Erply – fresh $2 mil Estonian start-up hit

It seems like there is a lot more to hear from Estonia as far as the online business is concerned. Erply, the ERP on the web, is one of the most successful European startups at the moment and it is coming from the baltic country. Some say that Erply will be the new Skype and it will do for business software what Skype did for the telecom business. We certainly do hope so and look forward to hearing a lot from these Estonian guys in the future.

Erply is a business software company founded by Kristian Hiiemaa in Estonia in 2008. The new Estonian software start-up is a web-based on demand business suite, consisting of a powerful ERP, software for comercial retail inventory, invoicing and e-commerce that handles data across several sales locations, online stores and offices and provides real-time dashboards with relevant data. Erply means to offer its users an extensive set of business modules: CRM, full featured financials, inventory, POS, billing and webshop software. Due to the currrent economic context and to the need to focus on productivity, Erply is based on cloud computing technology, thus providing the convenience of computing capacity on-demand over the internet.

Erply won the 2009 Seedcamp and its clients number is growing rapidly, the business being already profitable. The client focus of Erply is very strategically thought as they are focusing on small businesses and requesting smaller business fees, unlike their competitors SAP, Microsoft and Oracle.

So far, Erply has raised $2 million in funding from Redpoint and Index Ventures, Marten Mickos, Zack Urlocker (both formerly of MySQL, Kenny van Zant (SolarWinds), Aydin Senkut, David McClure and the Accelerator Group. Erply will invest this funding mainly in marketing activities and team development.

GoodData – $7 mil funding for Czech start-up

GoodData is a data analytics web solution, founded in the Czech Republic in 2007 by the serial entrepreneur Roman Stanek, which raised a total of $7 million funding up to the moment. If GoodData will be successful, this will mean the disruption of a billion dollar market: the data analytics.

Moving business intelligence and data analytics to the cloud

GoodData is a software-as-a-service complete business intelligence application, delivering a reporting tool, an on-demand analytics platform and a place to collaborate around data, all at the same time. In other words, GoodData is meant to be a new way of interacting with business data, helping business owners handle the day by day challenges of reporting and analysing business data.

From the beginning, GoodData has intended to do for dashboarding and data analytics what Amazon Web Services does for storage and compute resources. In other words, Stanek, who previously founded and sold NetBeans Inc. and Systinet Inc., is now aiming at the multi-billion dollar market of data analytics dominated by big players like SAP, IBM and Oracle. In comparison to the expensive solutions that these companies have to offer, GoodData is offered for free for the moment and it will probably come up with a usage fee in the near future, which will anyway be much lower that those of their competitors.

GoodData boasts to keeping their fixed costs down to a mininum as the application is using cloud computing entirely and running on Amazon web services.

Roman’s track record = a guarantee for GoodData’s success

GoodData raised a total of $2 million seed funding in july 2008 from Esther Dyson (chairman of EDVenture Holdings, third time investing in Roman Stanek’s businesses), Tim O’Reilly (CEO of O’Reilly Media) and Windcrest Partners. The business has closed a second round of financing of $2.5 million from Marc Andreessen, Ben Horowitz, OATV and General Catalyst in april 2009 and a Series C funding of another  $2.5 million from Andreessen Horowitz (a $300 million venture fund that was launched on July 2009) General Catalyst Partners and other undisclosed investors in october 2009. The Czech company has now raised a total of $7 million in capital.

The success GoodData has had with investors is in no way a surprise. Roman Stanek is what we could call “highly fundable” due to his serial entrepreneurship track record. Stanek sold NetBeans to Sun for $10 million and Systinet to Mercury Interactive/HP for $105 million.

Zemanta – $2 mil for a smart blogging Seedcamp start-up

Zemanta is the blogging-intelligence platform founded in Slovenia and one of the 6 winners of the 2007 Seecamp Week.  Zemanta won the €50,000 ($67,200) prize in 2007 from Seedcamp and then had about 10 weeks to develop the software from the initial Slovenian prototype. In January 2008, The Accelerator Group, Britain’s Eden Ventures and Union Square Ventures invested around £750,000 ($1.1 million) for an undisclosed stake in the startup. That was followed by a further $650,000 investment in September 2008 by Union Square Ventures.

Zemanta – your personal blogging assistant

Zemanta is a tool that helps bloggers write better articles by suggesting related content from the web. It is meant to be some sort of content suggestion engine that helps users blog easier and smarter. In order to use Zemanta one must install a Firefox extension that will automatically show related images, blog posts and articles from Wikipedia, IMDb, Amazon, Crunchbase, Facebook, MySpace, RottenTomatoes, Twitter, etc. next to the post editor. These suggestions are updated as you write more content.

You can also use Zemanta to write e-mails more effectively. You get the same features you get on your blog on Gmail and Yahoo! mail as well.

The co-founders are Andraž Tori and Boštjan Špetič. They have since brought in the team Aleš Špetič as Chairman and Marko Mrdjenovič as VP Engineering.

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