I dislike using the word disrupt in startup circles, I think it’s overused and in the majority of cases completely inappropriate as well. So I’m a little annoyed with Russian search giant Yandex that I can’t think of a better word to describe their announcement of Yandex.Kit, a new firmware for Android smartphones.
When you think about genetics it’s easy to picture the cheesy first minutes of a science documentary with 1980's electro beats and images of DNA models surrounded by white coated men with important looking glasses.
In reality, or perhaps more in practice, the work around genetics is far less mysterious than that. But make no mistake; its importance needs to be emphasized, as it is a matter of life and death for countless people around the world, and its development goes hand in hand with the level of health care we have available.
Coworking across northern Europe is thriving thanks to the likes of Oslo’s MESH, Stockholm’s Entrepreneurs Church and newly opened SUP46 and Arctic Startup’s own Minimum Viable Office in Helsinki. Activity and networks cluster around these centres and momentum builds, benefiting everyone.
Everyone that lives in these cities, of course.
For quite some time now, it has been speculated that Nokia would launch an Android based phone to add to their lineup. Pretty much everyone is certain that the device will be revealed at the press event, taking place at 9:30 EET in Mobile World Congress, Barcelona.
When we first wrote about Hello Ruby, the world took it by storm. The original story that we published got picked up by Hacker News and stayed at the top of the popular news syndicate for around ten hours. Four days later, the campaign reached over $185,000, which was huge considering the humble goal of $10,000.
Today, Jolla announced that they are pushing for the global launch with Sailfish OS 1.0. This means that the beta is over and that the company is getting ready for scale, which is welcome since we have not heard much of an update since the phone was launched with DNA earlier this year.
Opera Software has been shifting focus from their browser deep into mobile, and now look to monetize their position by giving operators an easy opportunity to connect consumers to the internet by clicking on ads. For example, a user would have to watch a short advertisement before getting access to internet - much like YouTube ads, and then will get access to a time-based amount of internet, or more targeted internet like "one hour of Twitter usage".
This week is all about interesting news for EdTech startups; an inspirational gust of educational reformation sweeps across Europe in the hopes of reaching every innovator out there that could potentially electrify the way we study.
A while ago Peter V. Therkildsen Schlegel wrote an emotional blogpost about the closing of his startup Admazely. A little later Trendsonline did an article about it as well. We missed that story when it came, but we feel that the openness and lessons from post-mortems, especially this one, are always worth highlighting. We have picket insights and highlight from both sources. However, if you want to get the complete story, do really check out Peters blogpost and the Trendsonline article. Also thanks to Peter for checking thru this write-up and making sure it is correct.
Mobile payments just got a big bump in Norway. News broke that the home-grown mobile payment solution, mCASH announced a NOK 43 million (€5.15 million) series A in a round led by Northzone and Entrée Capital. mCASH's payment solution is a QR Code based solution that allows anyone from individuals to webshops to retailers to accept payments through the app.
Estonia's Business Angels Network put out an infographic detailing EstBAN's first year in review. It's an interesting look a Estonia's angel investing scene, detailing the €4.6 million invested by their 59 Angles in their network. In total, the group has charted 83 investments into 66 companies.
If you have a startup company and you’re thinking about applying for an European accelerator program, you’ll probably know that you have quite a few options. Choosing one of the old goodies like Seedcamp, Startup Sauna, or one of the many Startupbootcamps wouldn't be a bad idea, but there are new and more specialized programs from which to choose out there as well - Hardware devoted BuildIt to name one of the recent news breakers.
Now there’s a new player in the game.
The Imprimatur Capital Technology Venture Fund located in Latvia has recently announced an investment in headphones software start-up Sonarworks. The investment of €600,000 in the startup makes it their fifth such outing since launching in mid 2010. So what makes headphone software worth of investing in?
Sonarworks have developed digital sound correction software which they say allows speakers to sound much more like how the artists intend by listening to the output and adjusting the sound to get the best quality possible out of their devices. It's cool technology that can get a lot more out of your cheap speakers.
When you think about it, Lithuania and West Africa don’t seem to have much in common. Well, think again; Lithuanian Mobofree and Eskimi have both found a niche for their social mobile services in African soil, namely in Nigeria, a country with a gigantic population of 168 million potential social animals that connect to the internet mostly through their mobile phones.
The sthlm.js group has kind of grown out of hand.
One of the most infuriating things on the Internet today is regional and national legislation when it comes to digital content. For gaming the always excellent Rock, Paper, Shotgun coined the term ‘No Oceans’ to campaign against the annoying habit of companies to restrict launch dates by region. The Internet has no oceans, so why are we restricted from downloading or accessing something purely based on what piece of land we stand upon?
Those following Helsinki's startup scene have likely had Ovelin's Guitar Bots up on their radar for some time now. Following their success of the guitar chord teaching app, WildChords, the company changed direction slightly to target an older guitar-playing audience, rather than sticking with the target demographic of the cute and cuddly animals in WildChords.
If you want to take your new company out to burn some rubber, you might want to consider the StartupHighway. CEE region focused accelerator program announced a few days ago of an extended partnership agreement with major Lithuanian VC, Practica Capital. This means a new €200,000 fund for future investments in accelerated startups.
It looks like everyone is jumping on the startup ship. From governments, to corporations, to media, people are getting excited by what by now looks like a movement.
Editor's note: The trip to Prague was paid for by Wayra CEE, but the information and thoughts herein are my own.
Seeing how the startup culture works in other countries is always interesting, we often compare the ArcticStartup region to USA or the UK but what about our neighbours? We write about Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, who are a part of the CEE, but we rarely have the opportunity to take a look at the whole region.