zero to 55 million users in four months. The service currently represents over 100 social games and applications, and reaches more than 55 million monthly active users (MAUs). According to the company, it reaches more Facebook users than any social game publisher, except of course Zynga.