When Nordic web, app, and game entrepreneurs talk about localization, they generally mean if their product was first in Finnish or Swedish, then they'll translate it by hand into English. Once English is onboard, our region's entrepreneurs seem to settle, thinking they've already hit one large market, and that it's too difficult to get their app or game into a language they don't speak.
It's true you can find success just focusing on the English-speaking market, but you're also fighting within the most contested market for services and games. But what about Asia, Russia, or the Spanish speaking markets, where localization can make a huge difference in downloads and usage? Rovio's Asian focus with Angry Birds prove that young, rapidly growing companies can prosper when they get localization right.
Thinking about localization can sound like it takes too much time or resources for an already busy team, but an app with a few hundred words can hit a new market in just 1 to 2 days if you use the right tools.
“When you sit your activity level is only 4% higher than when you sleep,” said Ida Mänty, Head of Design and co-founder of Cuckoo Workout, when I met her along with fellow co-founder and CEO, Veera Lehmonen, at their office in Espoo. I decided not to correct them on that statement, my activity level is barely more than the average sloth and 4% sounded way to generous a figure. Thankfully they weren’t referring to me, but to the average office worker, which is the massive pool they are targeting with their fun, office based workout routines.
Editor's note: Meet Spinverse at the Arctic15!
Many large corporations in Europe are going through a time of transformation. Economic circumstances drive corporations to reduce non-core activities and seek for more dynamic R&D network to meet the future needs from the markets. This is an opportunity for entrepreneurs.
Spinverse Innovation Mill converts ideas and IPR into new start-ups by matching the corporations, entrepreneurs and investors. To date, new companies have been created from unused ideas and innovations from large established companies like Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks, Kemira, Metso, Rautaruukki and Wärtsilä. The results from Innovation Mill are of benchmark quality – since 2009 it has funded 109 innovations into startups who have created 650 jobs and received more than €80 million of funding.
The startup world is on its own in many ways. It is often chaotic, fast paced, high-risk and frankly on the verge of insane. Yet, these characteristics are exactly what makes it exciting. This is why people are willing to work 60+ hour weeks, with little to no pay. It is also why this often mysterious, somewhat dangerous and unpredictable atmosphere is able to deliver companies that grow at remarkable pace, pushing creativity, innovation and disruption.
Sadly, Finland is in the middle of something we could call an economic time out. Large companies are laying off employees and revenues tend to look grimmer than usual. In terms of employment and the flow of money, eyes are increasingly turning towards SME’s, which are still plenty, regardless of the difficult circumstances.
I remember when Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) said on The Social Network how facebook needed to stay “cool”. In other words he was saying that the blossoming mother of all global scale social media websites needed to stay clean of ads.
That didn't turn out well if we look at Facebook today.
When we started planning Arctic15, we wanted to invite a lot of investors but we did not quite expect this.
Today, we are happy to announce that we have over 75 registered investors. Considering that many startups are coming with 2-4 people, the startup to investor ratio is probably around one to four, which is great for both sides. This gives us one of the best startup-investor ratios at a conference in the whole of Europe. Of course you can help us out to give the investors a wider choice by registering your ticket here, and if you are an investor, you can improve our ratio's even more.
Finnish online banking startup Holvi has announced both a million-scale capital investment led by Austrian investment company SpeedInvest and a EU-wide concession from the Financial Supervisory Authority that will allow the startup to start spreading its services across Europe.
Ever found yourself taking videos at work and hoped you could send it to your co-workers through an application specifically build for that purpose? I haven’t. But then again that’s just me: I never really was into video or text apps to be honest.
Numbers speak for themselves though; millions of users worldwide show us that quite a good deal of people are very fond of insta-sharing apps like WhatsApp, Meebo and Vine. This also applies when it comes to videos: Companies like Skype are bigger than ever and according to Google, YouTube currently sees around 100 hours of video content uploaded every minute.
If you read our last post about Coffee Stain Studios, you’ll know how game jams with no limits can bring to life the most unexpected and peculiar game concepts. However, what if the game jam already had a target market and audience, sort of a theme if you will? Wouldn't that increase the chances of coming up with something more relevant and consistent?
I’ll give you a theme for a game jam which you probably never though about: Create new gaming concepts for the Arabic speaking markets within and outside Sweden.
It is less than a week to go until Arctic15, and boy is it picking up speed. We already have a great investor line-up, an impressive list of speakers from the gaming, business, mobile and many other industries. As we are running out of tickets, one thing we were kinda lacking was - social network and technical speakers.
So we decided we are going big with that and are happy to announce that both Myspace co-founder, Aber Whitcomb and Ali Parr from Facebook will be joining us as speakers.
Editor's note: this is a sponsored post by Adtile
Despite the shifts in spending we see moving to mobile advertising, basically every ad you see on your phone are about as unsophisticated as a late 90's web banner. Meanwhile your phone is packed with sensors like magnetometers, touch screens, GPS, and motion sensors, making interacting with your phone a more context-rich experience if the hardware is leveraged right.
Are you part of a one; two or maybe even three-man startup team which is looking for an opportunity to do some high quality but absolutely free startup-related networking? Do you feel at home in public places? Do you prefer guerilla tactics over formal battle strategies? Are you ready to work hard, stay cool and swear an oath to do so in the future as well?
If yes is your answer (hopefully on all of the questions), then the Guerilla Office just might be your thing.
After covering their massive €40 million round the other week, iZettle is back in the news again, this time securing a partnership with Nordea, the largest retail banks in the Nordic countries with 800 locations. The deal makes iZettle the preferred mobile partner for Nordea, which will lead the bank's customers and small business owners to iZettle's mobile chip and pin payment solution.
"In a sense we're still a young company with a reasonably unknown brand," says Jacob de Geer, CEO of iZettle. "It's great that they've chose us as a preferred partner as an indication that we're doing something good."
Last week, a press release that we missed at first was the fact that Rovio has had a few management changes. The release focused on the fact that Pekka Rantala has been named as as Chief Commercial Officer, and gives a small mention at the end that Blanca Juti has been named as CMO from her previous position as EVP of Brand for Rovio
A new CMO begs the question though, what's up with Peter Vesterbacka, the company's longtime CMO?
Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, is going to have a solid presence at Arctic15: Exit Path this year as our Platinum sponsor. We've structured our conference to focus on business value for attendees, and Tekes has hopped on board with the concept, providing a mobile office to answer all the questions you may have about the grants, loans, and programs Tekes provides for innovative and growing Finnish companies.
Much like all other types of businesses, application developers have professional information they wish to keep far away from the reach of competitors. In order to protect this information, developers rely on passwords, ID’s and API keys. However, some apps require several layers of programming, which is why the amount of passwords required can be quite high. If all keys aren’t kept in one place, people tend to get confused and if they lose track of their key locations, problems could ensue.
We don't cover a lot of semiconductor news despite the massive amounts of money and hardcore engineering talent poured into the industry, mostly because it's tough for us to communicate what the innovations are. But it's good news that Helsinki-based VC Conor's portfolio company, AnaCatum, has now been acquired by Fingerprint Technologies for an undisclosed purchase price. Conor was founded in 2005 and this is their third exit, including Imbera and Sensinode.
When we last wrote about Epidemic Sound they were still bubbling up on Stockholm's startup radar - but only when it came to hype from startuppers. Instead they were spending their time killing it with actual customers; in October of 2013 they were already providing 70-80% of all music used on television in Northern Europe. Today they should be a name everyone knows as far as Stockholm or Nordic startups go, after raising a $5 million (€3.65 million) Series A in a round led by Creandum.
As our readers must be familiar, in early September of last year, Microsoft announced their intention to acquire Nokia's devices and services unit for $7.2 billion. Even with countless news articles written about the transfer, many Finns and industry watchers still have questions about what the future and overall strategy will be for the company. With this in mind, the talk we're looking forward to at our conference is Tuula Rytilä, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Microsoft Mobile Device Marketing, who will present our final keynote.
At Arctic15: Exit Path she tells us she will be speaking candidly about the integration, tell the story of Microsoft and Nokia's recent history, and will tell us more about the future as "One Microsoft in a mobile-first cloud-first world" in one of the first times Microsoft is publicly presenting about the acquisition in Finland.