Swedish outfit DoReMIR seem to like keeping the description of what they do quite vague by saying they develop “music intelligence technology”, now intelligent technology immediately gets me thinking of Skynet but intelligent music? I imagine that’s going to lead to ‘The Sound of Music’ suddenly turning and launching an attack on our hearing. Then there’s the boast that they “enables users to more easily than ever before capture and digitize their musical creativity”, now that just sounds like they enable recording onto a digital 8-track or similar, how would you make that easier?
Well it turns out what they actually do is pretty cool, and interesting enough that they’ve just raised $1 million to do more of it.
Helsinki based startup, Smarp, is on the rise. With major client companies in Finland and the UK, Smarp's social business tools and services, and especially their SmarpShare - Service, have been in high demand.
It's a sweet idea actually. According to their researches, more than half of employees feel like they could publish company related content into their personal social media, such as LinkendIn, if only they were encouraged to do so from the highs of the chain-of-command. That's where Smarp steps in, in the form of a game of some sort.
Last week came the announcement that Innovation Norway had appointed Alliance Venture Spring in Oslo and ProVenture Management in Trondheim to manage two new national seed funds. Each of the funds will be about 500 million Norwegian Krone, which works out at a little over €60M each, with a 50-50 split between private investors and the government.
While the ProVenture Management fund is targeted at the oil & gas industry Alliance Venture Spring has been tasked to manage the money that will foster new IT successes. Although the fund is based in Oslo it will have a nationwide reach. In other words small businesses located in other parts of the country will be able to benefit from the investment fund as well as those based in the capital.
It is fair to say that Wi-Fi has changed the world. In fact we have become so spoiled by it that people are now getting stressed out if they do not have Wi-Fi on airplanes.
Oh and when it fails, it gets even worse. That dropped Skype call or a bad network connection at an event can make us really anxious. Now imagine if that Skype call was actually important, life or death kind of important. This is what happens everyday in Hospitals, where they increasingly rely on technology. You would be surprised to find out that nowadays even some IV pumps are “online”. Nurses and doctors use tablets to communicate with each other and their patients. Some hospitals have emergency buttons operating through Wi-Fi and in others nurses have voice-over-ip devices connected to it. So in that kind of environment - you can not afford any networking errors. In fact, it becomes mission, and life, critical.
We've covered Tartu-based Weekdone winning the annual Estonian design awards, but apparently the company isn't just all looks; they just beat out the 400 other hopefuls in the region to win Slush's massive startup pitching competition.
For those of you who haven't seen our past coverage, or didn't see them up on stage at Slush, Weekdone provides a productivity and task completion solution for the web and iOS that gives managers the ability to see an overview of what they're teams are working on, and how they're competing their tasks. It's gorgeous and powerful, especially if you're using the PPP reporting paradigm, focusing on Progress, Plans, and Problems.
Tech giant Google has made a €450 million investment into their datacenter in eastern coastal city of Hamina, Finland.
The company has announced the current datacenter is to triple in size. This means it will provide work for over 800 Finnish engineers and construction workers, as well as being a motor to reinvigorate the sleepy industrial region surrounding it.
Since around 2007 there has been a huge outburst of accelerators around the world, especially so in Europe. Yet, since the whole concept is fairly new, there are a lot of questions surrounding the practice. Are accelerators successful? Will it be easier to raise money after an accelerator? How much value can an accelerator program add to your company?
These and many other questions, are difficult to answer. Especially so, when there is very little data available on them. Sure there is some public data, that accelerators must submit, but it is very hard to get a hold of real hard-core statistics. Unless of course an accelerator comes up to you and passes on all of their “books” to you. This is what Accelerace from Denmark basically did and there is a lot to learn from what was inside.
The bleed of talent from Nokia continues to be a sad testament of a company that has fallen on hard times recently, but Nokia’s loss has been the startup scene’s gain. We continue to see exciting new companies pop up as they reveal the interesting things they have been working on. In this case it’s a company spun-off from Nokia and founded just around a year ago (give or take a few weeks) in November 2012. Based in Finland and with only 13 employees they might sound small but they believe their product could end up having a big impact in its intended market.
So what exactly do they do? That is a tough one, unless you understand the intricacies of MySQL, relationship databases and forks. Not the ones you eat with, but the software development kind. Basically MariaDB is an independent copy of MySQL (fork) that was started by ex-MySQL execs over concerns that Oracle, who acquired MySQL, might take unexpected directions with the development.
MariaDB was started by Monty Program AB from Sweden but they later merged with SkySQL in April 2013, and by doing so - reunited the key members of the original MySQL AB team.
We have spoken about this issue before, but many modern start-ups are "solving a problem" that does not really need to be solved, so when we see entrepreneurs that try to tackle a real-life problem we tend to take notice.
Take NurseBuddy, a company trying to make the lives of nurses, old people and their relatives - easier. They might not have the most scalable business in the world, but they are making a change and they way the are doing it is a lesson to all other startups out there.
The CEO, Simo Hännikkälä is known for spending a lot of time on the road with Nurses, when they are visiting their patients. That way the company stays close to their users and knows exactly what they want and need.
It's going to be interesting to see how Autobutler grows after picking up $5 million from Creandum to fuel international expansion. The Copenhagen-based company allows car owners to receive competing offers from mechanics rather than getting in a heated discussion with your mechanic that the guy down the street will fix your transmission for €300 less. You could argue that this takes the sport out of getting your car fixed, but by making mechanics compete on prices, consumers should win.
￼“Our goal is the same today as when we started: To be the best tool for car owners ￼to easily find high quality mechanic for the lowest price. Part of this vision is to build ￼the best software for car mechanics to service their customers” says Christian Legêne, co-Founder and Partner at Autobutler￼.
When startups or VC's recruit a new team member, it is normally not newsworthy per say. However when the news has profound implications for the region, such as the time when Max Niederhofer joined Sunstone Capital, this is definitely something to write about.
We were just told that a similar move was made by Chris Barchak, who will be joining the Finland based based Conor VC as a Partner. Barchak was previously a Principal at Fidelity Growth Partners Europe in London and an associate at Index Ventures. Both of them have very respectable portfolios. FGPE has investments in Alibaba, and the Swedish Neo Technology while Index Ventures invested in Facebook, Skype, MySQL and more recently they led €100 million round into Supercell.
There aren't too many Swedish startups you can say this about, but Bambuser changed and was changed by the Arab Spring. At launch, the mobile-to-live-video concept was pitched as a way to share your kid's soccer game with the grandparents in real time, but as more and more activists and citizen journalists started using Bambuser to record the world around them, the Stockholm-based company became a crowdsourced media platform for newsworthy events.
Late last week the AP announces it has bought a stake in Bambuser, the Stockholm-based mobile streaming video service. The numbers involved with the deal were not announced, but AP’s director of global video news, Sandy MacIntyre, will join Bambuser’s board as a non-executive director.
Oslo's mobile authentication firm Encap has announced a major new investment from the ProVenture seed fund. The exact amount hasn't been disclosed, but rumours circling the web put the figure around the $2 million mark.
It's the second major investment in Encap from a Norwegian backer, adding to earlier money from Alliance Ventures. Norwegian startups tend to look abroad for funding rather than rely on the small domestic VC scene, so today's news is a welcome change.
Today, iZettle announced a strategic investment of €5 Million from Banco Santander, the EU's largest bank by market cap and one of the largest banks in the world. How big is that? EUR 1.388 Trillion with a "T". iZettle started working with the banking group already a few months ago, when they announced a partnership which made iZettle available to Santander banking customers in Spain, their home market.
When we compare the investment size to iZettle's overall funding of over €35 million, then it is clear that this is indeed a strategic investment and the money is perhaps secondary. After all, when it comes to mobile point of sale solutions, the name of the game is partnerships. How many different parties and entities can you partner up that can help you grow in different markets? iZettle's US rival Square, for example, was backed by VISA when it clearly did not need the money.
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.
Lifeline Ventures announced on Timo Ahopelto's blog that their fund size has grown to €30 million, compared to €20 million that we reported on earlier.
The name of the fund is Lifeline Ventures Fund I and the lifespan of the fund is 10 years with the first 5 being dedicated towards new investments. So if you want their money, start talking now.
Creating and sending postcards from your own images is by no means a unique idea. There are a lot of companies offering the service. So when we first talked to Postify, it seemed like they were doing something that has already been done and then some.
However at a closer look, it seems like they do have a hidden gem in there. Instead of focusing on the end-consumer, they want to create a new marketing channel for companies.
You probably could have seen this coming given the kind words by Peter Thiel in TransferWise's previous press release, but the PayPal co-founder has led a new €4.6 million ($6 million) investment into Transferwise through Valar Ventures. Transferwise raised about €1 million a year ago, led by IA Ventures, Index Ventures, and Max Levchin, another co-founder of Paypal.
“Innovation in the banking industry typically involves rent-seeking or unsound derivatives, which offer marginal benefits to consumers. TransferWise demonstrates true innovation in banking by enabling its users to retain their wealth across borders,” says Peter Thiel.
Just a couple of weeks ago, we asked our readers how much money they were raising and now we have the answer. Well, we have "an answer", considering the tiny sample size and complete anonymity. Still we were happy to see some very interesting and impressive numbers that speak for themselves, but at the same time there is still plenty left to analyze.
To make the results as pleasing to the eye as possible, we put together an infographic outlining the major findings. We are going to provide some analysis below. So without further adieu:
Stockholm-based Volumental is one research spinoff that's going to be fun to watch. It's roots go back to Kinect@Home, which made a lot of noise in the news recently with their tool that allows anybody with a Microsoft Kinect camera, which was created for the Xbox, to create 3D models of people or objects in a matter of seconds. To do so, all you have to do is make a circular video of the object with the Kinect camera, and then you can share, download, embed the model for online or 3D printing use.
The project was started as a research project by two Ph.D. students and a professor at the Centre Of Autonomous systems, a research centre at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
The problem of 'fit' when selling clothes online has always been a problem, and since 2009 the Estonian startup Fits.me has been trying to solve it. They are not trying to do this by modifying the sale procedures or offering free return shipping, instead they built robots that can mimic nearly every body shape. Since the company was founded, they have raised around €3 million and were already one of the best funded startups in the Baltic region.
Today, Fits.me announced a Series A round from an existing investor SmartCap and also new investors onboard: Conor Venture Partners, Fostergate Holdings Limited and The Entrepreneurs Fund. The total amount raised is €5.5 million and is a part the earlier reported investment.
“Well, of course we should, it is one of the highest investment numbers we have ever heard of” - Screams the crowd. However may I remind you what Rocket Internet really is? A simple, thought highly profitable, copy-paste button. They take unique and interesting ideas and use their assets and knowledge to replicate them in other markets before the original company has the time or money to do it. For instance they took Groupon and created CityDeal in Germany which they later sold it to, you guessed it, Groupon for $126 million. Sure, we can’t argue that it does not take skill or planning to enter these new markets, especially considering that many of them are very unique.
Still when we heard that the Sweden based investment firm Kinnevik disclosed in their annual reports that they have invested over €1.1 billion into Rocket Internet, we could not be as excited as we normally are with large investments.
Reaktor POLTE Invests €100 000 In MyNextRun And Tell Us More About Their Hands On Investment Approach
Last month we were kidding about Reaktor Polte investing into a startup per week, but they are definitely keeping up the pace and this month they announced a EUR 100 000 investment into MyNextRun. The total round size for the company was €150 000. The startup allows anyone to find running events all over the world and to enroll directly through their service.
This is a niche proposition, but something that has definitely been a problem for the running community, especially when it comes to finding and registering for foreign events. The company already has over 10 000 users and are just waiting for the snow to melt and start the exponential growth stage.
The Google Analytics Of Emotions "Realeyes" Receives $3.2 Million From SmartCap And Entrepreneurs Fund
It is no secret that when people are asked to fill out surveys in marketing research studies that the answers tend to become skewed and biased thanks to the fact that they are made consciously. Wouldn't it be cool if you could use a camera coupled with technology from "Lie To Me" in order to tell what people are really thinking and feeling? Well, this is exactly what the London based but with Estonian ties Realeyes is doing.
The company is basically the Google Analytics of emotions and they are currently using their technology for analyzing emotional reactions to videos through the use of webcams and in-store cameras. This basically allows marketers to know exactly how effective their marketing videos are going to be and at which point exactly the consumers will feel happy, scared, confused and sad.
We have been watching Fortumo grow from a tiny startup to become a global player present in 73 countries. Last month they announced an investment in the amount close to $10 million from Intel Capital and Greycroft Partners.
The basic premise is a mobile payments solution that works directly through operator billing. This allows app and game developers to monetize pretty much instantly. Oh and unlike most of the competitors, they focus specifically on emerging markets where the mobile phone growth is promising to be the biggest.
With the new $2.5 million A funding series from Norway’s Alliance Venture, Investinor and Alden AS, the total amount invested into bMobilized is now at $4 million. The last investment was disclosed at $1.5 million and took place in April this year.
bMobilized has been around for more than two years and offers a cloud-based do-it-yourself technology to easily convert any website into a fully functional HTML5-enabled site. They even claim that the mobile site will have more functionality that the original.
Helsinki-based Web Of Trust announced they have raised €1 million investment led by Inventure, the cross-border VC group based in Finland and China. Also in on the deal was Risto Siilasmaa, and the Finnish Industry Investment. The company will use the funding to keep up the pace of their development to match the huge growth the browser add-on has seen. In 2012, downloads of the add-on have doubled to 50 million.
WOT provides a safe-surfing solution that provides traffic light signals next to links to show how other web users have rated their trustworthiness. Users rate approximately 300 000 websites every week and the add-on gives average 2.5 million warnings of untrustworthy sites every day.
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.
Today we got some nice investment news coming out of Stockholm. You may be familiar with Truecaller, a crowdsourced phone directory that helps you figure out who that random number is that's calling you. Today Open Ocean Capital has invested $1.3 million (€1 million) into the company to help it expand globally.
There are so few surprises in today's connected world that I almost appreciate a random phone number every now and then. You get two seconds of confused excitement as you wonder "Why in the world is a German calling me?!" before you take the phonecall. There's something special in those two seconds though. That being said, Truecaller correctly points out that phone directories haven't changed in over a decade. There's a huge market opportunity to build a global network for number search.