It’s Christmas time and we are ready to announce the next Arctic15 event, so you can start preparing. The event will take place on the 26th-27th of May 2015 in Helsinki, Finland. In early January, we will release the first batch of tickets, to get those at the very special rate - sign-up here. And don't forget to mark your calendar, you can download the calendar file here, for convenience. We will also give away two tickets to those that sign-up between now and the January release.
With the holiday season coming up, a lot of us are thinking about how we should have kept up with our relatives better the rest of the year. One "excuse" for me not getting in touch with my older relatives more often is that I don't use the phone for long-distance calls anymore. Getting in touch with my parents in the States, I used Facetime or iMessages, and occasionally I'll drop some money into Skype to call the land-line phones of my grandparents.
Don’t let be fooled by sweeping generalisations that the Baltic region is only famous for talented, educated programmers and Skype. State of the art SaaS startups are originating and growing in the Baltic States making the region a hot-spot of tools focusing on web/mobile development and design. Here is a list to prove that.
The tech world is all hyped up about hailing a cab these days, but that's not the only angle to taxi travel. Helsinki-based Cabforce's service is all about plugging you into on-the-ground taxi travel with the rest of your travel plans.
Emerging Cooking Solutions is a Swedish-Zambian company with a strong social and environmental agenda. In 2012 they developed a market based concept for replacing charcoal for cooking purposes in Africa.
Game Analytics doesn't need much explanation, they're one of those companies that do what they say on the box with a free game analytics platform for developers. Now they've announced they've picked up a $5.5 million Series A raised by Beta Angels and the new management team that has joined the company. Previously Game Analytics raised $2.5 million from Sunstone Capital, CrunchFund, Jimmy Maymann (CEO, Huffington Post) and René Rechmann (President, Maker Studio).
Estonian Taxify announed today that they have raised a whooping € 1.4 million from Latvian Rubylight (Forticom Group architects, founders of One.lv sold to Odnoklassniki, investors in Ask.fm), Adcash (one of world's foremost advertising networks in the industry) and London-based investment fund TMT Investments (have also invested in Pipedrive and Vital Fields). This is the largest investment in Baltic taxi app sector to date.
Nordic VC firm Northzone is now freshly cashed up with the announcement of a €260 million fund, dubbed Northzone VII, which they say was oversubscribed and reached a hard cap in record time. The firm had a busy year, putting together this fund while also investing in 21 companies mostly in the Nordic region, like Playraven, Fyndiq, and Outracks. Previously Northzone has invested in some of the defining companies of the Nordics, like Spotify, iZettle, and Trustpilot.
You've read the narrative plenty of times before - the media industry is in trouble and writers need new tools to better present information and get paid for it.
If you're interested in building tools to support the media industry, now you don't have to do so out of the kindness in your heart. Uutisraivaaja, a media innovation competition run by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation is awarding €250,000 to this years grand prize winner, providing plenty of incentive to throw a good idea at them. And with one more month left in the application process, you better get your idea in quick.
Finland's Unmonday announced it's picked up €1.5 million in funding for it's multichannel wireless speaker system with a strong design aspect. It's hexagonal speakers connect through Apple's Airplay and pump out beats according to how you place them - with one hexagonal face down you'll get Mono, rotate it to the side it'll act as a left speaker, and so on.
With the Nordic smart home market growing steadily and increading 10% year on year in Norway alone, it is not surprising to see smart home startups coming from our region. However, this time we will talk about an Estonia-based startup Comfee (formerly known as Jalousier) solving a rather southern problem - venetian window blind automation. With the funding raised from their Ingiegogo campaign and admission to BuildIT hardware accelerator earlier this year, the Estonia-based Bulgarian family business has already gotten down to production of its first 100 devices to ship to their beta testers.
When we first heard about the upcoming VAT regulation changes, we did not think much of it. After-all, our business does not really fall into the category as our products are either events or partnerships. However, when we started following what this really means - we got scared. Looks like Goliath is about to crush David.
Basically, the idea is simple. For all B2C products in the telecommunications, broadcasting and e-services space - instead of paying the VAT in the country where your company is registered, it will now need to be paid where the consumer resides (If they are from the EU). No biggie, right? Wrong.
Swap.com (formerly Netcycler) announces they've picked up a nice $4 million to help grow their online consignment service for children's clothes, baby gear, toys, games, and maternity wear. Participating investors include Cleantech Invest as their institutional investor, as well as angel investors Ari Hypponen, Ahti Heinla and Jaan Tallinn among others.
Recent data from Coindesk has pointed to how fast the Bitcoin ecosystem is growing; however, it’s not just the number of companies that is growing – the reach of existing companies is growing as well.
Helsinki, Finland, is an extremely comfortable city when it comes to public transport. As an avid driver, I never thought I would let go of the desire to jump behind the wheel in the morning. Yet in Helsinki - that simply does not make sense. Public transport is faster, cheaper, more convenient and does not require parking. After moving to Helsinki my car has been sitting quietly on the parking lot, collecting dust and waiting for the next IKEA trip.
This year is very exit rich, it would seem as we are writing about them nearly every week. Yesterday, the news broke that Facebook, namely the Oculus Rift division, has acquired the Swedish startup - 13th Lab for an undisclosed amount along with another startup - Nimble VR. As a reminder, Oculus Rift itself was acquired by Facebook for a whopping $2 billion in order to focus on making any experiences possible - virtually, as commented by Mark Zuckerberg.
When Jolla first launched I think a few entrepreneurs and ourselves were skeptical if the company would progress anywhere beyond a concept. But it's clear now that Jolla isn't going anywhere, and has raised some significant money with a new €10 million Series B. Raising money isn't everything, but it shows that there's plenty of validation behind the company as their total funding now stands at €34 million.
There is not much daylight in the North, darkness is taking over. Bears are hibernating in their caves, waiting for the spring sun to wake them up again after the long winter. How about the startups of the North? Is everyone sleeping or just hiding in their offices? Just like the bears, hibernating and waiting for that spring sun spread it’s light all over to revive the feeling of excitement? Do we really have to accept the situation and wait many months to get that feeling?
Time to confess. I am a gamer, a hardcore one at that: Counter-Strike, Dota 2, Hearthstone, you name it. When most of my friends were dreaming of owning football or hockey clubs, I always thought that being a part of or managing an e-sports team would be infinitely more fun.