Metallkraft Attracts € 17 Million As Climate Change Capital Enters Nordic Cleantech

Norwegian company Metallkraft has a new part owner in Climate Change Capital, the UK based cleantech fund now making their first (but I imagine not last…) entry into the Nordic cleantech space. The € 200 million cleantech fund led the investment round and subscribed to € 10.3 million of the total € 17 million in convertible bonds that where issued. Current owners also took part.

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Transformational Thursday

The other week I had the privilege to participate in Benjamin Zander's (homepage and bio) excellent presentation. Benjamin, or Ben, among other things is the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and has an extensive speaking career. He has, for example, appeared four times as a keynote speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos. After witnessing his passion and talent, I cannot more highly recommend going to one of his keynotes (or concerts for that matter) if you get a chance.

What makes Ben's message so inspiring and original is the way he uses his background in classical music to reflect on the topics of leadership, strategic management, creativity, and positive thinking. He truly takes the audience on an extremely interactive journey through stories and music. And even though most of us are not that much into classical music, he certainly is able to light a spark thereto.

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Swedish NFC Payments System Developer Accumulate Lands $2m Funding

Swedish university students are to begin using a near field communication payments system (NFC) developed by payments processor Payex and secure mobile solutions specialist Accumulate.

For this,  PayEx along with existing investors have invested US$2m of venture capital in Accumulate. The money will be used to further develop Accumulate's mobile payments and mobile security business.

20,000 students are expected to be enrolled on the system by the end of this year, with a total of 100,000 students at a number of universities going live over the next six months, beginning with Uppsala University and Linköping University.

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Scope Invests € 7 million In Footbalance

As Swedish private equity company Scope has invested a whopping €7m in a Finnish company Footbalance System Ltd.

The investment will enable the company to further accelerate the growth and sales of its custom insole concept (see videos below). The solution is sold through Road Runner Sports in the US and Intersport International Corporation in Europe. Here's a more in-depth take on the investment from Technopolis.

Footbalance's solution is a 100% customized insole, which it creates through its computer-aided foot analysis and in-store production units. Footbalance's concept is also a means for sports stores to increase their service level by helping the estimated 75% of all consumers who suffer from incorrect foot positions, such as overpronation and supination. Footbalance insoles support ideal foot and ankle alignment while preventing and correcting malpositions.

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Eqvitec Gives Voddler A 2.5 Million Euro Boost

Eqvitec Technology Fund III has invested a hefty 26 million Swedish Kronors (about 2.55 million euro) into Voddler, a Swedish startup looking to disrupt the way we watch movies at home. Hadar Cars, a partner of Eqvitec will join the Voddler board with the investment. This is great news for the whole ecosystem as consumer internet had been a little less active in terms of investments in the recent quarters. Also, another sign of this investment for the ecosystem is its size, if there is potential - investors are willing to invest and with Voddler's 26 million Kronor investment it has been proven.

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Sofanatics is Social Videochat Around Sports, Works With Finnish Broadcasting Company

We've done our share of guessing what Sofanatics, a new Finnish stealth startup, is up to with their concept and it seems that finally there's some light being shed to their work. It comes from an interesting source, one of the blogs hosted by Finnish Broadcasting Company. The blog post is titled "Videochat combines home couches during the Olympics".

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Foodie.fm Helps You Grocery Shop Smarter

Foodie.fm is that obvious thing that I always knew I needed but could not think of. There's about a million different ToDo list apps and cooking apps that help you do partly what Foodie.fm does, but not really.

Foodie.fm enables smart grocery shopping by allowing the user to browse different recipes and then add that meal to their shopping cart. It lets me see different meals and then breaks them down into the needed ingredients in just the right amounts and once I tab 'Add to cart' it ads it to my shopping list on my phone. Now, here's the beauty. Foodie's back end is connected to all the stores in a given chain (They just announced a partnership with S-Ryhmä in Finland) and the server technology learns from what I like to buy and starts to ...wait for it... make recommendations to me when such ingredients or products are on sale in my local store (iPhone lets the service know where I live and recommends me to choose a store as my local shop). You can get the iPhone App here.

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Mobile Premier Awards At Barcelona's Mobile World Congress

ArcticStartup is an official media partner of this year's Mobile Premier Awards (MPA), the biggest open and global startup competition in the mobile industry. (The event went by the name Mobile Peer Awards last year.) The event is organized in collaboration with the industry's largest networks such as MobileMonday, Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF), MEXMobileActive.org, and Women 2.0.

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Plugg - A Stage For European Startups To Shine

Plugg, one of the better conferences in Europe, is held 11 March in Belgacom Surf House at Brussels. It's a one-day conference with a clear focus on celebrating entrepreneurship and innovation in Europe and raising global awareness for those European start-ups in the Web / Mobile 2.0 field that stand out in the crop.

There's certainly not too much celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation in Europe and we are excited to see Plugg bringing together some of the best thinkers and startups on the continent. Our good friend and established writer at TechCrunch, Robin Wauters is at it again and is going to showcase the best that Europe has to offer. Plugg is a must for anyone who's anybody in the European startup scene.

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Schibsted Set to Give Finnish Media Companies Run for Their Money

Already last year there was a lot of talk in Finnish media circles about how Schibsted, who own, for example, Aftonbladet and Svenska Dagbladet, is coming and taking a big share of Finnish media's most profitable products: classifieds and market places. Now the land grab has started and its called Tori.

Tori has set up the shop quickly and started strong. It's modeled on the Swedish service Blocket. Monthly uniques for the month of January broke 300,000. That is an impressive number given the service had zero publicity and was only gearing up for the launch. The team, headed by the CEO Jussi Lystimäki, drove traffic to the site using Adwords and smart guerilla advertising tactics.

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Gemalto Acquires Valimo Wireless For Undisclosed Sum

Gemalto, provider of end-to-end security solutions, has acquired a Finnish startup Valimo Wireless. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Some of Valimo's investors included Altine Group, Risto Siilasmaa and SpringBank TechVentures.

Valimo has developed a two-channel, two-factor authentication based on Public Key Infrastructure, combining an over the air platform with a software client in the SIM to generate a legally binding electronic signature. What this jargon from the press release means is that Valimo enables mobile phone users to securely authenticate themselves, digitally sign documents and confirm legally binding transactions simply by entering a self-chosen passphrase or a PIN code. Voilà!

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Nutiteq and Mobi Solutions Join Forces For Mobile Location-Based Services

Estonian mobile service company Mobi and mobile mapping firm Nutiteq have announced that Mobi has acquired a 33% stake in Nutiteq. The investment will be used to strengthen Nutiteq's product development and international marketing. Nutiteq’s provides customized white label open mobile mapping applications for developers, service and content providers.

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Linden Lab Acquires Avatars United

The company behind Second Life, Linden Lab, has just announced it has bought Avatars United, a Stockholm Sweden online community for avatars (see our previous story here and here).

Linden Lab CEO Mark Kingdon tells that when they talk to the users who sign up but then decide not to stay, they say they left, in part, because they had a hard time finding people to hang out with. Either their friends weren't there, or they have a hard time meeting new ones inworld, or sometimes both. Now Avatars United should fix this. I haven't looked at Second Life in a while, but if its anything like it has been before, I think Linden Lab needs much more than just Avatars United to make it work.

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Are The European VC Fund Sizes Going Down For Good? Perhaps, But Who Cares

Just recently Mårten Mickos, former CEO of MySQL, joined Index Ventures as an entrepreneur-in-residence. He also serves in a similar position with Benchmark Capital in US. We of course welcome this as a positive news for the European entrepreneurship.  But just a little earlier in January Fred Destin and the whole Atlas Ventures packed up and moved to Boston, leaving just enough staff to support to current European investments.

What is going on in Europe? Are we going to see the existing VC model literally disappear? Just last week I came back from DLD conference in Munich, Germany where I talked numerous people influential in the industry from Israel, London, New York and Zurich about the situation on the ground and most concurred that what we used to know as A-round-sized-VC-firms are becoming fewer and fewer. The smart ones are either going towards smaller deals and much more hands-on model or gravitating towards private equity sized funds (not least because of the hefty management fees) ...well, or moving to Boston.

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Nokia's New Flagship N900 Dualboots Android And Mac OSX

While there have been doubts whether Nokia seems to be able to get their act together in 2010 with their business, I am confident that at least one part of their company they're kicking butt with their products. The N900, running a totally different operating system compared to other Symbian based phones, has been the subject of good talk in the press recently. Most recently, a Finnish developer, Toni Nikkanen, managed to dualboot Apple's OSX 10.3 on the phone, albeit taking close to 2 hours to the "About My Mac" screen. Nikkanen used PearPC emulator to boot the Mac OSX.

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Osuuspankki Says No To Balancion

Osuuspankki, one of the largest banks in Finland has put out a statement reminding people of dangers in using software to query your bank account statement - in essence talking about the pulling of data from the bank with Balancion. They are saying that using such third party applications is against the terms of service as well as dangerous for security reasons.

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EV Technology In The North: Taking Off?

A week after we reported on the THINK City the Norwegians announce that the top US cities in which they are going to roll out the THINK City are Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. To top things off they are working with AeroVironment, Inc. to develop a fast charging system which loads the car in 15 minutes, and these fifteen minutes give you a 80% charge. That makes long distance travel with the THINK City possible, given that the charging stations are many and placed at the right locations.

In other news, Better Place, the company which is working on creating the infrastructure for your EV with switchable batteries, announced that they secured USD 350m in a series B round, and have now HSBC, Morgan Stanley Investment Management and Lazard Asset Management among their investors. That gives Better Place a value of USD 1,25 billion, which should give them the funds to develop and roll out their technology. They aim to have their solution ready for 2011 in Denmark, so we can be sure to see some of that money flow to the country on the Jutland peninsula.

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Don’t Go To Sleep Yet Policy Makers, Cleantech Innovation Needs You

COP 15 was a disappointment to many and there is now certainly a risk that policymakers leave the building, metaphorically speaking, leaving markets to take over and solve the environmental problems the best they can. Can they and should they?

Cleantech Scandinavia recently attempted to analyze Nordic cleantech patent application levels. The European Patent Office and OECD’s environmental directorate did a similar attempt analyzing cleantech patent application levels worldwide.

OECD carried out statistical analysis for basically all energy generation technologies showing a marked increase in wind, solar and hydro after the Kyoto agreement was signed. Their analysis also found that cleantech patent activity was dominated by Japan, US, Germany, Korea, Great Britain and France. (87% of solar photovoltaic patents were for instance handed in by Japan, US, Germany, Korea and France).

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Xiha Launches Developer Program

We just wrote about Xiha closing a $1m seed round as well as adding Jyri Engeström (Ex-Jaiku/Google) to their board. If that's not enough now the multilingual, cross-cultural social network comes out with its own developer program. A developer program is nothing revolutionary in itself, but shows that Xiha aims to innovate right on the heels of the fatter cats like Facebook by giving developers access to their APIs and facilitating embedding new products into XIHA Life.

XIHA developers will receive premium support, including customizing API calls to their needs and help with the integration to maximize the success of their app. Once the integration has been finished, XIHA promises to actively promote the new applications.

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What Can AI Startups Tell You About Your Website?

If the writing style of the posts at ArcticStartup.com would be processed and analyzed by an AI algorithm, what would be the outcome?  Read on and you will find out the answer and get an update about interesting Swedish startups that are using AI techniques to improve the automated understanding of the ever-growing web content out there. This is the future so be sure to get a grasp of the basics right now.

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