After a rather intense week with late nights, a series of hiccups, and then, eventually, some successes, the Emerging Business Team in the UK are finally able to announce the Winner of EMEA Mobile Incubation Week. I thought it would be good to start with a brief description of how the week was conducted, which culminated in a final pitch session on Friday morning in front of a panel of mobility experts.
The week was supported by two Microsoft Partners, Murano Software, based in California (who also supported the original Incubation Week in California); and Avanade. Murano Software provided two Project Managers, as the full-time support of eight software engineers (via Skype), based in Russia. Avanade provided two Project Managers and supported four out of the eight start-ups.
The start-ups were each allocated a room in the Customer Centre of the Microsoft London Victoria Offices for the week. The four Project Managers distributed their time between the start-ups over the course of the week. The Russian-based Murano Software Engineers were each assigned a start-up, and they communicated with the teams via Skype. In the words of Dimitri Nikouline, MuranoSoft President, miracles happened over the course of the week, as several start-ups were able to develop and deliver a Windows Mobile 6.5 application within four days. These applications will be featured in the upcoming launch of the Windows Marketplace for Mobile.
The start-ups also had two opportunities to pitch in front of different audiences in advance of the final pitch session on Friday. On the Wednesday, several team members from the Windows Mobile Product Team, as well as key players from the Enterprise Sales team who own the Microsoft relationships Europe's largest operators, provided constructive feedback to the start-ups. On the Thursday, all the companies took the opportunity to pitch to Platform Strategy Advisors from the Developer and Platform Evangelism team, who were able to provide feedback on both the technology and the business models.
Feedback from the participants thus far has been very positive – many told me that they were pleasantly surprised by the level of support offered by Microsoft, as well as Murano Software and Avanade. The time spent with the dedicated Russia-based MuranoSoft engineers via Skype was invaluable. One start-up mentioned to me that this saved him weeks of development time, thereby really improving his chances of speed to market. All also appreciated the opportunity to network, with both the Mobile Product Team and the Emerging Business Team, as well as amongst themselves and other industry experts. A successful week overall!
The EMEA team awarded prizes over three categories:
The judging panel consisted of:
Steve Butcher, Senior Consultant, Avanade; Guillermo Escofet, Editor, Mobile Media, Informa Telecoms and Media; Carlos Espinal, Doughty Hanson & Co Technology Ventures; Dimitri Nikouline, President, Murano Software; Mark Taylor, Senior Director, Developer and Platform Evangelism, Microsoft; Barrie Whipp, Executive Chairman, Crimson Tide; Milo Yiannopoulos, Consulting Editor (Technology), Telegraph.co.uk
And the winning teams are:
WINNER: Mobots (by Deimos Space)
Most Improved Application: Rummble/Total Hotspots
Most Innovative Application: Comufy