The cover story of the upcomming issue of Wired Magazine is highlighting "Europe's 100 hottest startups" by listing ten companies from each city they consider a startup hub. On the list are startups from Amsterdam, Barcelona, Paris, London, Istanbul, Helsinki, Berlin, Stockholm, Tel Aviv, and Moscow.
Reading the list at the ArcticStartup office we have a few "but what about's" that are missing from the cities we pay attention to, but it's good to get an outside opinion of what startups are attracting attention outside of the region.
My only complaint is that they stuck with startups located in only ten cities. I'm sure it helps Wired take photos and build a narrative, but it really excludes a number of startups that should be on a European top list.
The Sunnyvale, California headquartered Plug and Play Tech Center officially opened its Moscow branch last month in partnership with GVA, a venture investment company that bridges California with emerging markets.
After multiple official speeches and presentations, the grand opening event featured a startup battle, already quite a familiar format for the Russian tech community. Travolver, a trip planning startup, won first place and was granted an internship and an option for joint investment from GVA and Plug and Play.
Right after the event, Jena Wuu, Plug and Play’s International Relationship Manager, gave East-West Digital News a wider perspective on the tech business accelerator’s concept and goals.
Startup Sauna is going on tour this spring as well with their warmups. Warmups are short events that take usually a day, where local entrepreneurs in the cities they visit get to pitch to the Startup Sauna coaches and organisers for a chance to get accepted into the program. The winner of each warmup will receive €1500 as prize money to cover travel and accommodation for the program in Finland. The six week program is taking place in April and May this spring. Based on the quality of the applications, the program will select 10 to 15 companies to participate. Each company will further develop their product or service during the 6-week intesive and present it at the end of the program at the demo day.
During the coming one and a half months, Startup Sauna will visit 11 different places from Shangai to Warsaw as well as Moscow to Kuopio. Below is the schedule as of today:
I talked to Marina Treshchova, CEO of Fast Lane Ventures, a Moscow based early stage venture capital firm a few weeks back about the investment market in Russia. Fast Lane Ventures is quite a young investment company, but during their 18 months in operation they have invested in almost 1 company every month. Treshchova summed up the situation that there are so many opportunities in Russia at the moment that they have to run really fast.
Geolocation services are on the rise: more and more start-ups are building applications around check-ins, places, events and social media. Hyperclap, a Moscow-based start-up, decided to join the trend and offer their take on how best to combine all those aspects in one app. Their iPhone app lets you follow locations like bars, restaurants and clubs and instead of checking-in to those places users report from locations through messages and photos. The idea behind Hyperclap is to give a tool for movers and shakers to see what's happening in their favorite locations when they are there or when they are away. The app also generates trending spots to display the most popular places in towns.
The startup ecosystem in the Arctic Valley (pardon us for our selfish term) hasn't always been a very well functioning one. Not that it is extremely functioning today, we're increasingly getting more evidence that the world is noticing your startups, your efforts and most importantly - your passion to change the world.
This week Wired UK wrote a piece on the hottest startup cities in Europe. Three of the nine startup cities in the outlined story are from the region; Tallinn, Stockholm and Helsinki.
Aalto Venture Garage is launching Startup Sauna, which includes a month long tour around the Baltic rim to promote a new kind of startup acceleration program called Startup Sauna. Startup Sauna is direct continuum to the Summer of Startups program as well as the Bootcamp initiatives the venue organised last year. The program has been put in place to help pre-seed startups succeed through better mentorship of serial entrepreneurs as well as investors. What's best, it's open to all startups from the region.
Russian media has recently been buzzing with news about the Skolkovo project, dubbed Russia’s Silicon Valley. Named after a business school nearby, Skolkovo will be a modern tech-hub for development and commercialization of new technology in the fields of energy, IT, communication, biomedical research and nuclear technology. Russia's president Dmitry Medvedev signed the decree to build Skolkovo already in 2009, building works will start in the second half of 2011 and construction is estimated to take 3-7 years. The overall budget for the project is $4-6 billion. Half of the sum would come from Russia's Federal budget, the other from co-financing agreements. Built on the outskirts of Moscow covering 3.7 km2, Skolkovo will be home for 40,000 people. Although Skolkovo currently exists only on paper, the project has already signed partnership deals with Nokia, Microsoft, Siemens and Rusatom, just to name a few.