Doing business and sales
I’ve done B2B sales in Finland and Germany. I think in Finland an early-adopter mindset and “let’s just try it, measure the results and make a decision then” attitude are common, while in Germany it is rather “this looks interesting, we will talk to the management”. This leaves you wonder – why to discuss so much and not just try it out? However once you are in the pipeline, things execute quicker and it is usually easy to track the progress.
Realm just closed a € 18 M ($ 20 M) Series B led by Khosla Ventures, along with new investor Scale Venture Partners. Less than 9 months after its public launch, Realm is already the 2nd-most deployed database in the world, running on well over 100 million devices!
Taxify, the Estonian taxi booking application successfully taking on Uber in the region, is now available to Windows Phone users. The app has so far launched in the App Store and Google Play, while Windows Phone users could only use the web version. With 15% of Finnish business people still using Windows Phone, it is certainly a way to acquire customers.
When we started Videoly.co, we did not think twice about becoming international from Day 1. Yes, having a team spread in two locations could be challenging, but if you know your co-founders well and if you establish clear and transparent working processes, being present in several target markets multiplies the opportunities.
Berlin is one of the most active startup hubs in Europe. It feels like a big city and a village at the same time. Berlin has several technical universities and is a development center location for major Internet companies (Amazon, eBay, PayPal, Rocket Internet, HERE, Soundcloud). At the same time, it probably has the cheapest average cost of living among western European capitals. In Berlin, a calendar of startup-networking events has no holidays.
THINGS is the first hardware hub to set up office in the Swedish capital, Stockholm. The space will be located in the campus of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in a 2000sqm, customised house.
World's biggest co-working space to be? The entrepreneurial awakening of Norway’s technology capital
It seems that the significant cut on oil prices has been an eye-opening and a bit scary experience for Norwegians, but the change has also been recognized as an opportunity to create something new. At least in the nation’s technology capital this transition seems to have led to an entrepreneurial awakening – People in Trondheim determinately thrive for the idea that 'knowledge is the new oil'.
Inspired by this article from Founders and Founders back in 2013, I wanted to give an example of how startup funding rounds really work in the Nordics. There are plenty of examples from the U.S., but I want to give a reference to how it is in the Nordic startup environments.
Norway's Viva Labs announces today that they've picked up around €400,000 in seed funding to help build out partnerships for their smart home solutions. This round of funding came from Oslo coworking space Startuplab's Founders Fund as well as Investinor, an investment company owned by the Norwegian government.
With today, March 20th, declared by the UN the International Day of Happiness, we were reminded of a conversation we had with Nolan Bushnell at this week's Technoport conference in Trondheim, Norway. Bushnell is famous for being the founder of Atari and has been doing research on the correlation between happiness and learning for his latest venture, Brainrush.
At 72 years old and still pushing with new ventures, Bushnell has this to say about happiness:
Our Finnish readers most likely have Wolt on their radar. The app, released last week, allows users to pre-order (and pre-pay) for food from a growing list of restaurants around Helsinki, letting you to skip the lines and walk out with a bag full of burritos. Busy Finns that hate lines aren't the only reason the app has gotten some attention, however.
On top of a €400,000 seed round and a strong team, cofounder and CEO of Wolt is Miki Kuusi, the recently retired Main Organizer of Slush, Helsinki's startup conference that has ballooned to 14,000 attendees. Wolt answers the question, "What is Miki doing next," and has picked up a good deal of Finnish press and traction from startup watchers.
For many, clothing purchases are linked to ill-fitting clothes and wrong purchases that will never be used. Nowadays, there is a company that helps out in jungle of clothes: Fitbay. By signing up on the site and briefly describe your body shape, weight and height, Fitbay finds a “Body Doubles”: a person with similar dimensions for you. Seeing what clothes, brands and sizes the Body Double is wearing, can then inspire the user for future purchases.
Modio is only 18 months old but has been getting noticed for their design app for Ipad released early in 2014 which allows users to design their own 3D printing projects.
Funding news coming from one of the region's most action-packed startups: Latvia's Airdog announces it has raised a $2 million seed round led by Seraph Group and joined by a number of investors like IT-Farm Corporation, Base Ventures, FlyCap, Imprimatur Capital and by a group of angel investors like Konstantin Othmer, Harry Cheung, Vinny Lingham, Chris Hulls and Arthur Watson.
Finland's music teaching startups is a sector that might be slightly overlooked when talking about the country. Yousician's Guitar Bots is often featured as an editor's choice in the app store, SongHi is building collaboration deals in the Spanish market, and now Musopia has raised €660,000 to build up their collection of apps that make it easy to learn your favorite songs.
Finland has been known for its mobile hardware, but Nokia and Jolla aren’t the only tablet makers in town. Already on the market is the Eve T1 which an 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet at an affordable €159 price point.
All the sensors in that mobile phone in your pocket should add up to a really interactive experience, but most of the time we use our phones to look at static webpages and tap-based games. San Diego-based Adtile (with Finnish roots) is looking to change that with its new mobile software platform, Adtile VR, which it says allows users to experience virtual reality on smartphones without the need for goggles or external hardware. Whether you call it augmented reality or virtual reality, their platform looks interesting for developers who see the benefit of having their users take virtual steps and explore a new world through the lens of a smartphone screen.
With the brand of Finnish education so strong, it makes sense that a team will try to spin out educational concepts from Finland and test them around the world. That's the concept around SCOOL, a startup that works more as a production company to test out evidence-based learning concepts. Behind SCOOL are Saku Tuominen and Juha Tynkkynen, two well known Finnish TV producers as well as Pekka Viljakainen, "the father of Finnish online banking." The company has now raised $1 million led by SanomaVentures.
Surveypal announces they've picked up a $1 million (€944,000) extended seed investment from Vendeep Startup Fund, Finnvera Venture Capital, and Ari Korhonen to pump into North America focused sales and marketing through their recently opened San Francisco office.
Think about Skype, Spotify, Supercell, Klarna, MySQL, TAT, Unity, Mojang, Zendesk, Just Eat, King… the list of massive tech powerhouses coming from the Nordics goes on and on. Despite the Nordics housing five to ten million people per country and only 2% of global GDP, we’re killing it when it comes to tech acquisitions.
Since 2005, 9% percent of global Billion dollar exits have come from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland. It’s remarkably strong number considering rest of Europe accounts for 8% of the world’s Billion dollar exits despite having the remaining 97% of Europe’s population.