Credit cards get the job done, but we as entrepreneurs keep looking for ways to innovate on the concept. In Norway, mCash has put together a mobile phone payment system, and in the region we've seen bigger firms like PayPal give NFC payments a try (despite open skepticism), and there are plenty of startups who are trying to make NFC payments the next big thing since credit cards, but what hasn’t been booming the headlines is biometrics as a payment option.
It's a classic problem. Everyone wants to try new sports, but membership fees to climbing gyms, Crossfit clubs, and yoga studios are high barriers to entry. Helsinki-based SportSetter launched over a year ago to help reduce this friction, providing a "try out whatever sports you like" model that gets new people into gyms and clubs, but without these businesses having to devalue their product in the way that a Groupon does.
Stockholm-based Lifesum (formerly ShapeUp Club) has more than 4 million registered members for its app which helps users set health-eating plans and track exercise. The megahit from Sweden first became popular in the Scandinavia and since then their reach has taken them across all of Europe.
Today the company announced the closing of a $6.7 million investment round led by Bauer Media Group and SparkLabs Global Ventures. What makes the round somewhat particular is the fact that it’s by far this years’ largest first round financing in Europe.
TransferWise announces that they've now hit the milestone of £1 billion (€1.21 billion) mark in cross-border payments. The Estonian-founded and London-based company also announced it's gotten its Android app ready, meaning Android users can also move some money on the go. May of last year, as they received investment from Valar Ventures, Transferwise had only hit the £125 million milestone.
There are some press releases we get that makes me regress back to the language in my teenage years and be unable to say more than, "dude, the future is going to be cool." Finnish sports hardware and analytics firm SportIQ is behind Wilson's new smart basketball, slated to be released winter of 2014 in time for the holiday season.
Arctic15:Exit Path is looming high on the horizon and the journey around the Baltics continues. We began with a full-house ArcticEvening in Vilnius and now we’re coming to Tallinn. In the coming month we’ll be hitting Riga, then at the beginning of May we'll start the Nordic leg of our tour through Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo. Finland isn't forgotten, in fact we're going all out for our parent nation and will be visiting Tampere, Oulu & Helsinki. Keep an eye out for when we announce our event in your city.
When’s the last time you paid attention to the end credits after watching a film? They roll on and on, listing obscure positions like second assistant camera, gaffer, key grip, clapper loader (these are real jobs, I promise). The amount of different people that make up a film or television crew can be enormous. To give you an idea: for a big-budget Hollywood film like Iron Man 3 ($200 million), there were 3,310 crew members credited. That’s a lot of people and a lot of moving parts to keep organized, especially under tight deadlines and, for smaller productions, tight budgets.
Half of our team has been at Login, the huge tech conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, picking up stories and feeling out the buzz between the demo booths. This loyal editor has stayed at our HQ in Helsinki, but the buzz we've been hearing from our reporters is that "something is happening in Lithuania" and the promise of a barrage of articles coming out of the Baltic states.
Editor's note: This is a guest post by Eric Seufert
In late January, something completely commonplace happened: a random blogger wrote a scathing indictment of free-to-play. In this specific incident, the blogger was complaining about EA's latest Dungeon Keeper game, but the game in question wasn't really important: he used the same tired arguments and comparisons that every anti-F2P blog post before his had.
First King, then Just Eat, and now Reuters reports that cloud help desk company Zendesk has filed for an IPO of up to $150 million, (although this number can change as this initial IPO size is used to calculate registration fees). The company plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the peaceful and stable ticker symbol, "ZEN". Zendesk was founded in Copenhagen in 2007, eventually moving to San Francisco.
Ever found yourself looking for a job? Moreover, did you feel like finding a good quality position that matches your talent was sometimes painfully difficult?
Together with graduates from Uppsala University in Sweden, Adrian Swartz, co-founder and CEO of Cruitway, came to the conclusion that both questions had the same affirmative answer. Additionally, not only was this true for countless of other students including him, there also didn’t seem to be any effective solution out there that really solved the matchmaking issue.
Snapchat asked and answered the question of whether self destructing photos had any wide-scale purpose in society. But what about text? Erik Graf, a developer that has worked on Stockholm-based Guidepal founded his own company with his cousin Thomas Graf, called Textwave, to work on this sort of ephemeral text messaging for Android and iOS. "The project started as a reaction to the fact that Facebook and all of the big companies store all of their users information. Our goal is to create a platform where people can be open and say whatever they want to each other," says Erik Graf.
Wednesday is nearing it’s peak and the work week will be half way done. Speaking about work, it’s time to round up all the open jobs out there.
It’s good to keep it mind that it's free to post a job, but if you would like to promote a position or plug into our social media, you should get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Just the other day I was thinking, "Whatever happened to Senseg? I should follow up." Luckily they reached out before I could forget, announcing a $6 million (€4.35 million) investment round led by NXP Semiconductors N.V., and followed by existing investors Ambient Sound Investments and Finnvera Venture Capital. Even though I've been saying this for a while, with this funding, perhaps Senseg's technology will become the next big thing for devices.
The Unified Remote app, which allows you to control most functions of your PC through your phone, has recently become available for use on iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch and Macs.
Swedish publishing giant Bonnier has been putting a greater and greater effort into investing, supporting, and acquiring ICT companies in recent years, and is today announcing the second run-through of Bonnier Accelerator, and has applications open until May 2nd.
No equity is required to participate in the program, and you can see from the details that really Bonnier is looking for dealflow for their investment arm. The program runs three months, and the entrepreneurs will move into the Bonnier offices starting September. In December, participants will pitch their businesses again to the jury, and Bonnier will decide whether to invest or not, with the particulars negotiated between the participants and Bonnier.
This seems to be the circle of life for productivity apps. At first, someone creates a simple and beautiful iPhone or Mac app, which is lauded for its ease of use. Then as more and more features creep into the app (making it great for power users, but alienating to new users), someone else comes around builds a simpler version of the core product. Wasn't Evernote once that simple and beautiful note-taker in town? Now Helsinki-based All Notes has launched today to gun for that easy-to-use spot.
These days photos with text on them is the new medium of communication. Heading over to Reddit all you see are pictures with text. On Instagram it seems anyone younger than 20 is throwing all sorts of typography over filtered pictures. There's obviously a need to put words on pictures.
Newly founded Standard Ventures, an all stage VC investment firm based in Stockholm, has done some research on what you could consider their competitors and as a result they’ve rounded up a list of the top 100 investors involved in the Nordic tech boom. The list includes various big players and funds, including Venture Capital firms, investment companies, incubators, angel networks, corporate venture and government agencies.