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.
As Helsinki solidifies itself as the european gaming capital, PlayHaven, a lifetime value maximization platform for mobile games has hired Rovio SVP of Marketing Ville Heijari to start PlayHaven's international expansion. PlayHaven offers game companies the ability to acquire users, understand performance, and monetize through their platform that offers internal cross-promotion, virtual goods, rewards, and user segmentation. This sort of targeted technology and consulting for games is a growing industry up here, with Copenhagen-based GameAnalytics recently raising $2.5 million (story to come) and Helsinki-based Metrifiy also in this area.
These days the iPad is becoming tool of choice for the meeting rooms. You're not hunched over laptop, but with your tablet you can still find more data and take notes. But according to Helsinki-based Punos Mobile, right now users are too spread between apps and services for the meeting lifecycle. Their new app, Meeting Assistant, lets users prepare an agenda, take notes, and find out more relevant info within the app - all for the sake of more efficient meetings. If this all sounds familiar, we covered them last August, although their solution officially launched last week.
Helsinki has another Fashion startup popping up within its borders. StyleLoving is a new social startup that helps you collect the fashion items you find in one place. It feels close to Pinterest, in the sense that members collect items and follow friends, but is more focused towards clothing, accessories, and the fashion blogging community that surrounds it.
StyleLoving was created by Helene Auramo, co-founder of Finland’s most popular blogger community, Indiedays. “I needed a convenient place to store my online finds. I also wanted to share my finds with others and talk about them,” Auramo explains. “As we are inspired by style finds of bloggers and other fashion forerunners, I wanted to see pictures of their outfits on the same platform with the products.”
Last night the Helsinki Facebooks and Twitters were abuzz with the news that Flowdock has been acquired by Boulder, Colorado-based Rally Software. Flowdock will continue to stay as an independent product, but will be integrated more closely with AgileZen, Rally's project management app. The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
If you haven't seen our past coverage, Flowdock is team collaboration software built with developers in mind. Flowdock pluggs into tools like Pivotal Tracker, GitHub, as well as customer feedback channels like Zendesk. A full list of features can be found here. In November of 2011, Flowdock received $650,000 seed funding from Gil Penchina, CrunchFund, Marten Mickos, and IDG Ventures.
Over 600,000 downloads in just 7 days and a steady 300,000 in daily average users would be dream launch statistics for most mobile gaming companies. In Finland, however, it is becoming a standard occurrence.
Noble Nutlings by Boomlagoon gives proof to the fact that Helsinki is fast becoming the mobile gaming capital of the world. The game is already rocking the charts worldwide.
Boomlagoon was founded by three ex-Rovio employees and this is definitely seen in the quality of the game, its production value, enjoyment and overall fun. Unfortunately it is also seen heavily in the game mechanics, general feeling of the game, design and features.
Is past performance and indicator of future success? Startupbootcamp, the biggest seed accelerator network in Europe, is on a roll at the moment. August's batch of 10 teams in Amsterdam is now funded. Berlin's 10 teams are all in negotiations. And Startupbootcamp teams were nominated in 10 different categories in the Europas. Now Startupbootcamp's Open Pitch is coming to Helsinki with VentureScout as part of its Nordic tour to meet the community and find promising startups for the Startupbootcamp Copenhagen re-launch.
Lars Buch, the Copenhagen lead and speaker at the last Arctic15, tells us that the vision is to build the Copenhagen branch as the main 'bootcamp hub of Scandinavia. The event will take place January 21st from 2-5pm at Café Dubrovnik in Helsinki, downstairs from Corona. Around 10-12 companies will pitch in the afternoon, followed by casual networking.
How does your team communicate at work? There are a lot of team communication tools out there, but check out Helsinki-based Ninchat, a nicely designed and accessible browser-based chat client. Ninchat is free to use and can be used for any sort of chat communication, but they're targeting the product towards companies that need secure team communication that's backed up in the cloud.
When logging on you'll notice it looks like an online version of IRC. Ninchat CEO Ville Mujunen calls IRC "beautiful" and "impossible to kill", but sees value in adding features and running it in a browser and through the cloud. Ninchat offers a secure backlog, history search, notifications when your name is mentioned, and video chat to get people communicating more efficiently, as well as mobile use as a HTML5 app (with a native Android and iOS apps eventually coming).
Reaktor, a Finnish IT company, is now moving to becoming a hands-on seed investor in Finland. Reaktor solves IT and software needs for large customers like Elisa (telecom), Rovio (one of the leading gaming companies in the world) and many other big names in Finland. The company has been rated the best place to work for four years in Finland, and was once rated as the best place to work in Europe.
The investment arm is named POLTE, which means sort of a "burning intensity" in Finnish. Oskari Kettunen, the head of the POLTE project, defines this as the next step in Reaktor's evolution. Through investing they will be able to use their company's talent to work ground-up with startups. Startup founders will be able to concentrate on their core product, while they help with financial and product assistance.
In addition to banking, Holvi, a new type of banking service, is bringing clarity to politics. The Finnish service allows organizations to have their own account for storing, payment, and receiving of money, but also provides the option to make their books public. For political organizations and charities - which rely on public trust - this can inspire confidence that money is being managed correctly.
In Finland the local government election cycle is in full swing at the moment, and currently around 30 candidates are using the service to track and execute income and expenditures. Of them, only a few have made their books public, but it's a sign of a new trend. There's a growing open government movement in Finland, which includes avoinministeriö.fi among other websites where the public can vote on issues they would like the national government to consider. If 50,000 signatures are collected, the issue must be brought up in Parliament for consideration.
While people have the impression that Helsinki is a one company town, that image is rapidly shifting as more and more exciting companies move and start up in the Helsinki region. Personnel changes at Nokia make big headlines, but the region isn't stagnating.
Right now we're looking at an unique time for companies setting up shop in Helsinki. The capital area is home to the Nokia headquarters as well as many development and research functions, providing a nice cross section of talent to choose from.
The last couple of weeks we've seen a lot more people from Stanford and Silicon Valley in Helsinki than usual, perhaps mostly due to the Accel REE conference, which I still need to write something up about. But last week I spoke with two MBA students at the Stanford Graduate School of Business who are working on a short-term project at Kiosked, and I thought it might be interesting to get an outside-looking-in perspective of what they've experienced here.
Zach Singleton, one of the students originally from Oakland, says that he found out about Kiosked a year ago when he was reading tech blogs and was intrigued with Kiosked's potential for mobile monetization. "It's an innovative platform that changes how we shop and experience advertisements," he says.
This week we've closed a deal with our last gold partner, Rubylight. Rubylight is a super exciting company that isn't too well known. However, they are the talent and minds behind extremely successful social networks in Russia and Latvia. Rubstein was one of the founders and CEO of Forticom, a company that had built social networks with more than 100 million registered users. In November 2010, Forticom was acquired by Mail.ru (DST).
Helsinki is lucky to host two world-class conferences this fall that are bringing great in speakers from Silicon Valley, Europe, and the region. While both conferences are put together to enable startups get further, they have significant differences and it makes sense to attend both. To make this happen, at a reasonable price, we've partnered with Slush to sell bundle tickets at about 20% discount to those going to both events.
This year's Arctic15 is just a little over a month away and we're ready to announce the 14 finalists (the last finalist is decided by Tekes) that will be on stage to compete for the grand prize, that is now almost €30 000 in cash and prizes. During last week, we received almost votes from almost 3000 people in total. Some categories were clearer than others, but overall - it was still a very tight competition. The 14 finalists are listed below.
If you were going to design a car from scratch today, what would it look like and what technology would you put inside? This is the question posed by Scarlet Motors, a new Finnish auto manufacturer with plans to design and build a consumer electronic sports car. On Friday Scarlet Motors threw a launch party in Berlin where it announced it will allow the community to to participate in the product development process.
The company was started eight months ago by Joona Kallio and Julien Fourgeaud, an ex-Rovio employee and designer who are staying close to their roots by calling cars a "true mobile device".
With social media being all the rave in marketing and advertising space, everyone and their mother is using it to try and promote their products, services and (you guessed it)... events.
ArcticStartup is going to attempt this very feat of strength and we are giving away free tickets (and exclusive T-Shirts) to the upcoming Arctic15 conference. Which is promising to be a major event this year with amazing speakers, companies, startups and investors already confirming their attendance.
Editor's note: Please see correction at the end of the article for an update.
We covered Jolla in July as they set about an ambitious task to build a MeeGo phone. Nokia built N9, which was their first MeeGo phone and discontinued the line later on. This meant that N9 was their only MeeGo enabled phone. Many thought that this was a crucial mistake for Nokia as the phone immediately received fans around the world for its UI and usability. One thing that was missing though, at least to the comparison of iOS and Android, was the app ecosystem. Jolla, a new Finnish based venture has picked up the pieces and is planning to release a MeeGo enabled phone later this year.
One of the questions, and perhaps the most important one, that has been asked from Jussi Hurmola, the CEO of Jolla, is that of: "How do you plan to solve the problem with building an app ecosystem for the phone?". Tero Lehto from Finnish 3T publication interviewed Jussi Hurmola and learned that the company will be enabling Android (although he does not want to officially disclose it just yet) as well as Qt-applications.
and HTML5-applications to their platform through something that is called ACL (application compatibility layer) Jolla PR got in touch with us and told us that the use of ACL is currently speculation. They will be announcing more information regarding this later this year.
With two of Helsinki-based Supercell's titles in the top 25 grossing iPad Games in the US, we decided to get in touch with Ilkka Paananen, the CEO of the company, to see if they could share anything about their success.
The two games on the App Store charts are Hay Day, a farming simulator game similar to Farmville in many respects. My colleague, Antti Vilpponen, reviewed the game "for many hours," which got the whole office playing and trading eggs and wheat on the free market. Read Antti's review here.
Supercell's other title, Clash of Clans, is similar, but more within the fantasy realm. In the game, not only do you have to make sure your army is well equipped and adequate against attacks while you're away but also make sure your finances are in order to keep building your village.
What's more impressive is the fact that Supercell is one of the four developers/publishers of games that have two releases in the list. The other publishers include Electronic Arts, GREE and Playtika.
Below is our short interview with Ilkka Paananen.
While Russia has the most internet users out of any European country, the adult population is still just getting online for the first time. A 2011 poll found that only half of all adults in Russia use the internet monthly, an increase of 15% from the year before.
These new internet users (and some experienced ones) haven't built up a healthy dose of cynicism when browsing the web. "Free Viagra? This looks legit," they think. But now, Russian internet powerhouse Mail.Ru group has launched a new version of its browser that integrates Helsinki-based Web Of Trust's crowdsourced website reputation rankings.