The Jaiku co-founder and former Google employee, Jyri Engeström has closed a $775k seed round for his new venture Pingpin. The company is registered in the US and at the same offices as BetaWorks. TechCrunch wrote an extensive story going about the details around the company, which still don’t disclose too much information about what they might or might not be up to. BetaWorks and True Ventures as well as Jon Callaghan are listed as the financial backers in the SEC filing.


BetaWorks is a media company with number of investments in companies affiliated with real-time web, contextual web and the social web. Knowing Engeström’s interests and experience, a very clear choice of an investor. Jon Callaghan is the managing partner and founder of True Ventures. Along with Jon and Jyri, a third person is listed in the SEC filing, Teemu Ikonen. Ikonen is a Finn who has extensive knowledge of the mobile space through companies such as First Hop.

At the company website, pingpin.com, you’re able to see nothing but a landing page with a query for leaving your e-mail address. Once you leave your e-mail address you’re able to play a little balloon game.

The confirmation message reads “You’ll be notified at xxx when Pingpin becomes available on the App Store.” Sneaking a little bit of information there, but not much. Clearly they’re building something for the Apple product environment. Engeström has built a wide understanding of mobile based social and location based technologies, not only with Jaiku but also with other products he worked with in Google after selling Jaiku to them in 2007.

There is however, one clear sign that us Finns should take notice of. It’s the fact that Engeström’s company is founded in the US. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s something we should stop think about for a minute. If successful entrepreneurs begin in growing amounts to start their businesses overseas – our culture of serial entrepreneurs will corrode.

For disclosure, I’m also an advocate of the saying, “be patriotic at your own time”, meaning business shouldn’t have anything to do with where you’re from – capitalise where you’re capable of doing it best. It’s up to us (Finns, Nordic & Baltic governments) to create the incentives for such an environment that no matter where you do business, you’d want to register your company in one of the Nordic and Baltic countries.

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