Earlier this week we announced the date and setup for our upcoming ArcticEvening in Helsinki. The tickets are now available for free registration below. As a summary, we'll be having presentations from two very interesting speakers and founders of companies on their journey and how they got to where they are now.
The event will be held on 4th of November, from 6pm to 10pm in Korjaamo (Töölönkatu 51), Helsinki. We'll start the event soon after 6pm, so try to be there as early as possible. Thanks to our wonderful sponsors, we're able to offer everyone a complimentary drink upon arrival - so do take a minute to get to know our sponsors as well.
ArcticEvening Helsinki is also the official after party of IBP Camp Helsinki held earlier that day in Korjaamo as well. The day will feature world class speakers, including Andreas Ehn, ex-Spotify and Timo Soininen, CEO of Sulake. Themes of the day handle productization, challenges of the international sales and marketing with scarce resources, building the international team, and successes and failures in internationalization. Highly recommended, if you're in Helsinki for the day as well. For more information, check out the IBP event page.
Since leaving MySQL, Mårten Mickos has been busy running another startup called Eucalyptus Systems. Eucalyptus Systems offers "private cloud computing", meaning develop open source cloud technology that can run on clients' own servers. According to Tietoviikko (in Finnish), Mickos' first tasks has been to put together the partner program at Eucalyptus Systems. Codento is a Finnish software company, that has recently been putting a lot of effort into the cloud computing phenomenon as well as startups. Codento will be Eucalyptus Systems' partner in the Nordics.
Rovio's Mighty Eagle Peter Vesterbacka took to the stage on Tuesday in SIME Helsinki to talk about Rovio and Angry Birds. During his talk, he disclosed a bunch of numbers and Rovio's, so called Tetris strategy, to reach 100 million downloads in 12 months. Tetris strategy is an internal term used inside Rovio for the goal they want to reach. It refers to EA Mobile's Tetris, which has reached approximately 100 to 120 million downloads and is the most sold mobile game, according to Vesterbacka.
Music storing and sharing is the last thing I associate with Google Docs. Yet there is a Finnish company –Spinlet - that recently launched a service to do just that. Spinlet does not offer music itself but it provides tools to listen to it and share it with friends. How it works is you upload the music you have from your computer to GoogleDocs and then download it through Spinlet to your mobile phone. Once you download the application to your mobile phone you can manage and search tracks as well as create playlists. Complying with the current fashion, Spinlet is also integrated with major social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Brightkite.
Widespace is yet another mobile advertising startup from Sweden. The company provides premium mobile ad network to mobile advertisers, app publishers, and developers. Widespace aims to compete in the crowded mobile advertising space by claiming to allow advertisers superior targeting (by e.g. handsets, operators, and markets), being extremely simple and fast to get started, and taking smaller commission than other networks. For website publishers and app developers added promise is automatic revenue maximization by the company's proprietary algorithm. The startup also claims mobile site owners can considerably reduce their ad administration costs with the solution.
The Sweden based Cronlab, a provider of different anti-spam solutions, has closed financing to further speed up its sales and widen its product offering. The financing round is Cronlab's first and was raised from different European angel investors. The size of the round, nor the investors were not disclosed. Cronlab offers both anti-spam hardware solutions, but also SaaS alternatives as well as hosted solutions.
Cronlab is a small Swedish company, that created only 91k kronor (10k€) in revenues in fiscal year ending April 2010. However, in the fiscal year ending April 2009 they generated revenues of approximately 1,4 million kronor (150k€). Update (20.10.2010): The figures represented above only account for CronLab's Swedish business. Cronlab moved their business to UK in 2010 and thus the figures do not completely show their business potential or state of it.
The Travelling salesman -project will start in only two days. We wrote about this ridiculously cool and ambitious project a while back in September. The kickstart of the journey will be held in the evening of the second day of Slush (21st of October from 4pm onwards), a web/startup oriented conference taking place in Helsinki. You can sign-up to the event in Facebook (disclosure: I will be on the panel).
APE Payments is a Finland based startup working with online payments. The company was founded in 2009 and has already some 50 clients using their payment mechanism. On top of this they have some 100 agreements signed from companies who will become clients. Companies providing online payment solutions is nothing new, but there are a few things that set APE payments apart from the competition out there. I interviewed Juhani Kivikangas, the CEO of the company to discuss what they're up to and how it all got started.
It's been quite a while since our previous event in Helsinki and we believe it's time to get the startup community together again. The next ArcticEvening Helsinki will be held on the 4th of November from 6pm to 10pm at Korjaamo. The event happens to coincide with TEDxHelsinki, but that's a day event so make sure you continue the inspirational talks into the evening as well.
So what do we have lined up for you this time? We've managed to reserve two very interesting speakers, from slightly different stages of the company lifecycle. However, both of them have the potential to make it very big. These will be talks by the company founders and their experiences in bringing up the companies to where they are currently.
Back in June 2009 we had YouCalc pitch at our Copenhagen event about their service and only a little over a year later they've been acquired by US based SuccessFactors. The deal was disclosed yesterday in a number of sites, such as RWW. YouCalc is a service that helps you get more out of your data in the different services out there. They've built an application that can pull data from different applications, and not only show it to you from different points of view, but also mash the data up to understand correlations.
Lately I have seen more and better startups sprung up in the Nordics than ever before in ArcticStartup's existence. I hope we have helped in building that momentum and we sure try to do even more in the future.
A challenge that goes hand in hand with more startup teams forming in the region is the need to hire great talent. Every week I hear entrepreneurs talking about the challenge to find the talent to grow their business into new heights. And every week I tell them to post their open positions to our Jobs section. Too often they tell me that they forgot there was actually a venue for that very thing. Consider this as a collective reminder. Actually, consider it almost an executive order to put those jobs up there on the job board - for an opportunity to work on an interesting product you will not only get applications from Nordics, but talent from all over the world. Many of the most successful startups have had developers in every continent during their early years. Not only will you get great talent to help you grow your company, but you might also give lost corporate souls a meaning back to the lives. There's only so many pointless Power Point decks a person can do.
I sat down for a chat with Otto Chrons from Microtask at last week’s MindTrek conference. We covered Microtask late this summer when they closed a seed round from Sunstone Capital. Otto Chrons had some very interesting news to tell this time round as well, they are soon starting a large project with their first client. Microtask is going to help the Finnish National Library with its archives early next year.
To start off with, I think it's fair to say that I'm a huge fan of different todo-applications. I've tried about half a dozen different apps in a serious manner, so it was easy for me to have ago at another one called Ski Track. I don't know what they're mixing into the water in Estonia, but this is now the third GTD-style app coming from there in about a year's time (see TimeGT and Edge). And I mean that in a good way. Ski Track is interesting to say the least. I believe they've managed to get many aspects of the UI right and you feel at ease when you look at it.
Xiha, the Finnish company running a multilingual, cross-cultural community, is testing their new on-the-fly translating concept with a new angle, celebrity tweets. While the most followed people on Twitter are celebrities, they tweet in a range of languages - although English can be said to be the most common one out there. There are however many people who are unable to understand these tweets as they don't speak English as their first language. The new service they're doing this with is Starsfeed.
According to Nexit Ventures, the decade we're currently living, will be the decade of the mobile. Their research shows that every decade dating back to the 1960s can more or less be symbolised with a certain wave of technological development (and adoption for that matter). In the 1960s it was the mainframe computers, 1970s saw those getting smaller while 1980s to the mid 1990s was the decade of the personal computer and from there onwards we've seen the wave of desktop internet. According to Nexit's analysis 2010 onwards is strongly looking to be the decade of the mobile.
This post is sponsored by the Finnish Software Entrepreneurs Association as part of their competition on ArcticStartup. Feel free to participate in the competition for your chance to win a free promotional article.
Live music seems to be one of the few remaining viable business models available for bands. Paul Resnikoff recently provided a quick list of top 13 lessons learned in digital music. Not only is the recorded music industry slowly but surely diminishing, it has never been a very lucrative business for most bands. There are simply too many middle-men. In the recorded music industry the average artists is estimated to earn only $23,40 for every $1000 worth of music sold.
Mozoomi is a Swedish mobile advertising startup, aiming to enable advertising on the wallpapers of mobile phones. The background wallpaper image is one of the most seen images to mobile phone users. Mozoomi believes that the image has limited value to many users, but it can mean a great deal to advertisers. The company has been developing technology platform for making it possible to serve targeted, interactive ads to replace the wallpaper images. Mozoomi aims for the Asias and South American markets, and plans to pilot the service by the end of the year, as mentioned in an interview by Swedish site E24.
CNET ran an article on Spotify and its troubles of setting up business in the US. Many believe it's the stubbornness of the record companies that have slowed them down to a halt almost. However, the CNET article states that Apple maybe protecting its iTunes Store from Spotify and talking with record labels to think twice about the ad-supported model. According to the CNet article, Apple executives are worried about the effects of a free music service might have on the rest of the market.
Last night Helsingin Sanomat Foundation held an event where they launched Uutisraivaaja, a competition where participants can win up to 250 000 euros to develop their killer media product, with a few "ifs" on the side. While the event was held completely in Finnish leaving English speaking out of the equation at his point, the fantastic part of all this is that the competition is open to everyone, be it companies, individual people or non-Finnish citizens for that matter. Creating an innovative media product isn't easy. Helsingin Sanomat Foundation is obviously looking to speed up innovation in this sector and I applaud them for it.
However, there are a few terms to the deal that I didn't like too much. While the 250 000 euros is up for grabs, the criteria to win it are partly debatable. There are basically three criteria participants must meet: 1) the idea should be groundbreaking, 2) the idea must first be tested in Finland on a national level or a local level and 3) (the part I don't like too much) if digital technology is used, it should be open source in such a way that anyone is able to use it afterwards.
Hammerkit, the web design solution from Finland, is kicking some butt from the cloud. Their closed beta was unveiled a mere four months ago and now their service is open for everybody and running full speed. They claim to have about 1000 sites produced overall, almost 100 new users daily and nearly 8000 unique monthly hits. The company opened a new office in Liverpool in September and they recently started generating revenue.