Editor’s note: This is post by Johanna Eiramo, one of our residents at the Minimum Viable Office and a marcomm specialist.
The big event tent in the middle of the Narinkkatori square in Helsinki shone bright in the signature pink of the Finnish mobile operator DNA on Thursday, November 27th. 450 The inside of the tent was buzzing with the energy of 450 Jolla fans, waiting patiently to get to buy their pre-ordered handset before the rest of the world. Many tried to play it cool, but the excitement was tangible.
Startup Weekend kicked off events all over the world last weekend, so we stopped by their Helsinki event to see what the buzz was. In total, around 15 teams got together on Friday to throw ideas together, find customers, and then build and present the idea. The themes, if you could find a trend, were social networks, Ethiopia, and platforms designed to do virtually what Startup Weekend does in real life.
"The good thing was that we've gotten a lot of people involved that haven't been involved in an event like this before," says Laura Honkapirtti, one of the event organizers. Among them was two high school students who might have come to the event thinking they would just observers, but came up with an idea at the very end of Friday's idea pitching to form teams.
No, this time they are not armed and there won't be anyone fighting them back. Quite on the contrary actually: they will be greeted with a warm welcome and probably a few drinks and laughs too, all in good fun and joy.
With a slightly misleading name suggesting the proximity of a fierce battle, the Rubicon Forum business summit will be held for over a 100 Russian business professionals on November 28-29, 2013. Represents of Russian companies are heading to their western neighbor in search of business strategies, opportunities and most of all, pathways to enter the European markets through Finland, which may also be interesting for Finnish startups interested in reaching the Russian markets.
So you are in a startup and you have a website that has a fairly large amount of features, pages and steps that a user can take. Since you often update the code, some of these features and pages break once in a while and normally you have to either magically find the bug or wait until one of your, now unhappy, customers let’s you know about the problem.
This is where UseTrace comes in with an aim to save the day. The startup let’s you teach it any step that you might want tested on a regular basis and then automatically tries to go through the process as your user would.
To do so, you just have to navigate the page yourself once and it will memorize what needs to be tested. This can include filling out forms, going through a purchase basket and more.
Wired UK's next issue focuses on the top ten startup capitals in Europe, and lists ten of the hottest startups from each city. Helsinki and Stockholm were selected out of our region, and we feel they've done a fair enough job.
Here's their list, with links to our (AS) coverage of the startups. Pick up the issue when it hits stores!
In Helsinki, they list:
Editor’s Note: Full disclosure, ArcticStartup has a working relationship with PitchHelsinki, is a media partner and works closely with YritysHelsinki and YritysHelsinki NewCo Factory.
One thing about Pitching Events is trying to see the value. Some provide great practice and feedback by good investors, others have a prize pool, some help you get into accelerator programs and yet others help you spread the word about your start-up.
This year though, there is going to be an event in Helsinki which is aiming to help you raise money right there and then.
PitchHelsinki, an event organized by YritysHelsinki and the City of Helsinki is going to feature Live Crowdfunding, where everyone present will have an opportunity to invest into the pitching companies. Since it will be live-streamed, literally everyone will have a chance to invest into your company while you pitch.
Coming at you next week in Helsinki is an event the startup community should have on their radar, the Truly Digital conference taking place on Friday the 20th and Saturday the 21st at Kiasma. The conference is actually a string of three events, the previous two were in Copenhagen and Stockholm, and takes a look at art, open data, and digital culture.
Helsinki's topic is Open Data is Nothing Without a Narrative, which takes a look the fuzzy borders between public/private, individual/community, online democracy, and engagement. Helsinki and Finland have been really proactive with realeasing open data, making this topic an interesting point of discussion for entrepreneurs that are looking for a new project, or who need to get their heads out of their own startup for a day or two.
Our Minimum Viable Office co-working space is taking shape and we are ready to host events. One of the first ones to come to MVO will be the Lean Startup Machine workshop that has been run over 125 times in 40 cities worldwide.
It will take place on September 13th-15th at our co-working space. We all know or have heard of the “lean startup” concept, many of us even use the name in our everyday lives. However Lean Startup Machine workshop is aiming to make sure that you live by it and implement it into your daily startup lives.
October is packed full of all sorts of interesting events and conferences, but one in particular interests me the most, the Reaktor Dev Day 2013.
This year’s Dev Day is on Friday 4th of October at Event Center Telakka, and will be the place to be if you’re an aspiring developer interested in what’s happening in the industry.
The speakers been equally impressive every year, you can’t really go wrong with top tier engineers and employees from companies like Facebook, Spotify, SoundCloud, and GitHub.
We've been working on a few projects here at ArcticStartup, but the one that we're really excited to tell you about today is a physical location right in the heart of Helsinki - our new co-working space. We hope that many of you will use it as your headquarters, come there for lunch meetings, or attend an event.
Our space is at an awesome location on Aleksanterinkatu 16-18, right next to the Helsinki Cathedral (aka The Big White Church). There's a few entrances, but the most fun way to access it is through the back hallway in Cafe Köket at the same address. The co-working space comes complete with an event space, the cafe, meeting rooms, and a co-working room for about 25 desks. It fulfills the minimum office requirements and hence it will be known as the "Minimum Viable Office" or MVO.
Everyday we spend a lot of time in queues. Most of these queues are at or near payment terminals, for example when you do your grocery shopping. Now what if the payment procedure would take a couple of seconds and not the current 20-40 seconds? What if in addition to that you did not have to carry any cash, cards or in fact any items at all? What if you could come into the store completely naked and buy everything you need, before the cops arrive?
This is exactly what the Helsinki based Uniqul is promising. Using “military grade” facial recognition algorithms, the startup aims to allow anyone to buy things using just their face.
Admit it, the main use of your iPhone or iPad is to kill time. So get on the forefront of timekilling technology by downloading Futureful, a Helsinki-based 'topic browser' that employs a lot of cool tech to serve interesting content tailored to you. Futureful has globally released their app on iPhone and iPad today.
The way the app works is by selecting topics that you're interested in, like 'startups' for example. Once that's selected, other bubbles pop up, such as 'quantified self', which you can combine to your bubble to help you find content combining the two topics, or by leaving the bubbles alone.
Dome has reported that game maker Digital Chocolate will shut down its Helsinki office. Digital Chocolate has historically been one of the big names in Helsinki's gaming scene, but since Rovio and Supercell has popped up, the company hasn't introduced new games on Facebook or Mobile that have really broken through by international standards, perhaps leading to this unit's closure. Outside of their headquarters in San Mateo, the company also has offices in Barcelona and Bangalore.
Looking back you can see Digital Chocolate bet big on the Facebook platform, delaying their entry into the mobile free to play market where all the money seems to be at the moment. It might not have been the safest bet, as shown by Zynga, which also bet big on Facebook and has seen share prices plummet since the end of the Facebook boom.
The next push to encourage developers to build on open data has started in Helsinki again. Last year we covered Apps4Finland, but before that competition kicks off, Open Helsinki Hack At Home encourages developers to try out and test their tech solutions to everyday problems in Helsinki. With it, they connect developers to mentors and the right data sources to be sure the best ideas come together for the demo day on October 15.
We wrote about RapidBlue Solutions last summer, and the future looked bright from where the company was standing a year ago. At the beginning of the week ShopperTrak, the world's leading analyzer of retail foot traffic headquartered in Chicago, announced the acquisition of Helsinki-based in-store analytics provider.
RapidBlue uses radio frequency technology to collect anonymous information about shopper movement inside stores. Receivers installed in stores pick up public Bluetooth signals on shoppers' phones and thus tracks the precise movement of customers. The data provides valuable shopping behavior insights that give retailers a great tool to improve their marketing effectiveness, merchandising and in-store operations.
We hope that you are all familiar with Supercell, the company that is making millions in daily revenue and has been the top grossing games publisher in the world ever since they reached the position last year. What some may not be aware of is that GungHo Entertainment from Japan has been the number two for many months and is generating revenues of over $2.5 million a day and is valued at $4.5 billion.
When a gaming company is throwing a party or a conference, you know that you want to be there. When this company is Supercell, you know that you will do anything in your power to be invited. We just got off-call with Heini Vesander, PR Lead of Supercell, who told us about an upcoming gaming conference & festival - Free Your Play 13, that will take place in Helsinki on the 19th of June.
Heini told us that way too many gaming conferences are actually too much alike with normal ones. Supercell wants to change that by making an event that is to be remembered. After all it is not just a conference but also a festival with live music, food, bevarages and performances including a Swedish indie rock band - The Sounds.
Remember home/landline phones? They were these funny looking devices in the corner of everyones home that you could call to if you knew the number. Since the introduction of the mobile phones, they slowly started to disappear and some youngsters would be amazed to find out that they ever existed.
Tellybean wants to bring them back, well not the actual devices but the concept of having a device that you can call to at home. To do so, they will introduce a service that will transform any TV into a Video Phone.
They have raised €1.4 Million to tackle the problem, with Reaktor Polte leading the investment round, marking their 5th investment this year and probably making them the most active seed-stage investor in Finland at the moment. The other investors were TEKES and Dreadnought Finance.
You should by now know that tomorrow is a big day in Helsinki as Term Sheet Battle will be taking place at Apollo Live Club, starting at 17:30. One hypothetical startup, called "Gaming Solutions IQ", represented by Micke Paqvalén from Kiosked, will be fighting over terms against Daniel Blomquist from Creandum and Jimmy Fussing Nielsen of Sunstone Capital, together representing a hypothetical VC firm "General Partners of Ravenous Ventures IV".
Before the event begins, everyone attending will get a complementary drink and snacks thanks to Bird & Bird and then the battle will begin. The two sides will be presented with a theoretical Series - A Term Sheet Agreement, which you can already download at take a look at, here.
Headquartered in Espoo, Rightware, develops embedded User Interface (UI) technology and performance benchmarking tools for mobile, automotive and consumer electronics industries, and announced today that it has closed $5.2 million in fresh funding. The Series B is supported by prior backers Inventure and Nexit Ventures, and a new investor Finnish Industry Investment.
The fresh investment will be used to further expand global sales. The money will also go on the continued development of their main product, the Kanzi UI Solution.
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.
When we talk about funding rounds, the money seems to be the only thing that matters. But more important than that is what the money is actually buying. With so many fun clauses like liquidity preferences and clawback provisions potentially littering the term sheet put in front of you, it's best to know what you're getting into before you find yourself in a VC's office.
The best way to learn is by watching, so here's an event we're super excited about supporting. Term Sheet Battles are coming to Helsinki, Oslo, and Stockholm in the last week of this month to show 200 attendees in each city what happens during a negotiation.
When ArcticStartup was on tour to the UK thanks to UK Trade & Investment, we had the chance to meet innovative and exciting companies that were based in the Liverpool Science Park. One of these companies happened to be the Finnish Hammerkit, a company that have seen it all and was forced to change directions, adapt to the environment and fight to survive. As opposed to overnight success stories, Hammerkit is an example of all the hard work that startups need to go through in order to make it out there.
At the meeting, we had the chance to speak to the brand new CEO of the company, Simon Bartolo, who replaced Mark Sorsa-Leslie in February 2013. Bartolo shared his insight and plans for the future.
Helsinki has a new music app that's becoming the talk of the town. Started by a group of students from Helsinki, Sydney, and St. Petersburg, Clerkd launched last week to help you find and play new music.
The app mixes together music discovery with a local angle, allowing you to follow your friends and tastemakers, like bands, blogs or whoever you want. On top of that the map view lets you see whats popular nearby by giving each genre its own color. After selecting a location, you can just press play to get a playlist what music has been played in that general location though Clerkd.
Do you find your day filled with scheduling meetings, meeting people, and then trying to manage the to-do process afterward? If you haven't done so before, it might be time to check out Helsinki-based Meetin.gs, who has relaunched with a nice facelift and a mobile focus. Their product manages to wrangle together all the loose strings associated with professional meetings by plugging into popular business tools.
To schedule a meeting, Meetin.gs now offers a fully brandable "meet me" page, which enables uses to create and publish a calendar page that makes it easier to schedule a meeting time, which solves the problem of that awful email chain where suggested times are pinged back and forth. This service plugs into the user's calendar, so occupied time slots are automatically blocked out. Meeting location is also included, so transit times and meeting durations can be accounted for.
Helsinki-based Nosto Solutions announces it has raised €2.2 million in a seed round led by Open Ocean Capital, Sanoma ventures, and a number of angel investors. It's a big number for a company that has just popped up on our radar here in Helsinki. Nosto is still somewhat in stealth mode, and produces an e-commerce marketing solution that gives a platform-independent marketing features for e-sellers. Currently Nosto employs 12 people in the Nordics, UK, and Germany, and their first customers include Angry Birds, Intersport, and Huuto.
The founding idea behind the company is to bring Amazon-like features that drive more dollars through product marketing, or to retain lost sales. These features include personalized content and triggered emails that get sent if a item is left in a cart, but not purchased.
Editor's note: This is a sponsored story by Greater Helsinki Promotion, but neurogaming is pretty interesting. Join us April 8th for an interesting talk!
The purpose of gamification is essentially to motivate the brain to enjoy doing a task that shouldn't be entertaining, but somehow becomes fun when reward and a sense of accomplishment involved. Think Farmville. Virtual farming should not be popular, but once they add in that got that sense of accomplishment, you're hooked.
With the help of some extra technology it's possible to gamify the basic functions of the brain, like concentration. Consumer brainwave readers aren't some pie in the sky idea, they're already on the market, and some can plug into your smartphone.
So you have accidentally enabled data roaming while travelling and your iPad started syncing. Soon enough you will end up with a roaming bill that is likely to be more expensive than your phone. At other times, you actually need the internet while abroad but there is no WIFI or any other connectivity, so you simply must use the 700 EUR per gigabyte roaming fee to go online. This happens to be the current price ceiling for roaming costs as set by the EU commission.
Ukko Mobile, a Helsinki based start-up, is aiming to solve that through the use of patent pending technology which allows for a single-sim, flat-fee coverage in the whole of Europe. Basically you will get one data sim-card that will always act as a local card, no matter where you go. There will not be a need to purchase or switch sims ever again.
If you're reading this, you're probably not at Mobile Dev Camp in Helsinki - the 'Mobile World Congress' of Helsinki, if you will. The talks have been really interesting and entertaining so far, so you missed out. But there's still a chance to get a bit of the buzz. Later tonight they're throwing an afterparty at Tiger and have grabbed the VIP area with plenty of free drinks. MDC attendees and friends going to be the only ones there for the first hour, so come out and feel like you own the place.
Like all things in life there's a catch - you have to download the Night People Group app to get entrance. So, go to this website, download the app. and then register as a member on the app. The most important step is as you're registering, be sure to select Mobile Dev Camp as the venue (ravintolat). And then bam, you get your entrance ticket to the VIP.
If you're a project manager or designer trying to sell an app concept to your customers, you've probably learned a customer's reaction to a concept is completely different when it's just a few pictures on a presentation screen or if it's a functional app they can test out for themselves. Interactive marketing is always better, so that's what Helsinki and San Francisco-based AppGyver is offering with their new product, Prototyper.
Developers or designers just have to upload their existing wireframes, mockups, or photoshop images online to the AppGyver Prototyper. The service then allows you to add buttons to the place where you drew them, and give them basic functionality like moving back and forth through screens, using transition animations, or even take advantage of native hardware features, like the camera.