This is another announcement a little late to the game. We got a tweet out on it on Tuesday, but to circle back after all the Slush madness, Walkbase announced it has raised a solid €3 million in a round led by Russia's SBT Venture Capital, and Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, the former CEO of Nokia. The funds will be used to strengthen its sales and marketing, and well as accelerating its growth strategy in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Running into an article about high-tech audio speakers isn’t what you’d expect when browsing ArcticStartup, but as an audiophile I just couldn’t resist the temptation of covering the beautiful piece of equipment every casual music lover would dream to have in their living room. Uploud Audio’s UA1 is a next gen speaker with a double design trump card: softly furry and esthetic looks fused into a passive hifi speaker with obviously euphoria-inducing effects.
We've covered Tartu-based Weekdone winning the annual Estonian design awards, but apparently the company isn't just all looks; they just beat out the 400 other hopefuls in the region to win Slush's massive startup pitching competition.
For those of you who haven't seen our past coverage, or didn't see them up on stage at Slush, Weekdone provides a productivity and task completion solution for the web and iOS that gives managers the ability to see an overview of what they're teams are working on, and how they're competing their tasks. It's gorgeous and powerful, especially if you're using the PPP reporting paradigm, focusing on Progress, Plans, and Problems.
From the times when MSN Messenger was the number one IM software, to the modern era where IM giants such as Tinychat roam the internet, it is clear that IM, or instant messaging, has manifested a global competition between tech companies who are fighting for the crown of the fastest and most instantaneous message ever.
Lately, this battle has taken a turn towards the mobile application markets. Good examples of this are WhatsApp and BeeJive IM, but lately, a new app has drilled its way up through the bedrock of instant messaging . Jongla is the newcomer in this volatile market, and they are aiming for a serious blast with their cross-platform messaging app.
We last wrote about Web of Trust when they raised €1 million investment to “keep up the pace of their development to match the huge growth the browser add-on has seen.” That was in November 2012 when downloads of their addon had reached 50 million. Well it looks like that investment has been successful as their number of downloads has now crossed 100 million.
The first 450 among the tens of thousands pre-ordered Jolla-phones will be sold for eager early bird customers on the 27th of November from a DNA stand at Helsinki’s busiest central mall. The product launch was announced yesterday at the startup event Slush, after an emotional speech by Jolla’s founder Marc Dillon.
This year, we are taking the concept of live reporting to the next level. We have over 8 contributors on the scene and we will literally try to cover what you want us to take a look at using the BuzzTale app that you can see below. We will go behind the scenes into the Media Room, we will take pictures from the invite-only lunch with the Estonian President, we will talk to companies and check out the speakers.
We all know that gaming has become sort of a "must-do" thing in Finland with Supercell, Rovio, Grand Cru, Fingersoft, Gray Area and many others. That being said, Sweden is not to be discounted as Mojang and King are rocking the boat over there. Mojang has over over EUR 170 Million in revenues and King is getting ready to IPO. But now there is a new player in town - MAG Interactive that is reporting impressive growth and statistics.
As we have recently written, they have hit over 50 million downloads in their main title Ruzzle and recently launched QuizCross which is also picking up speed. Unlike many other mobile gaming studios, they did not go for Free To Play and choose to monetize through ad revenue and premium versions of the games.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Anna Andersone from Froont, a tool that helps design responsive websites right in your browser. They have gone through a lot in this past year and she wanted to share what they have learned with ArcticStartup Readers
This is the story of how we launched and got to 40K registered users and 65K projects created using FROONT in exactly a year since last Slush.
It’s been a bit of a wait for those of us that first heard of Reset when it was announced by Theory Interactive, a two man Finnish indie games development team, back in February 2012. We were shown some great looking screenshots of a robot in a futuristic city that was slowly being reclaimed by nature but little else. Since then we’ve had a trailer and some more screenshots that have shown off the great graphics and a moody, lonely environment but still nothing more on what the game was actually about. Now as Theory Interactive bring their game to Indiegogo to start their crowdfunding campaign we can finally learn more about this fascinating title.
Private Equity news source Unquote dug into SEC filings to find that the Niklas Zennström-backed VC firm Atomico has secured €355 million for their new Atomico III fund, and are not seeking further funding. The previous SEC filing for this fund filed in October of 2012 showed the fund was hoping to raise €292 million, showing that they’ve done well with fundraising.
Somehow Minecraft continues to sneak its way further and further into the public conscious and nowhere is that more evident that in Markus ‘Notch’ Persson’s recent appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. We’re not really used to seeing Nordic games designers on the US chat show circuit, their plumper behinds creasing the leather seats more accustomed to cradling the beautiful bottoms of stars of screen both big and small. It's strange and a little disconcerting, perhaps we can write this off as a freak occurrence but perhaps this is another sign of the way video gaming is becoming more and more a normal part of mainstream life.
Due to our high internet speeds and connected population, the ArcticStartup region has proven to be a testbed for cloudTV services. Both Netflix and HBO have gotten early access to our population, and companies like Magine and BooxMedia have sprung up to innovate in the area. Catching up with BooxMedia it sounds like they’re ready to scale out their whitelabel cloud TV solution to a number of media companies. They offer an end-to-end solution that helps with al media encoding, storage, and streaming. To get videos to eyeballs, their platform includes apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, as well as smart TVs and the browser.
So you are going to Slush this week. You have the tickets, you know the agenda, you might even know what your goals for the conference are. You think that you are ready.
Well, guess again. Going to a conference is not as simple as buying the tickets and showing up at the door. To make the most out of it, you need to think of it as war and have a proper battle plan. After all, there will be around 5 000 attendees and if you are in a startup, over 1000 startups - all competing for attention and contacts.
For some time now, Nordic and Baltic entrepreneurs have been begging for better connections to San Francisco. After groggily checking Facebook this morning we're happy to hear that Norwegian will begin flying direct from Stockholm (ARN) to Oakland (OAK) twice a week, starting May 3. The flight will run twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays, with an introductory fare of $236 one way. Olso is also getting in on the action, running Monday Wednesdays and Fridays starting May 29, 2014.
“I see a traditional audience shifting very fast from traditional media platforms to smart devices. And if you look at content usage on these devices, then you see gaming is 50-70% of usage on iPads. Gaming is coming out on top. If you think that’s where audiences are moving, then the next entertainment brands are going to be built on these new platforms,” Andrew Stalbow, CEO of the newly founded Seriously Games tells us.
Around a month ago, the Helsinki gaming scene was buzzing with the news that two executive vice presidents of Rovio were leaving the company to start their own gaming endeavor. Earlier this week expectations grew further as Seriously Games announced €1.75 million in seed funding from Upfront Ventures and Sunstone Capital to build a free to play game targeting the casual / casual plus audience, despite the fact they were so early in development.
In recent years, a duopoly has formed in Finland between two major distributors. So far the S & K-group dominance of the food markets has been an nearly unchallenged one, but alternatives, such as the online grocery store Ruoka.fi, see a chance to get their slice of the pie.
Let me introduce you to a cool start-up you might not have heard about before. Say hi, moi, ciao, hej and sveiki to Bliu Bliu. They’re a small team from Lithuania that look set to make a big impact on the language learning scene with a fresh new approach. Using a learners own input and their algorithms Bliu Bliu work out how many words in a foreign language the learner understands, then their tool looks to match text from many sources to the person’s ability to both give them something to read that will increase their confidence in what they know and gradually introduce them to new words in a natural way.
I spoke with Claudio Santori, CEO of Bliu Bliu, to find out more about where they have come from and how they want to reach out and grow in the future.
With all the discussion around the lack of women in entrepreneurship, it’s interesting to put into the discussion that nearly half of Qualcomm’s european investments are under female leadership in one form or another, points out Jason Ball, Director at Quallcomm Europe.
From the companies we cover in northern Europe, Grand Cru’s Celene Pasula and Tine Tyggsten from Everplaces are just a few of the many tech females who have founded, cofounded, or chair one of Qualcomm’s investments. And it’s not because of a decision to target female led companies, Ball says. It's just a pattern that has emerged.
So you want to start a marketplace for telephones from the 1940’s, because you think its a great niche market and can be an excellent business opportunity. That may very well be the case, but it’s going to cost you upwards of EUR 50 000 to develop the software to give it a try and simply launch your Centurian Telephones Company.
Unfortunately, building market places is tough and having the actual software ready is only the first and perhaps the easiest step. From then on, you have to do a lot of work to make sure it takes off. For most, this initial investment is such a big hurdle that it in itself is off putting.
This is where Sharetribe comes in. They are a marketplace for marketplaces, much like ArcticStartup is a startup about startups. Basically if you still want that marketplace, you can go to Sharetribe and start one in minutes. As Juho Makkonen, the CEO of the company, put it, they are the: “Shopify for Marketplaces.” So yes, you can now create your niche marketplace or Airbnb for dog hotels.