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Earlier this Fall I have nurtured the plans to attend at least one of the Startup Sauna Warmups which took place in Russia and eastern Europe, but alas had conflicting arrangements or terrible flight connections. So I reported about adventures relying on Skype, emails and Twitter. But I have finally made it to the demo day. And it looks epic already.
First of all, the entrance of the demo day venue Nosturi is covered in heavy metal posters, and the lighting is more suitable to a concert than startup pitches, yet it makes the demo day of the Finnish startup accelerator even more exciting. Ville Simola and Antti Ylimutka are the restless organizing and globetrotting team which in the past couple of months have been to Siberia, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Sweden, Silicon Valley and even China in search for the great ideas and promising businesses. The ones they found for the latest edition of Startup Sauna can be found here.
I just caught up with Simola who is in the middle of putting the final touches to the Demo day. Startup Sauna, which is now also funded by the Finnish government, is considering going open source, and give funding and mentoring to the startups for free. Perhaps a smart move, as only today Arctic Startup blog reported that another accelerator Nordic Startups is opening up in Sweden.
Earlier today Om Malik of GigaOm has delivered a speech at a Startup Sauna press conference, and now Sauna startups are finalizing their presentations. Before the official presentation begins I had a chance to talk to some startups and here is my report.
Hundredpercent.me project has become a history, but instead Sergey Nezymaev and Roman Sotnikov from Novosibirsk, Russia have created a clothes fitting solution Apta.me, which unlike robot-powered fits.me from Estonia, uses a simple measuring tape. The team does not guarantee that you look good in the clothes, but rather ensures that it fits well.
Another Russian startup graduating from the Sauna is Appscale. Here is a problem it solves. Apparently, despite Facebook’s dominance in terms users’ attention, at least 60 percent of gaming income is being earned on other social networks (Source: Superdata 2011). Eighty companies earn 95 per cent of gaming income on Facebook, while the rest 10 000 game developers get nearly nothing. Appscale allows publishing games on all social networks simultaneously, thereby opening game developers new markets, where competition for users is not as intense.
I have just briefly spoken to Artem Elmuratov from Maxygen, who had to go practice the final presentation. The startup is in talks with a number of investors and is applying to become Skolkovo resident. If all goes well, the Russian government will contribute twice as much investment grant as the value of the private investment. Maxygen develops DNA testing kits to diagnose infectious deceases at the general physician’s practice.
So, here is all for the first part of my report. Look forward to meeting Inbelly, Qminder, Imgn.it and OSklad later on.
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vita at goaleurope dot com