July 2015



We hope you are enjoying your summer whether you are in the Bay Area or abroad.  


Here at Silicon Vikings, we have been hard at work putting together exciting event and potential speaker ideas for the fall and we would like your input to make sure we are delivering events of interest to you at locations that are convenient!  We want to make sure that our priorities are in line with your priorities---and ask that you complete a brief 5 question survey which will only take a few minutes of your time.


For those of you who have not visited our website recently, be sure to visit our new list of Nordic startups in the Bay Area!  


We look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event!





Charlotte Danielsson

Executive Director


email:  charlotte.danielsson@siliconvikings.com


social media:  https://koik.me/siliconvikings 


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by Eilif Trondsen 

Eilif Trondsen is a frequent contributor to Silicon Vikings Blog.  To view this complete blog post and other blogs by Eilif, visit Silicon Vikings Blog.  


This second posting provides additional insights into what the large OEMs are doing, and what Evangelos feels they need to do, to stay competitive. Here are a few excerpts from his posting and some of the conclusions that he reaches based on his own observations and analysis:


If you have been reading the last three of my blog posts-all focused on Silicon Valley Innovation Outposts (SVIOs)-you know that many of these SVIOs are focused on the automotive industry, and there is no doubt that Silicon Valley already is playing a major role in helping shape the future of the automotive industry. In this post I want to build on but extend my previous analysis, both by making references to some excellent analysis of others (especially Evangelos Simoudis of Trident Capital), and by commenting on some other interesting, recent developments. Finally, I want to suggest that we look beyond automobiles to transportation more generally, as drones and other technologies will likely have growing impact on many different parts of the future transportation industry.


Simoudis: The Innovation-Driven Disruption of the Automotive Value China (Part 1)


I highly recommend that you take the time to read both of Evangelos Simoudis's two posts, but here are just a few of what I think are some of the most interesting parts of his first posting:

  • Evangelos notes "Over the years OEMs have transitioned from being vertically integrated companies to become highly efficient integrators of components in car platforms they define and own. Their supply chains are global and are optimized through constant incremental improvements giving them cost advances a new entrant cannot achieve but also making radical changes to this chain difficult, if not impossible."
  • "While initially these were hardware-only platforms, today's cars can be thought of as consisting of a software platform, of mostly embedded and proprietary software that controls major functions of the car, and a hardware platform." The growing importance of software (A major area of strength of Silicon Valley) and very advanced software-based technologies-such as machine learning and other Artificial Intelligence-related areas-together with so-called big data, cloud computing, and others will continue to make Silicon Valley an important place in the increasingly dynamic and changing transportation innovation ecosystem.
  • Evangelos credits his friend Lou Kerner for emphasizing the importance of recognizing that we need to think beyond the traditional OEMs, their suppliers and dealers, when we talk about the automotive value chain as it"...should actually be organized into two broad parts: the car manufacturing and sales part, and the car use part." And he includes a figure that shows elements of financial services, driving services, vehicle services and mobility services where large numbers of companies are now providing important and innovative services to customers.
  • By expanding the value chain to include the car use part, it enables a much richer scope for analysis and understanding how the automotive and transportation industries are changing, and most of us have personal experience with how some innovators, like Uber, Zip car and others are changing how we use and even think about our cars. And by looking at the two parts of the value chain, we can better understand why, and how, many of the traditional players (including the large OEMs) are now making M&A deals across the integrated value chain.
  • Another interesting section of Evangelos's posting focuses on "Problems that are Starting to Shape Our Automotive Thinking"-including Productivity Loss (from traffic congestion, in particular), Pollution, and Climate Change, and how we can start to think about and affect these problems-problems which I think extend beyond automotive to the whole transportation sector.
  •  Emerging Mobility Ecosystem. His figure of this ecosystem depicts a very interesting, and rapidly changing landscape, and one that will likely generate lots of opportunities for large and small companies, including many Silicon Valley startups.....read full article on our blog


Eilif-a transplanted Norwegian who has spent his whole professional life in Silicon Valley-has led and participated in a number of syndicated research programs and numerous consulting projects during his 35 years at SRI International (formerly Stanford Research Institute) and Strategic Business Insights (a spin-out from SRI, located on the Menlo Park campus of SRI). He has also been Adjunct Professor of Economics at a number of Bay Area universities. Most of his work has focused on eCommerce, Learning, Innovation, and Virtual Technologies, and in recent years much of his work has focused on the Nordic region, especially Finland and Norway, including projects for Tekes and the Norwegian Research Council, and two projects funded by Nordic Innovation. He has been a Board member of Silicon Vikings for the last 5 years, and has been the Chair of the Special Interest Group on Entrepreneurship and Learning since its beginning.



by Fredy-Edwin Esse

Summer is usually the time when most Nordic and Baltic people take time off and enjoy the sun and long summer days. Maybe there wasn't enough sun or maybe there was just too much to do, but the last month has been a very busy time in the Nordic and Baltic startup scene.


Let's start off with great news that affects all European Union countries. European Comission has spearheaded its initiative to get rid of high roaming fees in the EU and starting June 2017 it will become reality. This means that while traveling in Europe consumers will pay the same price for mobile services than they would in their home market.




This has been a great year so far for Swedish startups who just seem to keep on raising more money. Joining the long list of well funded Nordic startups is the mobile social network Fishbrain which managed to raise $8 million led by Northzone with Tokyo-based Recruit Strategic Partners No.6 and New York-based Novel TMT Ventures as new investors, as well as existing investors Industrifonden, Active Venture Partners, GP Bullhound and Edastra Venture Capital.


The social network meant for anglers says it will use the money to expand it's operations in the U.S. as well as launch properly in Japan. So if you've made plans to go on holiday in August and are searching for a great place to fish then check Fishbrain out.




Who doesn't remember the heyday of Angry Birds back in 2010 and 2011, when flying birds and green belching pigs invaded almost every smartphone, be it an iPhone or Android. Those days are now long gone for Rovio, the game's creator, but the Finnish gaming company is looking to make another splash before they release their feature film in 2016.


Though Rovio has created many different versions of the original Angry Birds game (Angry Birds Space, anyone?) the company decided to make an official sequel and released a teaser video for Angry Birds 2. Yes, this might not be a huge deal anymore in 2015, but the Finnish company still has some fire power left to be a contender to snag a top spot in the App Store charts. Angry Birds 2 will launch this Thursday.


Espoo based waste management company Enevo completed an impressive $15.8 million funding round led by Foxconn, Ginko Ventures and Mistletoe, with Earlybird, Lifeline Ventures, Finnish Industry Investment and private individuals joining as existing investors.


Enevo's ONe waste logistics operations management solution puts some knowledge into shared trash bins and dumpsters. According to the company they can save cities up to 50% in direct costs by using analytics and smart routing for waste collection.




The tiny Baltic country saw it's most significant exit after last year's $100 million GrabCAD exit. This time it was Fits.me's turn which was acquired by the Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten. The size of the deal wasn't disclosed, but Fits.me was in the middle of a funding round having already secured $14.3 million from CEO James Gambrell, Conor Venture Partners, Entrepreneurs Fund, SmartCap and a number of others. The virtual fitting room Fits.me will continue to operate as a stand-alone business within Rakuten with offices both in London and Tallinn.




A host of Latvian startups have raised money during the summer. MIITO, the maker of futuristic kettles, was the most impressive one of them all managing to raise €800,000 on Kickstarter. It has to be said that this was five times more than the inital goal of €150,000.


Fabula is being called the Spotify for ebooks and it sure seems to be working for them. The company raised €470,000 from  Imprimatur Capital, Vision+ and angels from the US, Sweden, and Latvia. Fabula has been succesful in its home market of Latvia and this new round of capital will help them expand to the Nordics.


On the heels of a $2 million seed round in March, Latvian drone manufacturer AirDog raised an additional €460,000 on AngelList as the company pushes to deliver the first drones to its backers by the end of August.




Probably the most impressive amount of money raised during the last month was by BZT Fashion, the company behind Nordic fashion ecommerce store Boozt. The Nordic startup raised DKK 200 million (€26 million) from investors Sampension, Friheden Invest and a group of current shareholders including Sunstone Capital and Verdane.


The company is under Danish management and operates in the Oresund region with around 250 employees divided between its headquarters in Malmö and warehouse in Ängelholm. The company has witnessed tremendous sales growth during the last few years and hopefully the fresh influx of cash will help it grow faster.




One of the hottest names coming from Lithuania at the moment (and yes, I'm including Pixelmator) is the game creation platform TutoTOONS. The company has managed to double its downloads to 20 million in just three months, having reached 10 million downloads in April this year.


Creating games with TutoTOONS is free and you don't have to know code or even own a computer. You can do it on your smartphone or tablet. The company has published over 120 games to date.




It's well known that Norwegians take it easy when it isn't skii season, but luckily we have a little light news from Norway. First we had those darn glass ketchup and mayo bottles which, though maybe aesthetically pleasing, weren't really convenient to use. Then mankind made a big step forward with plastic bottles one could squeeze and mayo came flying out.


Now mankind has made another leap forward. Norwegian food and consumer goods giant Orkla said it has signed an exclusive partnership with an MIT spin-off called LiquiGlide. This means all Orkla mayo products distributed in the Nordics and Baltics will have a fancy coating that lets the consumer squeeze out every last drop of the good stuff with nothing going to waste. Truly a magnificent time we live in.


Silicon Vikings is a 20,000+ network headquartered in Silicon Valley with nodes throughout the Nordic and Baltic regions in Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, Vilnius and Riga.  Our node in Reykjavik will open this year...and we are contemplating opening nodes in Gothenburg and London as well.  We offer events at each local node plus our new NODEconnections series will provide real-time collaborative events between Silicon Valley and the Nordic and Baltic nodes.

If you are interested in joining any of Silicon Vikings' Nodes, please click on the link below to register (no cost):

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