In the final few months of 2011, Seedcamp has planned three camps: we were with them in Prague a few weeks ago, where our Chairman of Europe had the chance to inspire the teams.
Now the contingent is in Barcelona for their penultimate mini camp, and right now the 20 teams will be enjoying a jam packed agenda with some fantastic mentors. Our team is well represented by Mark Voermans, superstar athlete and geek extraordinaire. As the Seedcamp blog says, 10 geographies are represented, with teams traveling from as far as India, Israel and Moscow. It’s also one of the best local turnouts with 6 Spanish teams. I’m a little envious of Mark and the guys sampling that awesome paella and roaming La Rambla. Happy memories.
As it happens I will be there in person at Seedcamp Paris in a few weeks. Let’s hope the city is not under a few feet of snow and ice this year. Paris is the final camp and the last chance for you to get selected to participate – applications close in a matter of hours. Go on, what’s stopping you?
Good luck and see you in Paris!
Guest Blog by Anette Nørgaard
Three weekends in a row – completely crazy and totally fun. At this time of the year where the winter is getting closer and daylight disappears, Startup Weekends are like having an energy drink. So much enthusiasm and innovation gathered at one place – turns out, Denmark is not short of brilliant business ideas, but the challenge is always: how do you get them to the international market? So, it was good to be able to spread the word about BizSpark and how it can help all these inspiring entrepreneurs to accelerate their brilliant ideas.
Startupweekend #1: Aalborg (North of Jutland)
Organized by www.Kickstartaau.dk
I was very impressed by the nine teams were made who made the most of this opportunity by being very prepared. Many were software developers and some had already created their own products, so they had very clear ideas what they wanted to get from us, the mentors. Cloud and mobile apps were high on the list… no surprise there! It’s hard to single out any, because there were all so good, but I’d like to mention:
Best pitch: Online Meeting Planner – simplifying planning and tracking of meetings.Best idea: Vubla - Making e-commerce site search work.Best team: CreateItReal - The next generation of printers.People’s choice and winner of the 10,000 DKK prize: BoligStorm - A set of online tools to help landlords to make apartment rental more efficient and profitable
StartupWeekend #2: Aarhus (MidJutland):
Organized by #Bizspark Network Partner INCUBA Science Park (Arne Westergaard) with great support and help from www.startit.dk og www.trendsonline.dk
As well as mentoring start-ups and sharing my experience of developing a business and going to market (I was fully booked without a break for five hours!), I also had a chance present the benefits of BizSpark. This was a strong event, with over 40 people pitching, who then divided into 9 teams.
The overall winner: Family+ .. watch the final pitch
Most Innovative Idea: Handball Life: Video/streaming
eyeTravel: app for blind and visually impaired people
Startupweekend #3: Copenhagen
Organized by Gus Murray and team
The final weekend took place in Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen and as well as local entrepreneurs, also included people from other countries. These events are pretty popular!
It was an interesting event for me, because quite a few of the entrepreneurs at the event were looking at open source for their development. So, for me, it was a great opportunity to tell them about BizSpark, which gives them three years of Microsoft software at no cost – plus the added benefits of being connected to a great network of business and technical support and visibility (including some great networking opportunities). See a short video of SW CPH here.
How exciting. Heard about one about the gamification of everything?
Xbox 360 and Kinect have changed the way we interact with games, TV, media and applications.
Personally, seeing my father-in-law (who is no ‘spring chicken’) jumping around to Kinect Sports is worth gold.
Today we announce the Microsoft Kinect Accelerator powered by TechStars and any startup worldwide can now submit an application for the Kinect Accelerator. The deadline for applications is midnight GMT on January 25, 2012.
If accepted, companies receive an equity investment of $20,000 from TechStars in exchange for six percent common equity. While Microsoft is making senior staff available as mentors (such as Corporate Vice President Dan’l Lewin and Anoop Gupta, Distinguished Scientist, Microsoft Research) we won’t be taking equity stakes.
From March to May 2012, companies will co-locate at a facility provided by Microsoft in Seattle where they will be provisioned Xbox development kits, Kinect hardware, the Kinect for Windows SDK and space for testing and developing Kinect based applications. Startups can access a range of premium development tools and support through Microsoft BizSpark.
At the end of the program, the companies will get to present their businesses at an Investor Demo Day to Microsoft representatives, VC’s and angel investors.
Read more about the Kinect Effect.
Guest Blog: Gilad Steinberger, Microsoft Israel
I just finished Startup Weekend Haifa.
What a great event. It was amazing! Watch the video here.
54 hours of innovation and networking, 125 attendees, a mix of developers, UX designers, marketing specialists and startup enthusiasts. It started with 45 Ideas which generated 11 groups, eventually 1 winner was chosen.
1. CollecTVise - Sharing of live music streams.
2. Vicoboo - Visual cookbook application.
3. Commentivity - Adding visual tools to internet talkbacks (e.g. color).
4. Where Is It? - Location based service to help you find places.
5. Locification - Toolkit to help build location based mobile services.
6. Pick It Up - File sharing application for students.
7. Video Chef - Interactive, step-by-step cooking.
8. Wherenty - Universal Warranty Application – tracks your warranties.
9. FollowApp - Reconnecting to friends via automated SMS.
10. Seemple - Distribute presentations in real-time to mobile devices.
11. Batterz - Trading my junk for your junk.
Locification - watch their pitch
Thank You to Code Value –Microsoft partner and mentor for Windows Phone and Azure and Newsgeek – thank you for organizing this great event.
The SW Haifa Video:
Guest blog by Duncan Logan, RocketSpace
Isolation is the silent killer of many startups.
There are currently thousands of people working away at home on great startup ideas hoping to be the next Facebook or DropBox or AirBnB who don’t realize that an enormous amount of the success of these companies was due to the chance meetings and input from the amazing ecosystem that exists in Silicon Valley. We are all influenced by our surroundings and hence the popularity and success of incubators like YCombinator, KickLabs and 500Startups where meetings aren’t left to chance and the environment is carefully controlled.
RocketSpace is a focused technology hub. As an accelerator we focus on post incubator, seed funded technology companies who are approaching the rapid growth phase. The quality of the companies, the quality of the founders and the quality of the ecosystem we manage is critical to us. If we cannot accelerate this growth, but also raise the success rate of the companies within RocketSpace then we have failed.
It has been clear that an enormous part we can play in helping startups succeed is connecting them to the appropriate people or companies at the appropriate time. Typically these involve Angels, VC’s, Bankers and Lawyers but we see more and more interest from Fortune 1000 companies who realize that tapping into the innovative culture of startups can give an enormous benefit. Indeed there is a symbiotic opportunity as those Fortune 1000 companies can often accelerate growth and propel a startup to success.
It is fitting that Microsoft in the form of Bing and the US Developer and Platform Group based in the Bay Area, home of the Emerging Business Team and the BizSpark Program, are in the first wave of companies signed up to The RocketSpace Corporate Ambassador Program.
Few companies invest so much time, effort and money into the startup ecosystem as Microsoft and through their extensive network they offer a great platform to the RocketSpace ecosystem. Alongside Microsoft we welcome Pearson Media, owners of Pearson Education, Penguin Books and The Financial Times to the program. The way we create and consume media is changing rapidly offering fantastic opportunities to startups and having an industry pioneer and heavyweight in our camp is essential.
We will announce more in due course but we feel this program will prove yet another differentiator of the RocketSpace Ecosystem which currently supports over 120 startups including many success stories like, PocketGems, Uber, Zaarly, Bababoo, Beatport and Cruisewise.
What a fantastic weekend at #swtoronto – one of the largest Startup Weekends worldwide with over 320 attendees and 22 teams. I had the pleasure of being there for most of it and helping out some teams, blogging as we go, and we even had some new members join BizSpark.
Grab a coffee and sit down to watch the video diary from the weekend (more in It’s A Wrap blog)….
Here’s the list of all 22 projects
Guest blog by Adeo Ressi, Founder Institute
All enrolled Founders and Graduates are invited to join the Microsoft BizSpark program, which includes software, support, and visibility.
Microsoft BizSpark and the Founder Institute have chosen five initial cities to do Startup Acceleration: Brussels, Paris, Amsterdam, Santiago and Singapore. Founders will have access to Microsoft resources in each of these cities, including:
As part of the partnership, the Institute will make available Microsoft’s program for startups to the hundreds of enrolled and graduate companies, and locally the Microsoft team will act as mentors for founders, helping them build out products using Microsoft technologies. The Institute will also provide Microsoft with a stream of content from the many sessions hosted worldwide and founders have the opportunity to get greater exposure as a result of the partnership.
Within the Startup Acceleration cities, the top Graduates of the Founder Institute engaged with Microsoft technologies will receive additional benefits, such as:
Over the past few weeks, here’s a sampling of news highlights of members of the BizSpark One program, identifying a small number of the best companies in BizSpark, which is now comprised of over 45,000 startups.
Week of October 23-29 and October 30 – November 5
Guest Blog from P K Agarwal, CEO, TiE Global
In the heart of the Silicon Valley lies the world’s largest non-profit organization whose mission is to foster entrepreneurship globally through the promotion, networking, educating, and mentoring of Entrepreneurs.
TiE was founded in 1992 by a group of successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and senior professionals with roots in the Indus region. With presence today in 57 cities, in 14 countries around the globe, supported by Kauffman Foundation, TiE enhances the virtuous cycle of wealth creation and giving back to the community with its focus on nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs.
TiE supports the innovation agenda and promotion of entrepreneurship by putting on some of the World’s largest conferences called TiECon in cities all over the globe, including places such as Silicon Valley, Boston, Atlanta, Delhi, and Chennai.
TiE Entrepreneurial Summit (TES), Asia’s largest summit of its kind, brings together over 3,000 entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, policy makers, academia, industry, thought leaders and other stake holders involved with the development of Entrepreneurship. TES focuses on unlocking entrepreneurial energies to power the fastest growing economies in the region. TiE has many global Initiatives currently underway.
One of those is Global Deal Connect, a highly anticipated platform that will connect startups anywhere in the TiE universe with capital from some of the largest Venture Capital and Angel Fund investors around the world. TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE), a Business Plan Competition and educational program aimed at educating and mentoring high school level students has become the gold standard for nurturing entrepreneurship in youth.
A few weeks ago, TiE launched its The All-Asia Business Plan Competition providing College level students in Asia the opportunity to present business plans to TiE’s network of Charter members, which consists of accomplished entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists, and community leaders. The participating teams receive one on one mentoring, feedback, and guidance as they ready themselves to compete in this three level competition. The program starts with local competitions, held at the Chapter level. The Chapter level winners will advance to the TiE All-Asia Global Finals held in Delhi, India; the Grand Prize being a guaranteed spot in the Finals of the Rice University Business Plan Competition – the world’s largest business plan competition, with winners receiving over $640,000 in equity investments, cash and prizes.
This year’s All-Asia Business Plan competition is being hosted by 17 TiE Chapters spread throughout India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Tokyo, and Australia.
Here we are in the middle of Global Entrepreneurship Week, and as we reflect on another great year of partnership, TiE is proud to partner with Microsoft BizSpark to offer its network of Entrepreneurs the opportunity to try out this amazing software platform and build solutions, and fast-track the success of their young businesses.
Guest Blog – Peter Tam, Microsoft Malaysia
This is the 4th year GEW is in Malaysia and Microsoft BizSpark has been a sponsor supporter from the start.
There are countless events that week that you can see from the main GEW Malaysia website.
Among them Silicon Valley Comes to Malaysia (SVC2M) – one of the best conferences held in Malaysia in recent years: as featured in CNBC a group of VCs and mentors from SV came to Malaysia over a 2 day conference which attracted 1000+ entrepreneurs (see more coverage and photos from the Facebook page).
Another highlight for me the Startup Experience Innovation Workshop (http://startupexperience.com/) – which saw around 100 young entrepreneurs go through a solid weekend of workshops to refine their innovation process – photos here.
Over the past week, here’s a sampling of news highlights of members of the BizSpark One program, identifying a small number of the best companies in BizSpark, which is now comprised of over 40,000 startups.
Week of November 6-12, 2011
A fitting day to give Thanks to the fantastic team at Microsoft and our partners in the US that attended 10 Startup Weekends during GEW – in Boston, NYC, Orange County, Las Vegas, Seattle, San Francisco, Princeton and New Haven, Denver and DC.
Here are a few snippets from the team:
Check out the Las Vegas pitch (video) and the buzz on the twitter hashtag. In Seattle the winning team used Kinect and tapeworms! Read more on Geekwire and the twitter hashtag #seattlesw. Thanks to Steve, Joel and the gang for supporting these.
From Harvard iLab in Boston, a great post on Startup Weekend: Harvard Startup Scramble – A 48 Hour Test-Drive of the iLab (including a shout out to Abby and Walter, our fab team at Microsoft). The weekend event also featured in BostInnovation.
On the other coast, Kevin was in Orange County and pointed us to this video with coverage of the weekend and the twitter hashtag has more.
More to come from Sumit and the guys in NYC when they’ve come up for air!
Thanks again to a great team for supporting @StartupWeekend GEW USA.
This week’s celebration of all things entrepreneurship has gotten off to a flying start. Read more on our special GEW page.
Yesterday we announced new partnerships with Founder Institute and RocketSpace, and today we have GEW news from our colleagues in Europe and new offers for BizSpark startups from Elance, Simplifilm and Syncfusion.
Startup Weekend are aiming to break a record with more than 50 events happening over the week and Microsoft mentors are at more than 20 of those, jumping on planes and trains all over the planet. We’ll be posting some news from these over the course of this week. We’ll also feature more of our partnerships and some announcements in the coming days.
Have fun out there and let us know what you’re doing via our BizSpark Facebook page, and with #bizspark and #GEW tags on the blogosphere!