Featured BizSpark Startup on Azure: MAP IT

Featured BizSpark Startup on Azure: MAP IT

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MAP IT develops custom business applications

Learn how MAP IT is using Azure Cloud Technologies to bring their solution to a wider audience. Here is our interview with Managing Partner and founder, Mark Abela Schinas.


Tell us what your company does?

Our main focus is in the development of custom business applications. However we have been developing our own “software as a service” applications for the past year and have started rolling out these services over the past few months.

How did you get the idea for your company?

While working as software developers in a manufacturing company, my co-founder Anton Pisani and I decided that we wanted to be able to build software that would solve business problems in various other industries too and so we decided that the best way to do this would be to start our own company.

What has been your biggest “aha” moment since founding your company?

Since starting our company the biggest “aha” moment would be when we realized how easily we could leverage cloud technologies to bring our solutions to a wider audience.

Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding?

We are entirely self-funded business. We started in a garage a few years ago with virtually no capital and have been growing ever since.

How many employees do you have? How many of them are developers?

4 employees. 4 developers.

Microsoft technologies are you using in conjunction with the development of your application:

ASP.NET, C#, SQL Server, IIS, Visual Studio, Azure

Tell us about your Azure based solution.

Our Azure based solution is an integrated suite of products for small businesses. It combines Timesheet, CRM and job scheduling software into one package. Apart from those products the solution also hosts a hotel reservations system and a language school booking and scheduling system. All products are integrated so data can easily be shared between the products.

How is Azure implemented in your solution?

The application was designed and developed as an Azure Cloud Service to take advantage of Azure’s tight integration with Visual Studio.

How did you get excited about Azure?

We came across a blog post describing the upcoming release of Azure cloud services and realized it was the perfect fit for hosting our products which at the time were still in development. A few code changes later and the products were ready to be deployed to Azure.

What were the Azure features that prompted you to decide to build on Azure?

The Platform as a Service aspect of the Azure Cloud services was the single most important feature that prompted us to use Azure. The fact that we can publish directly from Visual Studio and not have to worry about server maintenance, updates, etc. is a big advantage for a small software development company such as ours.

Do you build for scale first, or for revenue? How are those things related in your mind?

Since we started out without any capital we had to build for revenue first. We could then reinvest profits in the business to grow and build our own products.

How much of what you are building is based on leaving a legacy vs technical challenges vs making something just for fun?

We enjoy building solutions to business problems. We get a lot of satisfaction from finding a particularly difficult problem that a company is facing and building software to solve that problem.

Do you have any advice for young startups?

Focus on what you are good at and the skills that differentiate you from your competitors. Also don’t give up easily.

Can you describe the relationship that you have had with Microsoft in building your startup?

We have been enrolled in the BizSpark program for the past 2 years and are a part of the Microsoft Partner Network.

What do you think of the BizSpark Program?

The BizSpark program was immensely important to us since it allowed us to source the development tools we needed as a time when we had very little capital and revenue.

Why would an entrepreneur turn to Microsoft for help in building scale, a team, or using software?

An entrepreneur would turn to Microsoft because they can provide access to all the tools required to build quality software and (more importantly) the ability to test software on any environment.

Mark Abela Schinas -
Managing Partner & Founder, MAP IT

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