Flockler makes content marketing more social

Good News from Tue, 27 January, 2015:

Screen capture / Flockler’s Youtube video  Finnish startup Flockler enables brands and publishers to create social magazines, applications and websites which combine editorial, curated and social content.
Finnish startup Flockler enables brands and publishers to create social magazines, applications and websites which combine editorial, curated and social content.

Today’s digital world challenges companies trying to reach and engage their users across a wide variety of social media channels. This is where the Finnish startup Flockler steps in.

Flockler was founded in early 2011 when the use of social media was growing rapidly. A pilot product helped media companies like The Times to build social news channels and from it the Flockler platform was born in 2013.

In short Flockler enables brands and publishers to create social magazines, applications and websites which combine editorial, curated and social content. A brand can engage its audience by allowing them to contribute content through any social media service they wish using a specific hashtag.

Today Flockler employs a total of 10 people in its offices in Tampere, Finland and London and has a roster of international customers, including one of the world’s largest publishing houses: Penguin Random House.

“We have been very customer oriented from the start. The best approach is to create and evolve with your customers and to be ready to throw away products which don’t work” says Toni Hopponen, CEO and Co-Founder of Flockler. “It’s not always easy to do when you have spent months building something, but it has helped us to build a product that really adds value to our customers.”

A powerful platform

The result is Flockler has matured into a feature packed, flexible platform that can be integrated to a company’s existing website or it can be used to build a completely new channel that works on any device from mobile phones to desktops.

 “We want to help our customers to make marketing more social, more engaging and easily measurable,” says Toni Hopponen CEO and Co-Founder of Flockler. (Photo:Flockler)

Flockler provides everything from custom design to email marketing and native mobile applications, all of which is built on top of analytics to give customers real time feedback on how well their services are performing.

“We want to help our customers to make marketing more social, more engaging and easily measurable”, explains Hopponen.“What separates us from publishing systems or social media curation tools is that we enable companies to build their own tailored social channel where they can produce and publish content under their own rules. With curation tools it’s not possible to combine your own content and social media content.”

In practice most companies build upon templates offered by Flockler. These can be setup in a few days and don’t require any special technical expertise. For more complex needs, bespoke solutions can be built in cooperation with Flockler or third parties using the company’s API.

From small to big screens

Flockler is also interested in expanding the reach of web content. The platform currently enables content to be viewed on large advertising displays and TV broadcasts.

A major Flockler customer here is Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle. It has been working with Flockler from day one and uses the platform to add social media content and monitoring to TV broadcasts. For example when broadcasting an ice hockey game, Yle can display real time or curated social media content on the same screen.

For Flockler this is only the start of how its platform could be used outside more traditional mobile and browser based solutions.

“We had one really interesting case in Finland last summer where [TV station] Nelonen and coffee company Paulig collaborated on TV advertising”, says Hopponen. “When Paulig’s ad was broadcast it used a live feed of Instagram photos from users applying a specific hashtag which changed every time the ad was shown. Our platform made that possible. It’s an interesting case of how web content can be used in a new context.”

Born international

Currently Flockler has roughly 70 long term clients and a number of customers who use the platform on a short term basis. Most are based in Finland and the UK, but expansion has begun with new recruitment in Tampere and London and new clients elsewhere in Europe and as far away as Australia.

“We didn’t have to make the decision to target international markets, that has always been built into the service. We are focusing on the European market for now but later we hope to expand to the other side of the Atlantic as well”, says Hopponen.

“Our long term goal is to ease the work of marketers and journalists. Key to this is enabling a kind of ‘360 degree publishing’ where the same content can be shown everywhere from big screens and ad breaks to a company’s own web site”, Hopponen concludes.

Good News fro Finland
Text: Eeva Haaramo

Mendor helps patients manage diabete

AcMendor_commercial_man_smallAccording to the World Health Organization, 347 million people worldwide have diabetes and the numbers are growing. Finnish company Mendor developed a compact glucose meter which checks blood sugar level in seconds.

Compact, quick, easy to use, discreet. These are just some of the words diabetes patients typically use to describe the glucose meter produced by Finnish company Mendor. Gone are the days of carrying a bag of separate components to check blood sugar level.

Mendor was founded in 2006 by five individuals from different universities in Helsinki. After participating in a national business plan competition, the team started product development.

One of the founders was a type 1 diabetic, adding an extra incentive to come up with a new type of discreet and portable meter.

The result was the Mendor Discreet, an all-in-one design with meter, the lancing device and a cartridge of 25 test strips all part of one small box, about the size of an iphone.

“It’s about 20 seconds from pocket to pocket,” says co-founder Tuomas Planman. “And it’s not just the speed but the convenience and comfort when you need to test yourself on the move.”

Early challenges

The software, which accompanies the device, is another important feature. The Mendor Balance puts all your glucose measurements in the cloud, allowing easy sharing of data with doctors.

The Mendor Discreet meter was launched at the start of 2011. The company, which now employs 27 people and had sales of 4.3 million euros in 2013, has sold over 150,000 devices.

Although the company is now on a successful trajectory, the ride was not always smooth. In October 2010, in particular, bankruptcy loomed.

The founders recall a few sleepless nights before they managed to convince existing investors and new ones to keep them going.

The result has been three financing rounds since then of 8.1 million euros in the summer of 2011, 4.7 million euros in January 2014 and a further 6.5 million euros last July.

Distribution deals

The company has just launched a 3G enabled meter, Mendor Smart, and expanded rapidly in European markets and China with the US market on the cards.

“We imagined that once we had developed a prototype and got the first patent application, that we were almost done,” recalls Planman.

“In fact, once you reach those goals, you have to move up a division and actually make the product. The challenge is that you have very limited resources at the beginning to make the device and build up the company.”

Good News from Finland
Text: Vincent Landon 

Candidatura aos Incentivos à Qualificação e Internacionalização das PME

CCIP Portugal 2020A Câmara de Comércio e Indústria Portuguesa, no âmbito do Programa Portugal 2020, vai apresentar uma candidatura ao primeiro concurso aberto – Nº 01/2014 – Incentivos à Qualificação e Internacionalização das PME, com o intuito de apoiar a internacionalização das empresas portuguesas num conjunto de mercados estratégicos.

Este concurso é especificamente dirigido a PME e a associações empresariais, que agreguem no projecto um mínimo de 10 PME com localização nas regiões NUTS II: Norte, Centro e Alentejo.

Para o efeito, em parceria com a empresa WLP concebeu um projecto integrado de promoção e marketing internacional que visa facilitar o acesso a novos mercados para as empresas portuguesas denominado – “Portugal Business on the Road” – Missões empresariais 2015/2016, que contempla os seguintes mercados: África do Sul; Brasil; EUA; Índia; México e Polónia.

Estando certos de que esta iniciativa vai ao encontro das necessidades do tecido empresarial português e tendo em conta a natureza dos beneficiários deste primeiro concurso, gostaríamos de convidar as empresas interessadas a integrar o núcleo de fundadores e promotores deste projecto conjunto.

Perante a exiguidade de tempo disponibilizado para a apresentação das candidaturas, as empresas interessadas em integrar este projecto e em obter mais informações sobre esta iniciativa deverão contactar até ao próximo dia 30 de Janeiro.

João Oliveira e Silva

Finland ranks 4th in the IMD World Talent Ranking

Finland has placed fourth in the 2014 IMD World Talent Ranking, produced by the global business school based in Switzerland.

The ranking, which compares the economies of 60 countries, assesses a country’s ability to develop, attract and retain talent for companies that operate there.

It considers investment and development in home-grown talent, reflecting a country’s public investment in education and the quality of its education system; appeal, reflecting a country’s ability to retain home-grown talent and attract talent from overseas; and readiness, reflecting a country’s ability to fulfil market demands with its available talent pool.  Finland rated second for readiness after Switzerland.
The ranking is based on more than 20 indicators. Some of these are statistical and others are drawn from an opinion survey of 4,300 international executives.

Finland, which was second in 2005, has ranked in the top ten every year since 2005 apart from 2007 and 2008.

Switzerland, Denmark and Germany led this year’s ranking.

Good News from Finland

Sharetribe brings your ideas to market


Helsinki-based startup lets people create their own peer-to-peer marketplace.

Sharetribe began life as a hyperlocal research project for a university in Finland allowing students to buy from each other and share rides.

Today, farmers renting tractors in Canada, photographers searching for venues in the United States and pet owners looking for carers in Mexico are flocking to the open-source platform to buy and sell goods and services.

— We have the technology if you have the community, says Juho Makkonen, CEO and co-founder of the Helsinki-based startup, which lets people create their own peer-to-peer marketplace.

And it seems there’s no end to the communities in sight from selling rodeo equipment to renting surfboards, from booking a nanny to ordering a cake, from hiring a DIY expert to finding a venue for a pop-up store.

Sharing economy

Since the site’s launch with first paying customers in 2013, paying customer numbers are in the three figures. The company hopes they’ll be in four figures by the end of this year with the sky the limit after that.

— We thought finding these entrepreneurs would be our most difficult problem but once we put the website out there enabling people to create their own marketplace, they suddenly started contacting us, says Makkonen.

— They might not be the next Airbnb, the next billion dollar business, but they can still be an extremely good local business, supporting multiple people.

The company is riding the wave of the sharing economy, which is expected to grow dramatically.

In the two months since Finland’s premier tech conference Slush in November, when Sharetribe made global payments possible, more than 2000 people have created their own websites. Not all of them are expected to convert to paying customers at the end of the 30 day free trial but the trend is clear.

Speed and ease

Makkonen says what makes Sharetribe attractive is the speed and ease of setting it up, involving as little as 60 seconds to create a new marketplace. You can then customize it yourself and it is much cheaper than hiring a developer.

— What WordPress did for publishing we want to do for creating marketplaces, he says.

He adds that the company’s biggest challenge is that some customers are expecting the sort of services and support provided by giants like Airbnb or eBay while Sharetribe currently has just nine employees (including one in Canada and one in the US).

Sharetribe charges a subscription for the overall service with fees depending on the number of users each client has on their site. Clients make money by taking a cut of any transaction.

The company is planning to experiment with other business models, which may range from charging a membership fee to placing banner ads.

© Sari Gustafsson / Lehtikuva
Text: Vincent Landon

The 6th Arctic Business Forum

Artic ForumThe 6th Arctic Business Forum on March 10-12, 2015 in Finland introduces the latest business development and future prospects of the European High North economy. Arctic Business Forum is a discussion arena and a business to business meeting point.

This year Arctic Business Forum brings in discussion the recent and ongoing global changes in politics and addresses these changes strongly from mere business point of view. Brand new analysis on Northern Sea Route among other arctic transport and logistics, aviation for the first time also included – will be introduced. Traditional paper and steel industry is as well highlighted in the program for the first time.

The conference event in the heart of Lapland is ideal for learning, updating and discussing arctic business developments, networking and for doing business! By interactive conference sessions, trade show, matchmaking lounge and high class social program you are going to find your desired potential business partners.

Confirmed speakers include:
Ms. Dorothee Janezke-Wenzel , Ambassador to Finland, Germany
Mr. Mikå Mered, Managing Partner, Polarisk Group, United Kingdom
Mr. Malte Humpert, Executive Director, The Arctic Institute, Center for Circumpolar Security Studies, USA
Ms. Andrée Cooligan, Ambassador to Finland, Canada
Mr. Sergey Katikov, Adviser for the President of Russian Geographic Society
Mr. Kenji Shinoda, Ambassador to Finland, Japan
Mr. Tom Shearer, Director, IC Aviation, Ireland
Mr. Antti Vehviläinen, Director General, Finnish Transport Agency
Mr. Pekka Suomela, Executive Director, FinnMin
Mr. Jukka Jokela, Project Manager, Anglo American Exploration
Ms. Noora Raasakka, Environmental Director, Mawson
Mr. Tarmo Pipatti, Director General, Confederation of Finnish Construction
Ms. Johanna Ikävalko, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Finland

Welcome to Rovaniemi to experience an unforgettable and no ordinary business event!
Program, registrations and additional information at

Timo Rautajoki
President & CEO
Lapland Chamber of Commerce

Artwave wants everyone on waves

Artwave 1Aino Pohjola The first artificial Artwave was surfed on in October, and now Artwave wants to spread the joys of surfing all over the world.

Finland’s reputation as a surf country skyrocketed last autumn – all because of one wave. The first artificial Artwave was surfed on in October, and now Artwave wants to spread the joys of surfing all over the world.

In the autumn of 2011, Atso Andersen voiced out loud a crazy-sounding idea at Aalto University’s Design Factory. Would it be possible to create both artificial and mobile waves in Finland, a country full of unsurfable water?

— People in high places have told us this isn’t going to work. That’s the best possible sign that we’re on the right path, says Andersen, the coordinator of the project.

Fortunately there were believers, too. Soon the gang was testing the waters in a children’s pool at the Espoonlahti swimming pool – after hours, of course.

— After a lot of effort, the scale model started forming a magical view: a rising wave. That’s where it all started, Andersen reminiscences.

By spring 2012 Artwave had been accepted into Aalto University’s entrepreneurship programme, an invention announcement had been submitted, and patenting was on the cards. The quick pace of development was acknowledged by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation Tekes, and it provided Artwave with funding in the spring of 2013.

Last October an Artwave was surfed for the first time.

— It was a happy and humble moment. In sports terms, we scored a goal at an important moment, says Andersen.

Get on board, everyone

Artwave 2A huge group of people has been involved in Artwave, from Finnish surfers to frequency changer providers. It has also offered a topic for four academic dissertations.

Learning to surf with the help of a machine is safer than in natural waves, where streams, tides, pollution, animals, and other surfers need to be taken into account. (Photo: Aino Pohjola)

Andersen describes the technique as simple. The machine aims at maximising the water’s tendency to create waves.

— People who build ships want to decrease wave-making resistance, we want to increase it using as little energy as possible.

The ultimate goal is to make surfing more accessible to all age groups. Out in the world the sport is popular, and according to Andersen, it’s ”one of the finest forms of exercise”.

— Does surfing appeal to a teenager more than many other sports? If this gets young people more into exercising, we’re onto something big.

Andersen compares Artwave to ski lifts at ski resorts. Learning to surf with the help of a machine is safer than in natural waves, where streams, tides, pollution, animals, and other surfers need to be taken into account.

”We don’t go to vulnerable areas”

Artwave 3Surf parks with their artificial pools are already in existence. What makes Artwave different is its mobility. The machine is easy to install and it’s planned for natural waters, so there’s no need for big investments. The waves can be customised.

The only requirement is a large enough, 4-metre deep area of water and a sturdy beach. Access to an industrial energy source is a bonus.

Energy consumption is kept to a minimum in all possible ways. Andersen points out that the consumption is surprisingly small to begin with, because making waves comes naturally to water.

— We create waves together with the water by listening to what it tells us about its movements.

The point is to leave no trace in nature. When the machine is removed, the area is as it was.

What if a Saimaa ringed seal is nesting nearby?

— We simply refuse to surf in vulnerable waters, Andersen says.

With a drop of Finnish madness  

Andersen calls Artwave a masterpiece of Finnish engineering. The whole idea has a slice of Finnish insanity in it, as well as the way in which it connects with the natural environment.

A huge group of people has been involved in Artwave, from Finnish surfers to frequency changer providers. Atso Andersen (left), Aleksi Raij and Pekka Ijäs at a planning session. (Photo: Aino Pohjola)

— There are no waves in Finland, but we want to go surfing. We don’t stay around wondering what to do; instead, we make a wave machine.

Artwave wants to go global. The recipe is simple:

— We ship the product to its destination with two quiet blokes. They set things up, tell a local surfer to give it a go, adjust the settings, and get out a perfect wave. Then they grab a bite to eat and go home. If something breaks down, they come back and fix it.

Potential customers are event managers, holiday and ski resorts, and city councils. The interest has been keener abroad than in Finland.

Currently Artwave is looking for partners, planning the next stage in development, and negotiating additional funding.

Andersen himself wants to catch a wave or two, too. For him, surfing is a huge deal.

— I got on a surfboard once, and everything started to look different.

Text: Anne Salomäki
Good News from Finland

Luxurious adventure holidays in Finland

Luxury 1
Luxury Action Luxury Action is not a typical tour operator. They offer custom experiences in travel, and as their name implies, adventure is one of their specialities.

The Finnish company Luxury Action provides bespoke adventures for travellers to the Nordic region – and even makes movies out of the experience.

There is an old saying in motorsports that if you want to win, you should hire a Finn. Janne Honkanen of Luxury Action decided to take that maxim from his racing days and applied it to luxury travel.

— I used to be a professional snowmobile and jet ski racer in Europe and America. I had an injury in Minneapolis in 1999, where I broke my heel, my hip and my back. As soon as I got back to Finland and healed I got an idea for a snowmobile school for children, Honkanen says.

He set up his business at Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland. Over time wealthy families returned to Finland time and again, and they turned to Honkanen because he was so good with their kids and families.

Luxury 2Janne Honkanen’s Luxury Action provides adventures for travellers.

— Returning clients requested me to plan their entire holidays and customise all services, so I kind of accidently ended up arranging high-end holiday packages and later Luxury Action was born. Currently we operate in Finland and all Nordic countries, says Honkanen.

Luxury Action is not a typical tour operator. They offer custom experiences in travel, and as their name implies, adventure is one of their specialities. Luxury Action has offered snowmobile safaris, kayaking, dog sledding, cruises on ice breakers and a trip to the North Pole.

But even the most hardened adrenalin junkie needs to relax, so the company has provided private meetings with Santa Claus, Nordic cuisine from renowned chefs and accommodation in ice igloos. If sleeping under a dome of ice is not your style, Luxury Action has other options.

— We manage exclusively a number of properties as the most exclusive private ranch in the Nordic countries, Honkanen says.

Hollywood in Finland
Luxury travel is a well-established industry, but Honkanen offers an unusual service which he calls the Hollywood Experience. The client comes up with a story idea which Luxury Action creates as a movie.
Some examples they give as inspiration are action adventures, car chases, fantasy movies or even reality shows like Deadliest Catch. Such a movie doesn’t come cheap: the cost is 10,000 – 20,000 euros per week with a one week minimum.Luxury 3

— The Hollywood Experience is a good, new and unique travel experience for wealthy families who want to offer an experience for their kids and grandchildren. The narrative can include the latest movie fairy tale or characters. You can live your dream, Honkanen explains.

For those with a dream of motorsports glory, it might pay to remember that adage of hiring a Finn to win.

— If a client wants to experience ultimate driving: back in August we had two-time F1 World Champion Mika Häkkinen and a very rare Mercedes-Benz rally car on a Finnish rally road, Honkanen points out.
Luxury travel offers an unusual service which they call the Hollywood Experience: the client comes up with a story idea which Luxury Action creates as a movie.

David J. Cord
Good News from Finland