Sweden nailed a subscription service for music, but can it do the same for books? Ztory, the subscription service for digital publications, has announced it has raised funding from D-Ax and Wellington Partners. There are a few "Spotify for books" contenders out there, with Amazon.com even getting in the mix these days, but Ztory is focused more on visual content such as magazines, bookazines, visual facts and even children's books.
At ArcticStartup we love events, heck, we even have a bunch of our own: ArcticEvenings for networking, Reverse Pitching to bring large corporations and startups together, and the jewel of springtime, Arctic15 in the end of May. But before 2015 arrives, let’s have a look at what else is out there and which bigger events especially interests us for the remaining of 2014.
Going to a conference you should plan well and have proper goals to achieve to maximize the effort. So check out our Battleplan article from last year and prepare yourself!
What's coming up:
App developing and automation are interests of ours, so it's been too long since we've gotten an article about Bitbar, the Finnish creator of the Testdroid services for testing how exactly your app runs android devices.
This startup is going to make you feel that sending a normal PDF is outdated. Check out PitchXO, a Danish startup that allows you to upload your presentations to their service, giving you branded hosting to pass on to your clients or investors, which comes with a few benefits.
GoMore‘s new leasing concept means that you can now lease a car for 6 months, renting it out 8 days of each month when not in use, to make a full return on your payment. Basically – lease a car for free!
The in-browser 3D technology WebGL is one of those technologies that got the world excited a few years ago but since then hasn't been making many headlines. Looking at the Google Trends graph below, the world got excited about the promise of the technology in 2011 when Chrome, Mozilla, Opera and others first decided to integrate the tech into their browsers. But after the initial buzz surrounding the technology, the tools needed a little bit of time to catch up to the hype.
With the booming Batic startup scene being mentioned more and more frequently, some of you may want to actually put the boots on the ground and come for a visit. With that in mind, we have compiled a shortlist of your possible destinations and events all about and around the local startup culture. Let’s start with Riga.
It has been a while since we have reported an exit for Estonia. Today's news of GrabCad's acquisition, placed around the $100M mark by several sources including TechCrunch, is an extremely important one for many reasons.
Got a lo-fi album, some smartwatch concept, or a potato salad you want to raise some money for? Kickstarter is soon ending up in Scandinavia in a new country rollout starting officially on October 21st.
Finland's smart metrics company is back in the funding roundups again. Last April Verto Analytics raised $5.4 million (€4.17 million) and has come back again with an additional $2.4 million (€1.85 million) to continue to boost its media measurement platform, this time with fresh cash from Open Ocean Capital and existing investors Conor Venture Partners and a few angel investors.
Two-factor authentication should be easy these days considering most people's smartphones are no farther than arms reach away from each other. Finnish startup MePIN has been fooling around in this secure authentication sector for a few years, launching an API allowing developers to embed a "log me in with MePIN" button on their site, which shoots a push notification to the MePIN app on your phone for you to log in with a touch of a button, your personal pin, or fingerprint on supported devices.
Here's a quirky game to have on your radar. Finnish founded Two Men and a Dog Games have soft-launched their first game, Zombie Catchers, and have also become Reaktor Polte's first investment into a gaming company.
Is Stockholm's Minecraft going to be the next Solitaire or Minesweeper? Today the rumored deal between Mojang, the creators of Minecraft, and Microsoft was confirmed for a $2.5 billion deal which puts it up there as one of the most massive gaming exit for the region. More information about what to expect (or all the things hanging in the air) can be found posted on the Mojang blog.
Editor's note: This is a guest post by Dennis Kostroman sharing his experiences of a indie gaming studio running a Kickstarter campaign.
Busting a few myths for KS starters
Let’s be honest, no matter how old you are, deep down you still want to believe in miracles. So did we, when we decided to go for Kickstarter with a game that we always dreamed to make. We spent a few years in preparation while analyzing successful as well as failed campaigns on Kickstarter to understand how things work. We also have spoken with a number of experts in the crowdfunding field just to be sure and the result shocked us. They all underlined the same thing over and over - Kickstarter is no longer what it seems and maybe it never actually was. Here are the main things most crowdfunding veterans agree on:
If you're living in Europe and have been waiting for a personal finance tool like Mint to integrate with your bank and credit cards for a breakdown of your spending habits, the good news is that you might not have to wait too much longer. On Friday news broke that Stockholm-based personal finance app Tink has raised a $4 million (€3.1 million) funding round led by Sunstone Capital to start expanding across European markets and eventually make its way to the American shores.
It is always interesting to track startups that are doing everything they can to succeed, to see their passion and a never-ending desire to keep going. One such company is the Swedish based Volumental. We have now done a number of stories on the company and can see that they are definitely doing what every startup should in terms of raising money, pivoting and finding their place in the market.
This July Green Innovation Incubation Centre (GIIC) was launched in Riga.The project is carried out by Riga Technical University (RTU), University of Latvia (LU) and Norwegian industrial development corporation SIVA. 90% of the funds come from Norwegian government and are supervised by Innovation Norway. The remaining 10% are co-financed by Latvian government. With their second admission contest still running till Monday, I have visited the incubator on Pulka street 3 and peeked into the daily life of their first batch.
For ArcticStartup, the community in the Nordics & Baltics has always been the reason of why we are doing this. Thanks to you, we have been able to grow, expand to several countries, start running events and conferences, and to cover the news in the region.
Tictail, the Swedish ecommerce platform, has finally launched something like a directory of stores for customers to browse through to allow shoppers to dig deeper into Tictail than finding one store link at a time. A web version is in the mix, but Tictail has first launched this concept on iOS which points to the trend that how people are shopping online is rapidly changing. Around 50% of the traffic on Tictail stores is mobile, and 40% of their purchases are made on mobile. It won't be long before they see a majority of purchases happening on mobile devices.
Mårten Mickos has another solid exit under his belt. As the Finnish CEO of MySQL he helped build up the database system from an open-source project to a $1 billion exit to Oracle in 2008. Last night the news broke that Eucalyptus Systems, the California-based company he was appointed CEO in 2010, has been acquired by HP.
HP has been growing up its cloud services lately under the HP Helion brand. Mickos will join HP as senior vice president and general manager of the Cloud business, reporting to Meg Whitman, chairman, president and chief executive officer of HP.