Let’s get one thing straight - advertising sucks. Not because it is bad on a moral level or because it is annoying. It is bad because it is just boring and outdated. The little innovation that did happen in the industry mostly revolved around better ways of tricking you into seeing ads. But then we saw this video:
Let’s talk about ads for a moment. Looking back in history, advertisement was pretty much always there. Egyptians used papyrus for sales posters and political campaign messages were found in ancient ruins of Pompeii and Arabia.
However it has been the last 70 years or so when advertisement really shaped up. Mad Men TV series shows us how commercial television changed the game in the 60's, from there cable TV opened new horizons in the 80’s. Finally in the 90’s we were introduced to the Internet, where the game changed completely once again.
Today, we are on the verge of yet another shift of epic proportions - the increasing use of mobile devices and the fight for getting advertising right on this new medium. However the whole concept of advertisement is getting increasingly out of control. According to some research we see up-to 5 000 ads per day, compared to about 2 000 just 30 years ago. There is no empty space anymore, if it is empty - chances are it will soon be filled with ads. People have become ad intolerant, banner-blind and overly suspicious. So with that in mind, how do you win the mobile ads war?
So let's pretend you're out shopping and you see three bedazzled iPhone cases that are solid candidates for your chirp. Yes, in this hypothetical you are a 14 year old girl. You're out with your lame mom, so how are you going to get that second opinion to find out what's the real hotness on the streets?
Boom, with Photopoll you can quickly take pictures of all your choices to get your friends and the public to vote on the best one. It's useful for trying to figure out the best ice cream flavor, or for answering more abstract hypotheticals like "best place to go vacation". As long as it has a picture to go with it, you can poll it.
Fruugo was one of the most talked about companies in the Finnish startup scene, perhaps due to the fact that the company was able to attract the top executives of the Finnish business world. In the early days, the most well known people on board were Jorma Ollila (the former CEO and Chairman of Nokia), Risto Siilasmaa (Chairman, Founder and former CEO of F-Secure and current Chairman of Nokia) as well as Marko Parkkinen (co-founder of Bob Helsinki and a board member of various Finnish companies), among others. The company has also gained some infamy in Finland due to the millions of euros it burned through in anticipation of their global, multi-retailer online store.
Fruugo has tried to innovate in the space of e-commerce through a multi-retailer site where consumers would be able buy goods from numerous stores on one site and pay in their own, local currency through one check out. The company was started in 2006 by Nils Forsblom, now currently running TenFarms.
Nils Forsblom, a serial entrepreneur and founder of Fruugo (among other companies) is building TenFarms, a web service that combines location-based mobile applications to broadcast user's life as it happens in real-time. 'You have loads of mobile apps that stream location and content - Gowalla, Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter. None of them, though, provide a stream of your real life as you go along', explains Nils. 'TenFarms is built around a 360˚ map view of the area around you and everything revolves around your location. You can broadcast your real-life experiences based on where you are and see what others are doing around you'.
PhotoPoll is a new iOS application being developed by Nils Forsblom, one of our speakers coming to Arctic15 in September. The idea is really simple and appealing: you can create quick polls for your friends to comment with the help of images. Furthermore, if you're a bit more open with your privacy, anyone in the application can comment on your polls.
We're very excited to be announcing two very interesting speakers to our Arctic15 -conference in September; Steve Huffman, Co-founder of Hipmunk (formerly also Reddit) as well as Daniel Kaplan, Business Developer at Mojang the company behind the game Minecraft.
We've just opened registrations for Arctic15, both the startup competition as well as the tickets. While doing so, we've also announced our first speakers to the event. We'll be constantly updating the site during the run up to the event, so there are bound to me continuous announcements of new speakers and partners. We're very excited to be working on this and hope you will enjoy attending it!
ArcticEvening in Tallinn was a success in January.
ArcticEvening Helsinki registration is open. You can get your free ticket below. ArcticEvening will be held in Dubrovnik Lounge and Lobby on the 3rd of March, from 6pm to 9pm.
Just to summarise, we'll have one excellent panel on startup financing with Artturi Tarjanne, Jussi Harvela, Nils Forsblom and Jouko Kiesi. These gentlemen have a lot of experience and I'm sure we'll hear some interesting stories. You can read more about the panelists on the ArcticEvening page.
Get your ticket here:
ArcticStartup will be hosting its 5th event in Helsinki, in the good old Dubrovnik Lounge and Lobby on the 3rd of March from 6pm to 9pm. The evening's theme will be financing which will surely be of interest to many startups and early stage companies as it's one of the corner stones of building a successful business.
The structure of the evening will take into account the wishes of participants from earlier events. We have been asked to leave more time for networking, but still with build the evening with some presentations and talks. Therefore, we will have one panel with very strong industry experts and the rest of the evening will be left for networking and discussions between participants. Each panel participant will have a chance to introduce themselves before the panel.
We will have a sign-up system to the event, which we will be opening on the 18th of February at 9am. We will have at least 100 tickets available for participants. Last time we organised our event in Tallinn, the tickets sold out extremely fast, so make sure you are here to get your ticket. We are able to host the event free of charge for participants due to our wonderful sponsors. Our sponsors are presented below.
Artturi Tarjanne, General Partner, Nexit Ventures
Artturi Tarjanne is one of the most experienced Finnish investors out there, he has more than 20 years' investing experience from various industries - mainly telecom.
Jussi Harvela, Partner, Veturi Growth Partners
Jussi Harvela has more than 20 years' experience in running and managing high tech startups and corporations. He successfully transformed a small Finnish startup to an established global software company, from Finland to Cupertino, California.
Nils Forsblom, Founder, Fruugo
Nils Forsblom has a colorful career starting companies here and there. His latest thrill has been the hyped, feared and appreciated e-commerce startup named Fruugo. He has gathered financing in many different economical conditions so he will surely have a say in the panel.
Jouko Kiesi, Attorney at law, senior advicer, Hammarström Puhakka Partners
Jouko Kiesi is one of the corner stones of HPP's success. He has a strong background in startup financing, about 30 years worth. He has worked with legendary startups such as Riot-E and Iobox. Needless to say, there will be some interesting stories told.
With more than 80 years' worth of experience on the panel - it'll surely be one of the most anticipated get togethers ever experienced in Finland. Make sure you get your ticket on the morning of the 18th of February. If Madonna's concert in Helsinki sold out in a few hours - we'll be quicker.
The ticket's will be available on this blog on the morning of the 18th of February and on the ArcticEvening page.
Our event is made available by our Sponsors. Do take time to get to know them - they are one of the most interesting organisations in the industry. We hand pick our sponsors to bring value to the evenings - these guys are truly worth your time.
Sombiz is a Social Media Business Network of Finnish social media & Web 2.0 companies, research institutions, and other organisations and individuals operating in the field of social media.
Sombiz provides a network for organisations to collaborate, learn from each other, and create partnerships. By connecting business with research Sombiz is stimulating the creation of new innovations. The ultimate goal for Sombiz is to find new business opportunities and help companies to grow and go international.
Sombiz operates as a thematic network of the Finnish Digibusiness Cluster and is a part of the government funded Centre of Expertise Programme (OSKE). In 2008 the building of the Sombiz network was selected as the national "OSKE Top Project". The project is funded by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy.
The background organisation of Sombiz is Technology Centre Hermia Ltd.
Sombiz is a Finnish-based network operating internationally. The strategy of Sombiz is a "BUGC" approach: linking Business, Universities, Government, and Communities in order to build and boost the social media business ecosystem.
Hammarström Puhakka Partners
Hammarström Puhakka Partners, Attorneys Ltd is a law firm specialised in business law. The firm has a good corporate practice with experienced M&A advisers acting constantly for domestic and cross-border clients. Specialists provide M&A services to public and private companies relating to assignments concerning private equity and venture capital transactions. The firm is constantly involved with complex transactions in connection with private equity firms and experienced in advising private equity/venture capital investors in divesting their investments.
Risto Siilasmaa, founder and chairman F-Secure, is the biggest owner with 30,9 % share. Fruugo's founder and Evangelist, Nils ”Nippe” Forsblom is the second biggest owner with almost 30 %. Risto Siilasmaa came aboard in the very beginning and brougth in Nokia chairman Jorma Ollila and the ex-CEO Reijo Syrjäläinen. Jorma Ollila owns 9,4 % of the company. A year ago, Seppo Sairanen (the previous main owner of FIM financial group) invested in the company, and last summer the Finnish media group Sanoma, who's Kim Ignatius recently entered the board. Sixth biggest owner is Kalle Vuoristo, the CTO of Fruugo.
The full ownership structure of Fruugo, as published by Talouselämä:
First Fellow (Risto Siilasmaa)
Queensway Dev. (Nils Forsblom)
Kestrel (Jorma Ollila)
Optiopaja (Seppo Sairanen)
According to the article, Fruugo has burned around 10-15M euros so far, maybe even more. They have slightly above 60 own employees at the moment, plus tens of consults.
Fruugo is an aggregator bringing the online web stores under one service. Pan-European web commerce is still difficult, but through Fruugo the European web stores can sell their products to the whole Europe, and all consumers can buy the products of all merchant integrated with the service, using their native language and local payment methods. The business model, as we reported yesterday, is based on transaction commissions. The cut Fruugo takes is around 10 percent, more or less depending on the product category. The company believes the rate is justifiable to merchants, as using the service Fruugo will take care of payment systems, fraud management, customer service, and currency exchange.
Fruugo's public launch is coming up in Q2, but the exact countries are not disclosed. Next Fruugo faces the challenge to make itself known to the millions of European online shoppers.
(See our previous coverage on Fruugo.)