Finnish education app SkillPixels picks up €1.65 million in funding

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.

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Meet 10 Arctic Pavilion Companies (at TechCrunch Disrupt London)

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:

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What are the causes of startup failure?

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.

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Boomlagoon's second title Monsu hits familiar gameplay mechanics

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.

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Webcam yoga solution Yoogaia raises funding from Inventure

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.

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CPHFTW raises €119,000 from startups to bring the Copenhagen startup scene together

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.

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Facebook designer and Bakken & Bæck launching design collaboration platform

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."

Next steps

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.

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The snow is coming. Snowision will measure it.

How many of us can truly say they make a living out of snow? Professional skiers and snow blower manufacturers aside, coming up with a career that relies heavily on the omnipresence of the cold, white substance we Northerners sometimes even consider an annoyance isn’t that obvious.

Latvian startup Snowision however is one company that would frankly be out of business should there not be any snow laying about.

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Video: Spotify on their Engineering Culture

Scaling up an organization to the size of Spotify is no easy task, which is why it's interesting to get some insight to how they structure themselves and how they've changed since the early days. On their development blog Spotify has posted two videos that look like they serve internal purposes, but is also great insight for any growing development team. "If everyone understands the culture, then we're more likely to keep it - and strengthen it as we grow," says Henrik Kniberg, author of the video and consultant working mostly with Spotify.

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Rovio laying off 16% of workforce

Rovio, once the metaphor for the new Finnish jobs sector, isn't itself immune to layoffs. In an announcement today Rovio says that they're moving towards a more "simplified organization" and plan to cut 16% of their workforce, affecting 130 employees.

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Writing a Press Release in 2014: Five Tips

Editor's note: This is a sponsored post put together with PR Newswire.

Not too long ago PR professionals were the gatekeepers to writing a good press release and getting it distributed, but today that’s no longer the case; anyone can craft a press release target it wherever you like using press release distribution services like PR Newswire.

What’s more difficult, however, is getting the right people to read and react to your company’s news.

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Dublin Web Summit just around the corner: Here's what you need to know

You've seen the ads on Facebook. You've heard the buzz from startup friends who've been there before. And with Dublin Web Summit right around the corner, here's everything you need to know to finally pull the trigger and get over to Ireland between November 4th and 6th. As an added bonus we've got two tickets to raffle away, so read through the article to find out more.

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VersoVentures carves out spinoffs with new €50 Million fund

A company comes down to resources, processes, and priorities (RPP), so what should larger companies do with the parts of your company that are creating value to someone, but don't fit directly into your framework?

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Iconfinder sees good traction on pro features

Danish startup Iconfinder works towards being the go-to place for icons with the world’s largest collection of premium icons. Now Iconfinder takes it to a new level, introduced subscription plans called Iconfinder Pro.

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Finland's Ubisecure acquired by GMO Globalsign for IoT Identity

In tech acquisition news, Finland-based Identity and Access Management (IAM) specialist Ubisecure announces today it has been acquired by GMO Globalsign, one of the world’s largest publicly-trusted certificate authorities. The acquisition price was not disclosed.

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Weekdone: You're probably wasting 3.8 hours a week on unproductive meetings

Regular team meetings have grown to become a standard part of many companies’ weekly schedule; and even more so when it comes to startups. Most of us have all been there: sitting around a meeting room table, discussing new objectives for the upcoming week, delegating tasks and making decisions (hopefully) together.

Well, at least that’s what meetings ideally should be like. In reality, however, according to Estonian employee progress report connoisseur Weekdone, there’s a good chance your meetings aren't that well organized after all.

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Last Call for EIT ICT Labs' Idea Challenge

Today is the last chance for European startups to apply for the EIT ICT Labs’ Idea Challenge. If you’re an entrepreneur with dreams of making it then I hope you are ready to apply for the pitching competition. There’s a total of 320,000€ in prize money on offer across four categories, along with other benefits including office space and expert coaching. If you haven't heard of it yet, then you'll need to read quickly to find out more.

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As homes get smarter, home security needs an update

Norway's Viva Labs has been pushing a whitelabel Smarthome experience for a few months now with all the fun stuff, such as a NEST-like thermostat that learns from how you use it, and smart plugs that recognize that you've left the house - helping you make sure you don't leave that coffee maker on.

But according to Viva Labs CEO Henrik Holen the energy effeciency and smart control are only two parts of the equation: safety and home security might be one of the more important things in a smart home that we haven't seen many companies work on.

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Building an API? Get yourself to The Platform Summit

Think about all the buzzwords driving this and the next generation of tech, like wearables, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things. Business value is driven by new types of communication, which should be built on the foundation of a good API strategy.

In order to foster these best practices, we're pretty lucky up in Northern Europe to have one of the few conferences devoted to APIs, dubbed The Platform Summit and hosted by the same folks behind the regional NordicAPIs events. “The event is taking place in Stockholm on October 21 and 22nd, Lustikulla Konferens & Event center with workshops being held on October 20th.”.

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IoT startup Cozify rounds €1 million for R&D and Official Launch Date

Espoo based IoT startup Cozify has been busily (and successfully) rounding up cash for its product research & development; pilot projects; and first official launch, which the company says will happen in the not-too-distant future.

In the course of roughly a year, Cozify says it has amassed over €1 million from three main sponsors: Tekes, the company’s employees and a private family business (not disclosed).

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