After really never leaving the "Best new apps" category as an editor's choice, as well as winning the App Store's Best of 2014 Apps, Helsinki-based app creator Sumoing has released their camera app Camu on Android perhaps after realizing they can't get any more love out of Apple.
With 323,000 total inhabitants, one thing plainly obvious to Icelandic companies is that if you want to succeed, you’ve got to think outside of your native language. A translation into English is the first step for Nordic companies to reach a wider population, but to reach success Icelandic games maker Plain Vanilla translated their quiz game into five languages to help hit key markets reaching over 20 million users - a few multiples bigger than the population of their home country.
To do so, they used localization expert OneSky’s professional language translation and crowdsourced translation services to get QuizUp into five languages within two months. As a result, most of their massive growth came from international markets.
While Printmotor isn't inventing the wheel, it's a startup that helps other people get into entrepreneurship which makes it a good thing in our book. Based in Helsinki, Printmotor provides RESTful APIs to allow you to plug your business into a local printing company, allowing you to sell greeting cards, postcards, posters, and so on. Shipping is included in Printmotor's fulfillment costs, meaning you can charge whatever you want and Printmotor will take care of making and delivering your designs.
It might be a slow news day but that's an excuse to cover a small update of a game that I like - PAKO, the car chase simulator built by Helsinki's Tree Men Games.
Pako, which means "escape" in Finnish, does one thing and it does it well. Opening up a level it throws you immediately into the action where you're behind the wheel with cops after you and no brakes to slow you down - the only way to control your speed is to give a little fishtail action that's just as likely to make you crash.
That gaming is strong in this region is nothing new. Lately, the mix of gaming experience and hardware have started to emerge – and currently there are two very interesting kickstarters from this region up and running.
THE MOUSE THAT KNOWS YOUR BIOLOGY
One of them is Moinix Labs, which runs a kickstarter for it’s NOAS QG. The idea is simply – combining the top of the line gaming mouse with bio-sensors, in order to let you know how your body reacts while playing games.
This is taking the quanitified self to the field of gaming – and a piece of hardware that takes professional gaming to a new level.
I accidentally found out that a major first-world problem of mine is solved and I want everyone to know it: you don't need a fancy Apple TV or Sonos Speakers system to control Spotify from the couch (assuming you've got your apartment's speakers plugged into your computer).
It's a sign that dog agility training is a growing market (or that we might be running out of startup ideas), OneMind Dogs announces today it's raised funding from Lifeline Ventures after previously raising funding from Gorilla Ventures. The company is said to have picked up around €400,000 and produces training videos for dog owners accessible by a €39.90/month plan.
Editor's note: This is a guest post contributed by Trackduck
It looks like 2015 will continue with the theme of the Baltics as a design and development hotspot. This weekend the first of its kind web design hackathon YourDesignWorks took place in Tallinn. Workshops and mentors covered the whole process from fundamental design thinking to executing a visually attractive solution. Over 40 people took part and created 19 awesome projects.
Personally, I don't wear a watch. My generation was the first to stop needing one thanks to the clunky Nokias always accessible in our trendy cargo pants, but with smart watches in the news more and more, it seemed like time to start paying attention to them. With no romantic idea of a watch as a reference point, Bill Geiser the CEO of Meta Watch, was making a lot of sense when we sat down to talk about the market at Slush.
Latvian AirDog, the extreme sports filming drone whose US$ 1.3 million Kickstarter campaign in July 2014 made it Latvia's biggest Kickstarter project to date, unveiled its latest prototype at world's biggest technology and innovation exhibition 'Consumer Electronics Show 2015' (CES 2015) in Las Vegas on Jan 7-9. As Engadget polls closed today, AirDog was announced the winner of best robot/drone title and landed second in 'Best of CES 2015 Awards' overall poll.
When we first discovered AdCash back in 2013, nobody knew the company but they were already doing €25 million turnover, doubling their turnover each year from six million in 2011 to twelve million in 2012. It was a big discovery for the Estonian Startup Scene.
A new year means starting fresh, like getting that inbox count down to zero for once and for all. Seeing those emails piling up into the 1000's is no time for self-reflecition: It's time to get angry at your current email client for letting you get to that point.
If you're turning your holiday champagne diet into a chardonnay cleanse, you might be interested to know that Danish startup Vivino has crowdsourced a list of the best wines selected by their users. Vivino has been steadily gaining more and more traction - this past year their users have left 13 million ratings for over 3 million different wines, giving a good crowdsourced directory of ratings that doesn't rely on just one sommelier's tastebuds. I don't know if I've ever seen a democratically selected wine list, so let's throw some attention towards it.
I can't tell if it's a good thing or not, but Finland's movie scene seems to be transitioning from "cut a hole in the ice and drown yourself" style dramas to corny plots 13-year-old boys probably think are awesome, including titles like the zero budget Star Wreck parody, 2010's Rare Exports (Evil Santa uncovered by archeologists under a Finnish mountain), and 2012's Iron Sky (Nazis on the dark side of the moon).
Editor's note: this is a sponsored post for PR Newswire
Blogging and content marketing is basically getting your startup closer towards your goals through the use of any media type. It is no longer a “new” thing, nor is it the holy grail of success. Yet, it is a big part of the strategy for many companies that we cover and we applaud those that manage to do it well. The problem is, they are few and in-between.
Most startup blogs or content marketing attempts are not too different from the corporate blogs that you want to shoot yourself reading.
When going through the year's archive for a wrap-up article, one headline from February that felt like Groundhog's Day was about the Nordics' dominance on the Top Grossing iPhone charts. There the Nordic titans King and Supercell were leading with Candy Crush and Clash of Clans, followed by premium app Minecraft Pocket Edition going up and down as presumably more and more middle schoolers got iPhones as presents.
A year later we could copy paste the same article and play it off as a new one, with King and Supercell dominating with their main apps, trailing in the top 10 with their secondary titles, and Minecraft playing catchup. The Nordic countries have been extremely successful at maintaining their position on the app store charts, almost to a downright boring degree from a tech writer's perspective. There's no horse race for the leading poll here, just a general curiosity who will fill up the rest of the charts.
Year 2014 just came to an end. It is time to lay the cards on the table.
First of all, everything I discuss here is based on my personal experiences from the past year. I’d like to point out that there are some excellent investors in Finland, who are quite different than those discussed here. Likewise, everything you’ve read/heard about the Finnish game industry as a community is true: industry veterans offer their help and guidance to new entrepreneurs to an astonishing level of detail and involvement. Without them, we wouldn’t be here. I’m trying to continue that same tradition.
It was tough to know what was going to come out of Health Puzzle, the Helsinki-based app developer working somewhere in the quantified self and health area to unify your data together. The company originally came out of AaltoES' Summer of Startups batch in 2012 and since has stayed up there in the Helsinki startup scene's consciousness without any releases. With the launch of Apple's Health app it was easy to assume Health Puzzle would be one of those companies that would fizzle out with a giant player like Apple having the mission to unify data, but in 2014 Health Puzzle spun off a new company, called Fifth Corner Inc., of which Nelli Lähteenmäki is still CEO.
What even happened to Nordic and Baltic startups in 2014? We decided to dig through the ArcticStartup Archives to see what news pieces seemed like they should be remembered going forward. Take a minute to take in these headlines broken down month by month:
Many things matter in entrepreneurship. But when you believe in your idea and have it accepted by others, you get great inspiration, like from nothing else, to move forward with your project and achieve new heights. And that’s exactly how the four winners of regional Venture Cup South must feel, who apart from inspiration also received some solid money prizes – 20,000 SEK for a win in one of the categories and 100,000 SEK as an overall competition winner.