Location, Location, Location! Or Timing and Execution?

    zipikoRemember Zipiko? The service with a “quick and effortless way to see what your friends are doing and a way to invite them to your chosen venue whether it’s it a local cafe or your own place for drinks, lunch or whatever you fancy.”

    Unfortunately the company that developed Zipiko, namely Zipipop, put the product development on ice already last June and moved on to service the growing Finnish enterprise customer base that is completely and utterly lost with social media wave that has hit the organizations. To scale their operations Zipipop, lead by its energetic CEO Helene Auramo, has teamed up with the former Managing Director of Accenture’s Finnish and Nordic offices.

    Richard von Kaufmann of Zipipop states in the company blog the following:

    One year of feedback and usage data shows that Zipiko is being used mainly for group activities – even though it was not primarily designed for groups. Therefore we have put it on ice while we redevelop it into a dedicated “group activity organizer”.

    Ideally we would have like to run the previously version in the background while we undertake the change, however, the current SMS usage is too high for us to afford but not high enough to attract advertisers. And SMS was so integrated into the core of the service we are unable to simply remove it.

    Three months before Zipiko was put in the ice in March 2009, Mark Hendrickson left his job at TechCrunch where he was a writer and established a company with a friend. Now he has come out with Plancast, ‘a way to easily broadcast your plans to your online social circle.’ Mike Butcher, The editor at TechCrunch Europe, described Zipiko as ‘a mobile service for sorting your social life on the go, as in, broadcast where you’ll be at a certain time in the day. Think Dopplr, but on a much more granular level perhaps.’

    Sound familiar, anyone?

    I’m not saying timing and execution has nothing do with Zipiko ending up in the dead pool and the possible success of Plancast, but as they are both consumer services which need the critical mass to grow into businesses, it’s very interesting to follow Plancast in Silicon Valley and how it builds (or doesn’t build) momentum. This will be another case study (regardless of the clear differences with the team and the timing) on building consumer web services in Europe versus in the Valley. (Here’s a heated conversation on the topic from earlier on)

    Just recently I talked to a professor visiting Helsinki from Stanford University and during our conversation about the Finnish startup ecosystem and on how to get more student on the entrepreneurial path, he asked me whether anyone has done case studies on the Finnish or Nordic success stories, and especially the failures, to see what was done right and what went south. These case studies would be valuable material to study for those in the new Aalto University and even in Universities across the continent. Who knows, we might get also more answers to the ever so popular topic of Europe vs. Silicon Valley. Zipiko & Plancast; Jaiku & Twitter; Fruugo and Amazon.com; the list goes on.

    I hope Zipipop will take Zipiko from ice and continue the development after the success and Foursquare and Dopplr, and the seeing services like Plancast pop up across the Atlantic. Would be interesting to see a similar service being developed on both sides of the Atlantic at the same time.