Arctic15 early bird tickets are now available at Arctic15.com! While the event is still some time away, we wanted to come out with our first batch of speakers to the event as well as more information on the concept itself.
We've finally gotten our hands on the Kauppalehti Optio, which has an extensive interview with Marko Ahtisaari, the Executive VP of Design at Nokia. The article talks in detail about Ahtisaari's past, but also discusses his work to a great extent. Earlier today Reuters came out with a story that Nokia is working on a tablet device, but that's just half the story.
Marko Ahtisaari, the director in charge of Nokia's Industrial design, was just on stage at LeWeb and talking to Loïc Le Meur at a fire side chat afterwards. Ahtisaari talked through many different aspects of Nokia's business and most importantly to us, at least, he opened up and shared his thinking on Nokia and its future. Below are our notes and key takeaways from the talk.
Ahtisaari began his talk about two issues on his mind, the state of the smartphone market as well as the collective intelligence, how platforms get better as more people use them. He's key point was, that while the smartphone market is hyped a lot in media, there is a ton of action elsewhere in the mobile space that is seldomly reported on. But he did say that Nokia is now on very impressive growth curve with its Ovi Store. Daily downloads are around 3.5 million, when they were around 3 million just 3 weeks ago and around 2 million in September. Furthermore, 250 000 people sign up each day.
TechCrunch has heard that Nokia is looking to sell off Dopplr, a company they acquired less than a month ago. If this is indeed true, I wouldn't want to be a Nokia shareholder. In essence, Nokia paid for recruiting Marko Ahtisaari, Dopplr CEO (former Nokia) as well as Matt Biddulph, Dopplr CTO. The reason I wouldn't want to be a shareholder is that paying for these kind of recruitment fees isn't the smartest path down the road to gather a winning team of professionals.
We also heard that there isn't a lot of synergies regarding the product roadmaps of Ovi and Dopplr, as they were mainly after the team behind Dopplr. This again raises an interesting point, would you as an entrepreneur sell your company at any cost and whatever the future may look like for your beloved one?
We have heard from inside Nokia that the ex-CEO of Dopplr, Marko Ahtisaari has been appointed to head Nokia's Design department. This comes just after Nokia acquired Dopplr for undisclosed sum and a long silence that preceded the official announcement yesterday (see our story here).
At the same time Nokia has announced that it has appointed John Martin, a former Apple Vice President, to head a unit that focuses on Linux based devices running Maemo operating system like the latest N900. (via Finnish Taloussanomat)
It will be interesting to see how Ahtisaari will shape Nokia this time and how long he will stay there. Last time he stayed almost two years with the Finnish mobile phone giant pulling the Design unit from individual separate pieces into a well functioning shop before leaving in August 2006 to Blyk as a Head of Brand & Design. What goes around comes around.
Marko Ahtisaari, the CEO of Dopplr, has just posted a blog post on the Dopplr Blog that Nokia indeed has acquired the company. Furthermore, Nokia has confirmed this with their own press release. Last week we quoted on ArcticStartup a rumour originating from Techcrunch that Nokia has acquired them. This stirred up a lot of publicity and since no party confirmed the rumour and one of the co-founders stated the deal was fabricated - we were under mixed messages and were unable to decide which side is right.
There are rumours circulating the web that Nokia is to acquire Dopplr. Rumours started when TechCrunch posted a post on this. Nokia apparently moved in for the scoop when Dopplr was looking for a round of financing. The supposed price Nokia paid is between 10 and 15 million euros.
Despite having its headquarters in London, the company is very much based in Finland. Inoa, one of the free registries to Finnish companies, state that the board members are Marko Ahtisaari, Matt Biddulph, Tyler Brule, Saul Klein and the board is directed by Lisa Sounio.
On Thursday, Dopplr launched a very cool iPhone app that puts the social atlas into full use. In essence, it's a mobile travel guide getting its details from Dopplr. It's even better when you have an account with Dopplr, you can do the usual stuff of seeing where your friends are and best of all, contact them if you don't happen to remember their contact details at that moment (or don't have them on you).
Dopplr has finally found its gold mine, the aggregate user travel date. Dopplr plans to anonymize and aggregate all the recommendations that have been added to Dopplr over time and selling the information to those who want to know where the worlds most frequent travelers are visiting.
This will effectively be big part of their business model in addition to the lead generation that has been in place already for a while (see video below). Dopplr aggregates the travel advice and recommendations in what it calls a Social Atlas. Marko Ahtisaari, Dopplr CEO, calls the Social Atlas "pops chart for the cities of the world", which it really is. In effect Dopplr monetizes recommendations made by friends and like-minded people. Not very much unlike Finnish startup TripSay (see our story here). Dopplr's model is still easier to see working, because it does not depend on sharing individuals' insights, just the locations and the times they were visited.
(video via Informilo)
Dopplr, a part Finnish intention sharing online service that let's you see who of your friends are also in town you visit, announced that Marko Ahtisaari, formerly the head of Blyk's Brand & Design, has been appointed Dopplr's new CEO. The appointment will be effective 1st January, 2009. Ahtisaari is also a founding investors in Dopplr.
Dopplr's current CEO, Lisa Sounio, who is also in a relationship with Mr. Ahtisaari, will step down from the CEO position to act as Dopplr's Chairman of the board. Sounio has run her other company, a design strategy and PR agency Sonay, alongside Dopplr. Thus, effectively dividing her time between the two. This is probably partly the reason for her stepping down when Dopplr is gathering speed and thus needs a full time commitment. Another reason is very likely the second round of financing that Dopplr just received. To stir the pot, Blyk also just landed a major investment, which surely plays a part in the new arrangement along with the others.
As one of the Dopplr's investor's Martin Varsavsky said (video interview here) that the company does not currently have a clear business model. It remains to be seen whether Ahtisaari will drive the company in a new direction that will bring a clear business model with it. The new round of investors might be anxious to see even a theoretical return for their invesment in the current economic climate and be less willing to see one of their portfolio companies just building user base without any hope of a real cash flow.
ArcticStartup has partnered with SIME Helsinki to give our readers and friends a unique chance to get 20% off the price of a ticket when you use the code ArcticStartup in the comments field when registering.
SIME Helsinki will be organised on the 17th of September in the Swedish Theater of Helsinki. More exact times and the schedule will be released later on.
SIME, known from organising internet oriented conferences in Stockholm, will be arranging smaller one day conferences in Helsinki and Copenhagen this year. Speakers in Helsinki will include Stefan Glaenzer (founder of Last.fm), Kurt Sillén (Global Head of Innovation and VP Mobility World, Ericsson), Ola Ahlvarsson (among others, CEO Result, co-founder of Boxman), Mohamed El-Fatatry (founder of Muxlim), Marko Ahtisaari (Blyk), Johan Siwers (CEO, Match.com Nordics) and many others. Check out SIME's website for the latest on these.
There's a good line up of people and a rare combination of entrepreneurs from overseas that shouldn't be missed. Take advantage of the discount and come to SIME Helsinki. I will be attending the event so drop me a note if you wish to meet up.
I attended the Parteco picnic today, organised by Katri Lietsala and Esa Sirkkunen, who ran the Participatory Economy and Beyond -research project. It was a good event with old media companies slowly turning to social media (which I have to say shouldn't be done only for social media's sake).
I also heard some good rumours regarding the Finnish startup scene. First of all, regarding Dopplr - Marko Ahtisaari, Lisa Sounio and Taneli Tikka have left, or are leaving the company to continue to new challenges. Taneli Tikka is currently very active with his new startup RunToShop, which is creating some buzz among Finnish startups. The moves at the moment are not official, but there is a lot of buzz around that.
Juha Huttunen of Tripsay was also nodding towards August with regards to their official launch. Therefore we'll have to wait a few more months before we will be able to see the service they are coming out with. I understand they are currently making final moves towards the launch.
Last, but not least - rumour or not - the Iron Sky movie, followup to the largest Finnish movie ever distributed - StarWreck, will be launched in 2010. Currently the script is being finetuned for the "investment round" that will be a few million euros and that will begin during the end of this year.
However, there was a lot of positive talk among the startups there regarding various issues and I also received a lot of great ideas regarding our next event.