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

TwitBear launches into private beta – I’ve got invites

Twitbear logo

Three Finns, who clearly have a hard time in moving to Twitter from Jaiku have created a new service called Twitbear that gives the possibility to comment on Twitter messages.

The service, which moved into private beta yesterday,  is clearly not up to it’s full potential yet, but looks very promising. What Twitbear needs is the option to send the comments back to Twitter. I hope for their sake Twitter will not implement this type of commenting in the actual service some day.

I wish the team the best of luck. It’s great to see Finns creating services on top of Twitter.

Read more from Arctic Startup.

I have 5 invites to share with you. Claim yourself one by leaving a comment below.

UPDATE: No more invites to share. All gone.

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ArcticIndex – Database of Nordic startups Launches into Beta

ArcticIndex is the name of the Nordic Crunchbase that the guys at Arctic Startup have been working on. The site has now launched into public beta.

Right now anyone can register to add companies and people. The AS team with their development partner Kisko Labs have a good roadmap for future services, they are launching slowly.

I think ArcticIndex is a really great service that I will definitely use. I’m looking forward to two features that will make the service a whole lot useful.

  1. sorting of companies (and people) by type of business and geographically (which would mean no more updating of the List of Finnish Startups for me, Yay!)
  2. embedding of profiles open for anybody. They are now only using them on Arctic Startup, but it would make the service even more attractive if other sites could do this as well.

Every Nordic startup should right now go and add their data to ArcticIndex. But that doesn’t mean that they should neglect CrunchBase or TradeVibes.

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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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TechCrunch Brunch: Two Important Lessons

Yesterday I attended the TechCrunchBrunch which was organized as a side-event for the Slush conference. The event consisted of two panel discussions hosted by TechCrunch UK‘s Mike Butcher and networking. All in all the event was really good – well organized and the content was excellent.

A live video of the event was streamed by Floobs to Techcrunch. They now have a 30minute video of the highlights. If you want a full description of the discussion,  Arctic Startup’s Miikka did a good job in liveblogging the event.

Below are two of the most important topics that came up in the discussions.

Business location is not important, focusing to the global market is

You can create a startup anywhere nowadays. No VC will anymore demand you to move to Silicon Valley, but it is important for startups to have a foothold in a place such as London, where startups and VC:s can easily come together.

Startups in general have not been really good at aquiring new users. One should not rely on a viral effect that comes from your product being really good. Finnish startups would need help in their marketing efforts for 1) gaining more users 2) developing their business.

A solid business plan will make life in a startup much easier. Companies should try to avoid getting funding as long as possible, so that when they do need it they are in a better position to negotiate with vc’s.

The government in Finland, as in many European countries, is very helpful for early stage startups by providing funding. However they usually demand that a startup proves themselves in the Finnish market first and later try to take over the world. This logic guides Finnish startups into the wring direction. Many panelists agreed that startups must be created to the global market from the beginning in order for them to succeed there.

The team is really important in getting funded

The problem in Finnish startups have, is that their management is too junior. The VC’s put their money on the team. They must believe, that the team is capable and experienced enough to succeed in any situation. This is even more true in these depressing times we live in.

Startups can be founded by young people, but they should try to recruit experienced people before they try to get funding. This is something Finnish startups have not realized yet.

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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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Finnish Startups: You’re (I’m) Not Alone

This post was long overdue. When I started this blog about six months ago, it was quite hard to find information and contacts from Finnish web startups and I foolishly felt that I was quite alone in my interest. The situation was not that bad before but it has improved quite a lot during this time. Nevertheless, more could be done.

Blogs and events Read more…

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