Author: Kris Hróbjartsson (Page 2 of 4)

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CCP posts record revenues, announces new game

CCP just released its financials for 2016. The company grew revenues by 31% and posted a record year of roughly $86 million in revenues with EBIDTA of $39 million and profits of $20.7 million. This means the company has around $260,000 in revenue per each of their 330 employees.

This suggests that the now 20 year old gaming company has been able to rebound from its two years in the red in 2013 and 2014, after the notoriously expensive write-off of the Werewolf gaming franchise.

Hilmar Veigar, CEO of CCP, credits these numbers to three things, in a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz:

It was the opening up of skill trading at the beginning of the year, then the release of Citadel, and the transition to open access, all of which were phenomenally successful.

CCP’s main title, Eve Online, is now a free-to-play game, with in-game purchases (skill trading). Hilmar Veigar has also said previously, that the CCP’s venture into VR is “on path to break even.”

CCP’s spokesman didn’t comment on how the revenue is split between sources, that is, how much is Eve and how much is VR. This comes to no surprise, as the VR industry as a whole has been mostly silent about revenue and sales numbers.

Sparc: Full Body Virtual Sport

CCP also announced their next VR game: Sparc. The game, which has been under development under the name Project Arena and available to test at last year’s Fanfest, is a two player, full-body VR game, with gameplay similar to the classic Pong. 

Players stand face to face in a long corridor, armed with the ability to throw projectiles try to score points by landing shots on their competitors. At the same time, they have shields they can use to deflect shots. Apart from that the game offers single player training and other multiplayer game modes, as per the announcement.

This is the first VR game by CCP outside of the Eve franchise. The game is due later this year – no definite release date has been given.

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Is interest in startups in Iceland decreasing?

First rule of writing non-fiction online is that ending your headlines with a question mark is completely lame (and the question is usually easily answered with a “no”). However, this time around, this question is honestly something I’ve been thinking about over the last couple of weeks. I’m going to share a couple of thoughts (and data).

My (pessimistic) gut

This thinking started a while back, after we saw that most of QuizUp’s former employees started working at established companies. A large part didn’t even go to startups, but bigger corporate gigs, and only one company was founded from the remains.

At the same time, the economy in Iceland is going well. Low unemployment, low inflation, everything chugging along. Thinking that people that were otherwise inclined to entrepreneurship, find themselves in a nice job instead, could affect this as well.

Competition participation is trailing down

Last week, the Golden Egg business model competition (Gulleggið) announced ten finalists. Gulleggið has been a part of the Icelandic startup and entrepreneurship space for a long time (2017 is its tenth year). I would almost go so far as to say that organised startup community activity was nearly non-existent at that time. Why should it have started before? Everyone worked in finance and life was good.

Anyway, ten finalists were chosen out of 123 business ideas. A decent number, if you look at it in a vacuum. But if we plot the number of business ideas that entered the competition for the last five years, a trend emerges.

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The trend for Startup Reykjavik and Startup Energy Reykjavik isn’t quite as clear. Startup Reykjavik bounced back last year after a big drop, and looks to be on an upwards slope, while Energy applications are slowly declining.

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What do you think could be causing this development in participation? Send me a message.

Events are up and attendance not as much

Anecdotally, I’ve heard comments that event attendance is diminishing. Some attribute it to event fatigue – there’s so much to choose from, the average attendance goes down – but it could also be lower interest levels.

So, we scraped some data (thanks to our main engineer Kári Tristan) and got attendance data for events ranging back to 2011. These are events hosted by Icelandic Startups, Startup Iceland, Innovit, Innovation Center Iceland (NMÍ), Gulleggið, Startup Reykjavík, Startup Energy Reykjavik, Northstack, Sjávarklasinn and Innovation House. We got data for a total of 170 events covering 2011 until this moment in 2017.

Remember, I’m not a statistician and I haven’t done the prerequisite deviation and confidence interval calculations on this for it to be scientific. It’s mostly for the fun, and limited insights. If you’re interested in doing some of that number crunching, I can send you the data we have.

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There’s a decent upwards trend in the number of events, which is something most of us that follow the ecosystem have probably noticed. There’s more people planning events, and startups in general have gotten more attention (anecdotally) than in the earlier years.

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This graph shows the average event attendees per event by quarter. So an event in Q3 2014 had, on average, 95 attendees. There’s a trendline here, but not as strong as in the total events (and, remember, not scientifically tested).

My hypothesis is the following: Supply of startup related events has grown faster than demand / size of market, which leads to smaller groups of attendants (on average).

Sadly, we don’t have more nitty-gritty data, to see, for example, unique event attendants per quarter, or event attendance retention.

What does it all mean?

Not much, really. You made it to the end of the post, and there’s not a “No” answer to the question posed in the headline. There isn’t a “yes” answer either; it’s a total “I don’t know”.

What kind of data could we use to try to answer this? If you have ideas, let me know 🙂.

You can sign up to the Northstack Memo here. Delivered every week to your inbox 🙂

 

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Everest VR to be part of permanent Everest exhibit at the Royal Geographical Society

VR producers Sólfar and RVX have donated their collaborative product, Everest VR, to the Royal Geographical Society in London. The VR experience will become a permanent part of their Everest exhibit.

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Feedback Friday: Stock Options in Icelandic startups

A couple of weeks ago I sent out a Northstack Memo titled “Do startups in Iceland offer stock options?” discussing whether companies used them or not, and if not, why. I got a lot of feedback on that post, some of which is published below. If you have any thoughts, comments or questions, shoot me a message.

  • Jenný: I sit on five startup boards. One has no share option plan, two initiated a share option plan to employees during the past two years and two implemented a share option plan which I handed to them. My feeling is that this is in pretty good shape in our portfolio. The first point on founders losing stake can easily be addressed with founder vs common class of stocks.
  • Founder: We offer options at my company and have used the new laws to do it in a flexible and nice way. We think it’s a necessary as a way to give a sense of ownership, and not only for the earliest employees, but also for the ones that will come later. I don’t think Icelandic startup employees think much of the value of their options, which is reasonable because most startups fail, or never become valuable enough for the options to gain massive value. It might be that Silicon Valley employees deem the options too valuable, but there’s probably some middle ground there that is correct.
  • Sigurður: We are focused on this. We want a minimum option pool of 10-20%, depending on the company. I think all VC’s emphasize this. We want the company to have options available to make recruiting easier and make the team better. A startup should pay lower salaries and give out options.
  • Helga: We don’t have options, but we have a bonus plan instead. In general, Icelandic employees don’t value options that highly. They mostly look at what they get paid every month, and don’t focus on the long-term possible upside; which is understandable, because there are very few instances of upsides affecting employees.
  • Haukur: I am a founder and CEO and I will definitely offer stock options when it comes to hiring, which I hope I can do Q2 this year. Especially in the early stages, I believe wholeheartedly that it will benefit the company morale and increase productivity. It was one of the things we specially discussed when noting up partnership agreements between the founders.
  • Investor: I’m not sure whether the company’s I’ve invested in offer stock options, but it seems common for early employees to get equity. It’ll be interesting to see whether the new law will make stock options more common. I think your speculations are largely correct.

You can sign up to the Northstack Memo here. Delivered (almost) every Monday to your inbox 🙂

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Vivaldi adds built-in screenshot options and more in new update

Vivaldi, the browser founded by former Opera founder Jon von Tetzchner has released a new version.

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Icelandic Payment Startup Memento chosen Best of Show at Finovate 2017

Memento, the company behind Kass – the payments app whitelabeled by Íslandsbanki last year – was chosen Best of show at Finovate 2017 in London.

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Ten startups participating in Startup Tourism

Yesterday, Icelandic Startups announced the ten companies that will be participating in Startup Tourism 2017.  From the announcement:

“Startup Tourism received 94 applications this year, which is an increase of about 29% from last year. The selection committee emphasized products and services which could increase recreation options, strengthen infrastructure and support the distribution of tourists all across Iceland, all year round.”

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Tulipop introduces new product line with US toymaker Toynami

Tulipop, maker of the cute figures from Tulipop island, is launching a new product line with the US toymaker Toynami. The product line includes plush toys, piggy banks, and small vinyl figures that will be sold in Happy boxes.

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SidekickHealth maker Goodlifeme raises $1.5m round led by Frumtak Ventures

Frumtak Ventures just announced a $1.5m investment into Goodlifeme AB, maker of Sidekick Health. Other participants in the round include Tennin ehf. and other investors.

This investment gives our team of physicians, psychologists, public health professionals and game developers the opportunity to deepen SidekickHealth’s global reach, particularly in the United States,” said Tryggvi Thorgeirsson, co-founder and CEO of Goodlifeme said in a statement.

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Sidekick Health is a lifestyle companion app, utilizing insights from behavioral economics, artificial intelligence, and evidence based guidelines from the US CDC, to enhance the effectiveness of lifestyle education and coaching.

According to the statement, the app has shown great benefit to its users:

To date, companies and health organizations that have augmented in-person Diabetes Prevention Programs (DPPs) and employee fitness initiatives with SidekickHealth have seen an 82% retention rate among participants over a 4-month period, 76% increase in participant weight loss, and a 65% reduction in soda consumption.

Eggert Claessen, managing partner of Frumtak Ventures: “SidekickHealth’s solution … presents a significant opportunity to positively impact the wellbeing of employees and patients, while also reducing health-related overhead costs for enterprise companies and organizations globally.”

Picture is of Sidekick Health co-founders Tryggvi Þorgeirsson and Sæmundur Oddsson.

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Innovation Center Iceland opens co-working space in New York

Innovation Center Iceland (NMÍ), the government institution tasked with projects focused on entrepreneurship and innovation, is entering a partnership with other Nordic countries to open a co-working space in New York City.

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Nortstack – Reporting and analysis of the Icelandic startup scene