Some time back we covered the finalists participating in Mini-Seedcamp Stockholm. The list featured 14 companies from the region. Overall, 20 companies were selected to pitch at the event. While Seedcamp Stockholm was planned to be held as an event to find the participant to the Seedcamp New York trip, the Seedcamp team decided to announce “a winner” from the event. The winner, ie. the company that Seedcamp will invest into, is Holvi, by the founders of Scred.
A few weeks ago we put out a post promoting the Mini Seedcamp event in Stockholm taking place on May 4th. Yesterday, it was announced that a record number of companies had applied to the event and Seedcamp also listed 20 of the companies taking part in the event. Like in other cities, there is a mix of companies from a wider region and this time as well, a few companies from elsewhere in Europe are attending the event.
Scred, a house hold Finnish startup who we have used to seeing tracking debts and shared expenses is now shifting their focus towards more comprehensively managing money.
They start with managing money for different groups such as bands, indie film crews, event organisers and associations. The point is to offer a solution for communities which often don't have good online financial applications and don't know about accounting.
Along with the new focus the guy have also redesigned the site. Kudos to the team for learning the design tools as they went along. As Kristoffer from Scred told me "We ended up learning how to do design ourselves as we couldn't find anyone sufficiently skilled and available to work with our bootstrapped approach". Whether that was a good choice, I left to the user to decide herself.
Espoo Otaniemi boomed of startups and investors when Invest Tech Finland was held for the first time on last Tuesday and Wednesday. There was a real mix of companies from all round consumer web, nano, medical and material tech.
We got some taste of new startups, more seasoned companies seeking growth and some familiar faces marching forward with their plans. There were quite a few interesting companies to write about, the full list can be found here - check these out. Note that most of companies presented at the event already had some prototypes, partnerships, customers or revenues. Here is some of my picks (not in any particular order):
We are excited to have our 4th ArcticEvening today in Tallinn, Estonia. The tickets flew off the shelf, but to maintain the unique and cozy atmosphere and make sure everyone feels at home we limited the tickets to 150.
I am equally excited to announce the four startups that will be pitching at the event. In no particular order, here goes:
Snoobi - is a Finnish born innovative software services company specializing in Online Business Intelligence (OBI). We are committed to provide our clients with tools that help improve business in marketing and sales, as well as help with functions that regard decision-making and planning stages.. Snoobi was the fastest growing young technology company in Finland (Deloitte Fast 50 study, Nov 2008)
Scred - is a Finnish company building tools and services to help friends, groups and communities manage their money. Scred will be demostrating their new service, MiniCorps, first time in real life as the new service is so new it's just out of the oven. You can read our latest review of Scred's latest product release here.
Nutiteq - is an Estonian mobile Java development company specializing to mobile location-based services and applications. You can find our previous coverage of Nutiteq here. That's not all though, as the team at Nutiteq is pitching for a brand new product concept, which they have not releaved to wider public ever before.
Edicy - is an Estonian startup that provides an easy-to-use tool to create a website in a few minutes from start to finish. There are tens of designs to choose from and a website can be up and running in fifteen minutes. You can see our interview with Edicy at LeWeb here.
Sten Tamkivi, Chief Evangelist, Skype
Sten Tamkivi is Skype’s Chief Evangelist, building relationships with engineering communities, media, governments and academia around the world. Based in Tallinn, he also looks after Skype Estonia, our largest office globally as local General Manager.
Allan Martinson, Managing Partner, MTVP
Allan Martinson is currently the Managing Partner at MTVP. During his career as an entrepreneur, Martinson has been launching, managing and exiting several companies in the Baltic TMT sector, all of which became leaders in their respective industries.
Taneli Tikka, CEO, RunToShop
Taneli Tikka, a serial entrepreneur and dealmaker, has an active history of startup life. Taneli has been an entrepreneur since 1999 and has headed multiple companies including; IRC-Galleria.net (Sulake Dynamoid), RunToShop, Magenta, MobileCRM, and Taika Technologies.
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
Scred, a Finnish company building tools and services to help friends, groups and communities manage their money, has released a new version of their service. Before Scred enabled me to track debts and share expenses in multiple currencies. I found the basic Scred service already useful in sharing expenses with my flat mates. Now Scred has come out with a new version of their service, which has a set of new features that take the service to a whole new level.
Here's a video I shot with my Nokia N95 and subsequently uploaded to JayCut for editing via my laptop (see more on JayCut here). In the video itself Jussi Laakkonen tells about his new social gaming startup, which is still in stealth mode. Jussi asked me to mention that Everyplay is looking into hiring a sitebuilder that can handle Ajax and PHP. You can send your resumes to corporate [at] everyplay.fi
Another long time Finnish gaming master mind Asmo Halinenha s also announced that he's moving on from Apaja, a company he founded, but has only let us know about a few board positions his moving into at this point, namely at Eat.fi and at Grey Area.
Social gaming, unlike many other industries, can actually benefit from the gloomy economic environment, as people many times move towards inpexsive games played in the browser from the expensive console games, and in extreme cases have much more time to play and tinker with all kinds of stuff online if they get laid off. As harsh as this may sound, this is largely how for example Typepad got started when Ben and Mena Trott started Six Apart after they got laid off.
Further, Jussi promised us that he will shed light into how the Finnish gaming industry has evolved from an active demo scene by writing a guest blog post on the topic. Another strong player that has come this route is Scred.
There has been lively discussions of whether the many web conferences are really the most effective use of time for a startup. Similarly many people see the value in these conferences very differently, for example people from the United States tend to spend most if not all their time networking in the lobbies and hallways, at least more so than the Europeans are used to. We, the Europeans, on the other hand, tend to pay equal attention to the speakers at the stage.
At ArcticStartup we believe that meeting friends and strangers, as many as possible, is the best way to spend your time in these conferences. But that's just us. Thus, we wanted to know what other startups think and decided to ask a group of Finnish startups, who travelled to the LeWeb with us, what they think. Here are some perspectives:
Scred, a Finnish startup that brands themselves as Banking 2.0, are working on a brand new angle for their service. They are pulling an all-nigther before they head to London to pitch their new service. After an ad hoc discussion in a Jaiku thread they decided to stream their 'last-minute all-night crunch' via Floobs. If you're reading this sometime in the morning, you just missed a hell of a coding session.
The good guys at Scred are offering 2 free tickets to Alternative Party organised in Helsinki this weekend. You have a good chance of getting these two VIP-level tickets by telling a story of a digital adventure you have had or alternatively - why you'd deserve these tickets. Please comment at the Scred blog, if you wish to participate in the competition.
These tickets include full access to the whole event, from beginning to end, plus the Thursday VIP event and Sunday sauna with organisers and special guests.
There has been much talk around Slush lately. Yet, it has not yet been very clear at all what is happening and I'm partly to blame. Now I try to shed some light onto the issue and at the same time invite you all to Slush.
In a nutshell Slush is a new Helsinki originated event for startups by startups. The whole process started when I along with a few others passionate about the subject were trying to brainstorm on how to give a boost to the Finnish startup scene, home and abroad. We had an idea that a bigger annual event might be the answer for the lack of visibility among Finnish startups in the global arena. If nothing else, we saw that such an event was missing from the Finnish startup fabric.
After throwing ideas back and forth for while I, Peter Vesterbacka (of Mobile Monday fame) and Kai Lemmetty (of Floobs) came up with an event that would show the best Finland has to offer, once a year every year. Later on Helene Auramo from Zipipop jumped along to bring her positive energy to the team and give it an even stronger startup perspective. Peter came up with the name Slush and so it started.
Finnish summer can be an amazing experience with its nightless nights, but there's also the dark winter we live with the other six months. Thus, any startup born in Finland have equal number of slushy and dark Novembers in their DNA as they have those warm sunny Julys. Many say the one quality a startup needs above all is perseverance against adversity and out of all the languages Finnish is the one that has its own word for describing just that. The word is Sisu and I believe that it has much to do with Finns pushing through those dark slushy winter months. Thus, an apt name especially for a startup event. Having said that, I believe this is the case with startup DNA all over the Nordic and Baltic countries.
After finding the right people to take on the challenge we were ready to start working. What we really aim to do is light up the startup scene, namely by showing students what entrepreneurship can be at its best, and show the international crowd that there is much more to Finnish startups than the tip of the iceberg they've seen so far. Naturally big part of the whole event is to enable the Finnish entrepreneurs meet not only each other but also investors and other businesses from home and abroad.
We know there's a plethora of events that are not working as well as they could for the entrepreneurs themselves, and thus we decided that everything we do should be done in the interest of the startup scene in mind. If something is in conflict with that focus, it will be scrapped from the agenda. For startups by startups or nothing.
Now we are at a point where the website is up and running so we can tell people about the event, invite them along and spread the word. Even the fact that the website leaked out half ready turned out to be only beneficial, since many people wanted to help out. For example the nice guys at Valve volunteered to help out right away. I've also heard that the Bolder guys are ready to do their part and Scred has promised to make the actual platform for selling tickets for the event.
- Success Stories - This is were we have the Finland's finest web entrepreneurs lined up. Risto Siilasmaa from F-Secure, Petteri Koponen from First Hop/Jaiku, Ilkka Paananen from Sumea/Digital Chocolate, Asmo Halinen from Apaja only to name a few of the entrepreneurs that have started small and made it big.
- Technology track - This is modeled on the Startup Developer Gathering (SDG), which was put together by Kai Lemmetty. For Slush Kai is putting together a tech presentation bar none. This track will go on all day and have many Finnish heavy weights like Teemu Kurppa (Jaiku/Google) presenting their insight for the Slush attendees.
- Thirdly, a showcase where up to 40 local startups can show what they have, be it products, services, their team, philosophy behind the concept and what not.
- Fourthly, probably the most important reason pulling the event together in the first place, we have seven pre-screened teams presenting their business ideas to the audience. These teams will be funded by the Slush Fund. The Slush Fund will be in effect just as big as the combined sponsorship revenue plus the proceeds from the sold tickets will allow it to be. In another words we will channel all the money from the event (minus cost e.g. rent for the venue etc.) to the seven teams. If you are a student with an idea for the next big thing you should apply. Instead of writing code and making coffee at one of the big corporations next summer, you could spend the summer of 2009 working on your own idea and have the expertise of most of the Finnish startup community to draw from.
In a nutshell this is Slush Helsinki. An event for startups by startups.
If the website seems that it does not give out all the details yet, it is by no means because we want to keep you in the dark but rather because we are working on the agenda as we go along to make it as good as resources and time allow. ArcticStartup will be naturally reporting what is happening at the event itself but also how the event is developing from now until the day itself in late November. Welcome to the Slush everybody!
Edit: There was a mistake saying October instead of November. The correct date for Slush is NOVEMBER 24th.
Seedcamp winners have been announced just a few hours ago in London. This year 7 companies were picked for a 50k€ investment and a three month mentoring period. The winners this year are:
uberVU: Tracking comments on your social media content
Kyko: Casual gaming inside MSN / Live Messenger
Basekit - Make building complex webapplications easy.
Soup.io - Personal publishing on the web made easy
Toksta - Provide instant messaging systems for social networks
Mobclix - Iphone analytics
StupeFlix - Smart video slideshows from photographs
Via The Next Web
Neither Scred nor Saplo made it all the way to the winners' table this year, but I'm sure they have experienced a lot of valuable things that will take them far next year.
Edit: Here's TechCrunchUK's take on the Seedcamp 08 winners.
Even though Scred is surely familiar for most of our readers I had a chat with Kristoffer Lawson of Scred since I promised earlier on that I'd interview all the Nordic & Baltic startups that'll apply to Seedcamp.
I ask Kristoffer for a quick pitch and then talk more generally about the experience in Seedcamp just before the final pitches to the room full of investors on Thursday morning. Good luck guys!
Here's Kristoffer Lawson, Head of Product at Scred, pitching for the packed room full of investors and startups on the first day.
The main event Seedcamp Week 2008 will kick of next week with Europe’s leading technologists, company founders, venture capitalists, and marketing strategists, including a lot of networking and sharing of experiences.
The agenda also includes panel sessions and one-on-one mentoring with some of Europe’s most successful entrepreneurs, product developers, designers, marketers, investors, and company builders. In the panel will be big companies like Bebo, Facebook, MySQL, and Skype, and startups like MOO, Dopplr, and Netlog.
Congrats to all the finalists, and especially Saplo and Scred, and good luck for next week!
Editorial note: We're publishing Kristoffer's report from Seedcamp as they made it to the semi-finals for screening. Depending on the feedback we'll see if we should make this a habit in the future as well. Please let us know in the comments. Thanks to Kristoffer for an excellent report!
On the left two founders from Uniki, Teemu and Tuomas from Scred and Adil and Anthony from Entrip.
Last week we got fantastic news. Scred had been shortlisted as one of only about 40 companies to be interviewed by Seedcamp's distinguished panel — a group of prestigious international VCs. Considering that several hundred companies, from all around Europe (and even some from outside) had applied, this was huge for us. In fact Scred is the first Finnish company to make it that far, and was one of only two Nordic companies present.
Nebula had a meltdown of their power supply setup at the Lauttasaari facility last night. Due to the outage several Finnish web services went down yesterday at 7pm (GMT +2). The services that got hit included Jaiku, Scred, Ampparit.com, telkku.com to name a few.
In total, the outage affected about 1500 servers and 8000 of their customers. The web services seems to back up and running by now.
Scred organises Night-of-Code 2 on Thursday 21st of August at the Cable Factory in Helsinki from 5pm to 11pm. The event follows a very lose structure - sort of an uncoference as Scred announces on their blog.
The original idea of the Night of Code is attached to the Night of Arts in Helsinki, however this year the night of the code is a day earlier. Following it's traditions, the focus of the night will be on creativity.
Scred wishes that you tag yourself as attending in their Facebook event if you wish to participate.
Seedcamp applications are now closed for 2008. We received all together five notifications from start-ups that are applying after we posted our own offer. The start-ups come from Finland and Sweden, namely These Are My Brands (Finland), Scred (Finland), BiznesPort (Finland), BuzzPal (Sweden/US) and Wonderswap.com (Sweden).
Seedcamp received most of the applications on the last minute (for more see here) just as we received the information on start-ups that applied. On the other hand we did not post our offer that much earlier either. Regardless, the main thing is that many companies got their application in. Congrats and good luck for everybody who submitted their application in time.
Even though the applications are now closed do let us know in comments if we missed you, but you still applied in time. The interview offer is valid even though we did not hear about you before the application window closed.
Edit 11.08.2008: That's six start-ups now: MahShelf (Finland) applied also in time. Congrats!
Wonderswap aims to create a marketplace and a community that will support the need to re-cycle amongst a new generation of people who are tired of the "buy-and-throw-away-mentality".
There's not that much to see on Wonderswap's website at the moment, but their CEO, Monika Björn, told us that they´re planning to have a Beta out by this autumn/winter. The secrecy is understandable to some extend, since Seedcamp rules suggest that your service should not have launched yet.
For those of our readers who still don't know what Seedcamp is here's a short description from Seedcamp website.
Seedcamp is an intensive week long event held in September in London targeted at young entrepreneurs from across EMEA.
We've set it up to provide seed funding and world-class connections for startups. September 2007 marked our first Seedcamp Week and group of funded startups. September 2008 will mark our second.
We will be holding an open application available online. Based on this, we will select up to 20 companies to participate in the event.
Seedcamp application deadline is tomorrow(!), so if you're planning on applying, apply now. If you want to apply, go here.
Good luck to Wonderswap.com(!) and as promised an interview comes as a part of package later on.
Scred, a Finnish community-oriented cost balancing tool, which initially focused on balancing debts and shared expenses among a group of friends announced that they are looking into new possibilities to leverage their back-end infrastructure.
Scred has partnered with Alternative Party which will be held in Helsinki in the coming October. Scred built an inexpensive bespoke ticketing service for the party with which you can reserve, buy and print the tickets straight from the web. Tickets are also machine verifiable which is more than many other service providers offer.
Kristoffer Lawson from Scred told us that the new service is currently not available for 3rd parties, but that they they will see how the first deployment will go and add some features before deciding whether it's the right path to take. According to Kristoffer tickets can be currently bought via PayPal and 'couple of banking services', but the credit card option is on its way.
The party in itself is the second largest 'demoscene-party' in Finland after Assembly. Alternative Party aims to mix demos, music and art. Unlike Assembly, Alternative Party's focus is more on artistic shows and activities and there is practically no gaming.
There is starting to be a lot of activity in the e-commerce infrastructure space coming from Finland. Scred seems to be gradually heading that direction and Fruugo is looking into becoming the “trusted 3rd party of ecommerce". Based on Fruugo's still mysterious website we will find out what they will actually offer in more detail later in 2008 when they're planning to launch. This is something that might also be of interest to Scred since after knowing what Fruugo is aiming for Scred can better adjust their product offering to the market.
Last minute reminder to all those who are in the Helsinki region tonight; get yourself down to Dubrovnik, Eerikinkatu 11, at 6pm tonight.
We have about 70 people marked showing up through Open Coffee and Facebook. There are people I know are coming as well who haven't signed up so it's going to be a full house for sure!
Looking forwards to meeting everyone there tonight!
Kristoffer Lawson from Scred has told us that they are organising a Night of Code this Friday (25th) down at the Cable Factory. They are inviting all coders and designers to come down and share ideas what they are working on at the moment.
The event will start at 3pm and end around midnight. There will be no marketing pitches, no advertising or anything such - pure coding and sharing of ideas. If you're interested, sign up to the event in Facebook or Upcoming. More info on Scred's blog.
Army of Ghosts is the newest and largest release of Scred since it opened to the public. In the new release, just released today, the largest feature is called direct screding.
Direct screding is when you share your costs with people who aren't yet registered on scred. You can direct the costs to an e-mail address and once the person registers on scred she is able to see the the amount she owns to the other people who split costs. Kristoffer Lawson, one of the founders of Scred, states that this has been one of the major differences in their service to foreign rivals and with this release they are catching up on their development. Other updates on the release can be seen in their blog.
Kristoffer also told us that Scred has been seperated from Fishpool into its own corporation. This of course means they will be able to focus on the development of Scred more thoroughly. Fishpool and founders of Scred have funded the company so far.
There's some good comments being thrown around as Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch interviewed the developers of Scred in Amsterdam's NextWeb Conference. There are a lot of competitor's names as well and it just shows what kind of competition you usually end up with once you execute.
I'd be even daring to say that the idea is nothing, execution is everything.
Scred, or Street Credit, is a consumer service created by a Finnish company Fishpool Creations where a group of friends can share costs for commonly purchased objects on a trip for example. Kristoffer Lawson, the CEO of Scred says that they have been using various
versions of Scred internally for years. The service is now open for public after a brief public beta which started in 2007.
After you register with the service, you are able to create your own pools - or groups for your you and your friends. You can use them for certain trips for example. Add all the receipts of that trip to the service and it will calculate how much each one owes each other after you've come home. The service even supports multiple currencies which helps groups of friends travelling in different countries. Quite a simple idea, but still capable to wreck relationships - just as Kristoffer states in their press release.
I find the idea very interesting and worthwhile. However, the UI still needs some tweaking for the masses. It still reminds me of the late 90s and open source software UIs that are still present to this day. Despite the shortcomings in the graphical side of the service, the idea is simple enough to catch on. They also have a JAVA-application for mobile phones where you can record your receipts on a day-to-day basis even when you're offline.
A great idea that surely has unrealised demand. Good luck to Kristoffer and the guys at Fishpool!