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Last week I skipped the weekly news because too much was happening at the Next Web and I can’t network and post at the same time (bloggers’ capacity issue at GoalEurope is being resolved).
This week’s news are all about huge rounds raised by Evernote (whom I consider a somewhat Russian company, given Stepan Pachikov’s legacy and Russian roots of many in Evernote’s team including Phil Libin), and Russian /Swedish online classified ad business Avito. Evernote picked up $70M at a valuation of $1B from T. Rowe Price Associates, Harbor Pacific Capital, Allen & Company amongst others and Avito raised $75 from Accel Partners.
On the subject of Evernote, Antti Vilpponen of Arctic Startup has just published a post about Evernote based on his chat with Phil Libin at The Next Web.
Estonian Zerply raised $600,000 from Dave McClure and 500 Startups, Quotidan Ventures, EchoVC, and others.
Horizon Capital has acquired a minority stake in Eastern European outsourcing company Ciklum. Founded by Danish Torben Majgaard, Ciklum employs 1800 people in Ukraine and Belarus.
Earlier, Ukrainian Java platform as a service Jelastic has picked up $2 million from Almaz Capital and Foresight Ventures.
A new accelerator called Geekcelerator is about to launch in Bucharest, Romania. Watch this space.
Czech Brand Embassy that helps identify and engage customers via social media has launched a new product called Engager. The tool allows spotting dissatisfied customers, and increasing efficiency of its online service by 40 percent. The company claims that this tool has been tested by Johnson and Johnson, Diageo and other big brands. Brand Embassy monitors over 50 million websites in 20 languages, including Facebook and Twitter and sort customer mentions based on their influence and urgency.
I have met founders of two collaboration newsfeed startups: Busyflow and now Hojoki, having caught up with its CEO Martin Böhringer after his pitch at TNW Startup Rally. Yet, the third player 300 Milligrams is based in The Kingdom of Far Far Away, so I am yet to get to know them. In the meantime 300.mg has announced a new feature on its blog, as picked up by EastIst. The feature is social filtering of the collaboration apps newsfeed, to help deal with the increasing amount of notifications.
Hungarian Prezi announced a new feature, allowing importing PowerPoint slides into prezis, and boasting 10 million users.
More launches were announced during the Next Web conferences. Thus, Zapstreak launched a private beta version of its media content streaming SDK for Android apps developers.
Coverage / Reviews
Ivo Spiegel has written a remarkable piece on GetJar having interviewed its founder and CEO Lithuanian Ilja Laurs. GetJar is a cross platform app store for free apps, which makes its money by helping discover apps through featured listings. A must read, as the story covers the aspects of going global from a small Eastern European country.
On the subject of mobile games, EastIst picked up on the company I did not know existed. Yet an in-app billing platform Tequila Planet announced getting 10 million unique users within a year of operation. It is available in over 80 countries. It is a cross-platform mobile game store for free full version mobile games, where monetization takes place within the game. Needless to say that monetization through social features is more lucrative than a one-off payment for the game download.
Slovenian DoubleRecall reports fantastic stats on user engagement. Just to remind you, it is a feature for premium content to be offered to the readers for free in exchange for creative interaction with an ad. So, premium content without DoubleRecall feature will get 100,000 users but only 1 percent engagement rate, resulting in $4,000 dollars revenue (at $4 per month). With DoubleRecall the paywall engagement rate is 50 percent, resulting in $17,500 revenue per 100,000 unique (DoubleRecall keeps $0.35 per engagement). Piano Media should take a note, and perhaps bring DoubleRecall back home to its shared paywall in Slovenia.
Romanian social media monitoring service UberVU was reviewed by TechCrunch, and Baltic Campalyst was named amongst the required social media monitoring tools in a BBC job ad, according to its co-founder Dalia Lasaite (she’s been clearly monitoring the social media for Campalyst mentions). Not bad for a startup which is barely one year old.
Russian Pinme (analogue of Pinterest) has reported reaching 4.5 million unique monthly users, after launching in December 2011, beating Futubra (Russian Tumblr from Mail.ru Group) and Pinspire (German Pinterest clone) on traffic figures.
Ruslan Fazlyev, the founder and CEO of Ecwid (Ajax based ecommerce widget installed in over 150,000 online stores worldwide) has written a guest post for Forbes, supporting the idea of F-commerce with numbers: its SME clients reported almost 18 percent of their sales coming from Facebook stores.
Serbian game developer Nordeus has made it to Red Herring’S Top 100 Europe list (the company has also won people’s choice award at London Web Summit in March 2012, and Europa’s Award in 2011).
If this is the only story you read on GoalEurope this week, please note that I have previously covered many Eastern European startups which I came across at The Next Web conference in Amsterdam last week.
Cloud business intelligence dashboard software from Czech BellaDati was reviewed by The Next Web.
Prague Startup Weekend was covered by Pavel Curda on The Next Web. The winner was CSS Hat, which does wizardry with Photoshop layers.
Richard Seewald, the investor with a private equity firm Alpha Associates ($2B under management, a half of it in Russia and CEE) has been talking to me about the phenomenon of many security companies coming from Eastern Europe (and specifically, the Czech Republic). Seewald used to be on the board of AVG Technologies, based in Prague. Finally, the story on Security Czechs is out in Economist. In addition to big guns such as AVG, Avast and ESET, a fairly new security company Cognitive Security (Credo Ventures and Seewald are investors) is also covered.
In March this year Seewald talked to Bloomberg about investing in Russia and Eastern Europe, pointing out that Russian and CEE investments outperform other markets since 2002. Ozon is another investment of Alpha Associates.
Just in: Badoo (founded by a serial Russian entrepreneur Andrei Andreev) is about to hit 150 million users today.
And finally, Russian team Havka-papstvo (team members are Egor, Petr and Pavel – more information is needed from the organizers) won international programming contest 24Challenge, organized by the co-founder of Hungarian Easyling Balazs Benedek.
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