Case: Fabula

fabula-text-logo-11.8.2015Fabula is an e-books app that allows unlimited access to their e-books inventory through a Spotify type of subscription model. While being very attractive to consumers, their business model fits perfectly for publishers as well. While many players have tried to put together a successful e-books mix, Fabula has nailed to the spot on, giving them a great chance to succeed in billion dollar e-books market.

Fabula offers a great reading experience and an unlimited access to their fast growing inventory of titles (currently >12k titles) through a simple Spotify type of subscription.

Fabula offers a great reading experience and an unlimited access to their fast growing inventory of titles (currently >12k titles) through a simple Spotify type of subscription.

Prior to Butterfly’s investment Fabula has developed the first version of their mobile app, successfully launched the service and taken the leading position in the Latvian e-books subscription market. They have great business metrics, very loyal customer base with high customer lifetime value and their inventory consists of nearly all the publishers in the Latvia.

“Subscription services, like Spotify and Netflix, have taken the market in music and video. However in e-books this is yet to be happen. The fact that people like to read on their own language and lower cost of entry has kept the market more fragmented, furthermore the current business models do have a good fit from publishers’ point of view. We have solved the problem, Fabula is currently leading e-books subscription service in Latvia and our aim is to tap into billion dollar e-books industry and repeat that success in the rest of the world. From our point of view Butterfly is a perfect investor, they have a very constructive hands on approach, provide experience, market knowledge, connections and mentoring. Furthermore their agile approach into business development is a great plus while prioritizing and setting targets to reach the global market and scale up rapidly.” (Eldar Sharafutdinov, CEO of Fabula)

Butterfly invested into Fabula because their business model addresses the needs of different stake holders very well. This is also backed by their metrics. Furthermore they have an excellent hard working team with plenty of ambition. Butterfly’s investment will be used to scale the service and validate the business model in international markets outside of Latvia.

Case: Sonic Force

SonicForce_logoSonic Force has developed LoudBy Sound Cases, that are smart protective cover for smart phones and tablets that improves the sound quality of the device significantly. It does this by employing patent pending passive very precisely crafted horn design that redirects the sound towards the users, as well as improves the frequency band and loudness.

Sonic Force's LoudBy covers deliver excellent sound quality with elegant packaging. The improvement in sound quality is truly impressive.

Sonic Force’s LoudBy covers deliver excellent sound quality with elegant packaging. The improvement in sound quality is truly impressive.

Prior to Butterfly’s investment Sonic Force had developed the first product version for Samsung Galaxy S4, as well as working prototypes for several other devices, filed patents for core IP and conducted market research in Canada with very promising results. Furthermore they have sold the LoudBy Sound Cases to four countries, including US, UK, Canada and Finland.

“During the last few years smart phone manufacturers have turned their attention to bigger and better displays. However sound quality is left behind. We elegantly combine two basic needs of the smart device users, protection of the device and sound quality. Our market research indicated that 37% of users feel that they would benefit from improved sound that LoudBy delivers resulting a market opportunity of over billion dollars. Butterfly brings us the resources and expertise to pursue into new markets as well as develop Sonic Force offering to meet increased number of customers.” (Petri Soronen, CEO of Sonicforce)

Butterfly invested into Sonic Force because of the product with clearly articulated benefits with promising initial traction. Furthermore their team is a great combination of business, mobile industry and truly exceptional sound design expertise. Butterfly’s investment will be used to identify, test and validate the traction as well as scale of the market opportunity with couple of mobile platforms in international markets.

Case: Asmo Charger

ASMO Chrome Ring 2There are hundreds of millions of mobile phone and tablet chargers sold each year. At the moment the idle chargers that are left plugged-in use several nuclear plants worth of energy even when there’s now device connected. Furthermore they present fire hazard, there are numerous fires started by faulty idle chargers each year. Patented Asmo Charger solves these problems. It’s a charger that consumes zero energy when there’s no device connected. Yet at the same time it offers the same convenience than traditional chargers, by turning itself on automatically whenever a device is connected to it.

Asmo Charger comes in a stylish package, consumes zero energy when idle and prevents the fire hazard related faulty idle chargers.

Asmo Charger comes in a stylish package, consumes zero energy when idle and prevents the fire hazard related faulty idle chargers.

Prior to Butterfly’s investment Asmo had completed the fully functional prototype of the charger as well as filed in several patent application related to IP around the technology and confirmed the end user traction. Furthermore they had successfully attracted interest of several device vendors.

“There is over 7 Billion mobile phones with charger which consumes power all the time when plugged to wall. Those chargers consume ridiculous amount of electricity for nothing. We’re going to change that, our charger do not consume any stand-by power and is being used exactly like the old chargers. We have discussed with Butterfly from very beginning. We needed expertise especially on IP and licensing issues, where Butterfly is particularly strong. I also appreciate the fact that they’re good guys, open and helpful. They feel almost like an extension of the original founder team.” (Asmo Saloranta, CEO of Asmo Charger)

Butterfly invested into Asmo Charger because of their simple, well protected, solution to a very well defined problem that has a global scale. Butterfly’s investment will be used for manufacturing the first few patches of chargers, further protecting the IP as well as sales and marketing of the charger and negotiating the licensing deals with major device vendors.

Case: Ceruus

Ceruus logo, white bgCeruus has created a reliable, low-cost and easy to implement service platform for internet of things products and services creation. The platform has a flexible data synchronization which operates reliably also in environments where there is no fixed internet gateway, i.e. when an end user device, such as smart phone is used as a gateway. This provides plenty of flexibility for products and business models. Their mass production ready reference implementation includes low cost standalone Bluetooth based internet of things hardware module that records temp / motion data and provides control when integrated to other hardware. Internet of things is one of the billion dollar megatrends and Ceruus addresses some of the key competitive factors, i.e. reliability, power consumption, ease of implementation, mobility and flexibility.

Ceruus allows easy access to such information such as energy consumption and temperature at home.

Ceruus allows easy access to such information such as energy consumption and temperature at home.

Prior to Butterfly’s investment Ceruus had developed the first mass production ready product version as well as secured the first pilot customers from Finland, Germany and Taiwan.

“Internet of Things will reshape the life in the same way as the Internet has done so far. Services accessible from the web and mobile will for instance replace ordinary home instruments, like temperature gauges and room thermostats, and automate business work processes. Among other things Ceruus technology will decrease the cost of implementation and add flexibility due the fact that any smart device, such as mobile phone or tablet, can be used as a router. We’re particularly happy that Butterfly invested into us. While money is obviously important, even more important is the fact that they bring in their business insight and challenge us to see what we do from a fresh angle.” (Matti Verkasalo, CEO of Ceruus)

Butterfly invested into Ceruus because their product allows easy access to multiple internet of things business. Furthermore they have secured multiple interesting pilot customers. Ceruus team also has a very strong experience of industrial scale productisation, especially what comes to low power consumption products. Butterfly’s investment will be used for completing the second round of customer product pilots as well as business model testing and verification.

Case: Alpakka Media

alpakka_media_logoAlpakka Media, was born from love for stories and urge to serve the needs of the demanding audience of children. During the last few years Alpakka Media has been producing children’s games and animated television series in co-operation with Finnish Broadcasting Company channel 2. In fact their games are the most popular children’s content in TV2 with over 50M playing sessions so far. Now they’re going to leverage this huge content storage and launch series of children’s mobile games internationally.

Prior to Butterfly’s investment Alpakka Media has produced years of animated TV-series, secured the production contract for TV2 till 2019, 22 web & mobile games, 12 children’s books.

“We’ve been creating the content children in Finland love. Now we’re able to bring Hertta and our other characters to the fingertips of a global audience. We’re super excited of this opportunity. Picking the right investor is not just about money, at best it’s a co-operative relationship. Furthermore, Butterfly team has strong expertise in metrics and test marketing, both exactly the kind of knowledge that’s required in games business.” (Niina Tuikkala, CEO of Alpakka Media)

Butterfly invested into Alpakka Media because their highly popular content is ready for localization and has proven traction among children. This allows substantially easier market entry. Alpakka Media team has years of experience amongst the children’s content. Butterfly’s investment will be used for localization and test market launch of the Alpakka’s first few international games.

Case: CreateTrips

CreateTrips logoPeople want to plan their trips together with family and friends. Furthermore they want to have the travel planning, tips and advices available offline without data roaming charges when they travel. CreateTrips is a social trip planner for the smart traveler. It allows users to draw information from sources such as Foursquare, Instagram and others into a digital map sheet and package it into downloadable travel plans that can be shared with fellow travelers. CreateTrips is not just another trip planner; in addition to already excellent product they have loads of differentiating features under development as well.

CreateTrips app allows easy travel planning together with the people they're traveling with, best of all you can package the travel plan, including the maps and directions into a offline accessible package and thus avoid the roaming charges.

CreateTrips app allows easy travel planning together with the people they’re traveling with, best of all you can package the travel plan, including the maps and directions into a offline accessible package and thus avoid the roaming charges.

Prior to investment CreateTrips had released the first version of their app in Apple’s New Zealand App Store which made it into Top 10 app there just in five days. Global launch is a matter of a few weeks.

”First of all, we can’t be any happier. Seed round – split between Butterfly Ventures and Rkapital – allows the three of us to continue working on CreateTrips full time. We’re building CreateTrips because this is what we love doing – building things that make it easier to do travel planning with friends. Butterfly Ventures offers us an opportunity to have a unique international connections and business development knowledge that is very rare to find from Finnish investors.” (Juha-Petteri Kukkonen, Founder of CreateTrips, Inc.)

Butterfly invested into CreateTrips because the team has excellent background for such venture, including app development, marketing and travel industry knowledge. The market potential is hundreds of millions and there’s clever business model with re-occurring revenue stream, as well as network effects that both ease up the distribution through virality and provide some long term protection from the competition. Butterfly investment will be used to validate the customer acquisition path and business model, as well as establish the required metrics to leverage the valuation up for follow-on financing rounds.

CreateTrips was founded by Juha-Petteri Kukkonen, Jarkka Salminen and Jesse Luoto. Juha-Petteri Kukkonen has been working as a strategist and director for Mindshare Worldwide and Grey Global before quitin’ his day job. Jarkka Salminen is a former rapper and independent game developer. Jesse Luoto was a developer at Activeark JWT before joining the CreateTrips team.

Case: WhileOnTheMove

While On The Move logoThe first product of WhileOnTheMove is Daisy – a complete day care solution. Daisy includes mobile applications to day care employees and child-minders, mobile/web service to day care management and mobile/web service to parents. Real life tests have shown that in a city of 100 000 habitants Daisy can relocate over 65 000 hours of manual paperwork into more important tasks; taking care of the children. Furthermore a single 24/7 daycare unit can save up to 180 000€ a year by deploying Daisy to allow parents easily inform their weekend day care needs. This value proposition together with the fact that Europe alone represents over 100 million euro market potential for such product clearly makes the case.

Before the investment WhileOnTheMove has launched their product, secured several major customers, such as cities of Oulu and Jyväskylä as well as partnered with market leading distributor in France, who has already made the first sale there.

”From the very beginning WhileOnTheMove has targeted to international markets. Today we have closed our first international partner agreements and deals. The next step is to boost even more on international sales. To achieve the goal we need both funding and guidance. We see Butterfly as a perfect partner helping us in both.” (Kari Kivistö, CEO of WhileOnTheMove)

Butterfly invested into WhileOnTheMove because their product offers good fit to market requirements that are changing and clear cost saving value proposition. The product is launched; gaining traction; and already agreed sales provide significant and relatively long term revenue. Furthermore, the WhileOnTheMove team has shown significant personal commitment and demonstrated their ability to deliver. Butterfly investment will be used to speed up the sales, especially internationally.

Startup weekend in Astana, Kazakhstan

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Startup Weekend 17.-19.5. at Astana, Kazakhstan. One of the things we liked there, is the pretty concrete approach into a customer development. On Friday there were just ideas, on Sunday some were actually already selling something for real money, i.e. testing their product as well as channels. Here’s the future fast food chain in the making, one of the first sales of their.

Astana Innovations arranged a Startup Weekend event 17.-19.5. One of our partners, Juho Risku were coaching there along with a great local coaching team and such international startup professionals as Maxim Shekhovtsov (Genezis Capital), Nikolay Savin (GrowthUP) and Karl Johannesson (Widsith Consulting).

In addition to fast food case mention above there were web and mobile startups as well as some around such ideas as waste handling and green energy. During the weekend almost 100 ideas were condensed into roughly 20 startup teams. The teams carried out customer surveys, did sales call trials, built prototypes and prepared their pitch presentations. For instance there were several launch ready web sites developed. It was great to see such amount of young people working towards new startups in such a concrete way.