Supercell is a relatively recently founded startup to say the least. It was founded in the summer of 2010 by gaming professionals with experience from Remedy, Digital Chocolate and Sulake. The team members have experience in publishing 165 games on 12 different platforms so I'm at ease to call this bunch a group of heavyweight veterans. But like real artists, these veterans can ship - today, they've released a roleplaying game called Gunshine.net. It's an isometric 3D game built on flash. Just to remind you, the company was founded a little over 6 months ago so they've achieved a lot. Gunshine.net takes place in the near future, in Dawnbreak City, of whose control Labycore mega-corporation and other opposition groups are fighting for.
Digital image improvement or enhancement sounds heavy and immediately makes you feel that you need to be some Photoshop or other software’s expert. I for one accept the fact that Photoshop is a nightmare for me to learn, forget about being good. I have wasted a good amount of time performing Google searches to find a good tool to do digital image improvement. I will save that effort for a few readers and share PhotoEQ a pretty easy to use DIY software to edit or improve your images.
ZenRobotics is a technology startup from Finland working in an area that many would easily overlook. The company is using artificial intelligence and machine vision to sort out recyclable material from garbage. There's a lot of fantastic progress behind the concept already; they have a killer team, funding and paying customer that happens to be the largest environmental company in Europe. Let's take a look at all this in more detail.
A couple of weeks ago we brought to your attention Founder2be - a tool for finding fellow entrepreneurs to work on your start-up idea. Turns out many of you embrased the concept, giving the start-up an impetus to tweak the service and deliver some exciting updates. Having got some feedback, the team behind Founder2be sat through a weekend of coding and as a result the service has a lot more social features: from commenting on and rating ideas to improved profiles. Oliver Bremer, founder and CEO commented: 'In addition to enabling people to specify their skills and how much time they can contribute to a project, we also included in a field where they could choose how big a financial contribution they could make given the right team and idea. The surprise was that already after 48h, there was over €100,000 in the system!'
All About Symbian's Rafe Blandford was on Sunday in Barcelona to listen to Stephen Elop and Jo Harlow talk on how Nokia plans to transition to Windows Phone over the years and what this eventually means to the developers and consumers. Naturally, many feared that no one would be interested in developing software for the platform anymore now that it has been publicly announced that its development won't be continued indefinitely.
According to Mobile News, T-Mobile is introducing something all mobile operators Europe wide should adopt to increase data usage, something mobile service developers would certainly applaud. At Mobile World Congress 2011, Deutsch Telekom Chief Technology and Innovation Officer Edward Kozel has announced fixed fees for data roaming for its customers - anywhere in Europe.
MobileBeat announced yesterday that GetJar has raised a whopping $25 million in its third round of financing. GetJar's founder and CEO Ilja Laurs is from Lithuania, but the company has been headquartered in the US for many years. This round of financing came from Tiger Global Management and Accel Partners. Accel Partners also led the two previous rounds. With the third round of financing, GetJar has raised in total $42 million.
Distimo, a Dutch company that does app store market analysis, has recently published a study comparing Android Market and Windows Phone 7 Marketplace in US for January 2011. The reason those two specific mobile app stores were chosen was because both had the highest growth rates during the last month: Windows Phone 7 (WP7) Marketplace rose by 30% and Android by 18%. The study also included Apple, Blackberry, Ovi and Palm appstores to compare with Android and WP7 marketplace. With the announcement of Nokia's and Microsoft's new cooperation, the study is well-timed and brings out some fascinating trends in the mobile appstores.
I recall mentioning in my earlier post about Skype adding 350 jobs to its firm and how it had a lot of other markets to expand into other than Europe and Asia. Not all markets offer high 3G bandwidth penetration, a reason why many mobile users aren’t inclined to use Skype. People at the firm are aware of this and they have been working out partnerships to leverage all sorts of markets and make Skype a more global mobile communication service.
Last week, the Danish based Podio closed a relatively large $4 million round in Series A funding. Sunstone Capital led the round. According to Tommy Ahlers, the CEO of Podio, the funds will be used to grow the sales of the company and also finance key hires.
Podio is a new kind of an enterprise software, looking to disrupt how people work. The service has many different features to take an organisations work routines online and ease them with simple to use tools. Podio's tools can be used in a variety of ways - from company intranets and extranets, project management and recruiting solutions, to CRM, business intelligence and company-wide social platforms. We talked to Tommy Ahlers about where Podio is currently and how it intends to grow during 2011.
Last week we wrote about Mr. Goodliving and its parent company RealNetworks closing down the company in Finland. The downside of the whole episode is that close to 50 people will lose their jobs. The company is playing the game until the end in a very stylish way. Today we noticed that instead of hiring new talent, they're showing the list of people they are firing. A great way to find new homes (in the meaning of work) for the talented individuals inside the company.
Last week PayPal announced that it has opened its micropayments solution to the public globally. In essence, it's a better way for developers, content creators and publishers to charge for small amounts of content quickly. PayPal has designed this new service to be more useful for small, quick payments instead of the traditional way of purchasing and paying for services with PayPal where you have to leave the original website you were on.
Remember TrueCaller? A Swedish startup that we covered last year, a application that removes anonymity from any call that you may receive. That’s one of the most worrying things when it comes to calls from unknown numbers. TrueCaller simply takes charge of finding the identity of the caller and let you know who the person is.
If you're reading this through our e-mail newsletter or an RSS reader, you should come visit our site as we've done a small facelift with some additional features to the site. I've outlined some of the key improvements to the site in this post, to help our community take advantage of those. First and foremost though, I'd like to publicly thank our Karri Saarinen for putting in all the extra work to get this done. He's worked with Kisko Labs to get the site out and functional. Many thanks for the effort!
There is indeed a very bright future for anything mobile. As our smartphones get smarter and more powerful, companies are more inclined to give more preference on what level of mobility they can add and help simplify the task for consumers. And its not just about bringing in your email, documents, location, etcetera to your device only, rather a stew of every service that exists, collaboration of each feature within a mobile to bring a more refined product which is in demand. And in demand means investors are on the lookout to make investments that ensures them the ROI.
Sony Ericsson announced tonight the launch of the new "PlayStation phone", officially called Xperia PLAY, shipping this March. The device will be the first PlayStation Certified Android device, running Gingerbread 2.3. One of the first primary markets will be the US where Sony Ericsson partners with Verizon exclusively, the company announced at a launch event taking place in a hip Barcelona beach club prior to the Mobile World Congress.
Interestingly, the Danish-born Unity Technologies has struck a deal with Sony Ericsson for the new device, in which Unity's technology comes embedded. The partnership is the first of its kind for Unity that hasn't teamed up this way with a platform manufacturer before.
We sat down to interview Siim Teller, Chief Product Officer of GrabCAD to talk about their Seedcamp experience. As you may know, GrabCAD was chosen as one of the winners of the week. Estonia is on a roll regarding Seedcamp as Erply, the SaaS-based pos-service is also one of the winners of Seedcamp last year. Siim Teller acknowledged this and actually disclosed that having had the possibility to talk to Erply about Seedcamp, had helped them a lot.
Apart from being very useful, gadgets can also be the source of pride or, as it turns out, a source of attraction. A recent study by Retrevo, a consumer electronics shopping and review site, looked into how and what do people find attractive when it comes to gadgets. The sample included over 1000 people living in US distributed across gender, age, income and location. Turns out, men are overwhelmingly attracted to cool phones and laptops while reading a book is still cooler than using an iPad. Women, on the other hand, found cool laptops slightly more attractive than cool phones and reading a book was reported to be 1% more attractive then using an iPad. Well-off people in general (those earning over $200,000/year) were more attracted to cool phones (71%) and laptops (61%) than iPads (54%).
Very big news coming from the gaming industry - Namco has announced it has signed a deal with Finnish Bugbear that they will develop the upcoming Ridge Racer Unbounded console game. Bugbear is renowned for making car games for over 10 years now.
Albeit expected, very big news regarding Nokia. It has just announced that it will partner with Microsoft in the smart phone business - Windows Phone will serve as Nokia's primary smartphone platform. Additionally, Nokia has announced that it has looked at designing a new approach to "capture volume and value growth" to connect the next billion to the internet. For startups, there are good news as well, Nokia will begin (if not continue) focused investments in new technologies in key areas. Lastly, they will shuffle some of their leadership team and organisational structure to better focus on speed, results and accountability.