You can tell entrepreneurial buzz is picking up in Helsinki when Finland's top design hotels are catering to local entrepreneurs, much like the new Klaus K Entrepreneurial Innovation Award that will be given out at Slush this year. It makes sense for the family run hotel as more startups are looking for beds when flying in partners and to host events, much like Jolla's Sailfish launch party, which was held at the hotel.
Fantastic news to start the week off. The Finland based Sibesonke, a mobile service company, has been announced the winner of the AfricaCom 2010, Telecom Innovation of the year -category. The competition has now been held for the third consecutive year. In total there were 10 different categories. Other finalists in the same category with Sibesonke were Ericsson (Base Transceiver Station), Helios Towers (Lean Operator Model), Vodafone & Vodacom Tanzania (M-PESA) and Zephyr Corporation (Wind Powered Network).
The Europas, the inaugural TechCrunch Europe Awards 2009 for European and EMEA tech companies, were held last night in London, UK. Nordic and Baltic countries had a rather strong representation among the nominated startups and consequentially took home no less than 5 out of 15 categories. But these five wins did not scatter around just any startups. Four out of the five were taken home by Spotify and the fifth one belonged to SoundCloud, which has also its roots in Sweden just as Spotify does.
So Sweden truly lead the Northern European pack and really were an example to the whole Europe: Spotify not only took home 5 wins, but more impressively won Best New Startup, Summer 2008-2009, Best Startup Founder(s) and Best Web Application Or Service (EMEA) as well as was given the The Europas Grand Prix award by the 19 expert advisors, which included some industry movers and shakers and which I had a privilege to be included in (consider this as my disclosure). SoundCloud on its part won the Best Entertainment Application or Service (EMEA).
alaTest is a web service providing free and independent aggregated product quality information. It aims to simplify the purchase decision offering aggregated professional reviews, product specifications, and a standard quality rating along with the lowest available price in the same location. alaTest has just won the Red Herring Top Global 100 award, and was also selected to the 2008 Top 100 Europe list.
alaTest aggregates reviews from 1000+ international review sites, like Consumer Reports, CNET.com, and PC World. The alaTest database is said to currently hold over 4.9 million reviews, while the websites in 15 countries collected 3.6 million visitors in December. alaTest uses a global, objectively aggregated product quality rating it calls the alaScore™ to unify the test criteria and rating scales between test sources. The score enables easier cross-service product comparison for consumers.
alaTest's service is free for the end consumers, but makes money by offering different services to manufacturers, publishers, and advertisers. Manufacturers can get global media scanning services to keep informed about how and where their products have been tested and rated. Product manufactures can also market product updates to highly targeted consumers via the alaTest portal news and newsletter. Publishers can get a broader audience for their reviews thru the service. For advertisers alaTest offers reachable specific target consumers.
Last week Kuneri won the Best SpeedNet Pitch award at Symbian Smartphone Show 2008 in London. The CEO Ugur Kaner pitched Kuneri and their next, biggest product Pikkoo to a jury consisting of representatives from Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, Navteq, Orange, and Symbian. Pikkoo should be launching in a closed Beta soon, stay tuned for invitations.
But that wasn't enough, Kuneri was also selected to represent Finland at Mobile Summit 2008 in Stockholm this week by Mobility @ Otaniemi and got the opportunity to pitch at the VC Panel event. Digital event marketing and media agency Ramblas Digital got the other speaker slot for the main stage.
Congrats both Kuneri and Ramblas!
Kuneri, Oulu based company founded in 2006, has won EMEA Regional Award in the Forum Nokia 2008 Code Camp Competition with their Easy Vote application. The contest was aimed at inspiring building Web Runtime (WRT) widgets and Flash applications.
The winner Easy Vote is a mobile Flash Lite application enabling users to vote by mobile phone call, text message, or Web service via rich user interface. Kuneri focuses on creating applications and tools for Flash Lite development mainly on the Symbian S60 platform. The firm also offers KuneriLite, an application development toolkit for Symbian/S60 stated to extend Flash Lite capabilities and allow creating applications without any Symbian knowledge.