Sunday, February 26, 2017

Chicago "Much Worse" Than Malmö: American Journalist

Via The Local:

American journalist Tim Pool has spent two days seeing 'dangerous' Malmö with his own eyes.

But the city did not live up to the bleak picture he had been told to expect.

"If this is the worst Malmö has to offer, then don't ever come to Chicago", Pool told news agency TT after visiting Rosengård, a neighborhood with a high immigrant population.

Pool met municipal council member Nils Karlsson, who gave the journalist a guided tour of Malmö neighborhoods Lindängen and Rosengård.

"I want to show the true picture of Malmö - without denying that there there are problems, poverty, and challenges. But also to show that 330.000 people live in this city and most do not engage in crime or violence or kill each other", Karlsson told TT.

Pool's journalistic visit came about after Paul Joseph Watson, editor of right wing website Infowars, promised to pay for a trip to Malmö for any journalist that claimed Malmö was safe. This challenge came in the wake of President Donald Trump's false claims last week that a terror attack had taken place in Sweden.

The 18.800 SEK (USD 2.000) donation covers about 20 per cent of the costs of Pool's trip to Sweden and Europe.

"I do not work for anyone. Nobody is paying me and I am not getting anything in exchange for this. I just want to find out the truth", said Pool.

Pool told TT that he describes himself as a conflict and crisis journalist who posts his material on YouTube and Twitter.

The journalist says he is not surprised by Trump's use of Sweden as a device in his rhetoric.

"Many would say that Sweden's liberal policies are evidence that they work and would be of great benefit to the USA. Now Trump is using the issue of immigration to condemn that argument. The connection of crime in Sweden to immigration and refugees is an idea that has existed in the US for several years, even before Trump", said Pool.

While respect the concern regarding increases in violence in Malmö, Pool said that he considered warnings that he would be robbed or attacked in Rosengård as "ridiculous".

"Someone shouted at us and pointed a finger. A takeaway pizza restaurant owner did not want to let in 'some fucking journalists'. But if people are really afraid to come here, then I would recommend that you never come to Chicago. Chicago has about 750 murders each year", he said.

But Pool added that he had so far received conflicting information from residents about violence in the city, and that interview subjects have often canceled or preferred to remain anonymous.

Following Saturday's tour of Malmö with local Karlsson, Pool and his photographer colleague Emily Molli are scheduled to remain in the city for several days to carry out research.

The pair will also visit Stockholm and Gothenburg, as well as other European cities affected by terror and highlighted as problematic by Donald Trump, such as Brussels, Paris, and Nice.

Pool aims to use the material gathered during his trip to make a documentary film.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Gött! - Gothenburg Is The World’s Most Sociable And Party-Loving City According To Study

Via Business Insider:

It may come as a surprise to some, that three Nordic cities top the world's most sociable cities ranking.

Gothenburg claimed the top spot ahead of its big brother Stockholm. The city on the Swedish west coast owes its win to sociable, open and party-prone inhabitants, says Hostelworld, which conducted the study.

North American cities also stand out with their sociability. The rest of the top five went to US cities Chicago, New York and Boston; followed by Copenhagen on sixth place.

The study asked more than 12,000 in 39 countries questions around their social life, ranging from the frequency with which people socialize and openness to the "propensity to party".

The ‘Sociable Cities’ study is the first comparative analysis of the social life of world cities and the local residents’ views on global travel and tourists.

Here are the world's 10 most pleasant cities, according to Hostelworld:

1. Gothenburg

2. Stockholm

3. Chicago

4. Boston

5. New York

6. Copenhagen

7. Madrid

8. Rome

9. Hamburg

10. Dublin

Gothenburg's win confirms a Swedish cliché about its residents being particularly sociable and cheerful. Perhaps many Swedes think that the more uptight capital would deserve a lower ranking...

And the definition of Gött?

The word has its roots in the Gothenburg area and is used when something is good, nice or awesome. It is a dialect version of 'gott'.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

UFO Recorded By 3 Different Cameras In Chile

Via Unknown Country:

This object was recorded during an airshow by three different witnesses, all from different angles. One video would mean that the object could have been a bird flying at close range to the camera, but not three.

In the third video especially, the object's motion suggests that it is not a bird or close-flying insect.

The object is not the plane creating the contrail. It is the small bright object that races past in all three videos, showing no contrail.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Poached In –16C: Why One Of The Loudest Voices In Nordic Tech Is Leaving Her Dream Job

Via Business Insider:

When you've finally managed to turn your passion into a full-time paid position, what could possibly make you want to quit it less than a year later?

Social media addict and digital marketeer Maral Kalajian has some unique answers to this question.

The wide-smiled, curly-haired Stockholmer is currently among the most instantly-recognisable faces in the Swedish capital's tech scene. But in January she announced she is stepping down from her job as Digital, Marketing and Community Manager for STING, the Nordic accelerator behind startups including smart guitar developer Mind Music Labs, children’s gaming company Peppy Pals and wearable tech firm Light Flex.

It's a role Kalajian was headhunted for last February after three years of obsessively posting about Stockholm's startup boom. She spent the following year repeatedly gushing about how she'd tweeted herself into a "dream job", even describing it as her "STINGerella" story.

"It was a hobby for me to be active in the tech scene and then it was something that I managed to get paid for", beams the 36-year-old.

Originally from Lebanon, she moved to Sweden as a student ten years ago and was looking for her way out of a role in corporate communications for Philips when she accepted the job at STING.

"They asked if I could just keep doing what I was doing — tweeting and going to lots of networking events every week. It was an easy decision".

But she faced a much harder choice at the end of 2016 when — days after being listed as among the 100 most influential names in the Scandinavian startup scene by tech site The Nordic Web — she was approached by the CEO of one of the companies STING had supported, and asked if she would consider jumping ship.

"It came from nowhere. I was absolutely not looking for a new job", she insists.

However by mid-January she'd sealed the deal during a bizarre business meeting — a snowy evening walk through central Stockholm park Humlegården, in teeth-chattering -16C temperatures.

"You know when you don't feel your hands, you don't feel your nose! But then when this founder came and we started talking, everything else just disappeared. He is someone really special," explains Kalajian, adding that the unusual location for their meeting came down to “time pressures” and a shared passion for nature.

The name of this snow-loving CEO has been a mystery since Kalajian announced her resignation last month. But she has exclusively told Business Insider that her new boss is Hjalmar Nilssone, the founder of Swedish energy Artificial Intelligence startup Watty, where she'll take on the role of Marketing and Communications Manager later this month.

The 22-employee company, which last year raised 3 million euros in funding, has designed smart AI technology to help customers cut costs and limit emissions by measuring their consumption.

With intense speculation on social media previously suggesting that Kalajian had been poached by a global venture capitalist firm, a big-name brand in London or was set to become the next CEO of Stockholm startup hub SUP46, she accepts that her "horizontal career move" may come as a surprise to her almost 11.000 Twitter followers.

"I want to do something good for the planet. I know it's not a sexy topic, but that's part of the challenge. It's a world-changing startup and I believe in what they do", she explains.

But most importantly, she argues that her experience is a lesson in "people politics", admitting that at least 50 percent of her decision to accept the job came down to her near-idolization of Nilssone.

"This guy, he might look like a young, blue-eyed, high school person — like Harry Potter — but when he opens his mouth, he really is different. He is very charming", she argues.

"He is the only founder who has actually made me feel like I'm not just 'Maral from Twitter' but that I am ‘Maral the human being'. He said to me 'a freak like you one meets once in a lifetime'!"

Despite being one of the most vocal champions of Stockholm’s startup scene in recent years, Kalajian is refreshingly honest about how its evolution has also shaped her decision to try out a different kind of role.

“The Stockholm tech scene is growing beautifully and I want it to beat every startup city in the world. But it has become a bubble, with a lot of the same types of people. I wanted to somehow scale from it and Watty is already a global platform”.

So how guilty does she feel about turning her back on STING, the accelerator which plucked her out of the corporate world and hand-crafted her previous fairytale job?

“Ten months is a long time in startup-land -- startups can cease to exist in just three months. These days it’s not about how long you’re in a company but what you have achieved, and I have achieved a lot”, she argues.

“In my new role I’m giving myself six months to see if I am able to deliver or not, because there is always a risk that I might fail. But if I fail it will be a lesson learned and if I succeed, I am going to be helping Watty into its golden era. Either way, it’s an adventure!”

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

These Nordic Brands Are Among The 500 Most Valuable In The World — Sweden Is The Star

Via Business Insider:

The Nordics have in total 11 companies among the most 500 valuable brands in the world, according to data from Brand Finance's "Global 500" list.

The Nordics' most valuable brand is Ikea, ranking on 43rd place globally. Both Ikea and H&M rank among the Retail category's Top 10 (ranked 5 and 7). Sweden also has the region's only car brand among the top 500, Volvo.

Finland's only entrant is Nokia, while Norway boasts its telco and oil giants. Denmark's most valuable brand is Lego, followed by food giant Arla and Danske Bank.

Here are the Nordics' most valuable brands according to Brand Finance (company - value/$ - ranking).

Sweden

IKEA - 24,1 bn - 43

H&M - 19,2 bn - 63

Nordea - n/a - 286

Ericsson - n/a - 331

Telia - n/a - 365

Volvo - n/a - 491

Denmark

Lego - 7,6 bn- 196

Arla - n/a - 462

Danske Bank - n/a - 488

Norway

Statoil - 7,6 bn - 195

Telenor - n/a - 209

Finland

Nokia - 4,6 bn - 341

The Visual Capitalist's infographic shows how the Nordics' most valuable brands compare to those of other countries (yes, Austria's Red Bull is worth more than Nokia).

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Startling UFO In Normandy...If It Is Normandy

Via Unknown Country:

It is claimed that this object was taped in Normandy in western France, if so, then it is a form that appears from time to time and is a genuine unknown. However, it could also be fire on a mountainside and taped elsewhere. There are no mountains in Normandy high enough for this to be a fire on a mountainside in this geographical location.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Since 2012 Sonetel Has Gathered 650.000 Clients In 239 countries - Now It's To Be Listed On Nasdaq First North

Via Business Insider:

Sonetel, founded 2012, has grown more than 2.000% over the last four years, and is thereby Sweden’s eigth fastest growing tech company, according to Deloitte Sweden Technology Fast 50.

During February, the company is issuing a public offering to raise EUR 2,5 million, and will be listed on Nasdaq First North as of March. The subscription period will end February 22, and the price is set to SEK 26,9 per share. Sonetel has already secured subscription commitments and underwriting to cover the whole offering.

Sonetel’s growth has been explosive – but it’s not profitable yet.

In its short existence the company has already built a customer base of around 650.000 clients in more than 239 countries. 90,000 of these are paying customers. The service is predominantly free, but allows clients to pay for additional premium functions.

The annual revenue has reached SEK 25 billion, but despite its explosive growth Sonetel has not reported profits for any year so far.

In conjunction with the rights issue Sonetel writes that profitibility is expected to be reached soon, but that the capital injection is needed to get there. Amongst other things, the capital is to be invested in improving implimentation of AI tech.

Sonetel provides a cheap service that everyone needs.

Sonetel’s typical clients are small businesses with international orientations, operating mostly within e-commerce, IT services and marketing.

Sonetel provides a business communication service which makes it possible for businesses to have a local phone number anywhere. In other words, Sonetel’s small business clients can display a phone number which is from the same country as their customers, anywhere in the world. For Sonetel’s clients this boosts sales by increasing their customers’ confidence. Calls to the local number are forwarded globally but only accrue the cost of a local call. Sonetel’s service also supports free conference and business calls across the world.

”Half of the world’s working population work in small businesses. A large share of these already have access to cellular phones and the internet. Most of them lack money, time and technical skills – but almost all of them want to increase their sales”, Sonetel CEO and founder Henrik Thomé says.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Provocative Video Of UFO Shadowing Jet

Via Unknown Country:

This video from MUFON shows a white object shadowing a jet. The person who made the video says that other jets and helicopters followed soon after. There is nothing to suggest that this object is a drone, a balloon, a bird or any natural object. It is also pacing the jet, so it's not a celestial object. The only possibility other than a UFO is that it is a smaller plane at a lower altitude and so not emitting a contrail. But it is moving very quickly.

Your Out There editor concludes that this has a better than average chance of being a genuine unknown.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Swedish Nuclear Physicist Just Got The World’s First Approved Birth Control App - As Effective As The Pill But Using Only Mathematics

Via Business Insider:

For over a year Elina Berglund nuclear physicist has been fighting authorities and malicious headlines. Now her app will be the first in the world to be approved as a contraceptive.

“It feels incredibly exciting that there is now an approved alternative to conventional pregnancy prevention methods, and that it’s possible to replace medication with technology”, says a more than satisfied Elina Berglund, who founded Natural Cycles together with her husband Raoul Scherwizl.

The approval comes from the German inspection and certification organization Tüv Süd, which has classified the app in the medicinal category of IIb. That means Natural Cycles officially offers a new, clinically tested alternative to birth control methods such as contraceptive pills, contraceptive implants and condoms.

2015 was a turbulent year for the founding couple. The difficulties peaked November 25 when the ruling of the Swedish Medicinal Products Agency reached their inbox. It demanded that all talk of contraceptive should be done away with in ten days, while the agency continued to investigate the matter. The app’s users were informed two days before Christmas.

“At that point it felt tough. Really tough. After all, the app had been developed for birth control”, Elina Berglund told Veckans Affärer in an interview during the summer of 2016.

On top of that, the information that the Medicinal Products Agency was investigating Natural Cycles leaked, and from the peak revenue of $280.000 in October 2015 they experienced a dramatic decline.

”By December our revenues were $120.000”.

The storm continued: Frightening headlines about Natural Cycles attempting to trick young women who lack the discipline to protect themselves, along with strict monitoring from the Medicinal Products Agency.

Now, more than a year later, Elina Berglund and her husband finally get their long-awaited vindication. The previous prognosis of doubled revenues for 2016 was lost in the time pending approval, but now it’s time to strive onward again.

“We barely grew at all last year, so now we’ll have to double up this year instead and go from revenues of about SEK 18 million to SEK 36 million”.

The plans of a big scale launch in the US will have to wait pending approval from the American regulatory agency, FDA. Instead, Natural Cycles will go ’all in’ into the UK, which is already one of the biggest markets for the company.

Natural Cycles calculates daily fertility with an algorithm.

To use the app, women measure the temperature underneath their tongues every morning and enter the measurement into the app. An algorithm developed uniquely for the app then determines whether you’re fertile or not that day, so that you know if you risk pregnancy by having unprotected sex.

Natural Cycles has over 150.000 users in 161 countries and a clinical study has proved that using the app is as effective as a method of birth control as being on the pill.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Malmö Just Got Its First Game Incubator – And Is Set To Produce Even More Of The World’s Bestsellers

Via Business Insider:

Malmö has an incredible track record when it comes to game successes – and it’s set to become an even more important hub for the industry. Minc, the startup house in Malmö, already hosts an incubator, an accelerator, a startup lab and a coworking space. Lauching this spring it will also have an incubator dedicated to game companies, called Minc Game.

“When you think of the game scene in Sweden you’ll probably think of King or Mojang, but that’s only part of the story. We have game companies in Malmö consisting of only one or two people that deliver exceptionally high quality games”, says Mårten Öbrink, CEO of Minc.

The incubator will host 5-8 early stage game companies over a period of 12 months (and has already opened for applications), allowing the companies to access Minc’s business advisors, coaches and matchmakers in areas of investments, marketing and team building. It will be run by Peter Lübeck, formerly COO at Tarsier Studios, the Malmö-based game studio behind the successes LittleBigPlanet, PS Vita and Little Nightmares.

“Malmö has been doing exceptionally well on the international game scene, and the studios here range from one-man shows to much bigger studios like Massive, There still hasn’t been a go-to place for setting up your own game studio though, and it’s something game developers in the region have been looking for. That’s why we launched the programme series Game Startup Academy last year, and the success of that inspired us to set up Minc Game”, Peter Lübeck, Project Manager at Minc Game, explains.

It’s certainly true to say Malmö is ‘doing well on the international game scene’. With a population of only 320.000 Malmö is home to some 40 game companies – 4.8 times more per capita compared to, for example, London. Ubisoft and King are two big names in Malmö, and Massive just bought an entire block in the city to expand their team from 400 to 600.

The bulk of the game companies consists of smaller studios , but being small doesn’t prevent them from consistently delivering best-sellers. With support from the new incubator there’s bound to be even more coming up.

Malmö’s startup environment isn’t only unique for the game development scene. Outside of the Nordic capital cities, Malmö received more venture capital 2016 year than any other Nordic city, The Nordic Web wrote. One reason Malmö is attractive for entrepreneurs is that it's relatively cheap compared to the Nordic capitals, but at the same time it's closely connected to the vital startup ecosystem and metropolitan area of Copenhagen.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Once-Promising Finnish Mobile Upstart Jolla Is Having Some Hard Times

Via Business Insider:

Jolla is on the ropes. The Finnish company, founded by former Nokia staff of the Meego project back in 2011, launched a smartphone featuring Sailfish OS in 2013 to positive reviews, but has had problems finding steady ground ever since.

The company led a successful crowdfunding campaign, raising $2.5 million from 21.633 backers, for the development of Jolla Tablet in December 2014. However, very few devices ended up being built and shipped to end users.

After multiple issues with production, the company stated in late 2015 that due to lack of necessary components that are no longer available the Jolla Tablet was being discontinued with remaining backers getting a full refund.

In July 2015, Jolla announced it was spinning off the device business in order to focus on development and licensing of Sailfish OS. Additionally, some unexpected delays with a financing round temporarily put the entire company in jeopardy, forcing it to furlough roughly half of staff towards the end of the year.

A last hurrah?

Jolla was buoyed though 2016 by a collaboration with Intex Technologies, India's second largest phone maker. The collaboration resulted in the release of the Intex Aqua Fish smartphone. According to a report in Kauppalehti, however, it appears the contract has run out and the companies are no longer working together.

Having failed as a mass market hardware vendor, all hope for Jolla now rests on its software division and Sailfish OS. Jolla successfully raised $12 million in capital as recently as May 2016, so it may have enough capital to sustain operations for quite some time, but finding a new partner remains vital for long term viability.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Sweden Among World’s Most Innovative Countries

Via The Swedish Wire:

Sweden climbed to second place in the 2017 Bloomberg Innovation Index, which scores economies using factors including research and development spending and the concentration of high-tech public companies.

Silver medal winner Sweden owes most of its rise to improvement in the manufacturing value-added metric, the news bureau said.

Fresh ideas tend to pay off big in Sweden, even as the current government is less business-friendly and has imposed labor taxes that could crimp business investment, said Magnus Henrekson, director of the Research Institute of Industrial Economics, a private foundation in Stockholm. The Swedes themselves promote an atmosphere of great personal ambition — unlike some European neighbors that emphasize the collective — and that’s a boon to innovation, he said.

“In the culture, people are super individualistic — this means that people have ideas and are very interested in pursuing them in this way in order to become wealthy,” said Henrekson. “The incentives are there and the tax system favors them”.

Overall the Nordic nations dominate the top 15, while South Korea remained the big winner, topping the international charts in R&D intensity, value-added manufacturing and patent activity and with top-five rankings in high-tech density, higher education and researcher concentration.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Ryanair Returns To Malmö - Launching A New Route Immediately

Via Business Insider:

After three years of absence, Ryanair will start flying from Malmö Airport again. Having previously re-focused its regional efforts to Kastrup airport in Copenhagen, Europe's largest airline has now decided to return to the other side of the Öresund sound. This according to Dagens Industri.

The announcement coincides with the launch of a new route, from Malmö to Kraków in Poland:

”Ryanair has the pleasure to announce its return to Malmö Airport and launch two new Swedish winter flights for 2017 from Malmö and Gothenburg. Both of these routes will have departures to Kraków three times a week, starting from the beginning of September. Sales will start in a few weeks" said Nikolaj K. Thomsen from Ryanair.