75 million downloads translates more than just success. I might label this start to a post as a mere dramatization of a blog post but Rovio’s Angry Birds deserves credit for this. Why? The game has caught attention on every platform; the iPhone, Android, expanding to PCs and Macs, board games and even planning up for an animated series.
Team management is quite a nightmare and it gets awfully problematic when your team members use the Internet to communicate. Quick communication, an eye on the what the plan or upcoming events are for the next few weeks prove a bit difficult. There are quite some services on the Web that help ease the task in the form of Yammer, Toggle, etc but there is always room for one more. PlannerHQ is another collaboration tool for team planning and event management coming from Toggle.
SeriesSeed.fi is perhaps one of the greatest startup related initiatives Finland has seen in a while. The site, put together by passionate individuals, gives away free of charge basic, standardized legal documents for startups. The documents cover the share holders agreement, term sheet and an investment agreement. Finland is a pioneer on this front as similar documents have been made available for the public only in a few startup hubs, such as Y-Combinator and TechStars. One of the key influencers of the SeriesSeed.fi documents are the SeriesSeed.com documents from the US.
In this post, we talk about how the venture capital industry is going through a change, perhaps one of the biggest it has had, since its founding days. By change we mean how the potential of business is diminishing to ever more smaller investors, such as angel investors. We talked about this choice from an entrepreneurs' point of view in more detail in a post back in December. Some investors in Northern Europe have gone as far as stopping new investments altogether.
Finding the right team is one of the golden rules for creating a start-up. But how do you find them? I talked with Oliver Bremer who created a tool to solve this problem once and for all - Founder2be. The idea behind the service is simple: help people interested in creating a start-up find each other. The tool to serve that purpose is very simple too: create a profile and start searching for the kind of people you're interested in - programmers, designers, laywers, accountants etc. After a few months of hard work, the service has been launched into beta today.
Back in June, we wrote about Recoil Games receiving 400 000 euros in funding from Mediatonic. Last week, the results of their work are starting to show. Recoil Games released Rochard for Sony and their PlayStation Network. The game is a side-scrolling puzzle and exploration game that stars a space miner called John Rochard in search for extra-terrestrial life. The game features about 8 to 9 hours of game play.
Last week, entrepreneurs (or those wanting to become one) received at least two new tools to refine their ideas. Both Hackfwd, a European level pre-seed investment company and Plan2Biz, an Icelandic company, came out with simple web tools to help people define their ideas and take a step closer to starting a business.
Leiki is a Finnish born startup that offers context-based intelligence as a SaaS solution. Leiki's technology allows for example media sites offer automatic context-based links to readers from their own archives (or similar news sites), targeted to each user's preferences based on their behavior on the site. At the technological core, the company has a proprietary 100k+ category natural language ontology that empowers the analysis, discovery of content and the recommendation engine. In silence, Leiki has already signed up the biggest media firms in Finland and several major ones in the UK as their customers. The company is cash flow positive and now aims to come out of stealth and raise significant funding to go after the global market.
As of this summer, Yandex launched a programme to support Russian start-ups called Yandex Start. The project selects the most promising companies in the region for a one-day seminar to look for possible cooperation and acquisition. Successful applicants receive Yandex's technologies (as APIs), computing facilities and expert advice. Two Yandex.Start sessions were held last year in September and December and as a result Yandex acquired two start-ups WebVisor and Loginza. WebVisor provides visitor behavior analysis (mouse movement, clicks, text copying etc.) that will now be integrated with Yandex's own analytics tool, Yandex.Metrica. The company was founded in 2008 by a small team of entrepreneurs from Moscow.
Software as a Service has quite gripped the way we find solutions for numerous problems within our business and ventures. With the advent of Cloud Computing the question of deploying software outside the infrastructure of one’s own company has been resolved at large and many are leveraging services based on the cloud to their advantage. One such is Queue-it, a startup based in Denmark that utilizes the concept of SaaS to help prevent your website from crashing.
TrustPilot, a Danish company review site, has closed 5.5 million Danish Kronor (almost 740 000 euros) in funding from SEED Capital. TrustPilot enables consumers to review and rate companies based on their experience and service they received. The site has half a million users on a monthly basis and the user base is constantly becoming more international. The business model is simple and almost obligatory for companies. With a monthly subscription, companies can engage in the reviews and comment back regarding individual reviews. The service has signed up more than a 1000 companies to date.
There is quite a stir in the startup scene in Denmark with quite a lot of news coming in on newer services making entry into the web scene. The newest entry is Inseeto, a startup that amalgamates real state with Google Maps to help you browse what your next home or neighborhood be like. What makes it valuable? 3D visualizations of real state, which gives you more insight on the location you plan to move over to.
An image editing application for the Mac OSX, created by the Lithuanian developers Saulius Dailide and Aidas Dailide, Pixelmator has grossed $1M in sales in the Mac App Store. The application is on sale (currently) for approximately 24€, which means it has sold an amazing, over 40 000 downloads. The application is a relatively light weight alternative to the heavier image editing applications and features a lot of different basic tools for image editing as well as over 15 color correction tools and over 130 different filters.
Toggl is an Estonian online service that enables freelancers to jot down their hours for client projects. The service has more than 15 million hours logged so far. A premium version of the service was launched in 2008 and in 2010 the service reached break even. With about 9500 daily users and about 1600 of them paying, Toggl is onto a steady, but strong growth path. Toggls is also a testbed for a Garage48 type of service development initiative by Mooncascade called Sprint48. Mooncascade is an Estonian software development company, where as Sprint48 is a new kind of web development process where Mooncascade will try to create concrete results in mere 48 hours.
For the third time ever Mobile Dev Camp will take place on Saturday 26th February in Helsinki, Finland. The event is a special treat for 200+ developers, business people and proud geeks who want to find out the next big thing on mobile. Mobile Dev Camp is known for launching new platforms and products before they are out in the mainstream. For example, at its first event in 2009 the organizers presented Android platform when it was not even out in Finland. Last year Rovio and Windows 7 were the highlights. Back then few people knew about Angry Birds and no Window 7 phones were around. This year Applifier and Samusung Bada will be at the center of attention. On top of that, the event includes a competition for developers to create a simple and fun application for different mobile platforms in 48 hours. Each platform has its own category and a great prize, like a new Wave mobile phone in Samsung's Bada category. Best part: the event is completely free, though you should probably register to let organizers know how many people to expect.
We've covered Kristoffer Lawson's Travelling Salesman tour here on ArcticStartup towards the end of last year, as he drove more than 13500 kilometres around the Nordics to find startups and network with them. He started off in Helsinki in October, drove through to Norway, visited Denmark, took the boat to Iceland and on his way back came through Sweden back to Finland again in December. I sat down with him and shot a video about some of the stories and incidents he came across. Also, it's worth while to note that the Nordics still are a very fragmented area in terms of growth companies.
There is quite an issue when it comes to web designers and developers looking for a web hosting service. The issues come in numbers, from the additional cost of finding a quality hosting service, limitations of each add more problems to implementing an idea on the Web. To sum it up, it is the scalability that is the problem. Well, some smart folks in Sweden have given it a thought to bring us Startawebbhotell, a web based tool that enables web designers and development firms to run their own hosting service.
It seems that the coupon site sales have started in the Nordics. Some time ago Schibsted purchased 37,5% share of Letsdeal.se and now Sanoma News acquires a Finnish contender Offerium. Sanoma News CEO Pekka Soini stated that coupon sales online, through such services as Offerium, is currently one of the fastest growing online segments. Sanoma News wants a piece of that pie. The disclosure came through Sanoma News' press release.
Ututi is a start-up from Lithuania that has built an online portal for university students to share course and study materials. Every 10th Lithuanian student uses it and the service's Polish version has attracted plenty of interest too. I interviewed Jaro Šatkevič, one of the founders, who revelaed that the team is now working on an international version of the service - Ututi.com. 'After many talks with universities we realized that they need another Ututi. They wanted to have studies-oriented social networks for university community, i.e. discussions, file sharing between students and teachers, teachers' personal pages etc. That's how new concept of Ututi was started. Official beta version is planned in the end of February' - states Jaro.
The largest market globally is clearly the financial market where the demand is actually supplied and paid for by the goods themselves - money. TransferWise is a new startup from Estonia that looks to stir things up a little in the currency exchange market. Currently, the market is dominated mostly by brick and mortar organisations who charge high comissions or margins on a simple transaction.