Tekes, the Finnish government guys who provide funds to a lot of small, early stage startups, are currently in the middle of a rolling tour around Helsinki. They’ve had a pop up office travelling between Startup Sauna, the Minimum Viable Office, and Uusi tehdas from 22nd November to 16th December.
So you are in a startup and you have a website that has a fairly large amount of features, pages and steps that a user can take. Since you often update the code, some of these features and pages break once in a while and normally you have to either magically find the bug or wait until one of your, now unhappy, customers let’s you know about the problem.
This is where UseTrace comes in with an aim to save the day. The startup let’s you teach it any step that you might want tested on a regular basis and then automatically tries to go through the process as your user would.
To do so, you just have to navigate the page yourself once and it will memorize what needs to be tested. This can include filling out forms, going through a purchase basket and more.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Anna Andersone from Froont, a tool that helps design responsive websites right in your browser. They have gone through a lot in this past year and she wanted to share what they have learned with ArcticStartup Readers
This is the story of how we launched and got to 40K registered users and 65K projects created using FROONT in exactly a year since last Slush.
The 8th Startup Sauna batch sessions started last week and we have had the chance to check out the teams and talk to Juho Kokkola, Head of Operations at Startup Sauna and the Captain about the program.
This time around there are 16 companies, representing 40 people from 7 different countries. There is no specific theme, but the startups are split evenly in terms or B2B vs. B2C focus.
According to Kokkola, "The program's overall structure and content stays pretty same as in the spring, but we're constantly bringing in a couple of new coaches. Also, our Local Event tour (prior the batch) reached more Nordic countries than before (Denmark, Norway)."
Missed out on the buzz at the Startup Sauna Spring '13 Demoday? We covered it here, but luckily The Kick Network was there with their cameras to document in living color all the hedonism and debauchery wrapped around fifteen startups publicly launching.
You'll find two of their videos attached below the fold:
Startup Sauna presented their Spring '13 batch last night, graduating all 15 of the companies that participated. Typically the accelerator will leave a couple out of the final cut, but it comes as good news that they felt all participating startups met their standards. As always, Startup Sauna's demo day drew a good crowd, the startup pitches were very well practiced, and the beer showed no signs of running out.
Startup Sauna captain Antti Ylimutka had a few minutes on stage to say farewell to the program, as this was his last batch he'll be leading since the founding of Startup Sauna seven batches ago. The program has high turnover by design - they feel its important to rotate new people into leadership positions so they can keep the accelerator fresh by "burning it down and building it back up" every six months. Ylimutka's special brand of energy will be missed from the program, and will be interesting to see how the new blood puts their own personality on Sauna. Ylimutka's farewell can also be found on the Startup Sauna blog.
Whether you want to create an exciting infographic depicting beer prices in Europe, your overview of the Formula 1 season or on a more serious note your Nordic/Baltic Investment Survey - look no further than Infogr.am, as long as you have the data, that is.
Infogr.am went through the Startup Sauna accelerator in 2012 and has since been growing at a very impressive rate. As of today, they have created more than 700 000 Infographics and add more than 100 000 every month. They also have over 300 000 users at Infogr.am.
Froont, a Fall 2012 graduate from Startup Sauna accelerator program just announced that they have raised €150 000 Inventure. The startup is building a prototyping solution for designing responsive websites. It is basically a visual tool that eliminates the need for coding and allows for focusing on design, while allowing to demonstrate a functioning website as opposed to a bunch of JPG's and Photoshop files.
The investment comes as an open term sheet deal between Inventure and Startup Sauna whereby Inventure vouches to invest in up to 3 start-ups per year. The allocated funds for this co-operation are at €300 000 per year. The base deal is €100 000 for a 15% stake in the company. Inventure is aiming to invest in at least one startup from each batch, however this investment seems to be the first one of the kind. We did not get the exact equity split on the deal, but if they were sticking to the 15% number then Froont's valuation is at €1 million before they even opened shop.
Espoo-based seed accelerator Startup Sauna has just released their 'Warmup' touring schedule to find new teams. Rather than trying to attract startups from western Europe, Sauna is digging into Sweden, Finland, but also farther east through Russia and Eastern Europe to find untapped talent. Teams can also be accepted to Startup Sauna through a standard application, but of course it's best to try to join them at a Warmup and make a personal impression.
Here is their tour schedule:
Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev were in Otaniemi yesterday to visit the transformed Startup Sauna space. What was once known as the AaltoES Venture Garage went under construction this fall, and has now been renovated and rebranded as the Startup Sauna Coworking Space, as part of a larger rebranding effort by Startup Sauna.
Officially the meeting was just the Prime Ministers getting together, but with all the ground-up efforts around Aalto University on the rise, Finnish politicians wanted to show off the new types of collaboration happening between countries. Startup Sauna has been traveling to and accepting teams from Russia for 2.5 years now.
Today's big news in Finland is the launch of a new Startup Foundation (Startup-säätiö), by renowned Finnish serial entrepreneurs and investors, Startup Sauna and Aalto ES. The foundation looks to advance the state of startups in Finland and create Helsinki the centre of startups and technological innovation in Northern Europe. The foundation will fund and operate three different activities: 1) Startup Life, an internship program where students are sent abroad to work at the best startups globally, 2) Startup Sauna, the startup accelerator program as well as 3) run the Slush conference.
In addition to the above mentioned activities, the foundation will also financially support ecosystem activities elsewhere in Finland to help achieve its goal. Therefore other individual organisations can also apply for financial support.
The Startup foundation is looking to operate with a hefty budget. Its equity upon starting is about one million euros. €57 000 come from individual donors. Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, has donated €300 000 to the newly minted foundation (news in Finnish). The rest of the money comes from the Finnish Ministry of Economy and Employment, Tekes and Confederation of Finnish Industries.
We're super excited to announce more speakers to Arctic15. Our new bunch of speakers include representatives from organisations such as Airbnb, iZettle, Accel Partners, Jolla Mobile and Startup Sauna. We've still got about 20 more speakers to come which include the representatives from the 15 finalists.
Observers have probably noticed that Startup Sauna, the Helsinki-based accelerator, has been spitting out higher and higher quality startups with each batch. And judging by the noise level they've produced, they're becoming a European accelerator to be reckoned with.
StartupSauna is now kicking off its Fall 2012 batch and their application process has opened. As they have in the past, the Sauna crew will be touring around the greater region, partnering up with local startup initiatives and hosting one day "Warmup" events with the goal of meeting teams and providing as much as value to the startups from the region and give a snapshot of what Startup Sauna coaching is all about.
The New York Times recently ran a piece on the psychology of waiting, and pointed out that what's important is not the amount of time we're actually waiting, but how we perceive the wait. Deep down we all know this, but we stare at the LED board with blank stares, counting down how much longer it's going to take.
Rauno Rüngas, CEO of Qminder, claims that what makes waiting in lines so frustrating is the anxiety and anticipation that comes with having to wait in a fixed location. To update the "take a ticket machine" Qminder has released a tablet and phone solution that offers more precise information about where you are in line and how much longer it will likely take.
It seems like every other day you hear news of a new accelerator opening it's doors, but a new gaming-focused accelerator out of Tallinn looks particularly interesting. GameFounders claims to be Europe's first gaming accelerator, and seeks to tap the knowledge of its 60+ mentors to help game-related companies build and monetize addictive games.
Finland's Startup Sauna accelerator as well as the San Francisco-based Gamedojos gaming accelerator are full partners in the program, giving the brand new accelerator slightly more weight. GameFounder is now accepting applications for it's first batch, and will provide each accepted company €10 - 15 000 per company for 9% equity.
Unlike 97% of other accelerators, GameFounders specializes“, explains Kadri Ugand, one of the co-founders. “By focusing on a niche we are able to offer more value in that niche than any unspecialized or general accelerator could.“
Last night Startup Sauna, the FInnish startup accelerator pulled of something that became Europe's largest demo day with some 750 registered attendees. We've also noticed something else this week with Founder's Week in full swing and Latitude59 taking place in Tallinn - we need to begin to prioritise startup events as we're simply running out of bandwidth. As we're also attending the Latitude59 event in Tallinn we weren't actually able to attend the Demo Day, but based on what we've heard - the Startup Sauna guys and gals pulled off another great event with an awesome late night after party.
This show will crack you up! We interviewed Antti Ylimutka and Ville Simola of Startup Sauna today. We discussed the backgrounds of the incubator/accelerator as well as where it will go in the future. Startup Sauna is one of the most well known and most respected accelerators in Northern Europe that has helped companies raise more than $12 million over the couple of years it has been in existence. Quite impressive, considering how it all got started.
We'd also like to thank our sponsor for this week - Kisko Labs, for supporting the show. Kisko Labs makes people happy by solving their problems with digital services. They've got a neat offering called Kisko Kickstart that will develop an idea into a minimum viable product in five weeks. This helps companies understand how the idea would work in a business environment.
Spring is here, meaning a new crop of Startup Sauna teams have sprung up. The Helsinki-based program has continued to accept more teams over its 5 batches over the past 2.5 years. Antti Ylitmutka, one Wingman of the program says, "We are really excited, as not only we are a wide range of different cultures in our batch, but this is the biggest amount of teams that's taking part in the program. Last year, we had about 15 teams per session. This year, we have 20! We have also expanded our coach network to accommodate such a group. These 20 teams as a group looks really determined, some of them are traveling very far to get here. "
Of the twenty teams, 8 teams are from Finland, 3 from Russia, 2 from China, 2 from Poland, 2 from Lithuania, and one each from Estonia, Italy, and the United States. Over 300 teams applied, making the acceptance rate about 6 percent. The program officially starts April 23rd, with the Demoday ending the program on June 7th.
Campalyst has raised a seed round of funding from Amsterdam-based venture capital firm HENQ. The size of the round was not disclosed. Campalyst creates return-on-investment analytics for social media marketing campaigns. About one year and a day ago, the company first came out of Garage48 with the idea of measuring conversions from Facebook pages, and has grown quickly to a become an full-service social media monitoring service. From Garage48, the company progressed though StartupSauna, and Seedcamp as it tacked on new features and new ROI analytics to measure.
As a woman in the startup community, Dalia Lasaite says she hasn't encountered any serious obstacles due to her gender, and even suggests the opposite: "Starting a company is always hard, whoever you are. But I find that women actually get more visibility and stand out easier as the tech community is made of men - so this is the advantage of being a woman entrepreneur."
Lasaite got into entrepreneurship in 2007, right after finishing her studies. After a bit of brainstorming co-founded the ride sharing website Geogoer, which seems to have closed down. At this time she was only working on the project part-time while simultaneously starting to work at an asset management company. But after playing around with that project for a while, the team got an investment from the Difference Engine accelerator, and Lasaite quit her corporate job.
In our seventh episode of Unfair Advantage we talk to Christoph Thur of Ovelin. Ovelin has created a game called Wildchords that has attracted a lot of interest both from consumers, but also from investors. Recently they closed a €1.1 million investment from True Ventures. We talked to Christoph to understand how Ovelin went about creating Wildchords, but also how the game has been distributed and what were the steps leading up to the closing of the investment from one of the top-tier investors in the US.
Our sponsor for this week is Gapps.fi - a Helsinki-based company that brings the Google productivity tools to your workplace. They've got a special offer for all those who ping them and say they came from ArcticStartup. Big thanks to Gapps for supporting the show.
Allan Martinson, one of the most best known and experienced investors from Estonia (currently the founding and managing partner of MTVP), has cast concern about the amount of new accelerators and different support programs for startups. He states a valid point, that if every town and your brother has an accelerator they will fail to attract critical mass to support their functions. Martinson states that Baltics really need one big accelerator with strong financing and a strong team to make a splash in the global pond of startup activities.
There really cannot be too much discussion around this topic, and therefore we have included Allan Martinson's original statement from his public Facebook status below.
Spring 2011's Startup Sauna winner Campalyst has recently updated its service to become a more compete package for marketers. Campalyst was originally buit to measure sales generated through social media content by allowing marketers to track social media followers all the way to a purchase. But in their new update, Campalyst boasts several new features to manage and track your social media straight through one dashboard.
Om Malik, the founder of GigaOm was speaking in Helsinki to a room of media representatives yesterday morning at the Aalto Venture Garage. His visit to Finland is part of a tour to come understand the companies and environment the local startups work in. Before Helsinki, he had visited Berlin and the LeWeb conference in Paris. I managed to talk to Malik about the way he sees these entrepreneurial hubs.
The big part of our discussion circled around the fact that people in Europe always look up to Silicon Valley and how they succeed in everything they do, while failing to see all the potential in front of their eyes. I have to say, while I knowledge the value Silicon Valley has on companies - I wonder how much possibility is wasted when following a given path without truly thinking of the possibilities closer to you. After all, Rovio didn't go to Silicon Valley to succeed - it all started with an innocent tweet by a Swedish athlete in the Nordics (going international I mean).
Maxygen, Qminder, and Zonear all won the Fall 2011 Startup Sauna Demo Day here in Helsinki. It was an interesting event, with a nice Keynote by Om Malik the founder of GigaOm. On top of that there were some solid and entertaining pitches, and the StartUp Sauna guys put on a good show.
Maxygen is producing an interesting product on the social level. From what I understand, they do cheap and quick DNA testing through a device they built, which can tell doctors whether or not you have an infectious disease. Currently hospitals provide this service through their laboratories, but not every hospital has this access in developing countries.
Project management is definitely not one of the most exciting tasks if you're forced to use the most boring and non-interactive methods of collaborating with your team. First of all, lots of solutions out there involves too much for users to read, and secondly, most of these management and collaboration tools aren't really user friendly. On top of all that, these first two factors are already too burdened by you having to deliver at 100 percent efficiency. While many startups are stepping forth to make this a bit more interactive, Yodiz already is speeding the task of adding “Interest” to the intensity of project management.
The Helsinki Based seed accelerator, Startup Sauna, recently announced their Fall batch of startups. The 17 teams began working out of Otaniemi yesterday and will finish with a public demo day on December 15th. This year there are 8 Finnish teams, 5 Russian, 2 Polish, 1 Estonian, and one from Lithuania.
Editorial note: This is a guest post by Natalie Gaudet, who is one of the active people behind Startup Sauna - a Nordic and Baltic startup seed accelerator helping companies get further. While we don't usually promote individual programs as such, Startup Sauna is a great initiative, non-profit started by our good friends at AaltoES.
The Startup Sauna seed accelerator program is getting bigger and better. Since there has been an incredible response from Russia last year, the program decided to add three more Russian cities to the list. The number of coaches that will be mentoring the teams has also increased.
We're live blogging the Startup Sauna Demo Day event from Aalto Venture Garage. Startup Sauna is a 7-week long entrepreneurial program to find and grow the most potential startups from the region further and bigger. The program has featured external speakers and mentors who have helped guide the startups. The Demo Day event will see the participating teams pitching their companies one last time (in the name of the program) to the attendees and also show what they've achieved.
The Helsinki based Aalto Venture Garage is putting together in international incubation/acceleration program for very early stage projects that should turn to startups later this summer. In total, 17 teams from the region were accepted into the program from around the Baltic Sea. 3 teams were from Russia, 2 from Latvia, 1 from Lithuania and Estonia as well as Sweden and the rest were from Finland (9).