The BizSpark startup of the day is Graphic.ly, based in the US. Below you will find an interview with Micah Baldwin, CEO of Graphic.ly. All the best to them and congratulations for being the startup of the day!
Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
What did you do before creating your company?
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
As with most startups, we are excited when our work is recognized. After spending hours and hours (really days and days) with our heads down creating a digital comic community that we are really excited about, its great to hear that other people share our excitement.
What is your company’s mission?
Provide an immersive social experience and marketplace around, and within, digital comics.
How did you get the idea for your company?
Our founder, Kevin Mann, a lifelong comic book enthusiast, found it difficult to keep up with his favorite creators and stories being from a small town in the northeast of England. Experiencing the ease at which digital content could be downloaded and enjoy via iTunes, he set out to develop a similar experience for digital comics.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
We raised $1.2mm, led by DFJ Mercury at the end of 2009. We have currently reopened that round based on investor demand, and are in the process of completing that round extension.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring for and where?
Which platform are you building on? Why?
We use a Windows stack, including Azure, WCF Services, .NET and WPF to fully take advantage of multi-threads and the multi-touch). In addition, we are in the process of developing a Windows Phone 7 application. Besides those native Windows apps, we have an Adobe AIR and iPhone/iPad app as well.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?
HTML5/CSS3 are both exciting emerging standards, which will drive our business in the future. Silverlight will also be a huge part of our future plans.
What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
Beyond the direct resources, Bizspark has provided us both a support system and mentorship as we work towards building the best digital comic application and community around.
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
Iterate and release. Then get feedback, iterate and release again. Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, has a great quote, where he says that if you aren’t embarrassed by your product when you first release it, you waited too long.
Who’s your role model?
There are plenty of people that have had a real hand in helping getting Graphic.ly off the ground and pushing us towards our current and future success. Its hard to pick a single person, so perhaps I will provide the single most important trait in mentors. The best mentors are able to help entrepreneurs focus on whats important, not by telling them, or being overly supportive, but by helping entrepreneurs understand whats important to them. If an entrepreneur both believes in the mission of their startup, and their ability to achieve, then success is closer at hand.
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?
It's important to note that no entrepreneur can be successful single-handedly. It's the mentors and support system that they surround themselves with that help achieve success. And, almost equally important, comic books are cool for everyone, and there is a great way to read them digitally via Graphic.ly.