By Marija Odineca
Despite the falling bitcoin price, the interest in crypto continues to rise and Nordic startups are definitely not lagging behind. Here is a list of top 5 Scandinavian bitcoin startups worth checking out.
Editor's note: This is a guest post by Garage48, an event we really admire taking place February 6th-8th
As the Garage48 Hardware & Arts 2015, biggest hardware and design hackathon in the Baltics, is approaching, we took a look back at the results of the first event.
If on average 1-2% of the teams from a hackathon end up as companies, remarkably altogether 6 teams from Garage48 Hardware & Arts 2014 are still working on their products a year later, yielding an almost 30% success rate. The companies already have a number achievements under their belt and even more ambitious plans. We talked to four of them about their journey so far and next steps.
The beautiful thing about Gothenburg-based Saltside Technologies is that they throw away the assumption that if you want to grow into a valuable company, you need to be targeting the U.S., Europe, or at least the BRIC countries. With online classified portals operating in four "third tier" markets, Saltside announces today that they're raised a generous $40 million series C funding round to reinforce their market positions, look into new markets, and continue developing technology for their portals. To date the company has raised $65 million.
IT-security server Wecloud, which sells cloud-based spam and web filtering in a subscription model, has bought Danish competitor Simitu, in an attempt to boost productivity and expand as a business, as reported by Sydsvenskan 8till5.
When you think of education in the Nordics you might first think of Finland's PISA test scores, but Norway seems to be the one really capitalizing on EdTech. A good excuse to cover this is that Norway is representing itself with a pavilion at BETT, a London-based learning technology event, and with it they're sharing some numbers on the rise of Norwegian EdTech startups. With it they claim Norwegian educational technology has over 40 million users worldwide - a number that seems to easily top the rest of the region.
It's that time of the year again and you better be ready, as you only have 24 hours to become an Arctic15 attendee, before our most affordable tickets get executed. What would Jack do? The clock is ticking.
TechChill Baltics 2015 on Feb 10 has opened applications to pitch slots and startup booths. TechChill Baltics is an annual conference organised by TechHub Riga. Much like November Slush in Finland, TechChill welcomes startup folks to the Baltics in chilly February, when there is otherwise nothing much to do here. Last year there were more than 350 people attending, 48% of them startups, 12% - investors, and 13% - digital/media agencies and press. You can check what last year's event was like here.
Once you dig into the data you see some surprises, which I suppose is the whole operating principle behind Verto Analytics, a digital measurement service with Finnish roots that shared some data with us. Rather than relying on survey data or supply chain estimations, New York-based Verto claims to collect 3000 data points per customer per day of actual usage - giving them much richer and faster data than surveys like Nielsen or supply chain estimations. Multiply that 3,000 by the fact that some of their datasets cover 500 million devices per month it makes sense they've received backing by Finland's technical-focused VC's, like the ex-MySQL investors Open Ocean Capital as well as Connor Venture Capital.
Here's how the world changed in 2014:
By Charlie Richards
Seeking to reap the benefits of naturally low temperatures and plentiful green energy sources, KnC Miner is opening a hanger sized data processing center in Boden near Luleå, Sweden. Near to Facebook's own Arctic data operation, the crypto processor KnC Miners seeks to help power 'the internet of blockchains' from its new northern base.
A lot of online companies are completely location independent, especially if they do not have to do time-sensitive customer support, ship physical products or meet clients face to face. This includes most of the app development companies, affiliate websites, blogs, a lot of game developers and so on.
If you're moderately tech savvy you can easily get around advertising. On the web you can install an ad blocker to your browser, and television is so much cleaner on ad-free Netflix.
Over the christmas holidays, bored, and playing around with my phone's settings I went through and killed lock screen notifications in basically every app except for Whatsapp, and my life is so much better for it. Lock-screen notifications are this generation's new type of ad that disguises itself as as a service, but like any advertisement it's designed to distract you to from whatever it was you were trying to do.
Sweden is seeing a rise in successful e-commerce startups like Tictail and Fyndiq, which makes sense considering the country's retail success with giants like Ikea and H&M. To support the next wave of companies, a new center for e-commerce stores has opened next to Sweden's second-largest container port in Helsingborg.
What's the easiest way to start video chatting in a group? With Skype or Google Hangouts you need an account and to know your contacts' accounts to get chatting. It's clearly more friction than Appear.in, a Norwegian startup allowing anyone to start video chatting with up to eight people by just clicking or typing in a room name.
Stockholm's Goo Technologies announced Friday that they picked up a $2.2 million seed round led by Kaj Hed's MOOR Capital and GP Bullhound’s Sidecar Fund. Previously Goo raised something like a seed round led by MOOR Capital, however the numbers of that round were not shared.
After really never leaving the "Best new apps" category as an editor's choice, as well as winning the App Store's Best of 2014 Apps, Helsinki-based app creator Sumoing has released their camera app Camu on Android perhaps after realizing they can't get any more love out of Apple.
With 323,000 total inhabitants, one thing plainly obvious to Icelandic companies is that if you want to succeed, you’ve got to think outside of your native language. A translation into English is the first step for Nordic companies to reach a wider population, but to reach success Icelandic games maker Plain Vanilla translated their quiz game into five languages to help hit key markets reaching over 20 million users - a few multiples bigger than the population of their home country.
To do so, they used localization expert OneSky’s professional language translation and crowdsourced translation services to get QuizUp into five languages within two months. As a result, most of their massive growth came from international markets.
While Printmotor isn't inventing the wheel, it's a startup that helps other people get into entrepreneurship which makes it a good thing in our book. Based in Helsinki, Printmotor provides RESTful APIs to allow you to plug your business into a local printing company, allowing you to sell greeting cards, postcards, posters, and so on. Shipping is included in Printmotor's fulfillment costs, meaning you can charge whatever you want and Printmotor will take care of making and delivering your designs.
It might be a slow news day but that's an excuse to cover a small update of a game that I like - PAKO, the car chase simulator built by Helsinki's Tree Men Games.
Pako, which means "escape" in Finnish, does one thing and it does it well. Opening up a level it throws you immediately into the action where you're behind the wheel with cops after you and no brakes to slow you down - the only way to control your speed is to give a little fishtail action that's just as likely to make you crash.
That gaming is strong in this region is nothing new. Lately, the mix of gaming experience and hardware have started to emerge – and currently there are two very interesting kickstarters from this region up and running.
THE MOUSE THAT KNOWS YOUR BIOLOGY
One of them is Moinix Labs, which runs a kickstarter for it’s NOAS QG. The idea is simply – combining the top of the line gaming mouse with bio-sensors, in order to let you know how your body reacts while playing games.
This is taking the quanitified self to the field of gaming – and a piece of hardware that takes professional gaming to a new level.
I accidentally found out that a major first-world problem of mine is solved and I want everyone to know it: you don't need a fancy Apple TV or Sonos Speakers system to control Spotify from the couch (assuming you've got your apartment's speakers plugged into your computer).