A certain type or startups is easy to write about. Anybody can understand what they do and it is not difficult to explain those that let you let you take cool pictures, play new games or interact with the TV in a new and social way.
However, occasionally, we come across startups that are from much more serious and difficult to grasp industries. What is a major annoyance is that these startups are often overlooked and I personally believe that they deserve just as much hype as all those social apps and perhaps in many cases - more.
Let’s run an experiment. If there was a social startup that in less than a year generated over €400 000 revenue and employed 17 new people, you would probably be very impressed. What is more, this startup would be very hot in the news and you would most likely know the name.
To the average person that tracks their physical activity on HeiaHeia, the service feels like a nice B2C product. That's great they have the consumer appeal, but behind the scenes HeiaHeia has been greatly expanding their B2B product where they help companies encourage corporate wellness to lower healthcare costs. Today HeiaHeia announces they've hit more than 100 corporate customers in 12 countries, a sign that things have really been picking up for the Helsinki-based company.
"We are clearly seeing a shift in the market - 100 companies, including several blue-chip multinationals, have chosen to take their wellness programs online. We believe this is just the start - we're going to continue on our chosen strategy to make employee wellness more fun and effective with modern, approachable technology" says Jussi Raisanen, HeiaHeia's CEO and Co-Founder of HeiaHeia.
ArcticStartup and the startup ecosystem talks a lot about consumer IT products – gaming, media services, Facebook APPS and so on. There is less talk about how one can make IT business with business customers. The business market might not be as glamorous as the consumer market, but it is a good market if one appreciates stable cash-flows, the occasional big deals and intelligent, consultative sales. In this article I would like to share some of the experiences I have gained from over ten years of IT hosting business in MicroLink and Elion and being the co-founder in Recommy.com – a service helping businesses to improve their service with customer feedback.
"To me, the definition of gamification is 'a tool to get data you wouldn't normally get.'" says Stefan Madsen, CEO of Echo.it. "You've noticed the mega-trend of big data. Gamification is a tool that can get you there. It can prompt sharing of behaviour that in our case that wouldn't normally be shared."
Echo.it is a Copenhagen-based B2B platform that allows employees to share their actions they think fits to a corporate value or goal. By doing so, the platform rewards good behavior through badges, and management can get access to data they would have no other way of getting.
CanvasDropr, the collaborative media-sharing platform from Denmark, is somewhat pivoting its platform to focus on the B2B aspects of the service. CanvasDropr provides what could be described as GoogleDocs for rich media, like images and video, allowing users to collaborate around visual content like what other services already do with text.
Files are shown visually when dragged onto the canvas, and all connected users can see when someone edits an element or makes changes, such as annotations, texts, movements, or drawings.
Social networks generally bring the idea of making friends to people's minds, but that trend has rapidly evolved. Businesses are beginning to user this for marketing and engaging their customers to help build a better brand image and professionals have taken this up to collaborate with others across borders. There is no end to possibilities on the web and it has made things a lot more efficient, at least in terms of communications.
Swedish startup Anyfi Networks has come out of stealth mode and announced Anyfi.net, a new Wi-Fi roaming solution. The solution allows Internet service providers (ISP) offer consumers the same automatic Wi-Fi user experience both at home and on the go - users can automatically and securely always connect to the same Wi-Fi access point.
The solution is based on a custom piece of software ISP can install (automatically over-the-air in most cases) into their Wi-Fi hotspot devices, to make the hotspots function as a radio gateway (or access point). The access points direct the raw Wi-Fi radio traffic securely over the Internet to a server in the cloud.
This way, when connecting to a hotspot where Anyfi.net software is installed, users will always be virtually in their home network, without having to login to any new local Wi-Fi network (no passwords are asked after the very first login to the home network). This means the users will also have a fully secured connection, even if the hotspot itself would be untrusted or even in an attacker's control. The solution is also very simple for the end users, as it does not require installation of any new software to the consumers' devices, thus working on any Wi-Fi client device (like smartphone) out-of-the-box. Check out the video below for more info.
A new Norwegian startup BrightArch has officially launched a software product named OrganizationWeaver. Intriguingly, BrightArch is focused on a very specific niche, yet a tangible and a big problem: staffing problems in companies going through transformational reorganizations or post-merger integrations.
Typically, when big companies restructure, thousands of people are affected. If not properly handled, the positions in the new organization often get filled suboptimally, and many of the employees are unhappy with the selection process, triggering many resignations over time, resulting in lost talent. (More on the specifics of the problem in BrightArch's blog.)
BrightArch aims to considerably ease and speed up the process, also resulting in much greater employee post-reorganization satisfaction. Nick Peters, CMO, and Tor Kielland, Founder and CEO, provided ArcticStartup with some extra details regarding the fresh company.
Tuxera is a Finnish software startup specialized in file system interoperability software. The firm has developed Windows-interoperable file system drivers for NTFS and exFAT, allowing device manufacturers who use Linux or other non-Windows platforms to still provide plug and play access to the files from Windows or Mac computers. It claims to be the only company currently providing such system drivers to device manufacturers who use Linux or other non-Windows platform.
Last week we covered some basics in getting into the U.S. B2B software market. This article further elaborates the tips from the presentation by Pirjo Tuomi, who has quite a many years of sales experience in the U.S. market. The focus is on building and managing a local sales team for the B2B market.
Pirjo Tuomi, an experienced Finnish saleswoman who has worked in the U.S. for the past 16 years, presented her experiences and tips for Building and Managing a Successful Sales Team in the U.S. Market at Verso Software Sales Camp last week (see our previous post from the event). Pirjo has long experience from the U.S. B2B sales, positions from Sales Rep to SVP Worldwide Sales, going through 5 M&A's and 1 IPO, growing a firm from zero to $250M in revenues and up to 120 team size, among other things. In the following, I will also reflect points from Jussi Harvela's presentation also covered in the previous post.
I attended Software Sales Camp seminar organized by Tekes (the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology) earlier this week. The event was a two-day "bootcamp" aimed for improving Finnish software firms' business-to-business sales and marketing skills. Going forward, I will summarize a few interesting tips and experiences shared by the seasoned speakers at the event. One main theme throughout the event was also the U.S. market entry and issues related - I will get back to that later.
Erply, an Estonian web startup, is the only company to make it to Seedcamp from the Nordics and Baltics. But what a great idea that Erply has, despite being a tiny company with only 4 employees. The company is actually working to create a single solution for small retailers and service companies to handle all their daily operations. Daily operations include everything from handling your inventory, having a digital cash register, billing and accounting software.
ArcticStartup is continually growing and want to offer more to our readers. Päivi is doing great job covering the clean tech sector, but we feel that there are still a lot of startups that deserve to get coverage.
That in mind we want to open applications for a full position for a writer who know the software industry's ins and outs. The emphasis is on business-to-business software (B2B), since historically that is the biggest exit market in the region and there is currently happening a lot in the space.
Naturally this means that you understand the technology and have an interest in the field. Ideally you would be interested in covering the larger Scandinavian and Baltic scene, but by no means is that a requisite. So if you swim deep in your home country's software startup scene, that's enough. If we find people in different countries interested in covering their own market, we might take on board more than one writer. We also see it as a big plus is you're willing to do a video interviews here and there. Again, you don't have to be a professional blogger or writer by any means: passion and industry knowledge is all it takes.
We can not pay you money at the moment, but as any startups we can offer you other perks along side with the high visibility you would naturally get as a profilic writer and a solid member of our editorial team. If you're still reading, are interested to become an integral part of ArcticStartup team and think you'd fit the bill, write to us at info[at]arcticstartup.com. We know there's a lot of talent in our readership and we'd love to hear from all of you!