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As TechCrunch Baltics took place last week in Riga, Latvia, the weekly news begin with coverage of startups in Baltic Rim.
Infogr.am, the startup from Latvia won TC Baltic competition and raised seed funding from HackFwd. I have previously met the co-founder Uldis Leiterts at mini-Seedcamp Paris, where he was presenting his startup developing simple and inexpensive infographics-building tools for masses. HackFwd invested Euro 150 000 in exchange for traditional 27 percent of equity.
More funding news from Latvian companies this week, as Clusterpoint raised Euro 1 million from BaltCap, an expansion-stage private equity investor in the region (we have previously reported an investment by BaltCap in Latvian AGroup, HR management SaaS). As reported by TechCrunch, Clusterpoint developed a scalable database platform designed for cloud computing infrastructure.
Just a little over a week ago an Estonian startup incubator was launched by Tallinn Science Park Technopol. Last Thursday another Estonian accelerator StartupWiseGuys was launched with help of Jon Bradford of Springboard, Kristo Ovaska of Startup Sauna, Andris Berzins from TechHub Riga, Rokas Tamošiūnas from StartupHighway of Lithuania, Chris Kowalczyk of Gamma Rebels in Poland and Raido Pikkor of Tehnopol, Estonia. The mentor network looks very well connected (investors, accelerator representatives, PR and media from many European countries). To receive Euro 15 000 and 13 weeks of mentoring startups should apply before the 11th of March 2012.
Finnish Startup Sauna has released the dates for its Warmups in Warsaw Poland (25.02), Kaunas Lithuania (8.03), Riga Latvia (06.03), and Russia – St Petersburg (12.03), Moscow (14.03) and Krasnodar (16.03).
More accelerator news came from Poland last week, as the HugeThing launched in Poznan. Startups accepted to the program will get Euro 9’000 for 10 percent of equity. The program is split into two stages and will take 6 months in total.
Slovenian startup DoubleRecall raised $1.6 million seed capital to improve effectiveness of ads through CAPTCHA-like feature. To gain access to the paid content, a user is asked to answer a question in an ad, which is supposed to boost effectiveness of the brand awareness 11 times over. The Y-Combinator company, and the finalist of our own European Startup Week Vienna competition, DoubleRecall has previously raised $170K from Yuri Milner and SV Angel’s Start Fund, as well as Y Combinator. The new round, according to TechCrunch, came from Digital Garage, Itochu Ventures, Mentor Equity and TEEC Angel.
On the subject of paywall, Piano Media, Slovak startup which innovates online media industry with a common paywall, shared by 12 publishing houses with over 50 content websites, has just raised its price by almost 35 percent. According to the company’s press release, the company saw a steady user growth, and saw opportunity to increase revenue. Piano, which is active in Slovakia and Slovenia, is currently negotiating with publishers in 11 European countries.
Czech SocialBakers has opened an office in the San Francisco to expand its market reach. Already now SocialBakers have over 750 customers helping them understand effectiveness of their social media campaigns and those of their competitors. We covered the company not so long ago here.
Russian newspaper Kommersant reports rumors that Oktogo, Russian hotel booking service has raised $10 million from VTB Capital (its previous investors include Mangrove Capital, ABRT and Ventech). As of January 2012 Oktogo had over 140 000 hotels in its database.
Just today Runa Capital announced its investment in the American startup StoptheHacker, which aims to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect malware on websites and Facebook pages. StoptheHacker raised $1.1 million in total. The investment fits well with Runa Capital’s portfolio, which also includes companies in the field of virtualization (Parallels, United Internet), hosting (ThinkGrid, Jelastic), backup and recovery (Acronis) solutions and even Russia’s largest software reseller Softline.
EPAM, originally a Belarusian outsourcing company, which is the largest player in Central and Eastern Europe, has completed its IPO, selling 6 million shares at $12 per share. At these prices EPAM was valued at $488 million. By the end of this week the price has icreased to approximately $14 per share.
Finally, last week I reported about my discovery of Evernote Clearly being originally (and presently) a Romanian product. Read more in my post on TechCrunch Europe.
With that I think I covered most of the last week’s news, although perhaps a launch of yet another accelerator has escaped by attention (someone must start a blog focusing on accelerators exclusively I feel).
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