Editor's note: At the end of June while everyone was preparing for summer holidays, the FIN-FSA regulatory body published its new guidelines for equity crowdfunding in Finland, which were near opposite what they presented only a month before that. This sudden change in new guidelines have a huge impact on Finland's crowdfunding industry, which in many ways has been at the forefront of the world's equity crowdfunding scene. Below is a guest post by Antti Hemmilä of Attorneys at law Borenius, who has previously written for us on crowdfunding here.
During the last few years, equity crowdfunding has been a fast growing activity in Finland and in the rest of Europe. Equity crowdfunding has proved to be an attractive funding option for entrepreneurs. While still in the pioneering stage, the largest Finnish equity crowdfunding platforms Invesdor and Venture Bonsai alone claim that approximately EUR 3.5 million of funding has been raised via their platforms. Until now, the Finnish crowdfunding platforms have been operating on the widely accepted consensus that they act as a “media”, and thus no regulated financial services are provided.
Imagine you, as an individual, purchase a car for €5000 from a private person. Money changes owner, so does the car, but before you know it, the car breaks down and turns out it’s nothing the vendor has promised it to be. Worst yet, the vendor refuses to pay you your money back.
Another example. Imagine your company signs a contract worth €5000 with another company (sound more familiar?). Contract agreements are not met and boom, a full blown dispute is at your hands, along with a million other things you need to worry about since you're running a business.
In cases such as these, and cases below €20 000 in general, the incentive to go to court is low. Why? Because the law is insufficient or unavailable when smaller amounts are involved. Besides the shallow legal protection, it’s worth noting that taking a dispute to court is excruciatingly time and energy consuming, and very expensive. Well, unless you give Swiftcourt a try.
Big acquisition news from Denmark: healthcare information technology supplier Cetrea has been acquired by Swedish medical tech giant Getinge and as a result, the Danish startup will be integrated into Getinge under the Maquet brand. The acquisition price amounted to SEK 110 million, which translates to approximately €12 million.
With about 2 days left on their kickstarter campaign, AirDog, the Latvian auto-follow videography drone that allows extreme sports enthusiasts to film their moves, has reached its 3rd stretch goal on Kickstarter, surpassing the mark of $1 million. This exceeds team’s initial estimates more than five times and makes AirDog the most funded Latvian startup on Kickstarter.
Denmark's wine app, Vivino, has just hit the nice round milestone of 5 million users who are snapping pictures of their wine bottles to rank what they've drank. We've covered the company a few times in the past, but if you're just now hearing about them, the app uses computer vision to figure out what bottle and vintage of wine you're drinking, where you can rank it yourself and find more information and rankings about the wine.
Moving 5 million app downloads isn't bad, especially since users seem to be busy within the app. According to their about page statistics, users have made 13,391,897 ratings, and have done 3,488,092 written reviews.
Shambling out of the darkness, moaning in creeping horror as it steps in to the light, comes the announcement of a new mobile game based on The Walking Dead TV series from US television network AMC. Next Games, based in Helsinki, Finland, and developers of the game, are celebrating the news by publishing the first promotional trailer which you'll find after the jump.
When we buy our new smartphone, we usually compare several models matching our desired characteristics. Then we spend some time browsing user reviews, talking to people using the gadgets, get our hands on some physical devices to play around with and finally make our choice. However, if you are like most of us, a week, a month or sometimes even years later you end up with a feature you absolutely love but that is ridiculously inconvenient to access.
A sign of a developing ecosystem is when startups start getting built on top of other startups as a service. For example, Groupon-style startups got brought together under Denmark's Bownty, Quantitative Self startups are supposed to be brought together under Health Puzzle, and so on. Mobile wallets have long been popping up, and now can be brought together under Lithuania's WoraPay, if the company uses it's fresh €400,000 raise by Israel's Entrée Capital correctly.
Yet another exit for the Nordics. The normally slow summer is turning into a shopping spree by the big players as the Helsinki based drawElements is acquired by Google. The exact amount behind the transaction is not disclosed but we have narrowed it down to eight figures, which is definitely a great achievement for the founders in their 20's and for Finland in general.
Thinking of setting up store in the world wide web? Sure why not, pretty much everyone’s doing it these days.
Not so fast though. Integrating an e-commerce solution is a big thing, as it can be costly, time consuming to mount and it would be beneficial if it stood out from the thousands of others online stores, which in turn might require customization via plug-in (also potentially costly stuff).
Some businesses fail, others flourish, but mostly they fail. That would be generally speaking of course, and figures do change depending on the industry, but it’s a well known fact that a significant portion of start ups will be filtered out within the first four years of their existence.
But you can’t win unless you try.
That mentality of perseverance is what I suppose has been dictating Jens Nylander’s, along with many others’, journey as an entrepreneur. Nylander is a Swedish serial entrepreneur who’s lived through an utter business failure, a success story and now the milestone of becoming father to his third Swedish startup company, Automile.
It's been a hot, yet immeasurably valuable month of July for us all, undoubtedly due to the relaxing effect of the summer sun which recharges our internal batteries after a long winter. However, for venture capital firm ACTIVE Venture Partners, last month has been more than just recharging batteries. In fact, its been all about breaching corporate milestones and expanding as a company: to culminate their most active month in their history as a VC firm, ACTIVE has appointed two new members to its team, Sebastian Blum and Georg Stockinger.
The announcement comes after a month of heavy investing, during which Active Venture Partners has led funding rounds for Spanish startups Traity ($4.7 million) and Percentil ($1 million) as well as Swedish app for anglers, Fishbrain ($2.4 million).
Despite being a harsh wilderness with no room but to the toughest flora and fauna, Lapland is also home to unique landscapes filled with overwhelming natural beauty, yet to be fully touched by the destructive hands of mankind.
So how about buying yourself a piece of Lapland?
Sounds crazy? It’s not. Even more so, it’s relatively cheap as well, if you do the purchase through Geocollectors.
We knew when it was announced that Microsoft was going to buy Nokia Devices and Services that it would lead to cuts in the workforce. It was hoped that a lot of that had been done in the lead up to the sale, with many people having left the company to find work with other big names, or start their own companies. Well Microsoft have just revealed the scale of the cuts, and guys. It's bad.
Girls in Tech Paris and Orange are hosting the 4th annual European Lady Pitch Night in Paris on the 23rd September, and they want to see the Nordics well represented. We’re told they’ve received nearly 100 hundred entries from 15 countries across Europe, but only three from the Nordics. I’m sure we can boost that.
Promising news for any unlucky american in immediate need of a doctor: BetterDoctor, the San Francisco based healthcare tool and online doctor search service, has closed a $10 million Series A funding round led by New Enterprise Associates and participated by existing investors including SoftTechVC and Finnish venture capital firm Lifeline Ventures.
The fund will be used to further develop the existing service, hire new employees and spread the service’s web and mobile applications to new platforms.
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.