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Free calling app integrates with users’ existing contacts

May 29, 2011

My latest Springwise spotting comes from Switzerland.

VoIP services such as Skype already offer mobile applications, but typically users must create an account, build a contact list and then launch the app each time they want to make a free call. Not so with Voxtrot, a free mobile app that seamlessly integrates into the phone’s standard calling function and automatically makes calls free when Voxtrot users talk to one another.

Now in beta from Switzerland-based IMV AG, Voxtrot “works as if your mobile carrier is giving you free worldwide mobile calls,” in the company’s own words. No logins, usernames or complicated passwords are required, and users need not create any separate contact list. Instead, they simply dial their phone as they always do. If the person at the other end is a Voxtrot user, the call will be free; if not, it will just be connected normally. Voxtrot works anywhere in the world, whatever the carrying network, and it does not interfere with the phone’s other apps or carrier connections. A video on YouTube demonstrates the app in more detail.

Voxtrot is currently available only for Android, and can be downloaded from the Android Market. Versions for other platforms are in the works, however.


Click the image to see the original spotting.

Swedish Cultural initiatives benefit from crowdfunding model

April 6, 2011

A new Springwise Spotting that was published just the other day:

We’ve seen numerous industries employing the crowdfunding model to help projects get their feet off the ground, from social enterprises to breweries to telecommunication and web startups. We’re now seeing that same model applied to cultural startups, through Swedish CrowdCulture.

The crowdfunding platform – originally run in beta in cooperation with Fonden för Innovativ Kultur – works by hosting various cultural ideas and projects for its members to fund with investments of SEK 50. The projects differ greatly in their content and plans, and include dance, theater and puppetry, among others. In order to submit and idea for funding or to submit a payment to fund an existing project, it is necessary to purchase a paying membership at SEK 100. Otherwise, it is possible to become a member for free, giving users the opportunity to feedback and give advice to the hosted projects in order to help them develop. During CrowdCulture’s three month beta period nearly 500 people participated across 28 projects, ultimately leaving 6 fully funded.

CrowdCulture has just received an offer for continued partnership from The City of Stockholm, meaning it can continue to lend a helping hand to artistic and cultural projects still in their infancy. We’ve no doubt that the crowdfunding model can give a boost to projects in almost any industry.


See the original in Sprinwise by clicking the pic above

Finnish Founder2Be providing the binding glue for Entrepreneurial talent

March 2, 2011

I popped into Helsinki Hub for a quick breakfast meeting on Tuesday morning to hear how Founder2be is looking to help talented individuals find each other and form startups.  The company is only two months old and Oliver Bremer the founder has some novel ideas for growth of both the company and worldwide entrepreneurial ecosystem starting with small steps of course.

The biggest te chnology website reviewing and reporting on technology startups and growth entrepreneurship from the Nordic and Baltic countries covered Founder2be really well on their blog (click here to view) and just the other week Scandinavian Startups covered them. There is no point rehashing what has been well covered in the other articles; however it was of interest that Founder2be are looking to also organise offline meetups where people thinking of forming startups could chat to others and form their team.

I sent Founder2Be as spotting to Springwise but they noted it was not unique in its concept and perhaps this was due to with my previous spotting HumanIPO “Estonian HumanIPO seeks to help gather momentum for startups of any kind.” It is great to see the startup ecosystem increasing and Founder2be will be of real interest to students who are thinking of forming startups.

Metropolia needs to be more active in this area and I know Metropolia Entrepreneurship Society founder Riina Ruuponen is working behind the scenes on some great ideas. In Metropolia Business School we have plans to work with Nuori Yrittäjyys (Junior Acheivement Finland) to provide students with an easy way to form an official company simply without the red tape. If you are interested in entrepreneurship in Metropolia then join Riina and her fans on Facebook and watch out for some upcoming events.

Life-caching service incorporates maps, photos and friends

February 13, 2011

Another recent Springwise posting this time from closer to home in Estonia. As usual click the pic for the original spotting.

Life-caching service incorporates maps, photos and friends

Now in beta, Estonian myHistro is designed to help users create and share stories from their lives with friends and family. Users begin by signing up with the free service either directly or through Facebook. From there, they place events from their lives on a timeline and a map, indicating other people who were involved and whether the story is private or open for sharing. They can also write a story summary. Photos and descriptions of events can be added for illustration, and friends involved in the story can add their own impressions. The result is a joint narrative that can be saved and replayed at will over time.

Contact: @myHistro

Crowd-curated fashion site features items hand-picked by users

February 7, 2011

A spotting from outside Finland for a change that I had published in Springwise Click on the pic to see the original spotting.

Netherlands-based Fashiolista displays numerous items that have been hand-picked and submitted by regular users using a special “love” button. A million items are “loved” by users in that way on the free site each month, according to a report on VentureBeat, amounting to what’s essentially a community-curated fashion selection. With users in more than 100 countries, Fashiolista also lets regular users follow each others’ votes for a constantly updated dose of inspiration. An iPhone app is available as well from the site, which recently drew a USD 500,000 seed investment from Skype cofounder Niklas Zennström.

Advertising and affiliate fees are at the heart of Fashiolista’s business model; premium accounts, contest sponsorships and specially featured items are all among the site’s opportunities for participating businesses.


Finnish Netcycler: Creates Swapping of Articles Marketplace Online

February 3, 2011

Apologies I have not been great at updating my blog lately. A lot on and a lot more to do. I have also been writing a few articles for my school’s student developed blog while the new student group gets up to speed Metropoliablog.  The plan at some stage is to do a recap on projects that I assisted or developed at the end of 2010. In the meantime here again is an example of Finnish entrepreneurship that I had spotted in Springwise. They did take their time publishing this one since I first spotted it in February 2010.  Click the picture to see the orginal spotting.

Marketplace creates ‘trade rings’ for group swaps

Finnish Netcycler, which opens up swaps to “trade rings” involving multiple people and unevenly matched goods.

Netcycler is a service for giving away and acquiring secondhand goods without exchanging any cash. To participate, users list what they’d like to give away, along with something they’d like to get in return. Those “wishes,” as the site calls them, needn’t match the commercial value of the items being given away. Using a unique matching technology, Netcycler then sets up “trade rings” that can include multiple people whereby each gets a wished-for item and is able to get rid of something too. Each resulting swap is different as a result; one, for example, might include an MP3 player, children’s clothing and a bookshelf — not equivalent in commercial value, perhaps, but evenly matched in satisfying the wishes of the participating users. Swaps on Netcycler are free; the company’s revenue comes from additional services, such as an integrated shipping option.

Netcycler currently operates sites in Finland and Germany, with a UK version now in closed beta.


Spotted by: John Greene

Finnish Deal Machine Using gaming to motivate salespeople

December 3, 2010

Back to entrepreneurship Finnish style and a look a spotting that Springwise published back in November. Deal Machine were the winners of the Slush pitching competition and I was impressed with their different approach to CRM and salesforce efficiency.   Deal Machine uses game mechanics to motivate and reward corporate sales staffs.

CRM and ERP packages are commonplace in many companies today, but they can be time-consuming to use without necessarily helping salespeople achieve their goals. The typical sales position, meanwhile, can be broken down into components remarkably comparable to those seen in many common games, including goals, achievements and earned rewards. Aiming to draw upon the fun and motivation inherent in gaming, Deal Machine applies a gaming model to reward salespeople for every step they take toward their goals. Sales managers set the rules used on Deal Machine, and they can tweak those rules as their effect becomes evident. A real-time leader board, meanwhile, is automatically generated by the site to provide analytics for management while also letting players know who is winning. As per usual click the pic above to see the original spotting.