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Startupbin

Blog about the web and startups, from Finland. By Timo Paloheimo

Finnish Muxlim Launches World’s First Virtual World for Muslims

Muxlim, the world’s largest online community, and is based in Finland, has launched the world’s first virtual world for muslims, Muxlim Pal. As the name implies, the virtual world wants to be the user’s virtual friend instead of a virtual representation of the user.

Muxlim Pal, which is “currently in prototype for testing purposes” was designed by Finnish digital agency FWD Helsinki and developed by Muxlim and Mahtava Development. The world is a browser based flash application with a 3D-illusion environment, i.e gives an impression of being a 3D-application without really being one. I have to agree that the technical implementation was a wise choice as 3D in flash is really primitive at the moment.

As far as can be seen from the screenshots, Muxlim Pal reminds me of Habbo, but with some uniquely muslim features. The characters are not as pixel-perfect as the surroundings, furniture and other items. But the isometric view gives a very Habbo-like feeling. From the screenshots i gather that Muxlim will make their money from virtual goods: clothers and furniture for the user’s to decorate their pal’s rooms.

From their press release:

Muxlim Pal allows users to create their own virtual friend who has a personal room within the world. Both can be customised, enhanced, decorated and developed by following certain actions or purchasing accessories and items. Muxlim Pal also permits brands to advertise their own products, as well as interact with users in different parts of the world.

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Finnish startups: Add Yourself To CrunchBase, Now

I know that the ArcticStartup guys are developing their own version of CrunchBase to cover Nordic and Baltic companies, but Finnish startups can and should add their information to CrunchBase right now.

CrunchBase is a free database of startup information developed by TechCrunch.  CrunchBase is propably the best database available for public information on startup and it’s a shame that most Finnish startups have neglected the service.One of the features they have is the ability to grab company information in widget form that I would like to use on this blog, if there only would be more Finnish startups listed there.

So, Finnish startups, if you haven’t done anything to increase your visibility today, go and add your company to CrunchBase right now. And then add yourselves to another similar service, TradeVibes too. No excuses, just do it! You’ll thank yourself later.

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Fruugo coming out today at Sime

Fruugo, the secretive and ambitious Finnish startup that I was the first one to blog about a year ago, is finally today revealing more details of their offering at the SIME08 conference in Stockholm. Arctic Startup already got some information from Fruugo beforehand. Apparently the rumors of their huge layoffs are pretty much exaggerated.

I’m looking forward into seeing some screenshots of the service later today or hopefully testing the service myself in the near future.

For background information on the company, see my extensive previous coverage on Fruugo.

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The List Of Finnish Web Startups

Ever since I started blogging about Finnish web startups, I’ve wanted to get my hands on a list of all of them. That obviously didn’t exist, so I had to compile it myself. I’ve compiled the list from various sources, mainly this blog and Arctic Startup. At this point the list will of course not contain all of the finnish web startups, just the ones I’m aware of. If you know a startup missing from the list, please leave a note in the comments or by using this form.

Also, if you can come up with an easy, but efficient way to bring the updating of the list into the public domain, please comment below.

The List of Finnish Web Startups
Read more…

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Floobs Integrates With Kotisivukone

Floobs, the Finnish startup that enables users to create their own live TV channels on the web or mobile has integrated its services into Kotisivukone.  Kotisivukone is another Finnish startup who make creating websites really easy (Their name is Finnish for Home Page Machine). Their users can now easily add Floobs channels to their pages through a component.

The integration is done through Floobs’s API that is designed to make the integrations easy. Earlier the API has been used to integrate with Petsie, a social network for pets. Floobs will continue to focus in integrating their service to other sites. The API is open to the public and so far has also a custom module for Content Management System Joomla.

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Startups from Finland: MySites in Twitter Interview

This is the first in my Interviews of Finnish startups using Twitter. The idea is to keep things simple: One Tweet per answer, no editing.

First up is Ramine Darabiha from MySites. The method of interviewing through Twitter needs some more practice and some of the answers were more than just one tweet, but nevertheless a good concept that I will definitely continue using in the future.

The Twinterview with Ramine Darabiha from MySites

startupbin @mysites So, here goes: What is MySites? Read more…

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TripSay Launches – Gets Good PR

TripSay, the Finnish social travel startup, that I’ve covered a few times before has opened up to public beta.  The company has done good PR work, since the launch is covered – among others – in two of the biggest startup blogs TechCrunch and Mashable. The launch story also made it onto Techmeme.

Overall the launch has gotten quite a lot of nice publicity. Most of the reviews have been positive, although some have questioned the business models of social travel sites in general, which was not a problem back in January when I did in my first post about Tripsay (It was called Vailoma back then).

Anyway, Congratulations to Leo and Juha and the rest of the TripSay team for the launch. Too bad I’ll miss the launch party tomorrow. Also remember that the work has just started.

See what other people are talking about the Tripsay launch:

Techmeme discussion
Discussion on Friendfeed
Google Blog search

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Startups From Finland: Open Problem Bank – Good Idea Waiting To Become Modest Failure

Open Problem Bank is a Finnish startup in pre-alpha phase, seeking seed funding and recruiting staff and board members. The company is hoping to create a crowd-sourced database of technical problems of any kind. From the Open Problem Bank website:

Open Problem Bank is a project that aims to collect open technical problems into a searchable database for the public to use freely. People are invited to submit problems into the bank. The problems submitted in the bank should be ideas of devices that somebody could design and build. You don’t have to know how the device you have in mind works, you just have to know why it would be needed or why it would be useful.

The company is founded earlier this year by a Finnish Business Intelligence Specialist Nisse Suutarinen who has been very kind in posting a preliminary business plan on their site. The business plan reveals that they are seeking a seed funding of 50000USD, which would give an investor 25% of equity. The same 50k would also cover the costs of getting the service to beta and also running costs for the first year. Doesn’t seem that much, does it?

Good idea, what about the execution?

The idea of the Open Problem Bank is good. The idea was awarded at Cambrian House, a site that is focused on developing crowdsourcing-based companies. I just feel that Mr. Suutarinen is aimed too low in his plans. There should be more effort put into developing a good idea into a successful business than can be found in his plans. Open Problem Bank will probably find its 50k and develop into a modest one man business before fading away into the ever-expanding sea of unsuccesful executions of a good ideas. I hope Mr. Suutarinen proves me wrong. All the luck in your efforts Nisse.

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Fruugo Wants To Become The Trusted 3rd Party Of Ecommerce

The guys of Arctic Startup met with Fruugo’s CEO Reijo Syrjäläinen this morning and got to ask what Fruugo is all about. I was also invited to the meeting but was unfortunately unable to join them.

According to the story, Fruugo is building a platform that will enable customers to make purchases online in an easier, simpler and safer way. The company is aiming to become “the trusted 3rd party of ecommerce”.

Fruugo still doesn’t reveal too much about themselves, but their service will be available in closed beta in a few months. Fruugo will update their website on Monday with some more information.

The answer to the mystic equation 1L + 1M + 1P =? was also mentioned in the story. It is “1 Language + 1 Mind + 1 Purpose = Success”. We’ll have to see what that will entail in the future.

[The whole story on Arctic Startup]

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The Key To Succesful Startup PR: Build Trust Before You Need It

Brian Solis wrote a profound article on TechCrunch called PR Secrets for Startups. He lists many good tips all startups should know about public relations, including Understand You’re Not the Only Story in Town, Don’t Launch on Mondays and Measure Success, Not Traffic.

Many of his advice are very important for startups, where ever they are coming from. Solis writes about the role of the founder in attending and creating conversations and making contacts all the time.

As Solis points out, blogging is one natural way for a founder to get into the conversation. He should comment on other blogs and write articles that link back to his own or company blog. He should of course make contacts with journalists and bloggers at conferences and other networking events. Most importantly, and I can’t stress this enough, contacts should be made and the reputation built before they are needed.

One good example of Finnish startups that are active commentators on blogs and have a good blog of their own are they guys of Scred. I see their comments often at places like TechCrunch and Arctic Startup. But I believe that they could be even more active in their own blog. Other Finnish startups should definitely do the same.

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