Kaj Hed's First Major Investment Outside Rovio Goes To Kiosked In A €4.5M Round

    The other week we asked where were Helsinki’s big startups, and today Kiosked responded with a new funding round. €4.5 million is a nice number for the “content activation platform,” but what gives the funding more weight is that this is the first major public investment made by Kaj Hed since pumping money into and buying up 70% of Rovio. The funding round was also joined by private investors and Tekes, and Hed will join the Kiosked board as chairman.

    Of the €4.5 million, a million euros comes from Tekes’ Young Innovative Companies -program and the direct investments by investors is around €3 million. Kaj Hed’s stake in the round is the largest by far.

    On the funding round, Hed says, “Disrupting and re-shaping any industry is always interesting. Kiosked is the first to connect brands with their online business logic through their content and fans. It is going to create new paradigms that will change the way brands engage with consumers forever.”

    Just looking at Kiosked’s website it’s hard to get a sense what they’re doing, but about a week ago I sat down with CEO and Founder Micke Paqvalén in their offices to talk about what the company is doing and where they’re going. Put simply, Kiosked allows content, like images and videos, to be have embedded content. An image of a game could have a flash game embedded inside, for example, which pops out when the user clicks the blue “kiosked” logo that appears on mouseover.

    That’s all good and well, but the company’s real focus is to allow brands to “activate their content” by putting webshops into the marketing images and videos they produce. By doing so, consumers don’t have to scour the web or hope their local store has that one shirt they saw and liked in that clothing company’s video.

    What’s going to bring a new dynamic to the web as we know it, is that all of these shared Kiosked images and videos can be remotely controlled by the content owners. Today if a fan embeds a Youtube video on their blog, for example, it’s out there for forever, and the video will stay that one video until the end of time.

    Kiosked instead lets brands and content owners update the images, videos, and linked content, no matter if it’s embedded on someone’s blog or posted on their Facebook wall. On top of that, the whole system is built to be dynamic. Whenever someone hovers over a Kiosked image (for example) kiosked then returns content based on your location and other factors, so brands can target users more accurately. I’m not sure how much people are going to like it when content they’ve shared changes on them, but you can see how this lights up marketers’ eyes.

    The number of Kiosked publishers has increased more than 100% per month since January, and the company claims that the number of Kiosked brands is close to 10,000 with more than 10 million products for sale.

    Revenue wise, the company did around €200 000 turnover in 2011 and is expected to do well over one million euros this year, according to Paqvalén.

    “We are very proud and I’m confident that [Kaj Hed’s] invaluable business experience and vast networks will help us to speed up the execution of our growth strategy. We are looking for top talents as we expect to quickly grow from today’s 30 to 100 employees”, says Kiosked CEO and Founder Micke Paqvalén.

    Yesterday Kiosked started moving from their headquarters from Töölö, Helsinki to a new office building in Keilaniemi, Espoo. Rovio and Nokia also have offices in Keilaniemi.

    In May we discovered that Rovio’s €42 million investment from a year earlier went to its shareholders. It’s probable that we can connect this new investment to that cash out.