The Estonian mobile payments provider, Fortumo, just announced a partnership with the Ukrainian mobile operator - Kyivstar. The partnership would allow Fortumo to tap into 25 million Kyivstar customers to make payments inside of Kyivstar’s App Club store without using a credit card.
The first game to be published that will be able to use the Fortumo mobile payments is Cut The Rope by Zeptolab with games from Rovio, EA, Halfbrick, Creative Mobile and Lima Sky to follow.
Sitting at $57 million USD in 2013, the Ukrainian digital gaming market is but a drop in the ocean when comparing to the recent Supercell sale. However when you come back to earth, it is still an attractive piece of the pie to target.
As equity crowdfunding is starting to become more widely accepted, even newer ways of funding and starting a company emerge. Take a look at the recently announced partnership between the originally Swedish crowdfunding company FundedByMe and the Danish accelerator program - Accelerace.
The two companies intend to both “push and pull” startups from and to one another. In other words, you could go through the Accelerace accelerator program and then immediately jump onto the FundedByMe crowdfunding platform in a few easy steps. Alternatively, you could go to FundedByMe directly and then take part in the accelerator program after you are done. You could even include you intentions in your pitch, for example.
Rovio has launched a 48 hour competition to win signed and personalized prints of the new Angry Birds All Star Athletes posters featuring NBA All-Star player, Andrew Bynum and NHL All-Star player and Stanley Cup Champion, Anze Kopitar. The competition on the Angry Birds blog is only able to be won in the United States, making this news item uninteresting to the majority of our readers. But what is noteworthy is that the imagery on the blogs are tagged with Kiosked's technology, allowing anyone to hover over the photos and be led to an Amazon store, where they can purchase these posters or other Angry Birds gear.
This partnership shows the ties between the two Finnish companies. Last June, Kiosked raised €4.5 million in funding in a round led by Kaj Hed, the majority investor in Rovio who held a 69.7% stake in Rovio Entertainment a year ago.
Maventa says they have been able to grow their electronic invoicing solution by offering the benefits of high-end e-invoicing solutions by focusing on transaction-based pricing. The platform also offers no fixed costs or minimum term periods. Intra-network transactions are also free of charge, which has been another factor in its growth.
The Associated Press has cemented their exclusivity with Bambuser, allowing its users to share their live footage with the Associated Press. Last May, the AP and Bambuser began collaborating by allowing an opt-in setting for citizen journalists to release the rights of what they were filming, giving their footage to get greater reach. The option also gave the ability for journalists to get in touch with the video streamers to get more information from the ground. Bambuser is based in Stockholm with an office in Turku, Finland.
In the last four months Bambuser content has been used by AP customers more than 4,000 times – much of it from the front lines in the Syrian conflict where it has been almost impossible to get western journalists on the ground. The streaming video is delivered either as standalone content in real time or integrated into longer edited pieces for AP's network of more than 700 broadcasters.
LiveMusicStage is making some noise in London after partnering with leading UK music industry bodies Metropolis Group and PRS for Music. The Helsinki-based company specialises in providing interactive online versions of concert experiences, which viewers can watch streamed through their computers.
Both the internet and sports has been billed as the great connector of peoples and cultures, but so far they haven't worked too well together. Sure, people talk the game on Twitter, engage their friends over Facebook, and refresh a message board page over and over, but nothing until Helsinki-based Sofanatics close to that feeling of being in a sports bar and being able to talk trash to that guy three barstools down and cheer for your team with fellow fans. NBA fans got a taste of this during the NBA finals with a Facebook app integration of Sofanatics on the NBA's Facebook page.
We've covered Sofanatics a few times in the past, but at the simplest level they've created a web service that splits the screen into a chat feed for the two teams playing. By picking sides, you get more context when chatting about the game, but as a user you can really tap the mood of what each side is feeling. The service is fun, especially when you're watching a game by yourself at home. A goal scored in hockey or football is a momentous occasion -- each side explodes in noes and yeses, confetti shoots on one side, and the other side is drowned in virtual rain.
ZTE is one of the world's largest device manufacturers and service providers to the mobile industry. In Q4 of 2011, ZTE became the fourth largest handset maker with 4,9% global market share. Today, ZTE and Rightware are announcing a partnership where by ZTE licenses Rightware's Kanzi UI solution to their new range of Android smartphones.
Travelers going to the Estonian Air website are given quick access to booking flights and to the typical add-ons such as car rental, hotels, travel insurance, and now taxi booking through Cabforce. The Finnish startup officially launched a few weeks ago, and gives travelers easy online booking for taxis, executive cars, and minibuses. For business travelers, Cabforce provides accountants with detailed receipts (which is not a given in the taxi business), and saves travelers the pain of negotiating prices and which route to take across language barriers.
Here's some big news out of the Baltics: Slevomat Group from the Czech Republic and Cherry Media have partnered together to form the region's largest Daily Deals group. Their 2011 turnover put together exceeds 60 million euros, putting them up there as one of the largest startups in the region.
“Both companies were looking for expansion in Central Europe and teaming up was the most logical step. We have the best management teams in the region and have now got great opportunity to gain a scale for region-wide deals,“ said Tomáš Čupr, Chief Executive Officer of Slevomat.
About two weeks ago we reported on Facebook integrating Spotify to the social network for music streaming. A partnership that had mixed reaction from across the globe given that Spotify isn’t available in every region. At the end of last week, Spotify stretched itself further into our living rooms by announcing its partnership with Western Digital.
Last week's Thursday saw Mark Zuckerberg present a ton of new things at the Facebook developer conference f8 that will hit Facebook in the coming months. One of the additions, that was immediately enabled was the deep partnership with Spotify. For those who love to listen to music in a social way, this is heaven. You're able to dive into your friends' music habits whenever you're in Facebook. There are a couple of downsides to this and the most important one isn't the fact that your Facebook stream is a flush of Spotify updates. It's actually the fact that with the integration - Spotify has disabled any other sign-in method and now requires new users to have Facebook accounts. This is a huge gamble for the Sweden based music company that could backfire on it.
Audiodraft, the Finnish audio crowdsourcing service (and startup by the same name) has landed a major partnership with Nokia to remake the hugely popular Nokia Tune. The most liked tunes on the Audiodraft page are actually very good and I'd seriously be thinking of using one for my iPhone.
Facebook and Web of Trust (WOT) have today announced that they enter into partnership to protect Facebook's users with the WOT technology. WOT is a Finnish startup that has more than 20 million users globally and these users have rated more than 31 million websites. In essence, it's a crowdsourced way to rate malicious and threatening websites that aim to harm users. The WOT technology will be rolled out as a new feature in Facebook in the US today at 8pm EET and globally in about a week's time. This is a huge win for the Finnish company.
ArcticStartup is going to collaborate with Attorneys at Law Borenius & Kemppinen Ltd - or B&K, as it commonly abbreviated - to produce “Road To Exit: Startup's First Year”, a practical blog series addressing the most common legal questions and problems that a startup company faces during their first year of operation. True to its name, the series spans over a year, with approximately one blog post coming out each month.
Founder2be, a start-up that built a network that helps entrepreneurial-minded people find each other, has recently added some mighty force from overseas to its Global Alliance Program. First came the announcement of Startup Weekend joinning the network and this week Founder2be announced Your Story, the biggest online platform that shares stories about entrepreneurship in Indian, joining the Alliance Program. The program includes light-weight cooperation and promotion on both sides: Founder2be can help entrepreneurs find the team for their start-up and allied partners can further support the team to implement and develop their business. Founder2be's goal is to have at least one partner on all continents by the end of this year.
Leiki has announced it has entered into a partnership with Helsingin Sanomat (the largest daily newspaper in Finland) to personalise articles on the front page of its digital version. The digital version is the premium, paid version of the newspaper, that can be found online.
Thinglink today announced that they have partnered with the Berlin based SoundCloud to enable embedding of sound files to images. Thinglink has grown its clientele over previous months and hired new people on board. At the same time, SoundCloud has become one of the most interesting music startups in Europe with its growing user base and service offering.
Thinglink's technology enables users to create more meaningful images. Thinglinked images are tagged with links and information a user is able to see when they hover their mouse over the image itself. The technology is in use by Finnish media companies such as Nelonen and Aller Media.
Groupon announced this week that they are going to partner with one of Russia's biggest social networks - Odnoklassniki. This means the social network's users will soon be able to buy Groupon's discounted deals with one-click without having to leave the Odnoklassniki website. Odnoklassniki is owned by the Mail.ru Group, which in its turn is owned by DST, which last year invested $135M in Groupon. With so many overlaps, it is not surprising that Groupon made a deal with that particular social network, even though it is not the biggest in Runet (Vkontakte is).
Stardoll, a virtual environment for teenage girls, has recently announced a partnership deal with JCPenney, one of America's leading retailers, to launch a new line of Stardoll-branded clothing and accessories. The line is to be launched during this year's back-to-school season and it will be available in 300 JCPenney department stores across US as well as on their webstore jcp.com. The partnership is a major deal for Stardoll and a logical extension of their services. Millions of teenage girls have been using the website to create and fashion virtual dolls - bringing a similar experience into the real world can prove to be very lucrative. On top of that, TechCrunch has reported that Stardoll is about to enter a licensing deal with a toy-manufacturer Mattel to produce branded toys from the game. Stardoll is clearly onto something here.
The Finnish restaurant site Eat.fi has partnered with Offerium, a Finnish Groupon-kind flash sales site, to offer diners cheaper meals. People looking for places to go out for dinner/lunch on Eat.fi will be now able to spot those restaurants with offers with a little "deal"-icon next to their name. I haven't bought yet anything on Offerium, but putting the restaurant deals into a need based context fits in perfectly and I'm guessing will result in more people finding Offerium as well.
We've signed a partnership deal with the Finnish Software Entrepreneurs Association to give young innovative software startups the possibility for free visibility on ArcticStartup. The deal is close to 5 months long and it's now been going since last week. Here's the drill. Any Finland registered company creating software should leave their details through this form as you'll then be in the draw for a free article on ArcticStartup - to be used in any way you wish. The first round of the draw is now on!
Meniga, the Icelandic personal finance management service, has signed Applicon as its partner in Scandinavia to offer its service to banks. Meniga is an Icelandic startup founded in January 2009 with a very similar plan in mind compared to the famous US company Mint.com.
With the signing of the contract and the press release associated with it, it has become clear how Meniga plans to position their product and get it to market. They have signed the contract with Applicon, which is a Swedish company closely affiliated with banks. Applicon offers its customers a combination of standardized IT software with the help of its 50 strong organisation.
TechCrunch reports that Spotify has signed an exclusive deal with the Finnish side of TeliaSonera. The two year deal will give TeliaSonera the exclusive rights to sell Spotify Premium in Finland. The announcement comes on the same day as TeliaSonera unveils its IPTV service that is complete with a certain selection of television channels, video rentals and Spotify Premium. Spotify signed a similar contract with the Swedish side of TeliaSonera last year and it seems that the deal was worthwhile as the Finnish side of TeliaSonera also went forward with the partnership.
Ericsson announced yesterday morning that they have completed a partnership agreement to bring mobile applications to Kaixin001, a Beijing based social network with 50 million users. The press release mentions that photo sharing, SMS alerts, and location based services will be the first applications. The fact that Kaixin001, a startup itself, has chosen Ericsson as content partner should be interpreted as huge missed opportunity for all startups developing mobile applications in Northern Europe, and I'll tell you why.
Two Finnish startups, MySites (see our previous story here) and Dazzboard (see our previous story here) announced recently that they will partner up: MySites which has completely rebranded itself as 'social cloud storage' is now offering Dazzboard users (as well as everybody else) unlimited amount of data storage for free.
We talked to both, MySites and Dazzboard CEOs, to get to the bottom of what is happening with the services and what the co-operation is all about.
MySites, for its part, is going head on againts services like Dropbox or even Mobile.me, which are cloud storage services primarily for consumer use. Ramine Darabiha, MySites CEO, emphasized that "MySites is going for the social angle. Not just a file service, but the best way to share files while you're on Facebook and on Twitter." Darabiha adds that "MySites is aiming to be the most Facebook friendly cloud storage service by integrating with many Facebook features such as friends and commenting to name a few".
Sorosh Tavakoli, the CEO of VideoPlaza, has announced on their blog that they have signed a large advertising deal with the Swedish TV4 -broadcasting company. VideoPlaza is a Swedish video startup offering innovative solutions for online video advertising, be that managing, tracking or displaying video advertisement.
Sorosh wrote that, after talking to some of the British online video producers during his visit to the UK earlier this year, he realised the Swedish TV4 is actually one of the biggest online video players in Europe. He cannot confirm this with official numbers though. The deal is pretty large as it covers all the TV4 domains, and not just the main tv4.se site.
Seems like the video market is on the rise for 2009 as Sorosh Tavakoli stated that there will be more announcements in the coming days.
Dopplr, the Helsinki based travel service for frequent business travellers, has partnered with the boutique and luxury hotel guide service Mr and Mrs Smith. Dopplr has not released anything about this in their blog yet, but they have sent out an e-mail to their members.
We've launched a new partnership to help you find and book excellent lodging during your travels.
We're working with the boutique hotel experts at Mr & Mrs Smith, and you'll now have direct access from your Dopplr itineraries to their unrivalled insider knowledge, global hotel collection and booking services.
If you're familiar with Mr & Mrs Smith, you know that they're known for deep research into high-quality lodging. They offer the best room rates on everything from quirky city stays and romantic boutique retreats to stylish country manors and luxury spa hotels. And they tried every place they recommend, to be sure it meets their standards.
For example, Mr & Mrs Smith recommend:
* Hotel J in Stockholm, for your next trip there
* Pershing Hall in Paris, for your next trip there
These are just some of the hotels Mr & Mrs Smith have looked at in depth. They have ideas for many tastes, and budgets.
What we like most about Mr & Mrs Smith's approach to travel should be familiar to you: it combines utility and style. Like us, they value the romance and beauty of travel -- and also like to find good deals along the way.
Please let us know what you think of this new feature. And please keep an eye on the Dopplr Blog (http://blog.dopplr.com) for updates.
The Dopplr Team.
This is a step towards the extra value of the service for the customers I was talking about in my previous post about Dopplr. The only doubt I have is how many business travellers reserve their own hotels? Then again, there are many kind of companies so surely this will create some revenue in the form of shared comissions.