Our Featured BizSpark App is Mathgician, a casual and fun game that offers real-time interaction between players created by BizSpark Startup, Winprovise.
Here is our interview with co-founders of Winprovise, Tim Chew and Walter Wong.
Tell us about your company.
We build consumer apps that will do anything from solving problems to entertaining our users.
Tell us about your app.
Mathgician is casual and fun game that offers real-time interaction between players. Mathgician offers a unique, first-of-kind gameplay and innovative game experience to users. Players worldwide will play on the same game board simultaneously where they will need to find a combination of two numbers from the numbers board that will solve the equation correctly. With items such as ‘magic potions’ that may be purchased via in-app purchases (available soon), players can cast spells to freeze other players during game play to slow them down in order to clinch the crown for the match.
What did you do before creating your company?
We had always been doing software development specializing in client/server systems and tools and utilities. Between us, we’ve had opportunities to be involved in a number of different industries through the years including airports, publishing, trading, enterprise, manufacturing and mobile devices/platforms.
How did you get the idea for your company?
Having found that we shared this passion for building tools and utilities, we figured that it made sense that we should combine our skills and experience. That’s how it all started for us, but we’ve definitely looked beyond the scope that kicked it all off.
What has been your biggest “aha” moment since founding your company?
Our initial efforts and focus was on tools and utilities for users of desktop computers, but with the advent of the mobile computing, devices and mobile software that became what it is today, we realized, hey, we can do more, and also serve more people and needs if we didn’t limit ourselves. It just seemed to be the natural progression or evolution for us.
Tell us about your funding history – are you VC, Angel or self-funded? Are you currently looking for funding?
We are currently self-funded, but we are working on expanding our operations, so funding is definitely something we are looking at as well.
How many employees do you have? How many of them are developers?
We have five employees, with four of them being developers.
Microsoft technologies that you are using in conjunction with the development of your application:
Mathgician was built with the following technologies and hosted in Windows Azure: ASP.Net SignalR,Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Store App with XAML
Why did you decide to build an app for the Windows Store?
Windows desktops are in almost every household, office and school. With Windows being extended to mobile devices two years ago, it became obvious that we can reach a larger market. With this edutainment Mathgician game, we believe parents will encourage their kids to play it, and to also play it together with them.
How are you leveraging the unique capabilities of the Windows platform?
The unique capability of the operating system itself is that works in tablet, desktop and laptop. This multi-platform capabilities of Windows enabled us to create a multiplayer game model with minimal cost as the skillsets required are very similar to .Net framework development which our engineers and designers are already familiar with.
What advice do you have for a developer building an App on the Windows platform?
With about 30 years of software development experience in industry between us, we can confidently tell developers that Microsoft’s Visual Studio is the best development IDE available in the market today. Both Microsoft and the open source community contribute various components, templates and tools via Nuget. With Nuget now integrated into Visual Studio, the development experience is amazing.
There are various monetization options for developers, but that would be subject to the nature of the application/game. In the case of Mathgician, we are looking into Microsoft PubCenter for advertisement, and in-app purchase in terms of monetization. Social media is an area that developers should definitely not neglect in the effort to publicize their apps, as it is a far-reaching and cost-effective avenue. Aside from paid apps and in-app purchases, in-app advertising is worth including into one’s apps where appropriate.
What is the biggest hurdle you had to overcome while building your App?
The path from envisioning to delivery of the product was challenging. One of the biggest hurdles was in sharing the idea and vision of the product with the team. We wanted the team to see it as we saw it, and to believe in the idea the way we did, so that we could achieve the single original vision of the product.
Can you describe the relationship that you have had with Microsoft in building your startup?
Walter and Tim are recipients the Microsoft MVP award, and they have since met a number of technical evangelists from Microsoft Malaysia. With some advice and guidance, they decided to build a startup by leveraging on the great support from the Microsoft BizSpark program.
What do you think of the BizSpark Program and how has it helped you?
At the beginning of the startup journey, BizSpark help to reduce our software development operation cost by a huge amount. With the continued training, marketing and advisory support, BizSpark not only gave us the operational cost advantage, but also the marketing and decision-making advantage with its various programs organized by Microsoft Malaysia.
Why would an entrepreneur turn to Microsoft for help in building scale, a team, or using software?
The mature partner ecosystem of Microsoft is what convinced us to join the BizSpark program. In 2002, both Walter and Tim started developing software with Microsoft .Net for Microsoft platforms. The platform stability and tools productivity are the main factors that both founders were confident the startup is on the right path. The installed base of Microsoft Windows around the world was a major factor in their belief that this market provides huge opportunities.
What is the one piece of advice you have for young startups?
It is a long journey from idea to product. Patience, focus, perseverance and belief are the key factors to delivering your products. The idea of Mathgician was rejected three times by various parties before it became what it is today, but we still believed in it and went ahead anyway with the limited funding and resources that we had.
Winprovise Co-Founders Tim Chew and Walter Wong