MeKiwi mascot with Chompy the chest

MeKiwi funding round closed and new game release in autumn

MeKiwi Oy, one of Finland’s leading developers and publishers of VR games, completed its early-stage funding round in July and is now moving with increased resources towards a new game release, which is planned to be launched on the world’s major gaming platforms in autumn 2022. The investors in the financing round are the Oulu-based Nordic Option Oy and Korpu Siemen Oy, as well as the company’s current shareholders and key personnel.

“As a company, we have a long history of working with VR games and have proven that our expertise allows us to develop and publish commercially successful games worldwide. The completed funding round will result in stronger marketing initiatives with the release of the new Cave Digger 2 game, as well as the overall development of the company in line with its growth objectives,” says Samuel Kuosmanen, CEO of MeKiwi.


“The VR content market is growing at a significant pace, especially for games, and at Nordic Option we believe that MeKiwi’s talented team has the potential to make an international breakthrough. The company’s ambitious growth targets will require the development and commercialisation of several new games in the future. The key task for the current owners is to ensure that sufficient resources are available for the development of new games alongside other strategic measures,” continues Teemu Puumalainen, Investment Director at Nordic Option.

“MeKiwi’s future plans are to increase its game publishing volumes by developing its own games, but also by publishing and marketing other developers’ games. It is also important to develop and manage the distribution channel network to ensure that the games released are accessible to customers on all major and popular platforms. In a few years’ time, MeKiwi will be hopefully a brand that everyone knows”, concludes CEO Kuosmanen.

Additional information:

Samuel Kuosmanen, CEO MeKiwi Oy, , 044-5452020

Teemu Puumalainen, Investment Director Nordic Option Oy, , 040-6318362

Matias Itkonen, Managing Partner SijoittajaPRO Corporate Finance, , 045-6721414

MeKiwi in brief:

Mekiwi is the largest developer and publisher of VR games in Finland. It also offers customised software development and web services to corporate customers. The company was founded in 2014 and its turnover has grown to over €1 million. The company currently employs around 30 people.

Nordic Option in brief:

Nordic Option Oy is a venture capital fund investing primarily in growth companies in Northern Finland. Its largest owners are Arvo Sijoitusosuuskunta, Partnera Oyj, and the City of Oulu. The goal of the company is to offer a nordic option to facilitate the growth and internationalisation of small and medium businesses.

Korpun Siemen in brief:

Korpun Siemen Oy, founded by SijoittajaPRO Corporate Finance, is backed by 33 early-stage investors with extensive experience in start-up, growth and family-owned companies in various industries. The company includes active angel investors, growth company entrepreneurs and investors who have already exited their companies.


Service design and requirements specification in a nutshell

What is service design and what requirements specification project consists of? We briefly summarise together what these two are all about. MeKiwi has also taken part in many service design and requirements specification projects, we can help your company develop a new product or service, or help refine an existing service.

What is service design?

The goal of service design is to create a smooth customer experience by enhancing the quality of a service or product. Service design can be, for example, a clear design of the website's interface or an improvement in the user experience of a product, always with the user in mind. It is a good idea to start designing a service or product with the needs of the end user in mind. Customer understanding and communication between the service provider and the customer is the core of service design. A well-designed service brings added value to the customer, leading to end-user satisfaction. A satisfied customer brings new users, which in turn increases the company's growth.

Requirements specification

The goal of service design is to create a smooth customer experience by enhancing the quality of a service or product. Service design can be, for example, a clear design of the website's interface or an improvement in the user experience of a product, always with the user in mind. It is a good idea to start designing a service or product with the needs of the end user in mind. Customer understanding and communication between the service provider and the customer is the core of service design. A well-designed service brings added value to the customer, leading to end-user satisfaction. A satisfied customer brings new users, which in turn increases the company's growth.

 

Requirements specification project for Maalausteho Oy

MeKiwi created the service design, UI / UX design and features of the digital service concept, as well as the requirements specification of the technical plan for Maalausteho’s new business idea.
Jonne Riihimäki, CEO of Maalausteho Oy says about our cooperation: “I was really satisfied and things went as I expected. The team and experts on the graphic side as well as the technical requirements specification side were qualified and skilled. The result of the definition was what was expected ”. Read the reference and full customer feedback here.

Your company can also benefit from Business Finland's innovation voucher, for example, for a concept project like this. A ready-made and comprehensive concept also makes it easier to apply for funding to build the final product or service. The application for the innovation voucheris open.

Do you have a new product or project idea or want to hear more about what we can offer? MeKiwi can help you with the concept and service design of your new product or service, contact Jonnaand let's go through your goals and ideas together.


SEO trends 2021

Certain trends can be followed both in clothing and websites, but this time we will focus on websites and more specifically on search engine optimization (SEO) 2021 trends.

Mobile friendliness

Today, almost everyone owns a smartphone, which means that websites are also browsed a lot via the phone. In the spring of 2021, Google announced a new algorithm change that will rank mobile-friendly sites higher. So when building a website, it is especially important to make it responsive and functional on all devices.

Create video content

Google searches are also performed as voice searches. Thus, keywords and phrases embedded in videos can improve the video itself or the website to be found on Google if the video is embedded on a site. As with site text content design, video design should take into account your target audience and the types of searches they may do. It’s also worth noting that when speaking, key phrases tend to be longer than keywords placed on web pages, because in general, speech is much more relaxed and there may be a difference in sentence formation when talking vs. doing a Google search.

Put the reader first

One SEO trend that is unlikely to ever go away is that when designing content, write the content for a person and not for a search engine. Text should be clearly written and clear should also be the overall layout of the site, as it assures the visitor to stay on the site longer, which Google also appreciates.

Google SMITH algorithm

In short, Google’s SMITH algorithm is able to understand long sets of text compared to the BERT algorithm, which only understands words and short sentences from short sets of text. That is, in the future, SMITH will help Google index better the most relevant search results for the user.

 

At MeKiwi, creating responsive and search engine-friendly websites is commonplace, so contact us today and let's take a look at your website needs, whether it’s a small update or a complete overhaul. You can contact Jonna here.


The basics of computer security

The most important goal of computer security is to protect devices and information from unauthorized users. Computer security is a broad concept and applies to each of us. We’ve summarized the basics of computer security in our latest blog.

Three Tenets of Information Security

The principles of information security can be roughly divided into three sections: availability, confidentiality, and integrity. Availability is achieved when the information is available to the person concerned, regardless of the time. Confidentiality means that access to the information is restricted to those who have the rights to it and the data is not allowed to be passed on. Integrity means that the data must be up-to-date and integrity is maintained, for example through backups, so that the data is not destroyed as a result of a possible hardware failure.

Computer security subdivisions

In addition to the principles of information security, information security can be further divided into different areas. These eight areas are:

  • administrative security ie the company's internal security plan and policies
  • physical security ie the protection of equipment against physical threats such as fire or theft
  • hardware security ie who has access to and the right to use, for example, the company's computers or printers, companies also usually keep record of these
  • software security ie keeping the licenses and updates of hardware applications and software up to date
  • the security of the data ie access to the data only by an authorized person
  • telecommunications security ie the protection of information on the Internet and internal networks
  • personnel security ie instructing the company's employees on the company's information security policies
  • operational security ie securing the day-to-day operations of a company by keeping the systems up to date

What is the difference between computer security and data protection?

Data protection and computer security can often be confused, but data protection means protecting the privacy of an individual, for example when processing personal data. Computer security, in turn, protects this personal and other important information based on the principles mentioned earlier in the blog.

 

At MeKiwi, Ilkka Koiste is responsible for computer security issues and we handle our projects in accordance with good information security principles.


Interview with Joh Orengo from XR Nation

There's strength in numbers and Joh Orengo knows that, as he's one of the people behind XR Nation. XR Nation is the most important and biggest hub for extended reality (XR) related companies in the nordics. We interviewed Joh to see how the situation of extended reality is in Finland and internationally, what kind of cool stuff people can achieve with these new technologies and what's in the future of XR Nation.

Tell us something about you

I'm a Puerto Rican living in Finland for 12 years now. I came here for university where I met my future wife and decided I didn't want to be anywhere else. Now I'm the CEO and Founder of Spatial8. I've been part of the XR scene since 2018 when I joined the AR startup Grib. Before that I used to be an English teacher at the University of Helsinki for about 6 years but decided to switch careers. It was time for a new challenge. But for what I'm doing now 'challenge' is a bit of an understatement.

What does XR Nation do?

XR Nation is a modern business ecosystem of XR companies from across Europe. (It's the auxiliary name for Spatial8). We offer consultation through workshops to help educate brands about the technology and how it might be able to help them meet their business goals. We then connect them with the best companies for content creation and other services and AR or VR products. We also run an internal market where ecosystem members can buy and sell their products and services, some of which are not offered publicly, to each other at member rates.

How many members do you have?

54. We're the largest ecosystem of its kind in the Nordics, and once we hit 71, we’ll be the biggest in Europe.

What are some business cases that came out of the ecosystem?

We have a partnership with Telia to run their content creator ecosystem for their "AR by Telia" platform. A number of our business cases come from that pipeline. For example, one of our members, Make Helsinki (now Healthware International) created AR recipes for some of Valio's dairy products. Another example is MeKiwi creating a fun face filter for a Finnish taxi company that wanted to promote the change of its phone number. Apart from the AR by Telia business cases, we have several municipalities approaching us to take part in various XR-related projects.

How’s the XR panorama in the Nordic countries and especially Finland?

Finland is an exciting place to be for XR. We have one of the best startup ecosystems in the world. There are active XR communities in Helsinki and other cities, like Jyväskylä and Oulu. Not only is Finland's gaming ecosystem top notch but now we're making a name with VR games like VRKiwi's Cave Digger, one of the most popular games for the Oculus. We have a new photonics association and startups like Dispelix and, of course, Varjo pushing the limits of XR lenses and Mixed Reality headsets. AR companies make a lot of noise, too. Grib has won multiple awards for its 3D modelling software and Immersal was recently acquired by the Swedish company Hexagon for its mapping technology. Anarky Labs is also creating a revolutionary AR interface for professional drone pilots.

If we look at the rest of the Nordic-Baltic region there is also a lot I could say. Here is a snapshot. Flow's popular VR meditation software utilizes Iceland's nature as its backdrop. Norway has quality research and practical applications about immersive learning coming from local universities and the VRINN business cluster. Sweden has a heavy hitter in Vobling that's part of the publicly listed entertainment conglomerate Bublar. Denmark is home of MeetinVR, one of the best virtual collaboration platforms out on the market today. Estonia's Wolf3D has recently released a hub for its cool cross-platform avatars, and the EdTech startup Futuclass creates quality courses for teaching math and science in VR. Some XR, media, and gaming ecosystems joined together in Lithuania to improve business and innovation. Latvia also has a young and exciting XR community helmed by the founders of Overly, an experienced and creative AR company creating its own platform. I can go on, but then it wouldn't be a snapshot. Suffice it to say, there's a lot of outstanding work coming out of the region.

Which field uses XR technology the most? Which ones will see an increase in XR use?

If we look at Augmented Reality, marketing and advertising is a good entry point for a brand to see how the technology can be used to attract customers and gain insights into their behavior. This could be the beginning of a broader "XR strategy". A company like the dairy producer Valio, for example, who I mentioned earlier could also utilize 'enterprise AR' for maintenance and operations as well. While AR advertising might be the 'low hanging fruit', AR, especially as headsets improve, is really showing its capabilities and will continue to be used more and more in warehouses and factories and on the farms.

A place of great interest for us in particular is VR for learning and training. VR has been applied to training in the university and R&D setting for decades now. Entrepreneurs and creators should not only be aware of the foundations they are building on but also could avoid some wasteful mistakes by learning our history and getting to discuss with the early innovators, who are still very active in the field.

On top of that, we in the Nordics and in Europe more generally could benefit from learning about what our neighbors are up to as well. In XR Nation's network alone there are three companies producing complementary 360/VR platforms that could be used for training. We don't see that as a bad thing. What can be done in this situation and what role can Spatial8 play? We'd like to explore that. We believe the Nordics have a chance to really push ahead in VR training.

What kind of XR events are being held?

I'm the founder and co-organizer of AWE Nite Northern XR (previously known as AWE Nite Helsinki). It's a branded meet-up under Augmented World Expo (AWE) designed to bring the XR communities in the Nordic-Baltic region (collectively known as 'Northern XR') closer together and showcase the companies coming out of the ecosystems. One of the meet-ups focused on XR for fashion. My business partner Teemu Ollilainen and I saw that there was so much interest in that topic that we decided to explore what we could do in the field.

I brought together two of that meetup's participants, Olesja Hännikäinen and Krista Jäntti, and together we came up with Exthereal, the company behind an online conference that brings the XR and fashion worlds together. Our first event, which MeKiwi will be taking part in, will be early this December and sponsored by Accenture and Microsoft. More information about the event will be coming soon!

What goals do you have for the future of XR Nation?

We are currently changing brands to Spatial8. While we began with XR Nation, its community, and their AR and VR products and services, we aim to adapt that model for blockchain technology companies. We need to embrace the technology that could one day make us obsolete and learn how to adapt it wisely.

That is what 'spatialate' means, to improve something or solve problems through the judicious application of emerging technologies. And it doesn't stop at Blockchain.

A data wing is also in the works. As part of that wing we hope to build stronger bridges to the AI ecosystems in Finland, the Nordics, and the rest of Europe. S8 also works with Kaira Clan as our gateway to the Finnish IoT ecosystem.

These are some examples of the emerging technologies and companies that we are bringing together to help better educate the market, solve business problems, and promote innovation.

In short, we want to spatialate the world.


Web design trends for 2021

A good website is something every business should invest in. The purpose of the website is after all to attract visitors and generate the highest quality leads for the company. We collected a few web design trends for 2021.

Minimalism

It's good to start website design from a simple approach. The visitor should not be overwhelmed by shapes and colors, also in this case less is more. A clear and user-friendly layout serves the visitor more efficiently and the company's message can be clearly displayed.

Dark mode

Black or dark background is friendly and pleasing to the reader’s eye, which increases the likelihood of the reader enjoying the site and staying there longer. Light text on a dark background also stands out even better. Dark themes have also been used by big companies (e.g. Facebook), which website designers have also begun to adopt due to its popularity among users.

3D elements

Interactive 3D elements in website design is one of the rising slightly more unique trends. Such elements can be utilized, for example, in online stores, where the customer can examine the product throughout by rotating the product image on the screen. 3D elements can also be used non-interactively as a mere illustration.

Scroll effects

Perhaps the most popular scrolling effect is Parallax scrolling, although Parallax has been on the surface for a long time, it continues to be popular. In the parallax effect, elements on the page, such as the text in the foreground and the image in the background, move at different rates as the user scrolls the page. Scrolling effects can also use different animations when moving from one section of a page to another, such as zooming or horizontal scrolling. Various scrolling effects can bring more life to the site with very little effort without compromising the usability of the site.

MeKiwi can help your business by designing and implementing modern and functional websites. Contact us whether it is a small website update or a complete reconstruction.


Accelerate business growth with the innovation voucher

The Business Finland innovation voucher offers a quick way to test the sustainability of your innovation and study its market.

The innovation voucher is intended for the acquisition of expert services related to innovation activities. The maximum grant is 5,000 euros + VAT. with a 1000 euro + VAT self-financing contribution. A small aid is also provided by the payment procedure of the innovation voucher, in which the service provider invoices Business Finland directly.

Buy expertise with the innovation voucher

Business Finland's website states that the innovation voucher is intended for established SMEs that have a new product or service idea with international growth potential.

How does the innovation voucher help to develop an idea? In digital services, for example, service design or user interface demos are such limited entities that are suitable for funding with the innovation voucher. The innovation voucher can also be used to finance the development of a product and service strategy.

You should choose a service provider that complements your company’s expertise. This is how you get the most out of your innovation voucher.

MeKiwi has participated in many innovation voucher -projects

B.UP Oy is a personnel coaching company, which was founded in 2020. We have had the pleasure of creating a prototype of the B.UP wellness application, in which they received support from Business Finland's innovation voucher. In the project, we created the general look of the B.UP application and one research trip leading to self-development with reflection tasks. Read the full customer experience here.

MeKiwi is a service provider approved by Business Finland. We help our customers plan development projects according to each need and guide them in applying for BF innovation voucher financing. Contact Jonna and we will plan your innovation project!


How to stay inspired and motivated at work

How to stay inspired and motivated at work? It is not rare to have a difficult patch in your worklife, there will be tough and frustrating situations which requires some extra motivation to push through. Occasional frustration with work is normal and is a part of life. Go through our tips listed if you feel like you need a little push to maintain your inspiration and work motivation.

Stay inspired and motivated at work by setting goals and rewards

Setting certain goals or objectives at work will help you to improve the quality of your work. Setting goals will also give you immediate feedback whether the goals were met or not, bringing extra fun trying to reach the goals.

When talking about goals, we should also mention rewards. You should set up a habit to reward yourself whenever a goal is reached, or a certain task is done. This goes for the employer as well, remember to show appreciation for your employees. Happy employee is a motivated employee, which shows directly in how the company performs overall.

Make effort to distance yourself from work

It is no wonder that you lose your inspiration and motivation at work if you can’t distance yourself from it. After your workday you should do something completely different that is not related to your work at all. For example, if you work at the office and sit all day staring at the computer screen, go outside when you are done, be active no matter how tempting it would be to just stay in front of the computer after work. Vice versa, if your work requires a lot of physical effort, try to relax in your free time. Don’t go jogging or do an extreme workout right after, give your body a chance to relax. Read also our tips for balancing work and free time.

To stay inspired and motivated at work requires learning

Sometimes you might lose your motivation if you are dealing with too difficult tasks or are just too comfortable staying in your preferred comfort zone. Always ask for help if the tasks feel too overwhelming, talk to your fellow employees or boss about it and see how you can untangle the situation. Also keep learning and try to educate yourself a little at a time. When it comes to your comfort zone, step out of it, at least from time to time even just a little, because that is once again a part of life.

Be open to feedback

You might lose your motivation and inspiration if you are too set in your ways. Talk to other people and brainstorm. Let other’s new ideas inspire you which will increase your motivation as well, get a new point of view. Be open to feedback and improvement suggestions, you all are working towards a common goal in your company after all.


How to make better performing newsletters

What is a successful newsletter? When you think of the word newsletter, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Pop-up windows that ask to subscribe or email full of daily newsletters with the same headlines? Yes, it’s safe to say that not all people like newsletters, but they still exist, because there is a demand for those who can distinguish themselves. There are indeed many fish in the sea, but you want to make sure that you get picked. That is why we wanted to dive a little deeper and find out what will make newsletters perform better.

Use social media

Not only sending your newsletter to people via email, it should also be promoted utilizing your company’s social media channels. Remember to share the link to your newsletter and call-to-action to subscribe. Social media can also be used to get to know your audience better, it will help you to create more meaningful content for your readers and prompt the interest of those who are not yet familiar with your newsletter.

Better performing newsletters are simple and minimal

We bet that there are many interesting things happening in your company and you would just love to go and shout every single great news out to the public, but think about the busy reader trying to find the time to go through all your topics that might not even be interesting enough for them. So clean and simple is the way to go, you don’t want to drown your readers too much.

Consistent but unique

When you order something, you would most likely like to know what the product is about. Same goes with newsletters, in most cases keeping the content consistent will attract the best audience just for you and also keep them interested in your content in the future, since they know what is coming. Just add a little twist, to keep the content fun. Speaking of interesting and fun, to make better performing newsletters make sure that your main title varies in each newsletter. The more unique and eye-catching the title is, the more likely your post will be clicked.

Visual style of better performing newsletters

Aside from content itself, a simple and clean style can also be applied to the visual side of the newsletter. Think about the contrast of the colors, the text should be easily seen and read. The images should be high-quality images that reflect the content, they shouldn’t be just random stock photos.

Summary for better performing newsletters is consistent, fun and readable content with a spice of engaging titles and high-quality relevant images. You can always use your imagination to try out different things and find what works best for your company.


Signs of top-notch customer service

There is no business without customers and keeping good relations with them is vital for every company. Word-of-mouth advertising should not be underestimated, it affects your brand for better or worse. The brand of a company is built on how customers see it, not from how the company sees itself. A top-notch customer service covers how to provide the best possible customer experience.

 

Product knowledge inside and out

One essential point of delivering good service is the knowledge of the product. Think about someone trying to sell you something they know nothing about. That does not give a very good impression now, does it? Make sure your employees know the business, and what they are selling, to provide a better experience for the customer. Motivate employees to get to know the business and services more by arranging workshops or weekly meetings. After all, employees are the ones who represent your brand.

Step in the customer’s shoes

When you are presenting your products or services to the customer, they don’t want to hear what you do, they are interested in how they will benefit from your service. The best customer service highlights what you really can offer to their business in terms of value. When thinking about value, pricing the service right is one key point. Also make sure that the product or service is what you describe it to be.
Try seeing things from the customer’s point of view, listen to them carefully and together try to find just the right solution for them. You want to keep your clients happy and make them also want to come back. Treat your clients kindly and don’t talk down to them, no matter how hard the situation is. Don’t forget, communication is the key!

Keep the schedule in mind

A good customer experience involves good planning, so before your team storms into a new project make sure that the scheduling is done properly. Dividing tasks into smaller sprints gives everyone a better overview of what is going on and what is going to happen next. Deliver the project in time, you don’t want to make your client wait for too long. In case your company’s internal communication needs improvement, we already got you covered. Go check our post for tips onhow to make your company’s internal communication work.
Keep also communicating with your customers, be reachable and give updates how the project is progressing and provide them material along the way to get the feedback. Make the desired changes to meet the expectations, but bear in mind the budget, schedule and if the changes are possible overall. You are the expert of your field and the client doesn’t always know the best practices of how things are supposed to be done. It is your job to provide the correct information needed to keep the project on track.

Believe in client questionnaires

After you finish a project, send a satisfaction survey to the client to get immediate feedback. This ensures that you are going in the right direction with your customer service and helps to improve your business. You can utilize the given feedback to promote your brand and services.

Interact with your clients through social media

Last but not least, using social media effectively is a part of delivering good customer service. Publish content what targets your desired audience, what might answer their burning questions and get them motivated to contact you. Choose the right platforms for you and try to keep them active and be responsive in the comments.

The subjects on this post are only the tip of the iceberg but will help you create a more meaningful relationship with your customers.