The 2013 review by Sydsvenskan of the Skåne innovation support system lead to disappointing conclusions. Two articles (Innovationsgalaxen har fler svarta hål än stjärnor and Rörigt system möter skånska innovatörer ) as well as a longer in print only article, have been published in December. Both come to the following results: There is too little cooperation, too many organizations, and too little support in the long term for startup businesses.
Lithuanian startup Rewalon have spent the last year quietly working away at their business but now that they have secured a significant partnership with American Express they are ready to introduce themselves to the world. Rewalon describe themselves as a micro-rewarding service for business clients and have successfully launched in Lithuania where their service is fully established and next look to Russia for further growth.
One thing that set’s entrepreneurs apart is that they don’t take “no” for an answer. At least not without giving it a serious fight first. The other thing is that they aim high, very high. Paul Bragiel, for instance, decided that he wants to participate in the Olympics and not being an athlete by the accepted standards, he started training to participate in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics as a cross-country skier. He even got a Colombian passport to do so and started a one-man skiing federation there.
Unfortunately, sometimes life throws a curve ball at entrepreneurs and Paul got very sick and missed some of his qualifying races, virtually eliminating his chances of achieving the Olympic goal.
Yet, one man’s quest for a ridiculous childhood dream has now turned into something much bigger. Team Paul has turned into a movement, a group of friends, fans, acquaintances, strangers, journalists, even Hollywood producers - people who just got inspired by the madness of Paul!
As more and more browsing and gaming moves onto phones and tablets, brands are starting to go after taps rather than clicks. Mobile advertising has become the next warfront for advertisers, and Denmark-based adQuota announces today it's picked up a solid €2.5 million to become a pan-European mobile advertising network.
In exit news, Denver-based FullContact has acquired Riga-based Cobook, meaning the Cobook team will soon be moving to snowy, smoky Colorado. Cobook is a favorite app of ours as we use the Mac app fairly regularly to manage contacts. The program allows you to easily add new contacts and information through it's intuitive uni-bar, and the app also plugs into social networks like LinkedIn to find pictures and other information.
Estonian cloud startup Cloutex announces it has raised $600,000 (€441,000) in seed funding. The company provides cloud services integrations to synchronize your customers and records across platforms like Pipedrive, Salesforce, FreshBooks, Highrise, and so on. Integrating data can get messy and time consuming to do manually, allowing Cloutex to charge $29 a month for two integrations, and with six connected services for $99 a month.
We heard a new co-working space opened up in Gamla Stan in Stockholm, so we reached out to get a feel for the place.
Full disclosure: I used to consult Giosg, the company powering most of Finnchat’s chat’s.
Chatting has always been a huge part of the internet. At one point, that was probably the most fun thing you could do, because everything else was too slow. Remember the good old ICQ and IRC days?
The other day you must have caught news that Copenhagen-based Trustpilot raised $25 millioin. Among their investors is Denmark's SEED Capital, one of the most active investors in the region and the largest early stage venture fund in Denmark with €240 million under management. Here's a quick look at them.
A few pieces are moving with some Finns in Berlin with a new funding round. Linko, a mobile CRM solution based in Berlin with a strong Finnish background, announces $2.6 million (€1.9 million) funding round as well as the acquisition of Berlin-based Localstream, a technology platform that ads location context to web and mobile content. The funding comes from an international mix of angel investors, including Giuseppe Donagemma, Pekka Vartiainen, Pertti Melamies, Roberto Condulmari and others.
Finland has just formed its first Angel Fund, which has announced that it will be looking to invest in between 30 to 50 seed stage technology start-ups over the next four year. Called the Gorilla Acceleration Fund, they say they will be picking from a deal flow of over 1,200 Finnish start-ups. Sounds like they’ve got quite a lot of work ahead of them just picking their favourites, and that’s only the beginning.
When we think about advertising for mobile games, we usually think of web or mobile advertising, or cross-promotion networks like Helsinki's Applifier or Lithuania's AdDuplex. But once we get to the major leagues, companies like Helsinki-based Supercell and Rovio, or Stockholm's King start seeing the value of the broad, TV-based advertising. And during the Christmas holidays when people are finding their first smartphones or tablets under the tree, these companies want to be sure you hear about Candy Crush Saga, Clash of Clans, and Hay Day.
Here are a couple TV commercials you might have missed if you haven't been watching American broadcast TV lately:
Russian search giant Yandex announces today a partnership agreement with Facebook, giving Yandex access to Facebook's "Firehose" of public data coming from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, other CIS countries, and Turkey. This plays into the "social search" trend that we've seen social networks move to, with Bing's partnership with Facebook, and Google's huge efforts being put into their homegrown social network, Google+.
Here's a new benchmark of money to be raised. Copenhagen-based Trustpilot announces it has raise a massive $25 million (€18.28 million) funding round led by DFJ Espirit's London and Menlo Park offices. Additionally the round saw participation from all existing investors, which include Denmark's SEED capital, Index Ventures, and Northzone. Trustpilot was founded in 2007 and now counts 160 employees in Copenhagen, London, and New York.
To publish music on platforms like iTunes, Spotify, and Deezer, artists use one of a number of publishing platforms like CD baby or TuneChord to get their tracks in front of mass audiences. Currently these platforms have some sort of fee for artists to get music up on the web, but Helsinki-based Music Kickup announces today that they're launching the first-ever free music distribution service, meaning up-and coming artists don't have to pay any fee to get their tracks available to audiences on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Deezer. Today MusicKickup now launches their service publicly.
Most of us enjoy taking advantage of promotions offered by retailers but we find ourselves with a baffling problem; signing up on even half of the loyalty programs out there will make you hate plastic cards more than you thought possible.
There’s simply too many of them.
Helsinki-based Sayduck announces it has raised a €350,000 seed investment from IncubAsia Ventures, Arteel Ventures, as well as angel investors from the Nordic countries, the US, and Slovenia. The company has been growing steadily since we first covered them, by getting into European accelerator Seedcamp, as well as growing from a team from three to a team of 15 involved people from around the globe.
Here's a few charts to check out: how Nordic mobile games rank up against each other in Google's search results.
We’re already a week into the new year and how many people have already blown off their new years commitments? Every January through news channels and feeds we read jokes about how once again everyone will be making resolutions to change their diets, exercise more and lose that weight they’ve been feeling guilty about carrying every time they look in the mirror. Well guess what, since Motivade began the year by sending out a press release, I now get to sing the same refrain.
When Startupbootcamp entered the pan-european investment scene three and a half years ago, it was hard to guess how far they would go, but their latest statistical data release compiled from 13 programs around Europe leaves only one conclusion to be made: Startupbootcamp is a machine driving funding. According to statistics just released by Startupbootcamp, startups that complete the program have a funding success rate of nearly 70%. And in average, the funded start-ups have raised an impressive €400,000 each.
Topping the charts, Amsterdam's acceleration program alone has managed to fund 95% of its participants, while 'bootcamp graduates all over Europe have gathered a collective total of €27 millions in raised funds. Several of these start-ups have already been acquired, with anticipations of many more acquisitions in the upcoming 12-18 months of statistical "sweet spot", as described by Alex Farcet, Co-Founder of Startupbootcamp.