How would you teach a child how to read time? To be fair and honest, even us adults don’t always seem to manage to keep up with a clock, so how to make sure a kid does?
Luckily we can easily entrust this task with the schooling system, but what about the poor teachers then? How do they explain young students the importance of a funny looking contraption with numbers and hands that you can’t basically even play with?
The summer is great; sunshine, ice-cream, holidays, all that great stuff and more. However it does mean that while we’re kicking back and enjoying a rest we can miss the odd big story. One such that slipped through the net last week was the news that Google Ventures is coming to Europe.
We were recently invited to the US Embassy in Helsinki by Finnish start up TeamUp. They had gathered the local Finnish media to announce the launch of their new Windows Phone app and expansion into the United States. Founders Donna and Kimmo Kivirauma were excited to present their start up to the press and explain where they are going.
Talk about an underdog: Jongla, the insta messaging app from Finland, has been fighting for years against heavyweight competition from WhatsApp, Kik and Voxer, but while the american IM giants have been beating each other to pulp, Jongla’s been steadily strengthening its foothold in the Eastern hemisphere.
Now it seems Jongla’s relatively small size may be blown into history: Following their launch around a year ago and a revamp of their app last December, the company tells us its progress to date has been nothing short of impressive.
Helsinki-based e-commerce analytics and marketing automation-software provider Nosto Solutions just closed a $5.5 million Series A led by Wellington Partners and with participation from existing investors Open Ocean Capital and SanomaVentures, along with Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation.
As with most series A of this size, the funding will allow Nosto to keep up with it progressive international expansion, which has already plugged the company with over 1200 online retailers in over 30 countries, including bigger customers such as Bauhaus, Philips and LUSH. According to Nosto, the company’s revenues have grown over 500% since its launch less than year ago in October 2013.
The fourth round of the EIT ICT Labs ‘Idea Challenge’ was recently held in Rennes, France. Along with nine companies pitching for the competition’s awards over 200 people gathered for a two day symposium on the future of Cloud Computing. Arctic Startup was there to check out the Nordic and Baltic entries, and enjoy some warm summer sunshine.
Managing file storage and sharing within and between companies can easily become every IT workers worst nightmare. It would only make sense everyone uses one single cloud provider instead of multiple different ones, which could results in awkward business meetings when files won’t open or frustration when important files cannot be accessed without an online connection.
Denmark based RushFiles has seen the problem and devised a solution that seems to be working well for its major Danish telecom clients, which includes names like TDC, ScanNet, Athena and Zitcom. Then again it’s not only the clients who are convinced: RushFiles just raised DKK 19 million (roughly €2.5 million) from Insero, Vækstfonden and North-East Venture.
Have you ever thought about time in days, hours and seconds? Try and picture a picosecond, that is, one trillionth, or one millionth of one millionth of a second, or 0.000 000 000 001 seconds.
Impossible? Perhaps for us regular folk, but certainly not for Latvian Eventech, a company that turns picoseconds into profit.
After announcing a $600,000 round of financing in February this year, Safello is at it again. This time, they’ve raised $250,000 from the Bitcoin Opportunity Corp. Started by SecondMarket Founder Barry Silbert, the Corporation has invested in over 30 other crypto-currency operations, including BitPay, CoinBase, Ripple Labs, Circle, Xapo and BitPesa. Barry Silbert, CEO and Founder of Bitcoin Opportunity Corp, expressed his excitement in a press release: "In a very short period of time, the Safello team has created a leading European platform for buying, storing and selling bitcoin. Their user and transaction growth is accelerating and I’m thrilled to join a group of fantastic investors to help support Safello’s rapid growth and ambitious product plans."
Fishbrain, the Swedish born social network for fishers, has grown hugely popular in the US, apparently becoming the largest platform of its kind in a country where angling is reported to be an activity shared by 40 million fishers.
Despite the company being a bit “fishy” investors have been attracted to Fishbrain like hungry cats; two days ago Fishbrain announced the closing of a funding round of $2,4 million, lead by Northzone and Active Venture Partners.
N.W.A. used to rap about expressing yourself in the late 80’s and to be honest it would seem the only thing that’s changed around the subject are the rappers. Now instead of cold blooded hoodrats we’re encouraged to use our power of expression by a multitude of social app companies, Socialmist being among the latest ones to do so.
You might want to think carefully whether you introduce the following start up to any female acquaintances of yours, as no matter how good your intentions might be, they, including their wallets, might not know how to handle such a concentration of fashion.
What had started off as a new and hopeful business running a delivery platform soon came face to face with the relentlessness of the corporate world. We’re talking, of course, about social delivery service EasyBring who, instead of fully running a business, found themselves exhausting their energy and resources in Norwegian courthouses, battling against trademark lawsuits from easyGroup and Norway Post. But that is no more.
Estonian Weekdone is launching their task management app with a major upgrade based on a company management methodology used by companies like Google, Zynga, Intel, Oracle and LinkedIn among others.
The need for a fresh app launch came after Weekdone’s users expressed demand for a feature covering long-term goals and productivity.
How much of your life do you spend interacting with your email? A decent percentage, most likely, but despite that, I imagine you don't really use any tools to make that relationship any better. A Stockholm-based company created by ex-Stardoll employees recently received an undisclosed amount of funding from MOOR Capital, Kaj Hed's private VC firm, to tackle the great problem of email..
Despite Finland's gaming prowess, the country's gaming studios only seem to be testing the water when it comes to taking advantage of their download numbers to help push new games. Looking around in Finland Rovio has their Rovio Stars publishing platform, which is slowly but steadily pushing out new games, and Fingersoft is catching up with their first international release - Pick a Pet from SixMinute, a Dublin based game studio.
A new initiative to help more Danish startups reach international success has been announced. The program, initiated by the Danish government, has support by some of the most successful recent startups. Called Geist, the entrepreneurs have given the Danish authorities 10 recommendations which should enable them to better help startups. The aim is that more startups expand internationally.
Truecaller is hopping on the Android Wear train, announcing today it's developing an app that will bring their services to Android wearables, like smart watches built off Android. It seems like a natural fit - the Stockholm-based company crowdsources users phonebooks to help you find the name behind the number that's calling, and to crowdsource spammy numbers.
We've covered Adtile a decent amount in recent months, and we think that the company is heading in an exciting direction - which is just one of the reasons we use their ad platform on ArcticStartup.
With the recently announced $4.5 million (€3.3 million) Series A from private investors, the company aims to build an "app store" for what we think may be the way we will see ads in the future.
Furniture isn’t exactly the industry that finds itself under ArcticStartup’s looking glass on a daily, or even monthly basis for that matter. However, there are signs that indicate the birth of a new global brand and that in the very centre of the signs we see the acquisition of a Finnish start up you might remember from Slush last year: One Nordic Furniture Company.
Now, signs and suspicions are no more; the furniture e-commerces are soon joined by a new brand, Hem, which is a result of a long strategic business expansion led by online design giant Fab and joined by MassivKonzept and One Nordic.
But how did One Nordic end up being the last missing piece of a furniture coalition made up of cash-stacked startups? Did they just happen to be in the right place at the right time or does it all come down to exceptional entrepreneurism?