The Finnish developer of multitouch television size screens built the official Twitter wall for CES, which took place in Las Vegas last week. Multitouch got some nice publicity with it as well. The company's products got noticed by The Discovery Channel as well as Engadget. "We have created the first large-scale display application for Twitter, which is ideal for a public multitouch, multi-user display system," said Petri Martikainen, the CEO of MultiTouch.
Garage48 is an Estonian originated concept that is building up momentum nicely in the Nordics and Baltics. The event has been organised in Tallinn and Tartu previously and Helsinki will be its first international debut. Not a bad way to go abroad at all. Garage48 has had to make more tickets available a couple of times as people have been wanting to participate. The event will feature 51 Finns, 41 Estonians, 11 Latvians and a couple of individuals from the UK and USA participating in a 48 hour product development competition.
Communication is absolutely essential and there has to be something common or familiar about how you communicate in order to get your message across. Language is definitely or rather the obvious factor in our day to day conversation. Think of it for a moment what if Facebook was only in English or some other region specific language? Google Translate? Yeah, sure but how many times has it actually helped you understood everything? It fails a lot and is definitely not the recommended tool to use when it comes to branding your product.
Much has been talked about Flattr since the last time we covered the company in May. Founded by the three guys behind The Pirate Bay, Flattr enables easy micropayments as social donations for the whole web. Many described its service as a Facebook's Like button but with money. When we covered the company, it was still in closed beta. Since then, the service came out of beta and, according to TechCrunch, got more than 46,000 registered users with over €114,000 worth of transactions passing through the system within the first four months of being live. This week Flattr announced a few updates to their service that make the company all the more exciting.
Back in December, Schibsted announced that it has acquired 37,5% of the Swedish Letsdeal.se website. We had a chance to get a few comments from Alexander Hars, the CEO of the company about the deal and what this may mean for letsdeal.se. Schibsted is one of the largest online media groups in the Nordics and thus, this kind of a deal is significant to say the least.
Rovio, the makers of Angry Birds, are on a roll. Just a few days ago we wrote about the company releasing their app for the PS3 and PSP devices and yesterday Angry Birds made its debut in the Mac App Store. The app immediately rose to the Top Paid app list's #1 spot.
Finnish company Norfello, the developer of the DocScanner app for the iPhone, will be releasing their software for the Mac platform as well. The app was supposed to be made available this month, but Apple has just informed Norfello that they want changes to the app - on the eve of the launch. The app is one of the first and perhaps most useful ports from an iPhone app to the Mac platform.
Going nuclear with your business, especially when it is related to a geographic expansion is a justified move especially if you are recognized as a major regional player. A similar story comes from the Stockholm based European Music company; X5 Music Group which is branching itself into the US.
The Swedish music company announced that it secured a 7 Million Euro investment from Northzone Ventures. This isn’t Northzone Venture’s first investment in a music related firm, given that they had earlier made a major investment in Spotify, a prominent Scandinavian music startup. With the current investment by NZ, the venture group has given X5 Music the necessary investments to expand beyond Europe and into the US Markets. And if X5 Music is actually able to make this, it will become the first Swedish record label in over five decades to move into the US region. With that said, X5 will be readying to start work at its New York office in early 2011.
There has been quite a a hype about the Swedish Music Streaming company, Spotify setting its feet on the US soils and honestly many have been waiting for this for long. Sad news, Spotify has just drained all hopes by pulling off the US launch altogether, thanks to all sorts of roadblocks created by US record labels. Quite astonishing, given that the music streaming service should have been fully functional in the region before 2010 ended. Things have turned out contrary to all such expectations.
Skype founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström recently created Rdio (pronounced ar-dee-oh) - an unlimited, on-demand social music service in US and Canada. The service is very similar to Spotify, though there is no way to use it for free (apart from a short trial period). Rdio offers a vast music library (> 7 million songs) from all major labels (EMI Music, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group) as well as top indie labels and distributors. It's got social features akin to Twitter: users can see what is currently popular among other users and create and listen to collaborative playlists. The company promises to 'take the work out of deciding what to play next'. All that for $9.99 a month for unlimited web and mobile access (including the offline mode) and $4.99 a month for Web-only access. Rings a bell?
Teenagers arond the world seem to be going crazy about Sulake's Habbo Hotel - the company announced today that 2010 was their best year ever with December being the busiest month. Habbo Hotel boasted 4.5M€ revenue from virtual goods in December alone. Unique monthly users also peaked the same month reaching 8.7 million, one-third of whom accessed the game through the Facebook application. Almost 200 million unique active characters have been registered to the site throughout its ten-year existance, 42.5 million out of them in 2010 alone. Habbo Hotel has also been making more money this year than last - annual user revenue grew by 25% compared to 2009.
We received a tip about a new travel website called Destly. It's all in Swedish and aimed at the Swedish market. There isn't a lot of information out there, except on their twitter page where they mention the service will open on the 9th of January. The site will offer heavily discounted deals to luxurious hotels for a select group of users who have been given an invite to the service.
HeiaHeia, the Finnish service for keeping count of your exercises, has redesigned their website and added some small features along with the update. With the update, the service has also stated that it's leaving their beta phase behind. As a new feature with the update, Stats have been added. These will help users keep track of their long term development.
Sony has officially stated on their Playstation blog that Angry Birds will be launched for the Playstation 3 and PSP this week. We've previously published stories on Angry Birds being made available for other platforms such as Facebook and consoles. This week, however, Sony will launch Angry Birds for the PS3 and PSP as a Playstation Mini game.
Back in March we covered TradeShift, at a time when there wasn't too much information on the company out yet. A few weeks ago, Wall Street Journal dug into the company and found out what they're really up to. The company publicly stated that they're building a free invoicing platform for companies, but while doing so - they're building a Unified Business Language, developers can build more apps on.
Initiating and closing sales is a tedious process, often made even worse by complicated software that makes you fill out endless forms before you even start the work. Seems like people in the Northern Europe are particularly frustrated with existing CRM solutions and are busy building their own tools. Cases in point are a new start-up from Estonia - Pipedrive and an early-stage start-up from Finland - Deal Machine. Both companies offer sales management software but from different perspectives. Pipedrive from the point of view of experienced sales managers, Deal Machine from a young generation of innovators. What is the difference between the two and why would you choose either one of them?
Furtiv is a Finnish mobile app developer that has just launched a photography app called Fotogram. The app is very similar to Hipstamatic, created for the iPhone. In essence, you're able to assign a set of filters for your photos. We haven't seen too many photo apps coming out from this region so Fotogram is a nice addition to the pack. The app is currently only available for the Symbian platform on Nokia phones. The company has also launched quite a few other plugins that enable users to upload their images and videos to photo sharing services online.
Digital Sky Technologies, the Russian investment company that holds a share in many world leading internet properties, has apparently invested into Facebook at a $50B valuation according to New York Times. The company has also the right to increase its ownership by $75 million at the same valuation by buying shares from Goldman Sachs. The agreement is bundled into the investment of $450 million into Facebook by Goldman Sachs.
Ironstar Helsinki is a Finnish game developer that has been previously developing a social game called Moipal, but changed course to developing Facebook games earlier last year. Tiina Zilliacus is the CEO of the company and joined it early 2010 to help the company build new traction. I did a short e-mail based interview with her to learn how 2010 has looked for the company and how they've managed to build their business forward. I had the idea of the interview after having a little chat with Tiina Zilliacus at a recent Christmas gathering in Helsinki. Their recent development has been impressive and is definitely worth covering for our community as well.
Despite creating more clutter with yet another trend post for this year, I think it's worth looking back at some of the most read stories and biggest trends we've covered this year on ArcticStartup. Some of the most read stories are around Rovio, Nokia and Valkee. The most read stories this year were 7 Ways Nokia Can Win Again as well as Oh, Noes! Not Another Ex-Insiders Thoughts On Nokia! (Part I). Both of the stories received a lot of traffic from Finnish national press and thus were clearly the most visited stories in terms of page view.