Stockholm-based Instabridge is back in the news again after raising a $1 million seed round (€780,000) from a group of investors led by Swedish VC Creandum. Getting the rest of the invesmtent news out of the way, the round also included GP Bullhound, business angels such as Niall Murphy, former CTO of TheCloud; Scott Bannister, early board member of PayPal; and Felix Hagnö, co-founder and former CTO of TradeDoubler.
As the times are changing and large corporations are struggling to keep up with the fast pace of the technological evolution, the smartest ones have realized that they simply cannot handle the progress just by developing stuff in-house anymore. They are getting more active in seeking possibilities from the outside. They are turning their eyeballs towards the startup world where things happen fast by using the latest lean and agile development methods they can only dream about implementing in their massive organizations.
One of the most successful movements to come out of the Nordics is Restaurant Day - or the quarterly event where anyone can open up a pop-up restaurant on the street corner to sell whatever dishes you've been dying to make. When it first started in May of 2011 there were 45 restaurants in 13 cities but today it's grown to 2,017 restaurants in 30 countries. It's become a "big deal" in its native Helsinki.
Politics, a game many of us refuse to follow and play. We just build great companies and get things done. That's what I thought of Politics vs. Startups for a very long time. Frankly, I rarely followed the news or wanted to participate in that whole mess. That being said, recently I had the chance to be involved with a few projects in Brussels and realized that in reality, what we say does matter.
Did you see those iPhone 6 review videos? I bet you did - whether it's a new hot tech product on the market, or something you're looking to buy, its not uncommon to end up on a review video to figure out if that new phone actually bends as well as advertised.
Editors note: TRAFI app has been added to the list and TutoTOONS was specified as this year's winner of Silicon Valley Comes To Baltics.
With many of our readers reacting positively to our startup guide to Riga, we decided to continue the series. Our today’s destinations: Vilnius and Kaunas.
It doesn't need to be repeated that the Lithuanian startup scene is getting more and more exciting. Instead, let’s get to some practical tips to help you put your boots on the ground.
For a few years there we were knee deep in smart tagging news with Helsinki-based Thinglink and Kiosked making noise and grabbing publications, each in their respected niche. But both companies have been notably more quiet this year with the silence broken by Thinglink acquiring St. Petersburg based video competitor Smartag (domain expired) for an undisclosed amount of money. With the acquisition, Smartag CEO Alexey Solomatin will join ThingLink's Palo Alto office and CTO Andrey Lyuberg will join ThingLink's developer office in Helsinki.
Whether you knew it or not we're now in EU coding week, meaning there are plenty of events out there for you to learn how to code, or to get the young people in your life started with coding. The Nordic and Baltic countries are stacked with events, which can be easily found by following this link. If you're in Norway you're a little left out, but at least its Oslo Innovation Week.
With one week left on Indiegogo, bttn has managed to raise nearly €47,000 of their €50,000 goal. Helsinki-based The Button Corporation, which launched at Arctic15, produces what they call "the simplest user interface in the world" riding the trend of the Internet of Things, the growing layer of connectivity giving us new interfaces for us to talk to our toasters.
Two days ago I got my hands on the beta build and have been playing it enough for my girlfriend to roll her eyes about it. I found it a pretty charming remake of Candy Crush Saga, or at least that's my impression, I've avoided Candy Crush Saga due to the ridiculous name and flashy colors but nothing seems too original about the gameplay. You drag your finger across blocks, giving your characters enough power to attack the evil slugs.
Editor's note: this post is sponsored for Dublin Web Summit
The Web Summit is just around the corner, and we're getting excited about heading back to Dublin between the 4th and 6th of November for another few days of action packed days of talks, networking, and catching up with the new trends and hot products in our industry. While the organizers have pulled together a ridiculous list of speakers, the real value is in who you meet. So, who's going to be there?
You have to imagine Champagne bottles were popping in Stockholm last night as Truecaller announced it has raised a massive $60 million Series C from Niklas Zennström's Atomico, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital. The company provides something like a crowdsourced yellow pages - by installing their app on your phone they add all your contacts into their database, but give you nice caller ID and let you do reverse number lookups for those missed calls and pay for searching for phone numbers by name. This funding was reportedly raised at a $300 million valuation.
After browsing through all the flashing lights and shiny colors in Dribbble, casual admirers might come to the conclusion that web design is a unique bespoke process. But looking closer you can see some motifs with two columns here, or a grid layout there. When it comes down to layouts, it makes sense to at least have a solid foundation as a starting point rather than coding all the layout and responsiveness yourself.
Finnish ed-tech startups are starting to really build off of Finland's education brand and raise some funding. SkillPixels announces today that it has raised $2.1 million (€1.65 million in a round led by private investors and soft money from Tekes' Young Innovative Companies program.
We have selected 10 companies to represent our region in “Arctic Pavilion” at this year’s TC Disrupt EU, which will be held in London October 20-21st. These companies are a nice mix of interesting stuff coming out from our region, some of them are already at A-series stage so they will be looking to nail good VC meetings and then the younger ones launching their thing will be looking to get nice media visibility.
Selected companies are:
Tolstoy's Anna Karenina famously begins, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Are startups the same way, or is there a bigger trend out there?
That title isn't a rhetorical question, we're writing an article about startup failure and it only makes sense to pool from our community about what lead up to your shutdown. So anywhere from death in the MVP stage to a later stage burnout, we want to hear your story for a new special feature of ours.
In the beginning of May, the relatively new mobile game company Boomlagoon secured a cool $3.6 million (€2.59 million) in funding in a round from Northzone, Finland's Inventure, and 360 Capital Partners. When there’s news surrounding the (at the time) 8 employee’s led by 3 ex-Rovio members, it’s easy to have interest in what’s next.
If daytime TV infomercials are any indication, the at-home exercise market is able to capture a decent audience. But are those looking to exercise or do yoga at home looking for a passive or active experience? With an investment by Inventure as validation, Finnish startup Yoogaia is bringing live webcam-based yoga into people's homes. The size of the round isn't announced, but they claim that their service has been very successful in Finland, attracting thousands of users since the soft launch earlier this year.
What makes a startup scene? With a scandinavian collectivism mindset, a long list of the startup names in Copenhagen have officially brought themselves together under a new foundation, CPHFTW, for better organization and promotion of the startup scene. After three townhall meetings to work on an agenda, a large percentage of the movers and shakers are building something like their own regional development agency to bring the community together after announcing today they've raised €119,000 from 83 founding startups.
Designers in medium to large firms rely of collaboration, feedback, and an internal design language but that "creative consciousness" gets lost between emails or Slack updates.
Before working at Facebook, designer Chris Kalani saw this problem and collaborated with a friend on a project called Ploject designed to foster this internal communication based on their success of their online design sharing community Yay!Everyday. The project got halted after Kalani took a job at the social network, but there was a similar problem at Facebook. To make the design process easier, Alexandre Roche and the Facebook design team created an internal tool, called Pixelcloud, designed to make it easy to share whatever the designers are working on or any inspirations they came across on the internet.
"At Facebook we had about 50 designers. When the company started growing you used to have a new designer come in and start working on a product like photos. Before Pixelcloud you’d have to talk to designers, or dig through files [to see what others have been working on]," Kalani tells ArcticStartup.
After leaving Facebook, Kalani wanted to get out of Silicon Valley for a little bit and met up with Johan Bakken and Tobias Bæck of Bakken and Bæck, in Oslo, who he knew for years through the internet design community. After jamming together on a few projects they ended up building Wake - partly for Bakken & Bæck's internal needs but also recognizing it could go international. Today it's fleshed out into a web, iOS, and Mac app.
"Ultimately we are trying to change the way designers share ideas," says Kalani. "Instead of holding onto and protecting ideas we want designers to share them early and often so they have a chance to evolve into better design solutions."
Moving forward the team has set up an office in San Francisco in order to get in touch with the large firms its built for. For sales, Wake is first going after the big tech firms whose design teams can benefit the most from the product.
Currently Wake is in invite only phase, and among those who have signed up are companies like Apple, Adobe, Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, eBay and Spotify, as well as some of the most reputable agencies and fashion houses in the world, says CEO of Bakken & Bæck Tobias Bæck.
With the full launch of Wake expected this fall, it will be interesting to see how the product gets picked up by big firms and smaller design houses alike.