The BizSpark startup of the day is Evangelyze Communications, based in the US. Below you will find an interview with Joe Schurman, Founder and CEO of Evangelyze Communications. 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?
Worked with Microsoft in the RTC and Microsoft Research.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
I would consider it as an honor. We have worked very, very hard and sacrificed a lot as a team and as individuals to make our organization work and to evangelize the Microsoft Unified Communications platform.
What is your company’s mission?
To provide the most innovative Unified Communications & Collaboration products and services in the market and meeting the unique business needs of our customers regardless of their industry vertical.
How did you get the idea for your company?
I worked with Microsoft within their RTC group and within Microsoft Research and noticed the opportunity to create a partner organization who could not only assist in the evangelism of the Microsoft UC platform, but also develop some of the most innovative CEBP (Communications Enabled Business Process) applications in the marketplace.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
We self-funded our organization through professional services and application development to the tune of just over $1M and have received private investments of up to $1.4M to assist us in bringing our first two products to market. Now that we have met the demands of our customers and Microsoft, as well as having been approached three times for acquisition, we are 100% confident that we have created the right kind of company and we want to grow that opportunity through a real round of capital funding to assist us in finalizing the development of 2 applications and funding our team’s growth, equipment needs, and office space needs in the US, APAC, and EMEA. We have several funding models developed but are accepting investments through tactical/incremental funding at $100K per 1% equity or capital infusion of at least $3.4M USD as we have $10M+ in pipeline already.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
21 resources, 10 developers.
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring for and where?
If funded, yes, need additional developers and sales reps immediately.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
Microsoft Communications Server 2010 and SharePoint 2010. This is the future of Unified Communications and CEBP is the key differentiator in this market. Watch the following video for more information where we have been featured on the Today in America Show that will launch on CNN, Discovery Channel, Fox News, and other media in September/October - http://vimeo.com/14375074
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?
The biggest opportunity that we see is in CEBP application development and in Unified Communications. Through CEBP, there are so many opportunities for product development, services, and partnering. I wrote an entire blog about this via http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/8631.
What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
I think it’s one of the best ideas Microsoft has ever had. It has been very difficult to start a new company in this economic state and any help that a company like Microsoft can provide to growing companies that have great ideals, trust, and commitment is greatly appreciated.
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
I was just interviewed by NBC’s Russ Capper on the Business Maker’s show about this - http://vimeo.com/13044033. My advice to new and young entrepreneurs was to get ready to learn something about everything. Patience is the key but my advice is to give it everything you’ve got. If you believe in what you do, you have to fight and fight hard. It’s not an easy battle, but if you put your faith and heart into your vision and surround yourself with resources you believe in and that you trust, you will never fail. To add, my advice is to never give up. There have been so many times where I have sat and watched the strain I’ve put on my family, my team, and myself. Through faith and hard work, we have overcome all of our startup pains and it’s been because of faith and hard work that we are here today.
Who’s your role model?
My business role model is Gurdeep Singh Pall. This is a man who not only comes from a technical background and has proven himself among his peers, but is truly passionate about what he is creating and the future of the Microsoft UC platform and it’s this shared passion that created my evangelism for this platform and thus, my company. On a personal level, it would have to be my grandfather and my daughter. My grandfather has been a quadriplegic for over 40 years. He has accomplished so much despite his condition and the pain he has been through and his passion and his fighting spirit against all odds is an inspiration to me. That same passion and spirit is alive in my oldest daughter, Paige, who is a competitive ice skater. She has been through a lot of physical pain and discomfort, especially over this past year where she was diagnosed with a heart condition, and continues, every practice to be there at 5am in the morning until noon, works out three times a day, and has been on a strict diet for too many years. Her commitment to her vision and her sport are an inspiration as well.
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?
To believe. There is so much negativity out there. You have to keep the faith in what you are doing, trust your instincts, and if you believe you will succeed, you will.