Earlier this week, ArcticStartup set up its mobile office in Helsinki’s Wanha Satama where the PG Connects: East Meets West mobile games conference took place. Apart from talking to a bunch of game publishers, indie game developers and art designers, we downed tons of coffee and test drove some really cool touchscreen games.
So kick back and take your mind off of the grim weather outside by taking a journey with us to explore the global and local mobile games scene. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover what’s your new favourite tablet or smartphone game to play inside, if mother nature decides that winter isn’t quite over yet after all.
“Many entrepreneurs say they want to be global from day one, we wanted to build a sustainable business from day one.” Lauri Lehtovuori, the young co-founder of ProPlaza, looks relaxed as he jokes about start up life but his comment reveals an understanding of one of the biggest pitfalls start ups face. Without a credible plan for how they will make money many start ups fall before their great ideas have found a market. Together with three friends Lauri is intent on building a company that will not just survive but also blossom, and they’ve started well. Revenue began coming in on day two. "We began by building a sustainable business model and solving a problem we saw on the market. It seems like a good start for us and we are really happy there is value in what we are doing."
Since launching in 2008 Spotify has had plenty of chances to blow your mind when it comes to their user interface. They've figured out that hooking up a music library to the internet is something people want, but they've played the user interface side of things stupid conservative, sticking closer to 2001's Winamp than a service that wants to blow your mind because it's 2014 and we can do crazy things with technology and music. Spotify is comfortable, but don't you think over the years they could have done more for interaction among friends and strangers than the follower bar? For instance, when was the last time you dug through Spotify's UI to see what playlists your friends have made?
Have no fear readers, you'll no longer be horribly confused consumers by mixing up the name of Norwegian startup EasyBring with any other firms. The innovative crowdsourced package handling company we wrote about last week will take their crowdsourcing concept to heart and hear suggestions of what they should change their name to.
Have you ever felt like you wanted to conquer the world? Of course you have, and so have I, but we know what a huge hassle world dominance can be, so most of us can’t be bothered to actually go for it.
Luckily there are games where your delusions of grandeur can be taken to. For example, Italian games startup GamePix offers an entertaining game concept that uses a real satellite map of the world as an online battlefield between players from across the world.
Milestone, the startup which has been referred to as the “most unknown of the big startups”, announced today they have been acquired by Canon. Milestone has grown into a leading provider of open platform video management software. With over 400 people and 13 offices, Milestone has been one of the largest startups emerging from this region. Rumours about an IPO or acquisition have been around for a while, and today the news where finally announced.
Riga has been popping lately - making enough noise to knock off Tallinn as the main hub of the Baltic startup scene. TechHub Riga, the coworking space, is at the center of the Riga startup community and its growth has reached the point where their offices are literally running out of space.
So what do you do when you're out of space? That's right, you get more space.
The idea of your own tech pet has been around for decades. From Tamagotchi to Zoomer robotic puppies, every once in a while we designed and redesigned our ideal best friends. But have you ever thought it could also fly and easily follow you during skiing, biking, surfing, climbing and also film you wherever you go? A bunch of tech-savvy Latvians from Jelgava have created just this. And by wherever, they really mean – wherever.
Passionate about action sports and savvy in unmanned flying objects, the founders of AirDog aimed to create an ideal friend for extreme sports activists. The gadget is beautifully simple – all it takes to bring it to action is strapping the programmable remote on owner’s wrist or helmet. This is the only time you touch the remote – AirDog does the rest all by itself. The drone takes off, follows you, films your every move and then lands back – all completely autonomously.
It's been a while since we've written about the great Groupon-esque land grabs and wars that seemed to take over the early part of the '10s. As Groupon started becomming an everyday noun in the U.S., Europe was battling over who could become the regional champion with enough eyeballs to dominate the '75% off spa packages' space.
An interesting competitor that played the game a little differently was Denmark's Bownty - a startup that played aggregator to all the smaller Groupon-style companies in the market, and brought all their deals under one roof. What Kayak was to airlines, Bownty was to Denmark's and the region's Groupons.
There’s a certain point in fitness training after which getting higher results becomes increasingly difficult. From there on, attaining physical goals will require more dedication and rigorousness but that alone might not be enough: planning and insights into your own training will help you better understand which aspects of training you need to pay more attention to.
Thanks to technology, this no longer means you’ll need to hire a personal trainer that will stand by you during exercise while taking notes and telling you what to do. Portable devices, such as the wristband launched by PulseON, can do the same analysis by measuring your heart rate during training and afterwards transmitting this data into a mobile application that translates it into tangible information.
The Nordics and Baltics are chock full of companies trying to solve the problem of the "fit". Newest among them making some traction is Fitbay, a Copenhagen-based startup that's received €1.47 million in funding from Steadfast Venture Capital and Creandum. In January the company raised €290,000 from Jesper Buch.
What Fitbay does is it gets you to input your body type into their system so they can only show you clothes that fit that gorgeous shape of yours (it's true, ArcticStartup has damn good looking readers). To make their system better, they ask you to plug in some clothes you own where you like the fit - so if you've got some t-shirts that really make you feel like you're a greek god or some dress that makes your feel like a beautiful princess or whatever, then Fitbay can show you other clothes that will also fit like that.
How do you think the app landscape (and the use of your phone) is going to change when nearly everyone has the tools and resources to build their own apps? That's what struck me after trying out Appgyver's new toolset, dubbed Composer, which brings down the required skill level needed to start making apps.
More beautiful apps are coming our way: Oslo-based Outracks Technologies announces it has raised €2.59 million from Northzone and Alliance Venture. The company produces cross-platform content creation tools, most notably its Realtime Studio creative tool suite and IDE, which allows programmers to create multi-platform apps and visuals using HTML5 and WebGL. Realtime Studio is currently in closed beta, but this investment suggests that they'll be pushing to get Realtime Studio into businesses and freelancers' hands soon.
Helsinki-based health & lifestyle start up Yoogaia has set out to bring balance into peoples lives through a platform that offers online Yoga classes. Taking advantage of the wide availability of stream capable devices, Yoogaia aims to make Yoga practicing more easily attainable and affordable for those who have troubles including the ancient form of meditation into their busy week schedules or have no access to classes in their near proximity.
Oulu-based Indoor Atlas, the indoor positioning startup, announced yesterday that it had raised €3.3 million in funding from Mobility Ventures and KoppiCatch, as well as Vera Ventures, Finnvera and Tekes. Indoor Atlas is one of the hotter startups in Finland thanks to their unique technology which allows for the down-to-the-dot positioning of a phone by picking up the magnetic signals of the building or earth unique to where the phone is. Current solutions, like GPS (and assisted by WiFi), are about as accurate as you can throw your phone.
Would you trust an app and thermometer to have sex without rubbers, pills or coitus interruptus as a way to prevent unintended pregnancies? According to Swedish startup Natural Cycles, there’s a 100% natural and 99.9% proven method to prevent pregnancies - once you use their app to get the timing right.
We've been thinking too much about events lately, and decided to buzzfeed together a post about the type of people you see at every Finnish startup event. Have any more suggestions? Let us know in the comments.
1. Finnish Game Dev
- Used to work at Rovio (previously at Digital Chocolate)
- Wearing hoodie from current game company
- Working on F2P character-driven iPad game
- Carries stick to beat away investors
The Norwegian social delivery service Easybring has announced that after a successful launch in its home country it will be bringing its cheap environmentally friendly platform to the rest of the world.
The London-based startup with Estonia's Skype roots, Transferwise, announces it has raised $25 million from Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Index Ventures, Sir Richard Branson and other investors. The company hints it will be using the funding to expand consumer awareness of their product, which allows consumers and businesses to exchange and send money cross border using much cheaper exchange rates than what banks offer. Since launching, Transferwise has raised $33 million.
As Trendsonline reported, the Danish government is planning to introduce new tax deductions which favor startup investors as a part of the 2020 plan. A new company tax deduction will make it easier for small enterprises to obtain venture capital by making the company more attractive for investors in the project proposals and business plans.