Continuing our series of looking at the BizSpark community in different European countries, we hear from Tarja Jernström, our new BizSpark champ for Finland. Tarja joins Microsoft from TTS, a Finnish research, development and training institute where she gained much of her insight into the local entrepreneurial community.
Finland is a country long used negotiating and trading with other countries for centuries. It gained independence from Russia early in the 20th century and before that, it was part of Sweden for over 600 years, so Finns have always had a multi-cultural influence. Plus, the fact that there are only 5.4 million in Finland – even though it is the fifth largest country landmass in Europe – means that domestic opportunities are limited, so entrepreneurs think about how they can export their ideas at an early stage.
A glance at the top BizSpark startups in Finland shows that in most cases, their websites and services are provided in English from day one. Take for example, Entertrainer, who have developed a Windows phone mobile app called Speedhero. Winner of the recent Helsinki Mobile Acceleration week, Speedhero is great for sports geeks, because it accurately measures the top speed of a football or hockey puck, then shares the results. It uses sound recognition technology and some sophisticated algorithms to measure from first impact to whatever the ball or puck hits.
Games development is pretty strong in Finland (we are the home of Angry Birds, after all). Another BizSpark I’ve met with recently is Star Arcade, who has created a mobile social gaming community that provides a cross-platform multiplayer real-time experience for users in over 180 countries, removing any barriers created by devices or platforms. For instance, a game-player in Cape Town with a Windows Phone can play against an opponent in Bangkok on Facebook. Again, it is cloud-based.
With local hero Nokia being one of the biggest employers in the region, it’s no surprise that many entrepreneurs ‘graduate’ from the company and start their own mobile ventures. In fact, the Nokia Bridge Program is designed to help ex-employees launch their own businesses. But there is a lot more to Finland’s innovation scene than just mobile.
Take for example two of our previous BizSpark European Summit finalists. Sopima’s cloud-based solution gives SMEs access to the kind of contract management tools that have previously only been available to large organisations. Techila makes high performance computing (HPC) as easily available as plugging into a socket to access the electricity grid. These are two success stories that have customers, revenue and are creating jobs. Techila has secured business from across Europe, so it’s a great export story too.
Partners are important
Our local BizSpark Network Partners play an important role in supporting BizSpark entrepreneurs and we are lucky to have some great ones on board – too many to list here, but I’d like to call out Conor Venture Partners, Demola, Inventure, Nebula, Spinno Enterprise Center, Techopolis, Veraventure, CIE, Turku Science Park and the Finnish Software Entrepreneurs Association.
I’m also delighted that Aalto Center for Entrepreneurship (ACE) is our first BizSpark Plus partner in Finland. It does a great job as a catalyst for local research and student-based startups, providing to them a range of services, including business advice, development support and desk space.
As we all know, funding is often the biggest challenge for young companies, which is why we are delighted to have Vision+ as one of our local partners. Launched in March this year, the Vision+Fund 1 focuses on investment in applications, games and services on digital platforms, including mobile. Vision+ is a new type of investor that does not invest in equity, so the model does not dilute the role of existing investors. Instead, the new investor’s return is based on royalties of the product’s cash flow. Typical investment size is 50,000-500,000 Euros. This kind of financial injection clearly makes a big difference to startups who want to go global with their dreams.
Of course I am biased, but I really believe that Finland is one of the most exciting places for a startup to be right now. In my first few months at Microsoft I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some inspiring entrepreneurs within the BizSpark community and I look forward to hearing about many more over the years to come.
By Ruud de Jonge
While we can do a lot through online networking, it is even better when we get to meet start-ups face to face. That’s why I make time for events like last week’s visit to the Microsoft data centre in Dublin, where a group of over 25 BizSpark entrepreneurs, start-up incubators and investors from all over Europe came together to debate, learn and share.
While it would have been easy to be tempted by the famous Irish hospitality, a packed agenda kept us busy and my colleagues at Microsoft Ireland created a great line-up. First, we heard why the Irish start-up scene ‘is on fire’ (that’s a good thing, by the way) from Eoghan Jennings of Parklane Capital. Ireland has long been one of the stars of the European start-up community and has one of the largest BizSpark memberships in the region.
We also had sessions and panels talking about the contribution that start-ups make to the European community and ways in which we can help them further – not least of which is, of course, making access to the cloud as easy as possible.
So, it was also a good chance to talk about BizSpark Plus, our new offering available via selected partners to start-ups, giving them up to $60,000 of Windows Azure time over two years. The audience also got a look under the hood at some of the latest innovations from Microsoft, including what we’re doing with mobile.
But, if I had to pick one highlight of the trip, for me it was the guided tour around the renowned Microsoft Dublin data centre - something that very few people – even within Microsoft – get to do, and this was a truly spectacular opportunity.
Opened several years ago, the data centre is core to our pan-European cloud service and we recently announced an additional112,000 square feet Generation 4 facility, which will create some 400 construction jobs over the next year.
And of course, when start-ups, incubators and investors come together, it is hard to resist a pitch competition, so we rounded off the day by asking some of the BizSpark entrepreneurs to spend five minutes talking about their Azure apps. And, as usual, it was tricky picking just winner, so we decided that first prize went jointly to Atomblock and Crumbtech, both Dutch-based BizSpark startups.
Atomblock has a game-changing online video publishing platform, while Crumbtag has created an innovative online advertising platform that brings a whole load of sophisticated features within reach of any user. They’re both great examples of
But this wasn’t an event about winners or losers and I’d like to say thanks to everyone who joined us – especially those who had a long way to travel – you all helped to make it a great event.
Blog by Lydia Morazzani:
130 people, 20 mentors, 15 teams, 54 hours – Startup Magic Happening @MIC Greece
Athens, Greece 4thStartup Weekend Athens, February 10-12, 2012.
©photo by Aurelija Sukeviciute
Friday, February 10, 2012
3:00 pm- Mass Transport strikes create questions as to how attendees will get to the venue. Through Facebook and twitter people connect to carpool and share routes.
5:00pm – on the dot a line forms at the Registration desk
6.30pm- Event begins- SW how –to-rules, talks from organizers and sponsors. This year we co-organized with CoLabWorkspace a co-working space the idea for which sprung from the 2nd SWA.
An inspirational presentation from Babelverse.com about the year following the 3rd SWA ,the implementation of their idea, and the experience of participating and winning the 3rd place at the Paris LeWeb’11 Startup Competition… and yes they actually came to participate…again.
7.00pm- Pitches begin- long line forms, the auditorium is buzzing with ideas. Will they convince and manage to recruit a team? At the end of the pitches the walls are full of ideas and attendees are asked to vote with post-its on their favorite ideas…
15 teams take shape…
The weekend begins!
Saturday & Sunday, 11-12 February 2012
Saturday and Sunday the teams work on their projects with the help of technical, business, legal and VC mentors.
The 15 ideas that formed are the following:
Sunday night… by far the most difficult time of any Startup Weekend. Time to decide the winners.
Guest blog by Katy Levinson
The Dojo is the home to countless startups in Silicon Valley during their seed and pre-funding eras. Companies like Pinterest used the space as an office in their early days.
The social atmosphere encourages founders and tinkerers of all sorts to rub shoulders with their peers in a way that is rarely afforded outside of college campuses. The Dojo’s 13,000 sq. feet of space, 100Mb fiber Internet connection, and everything that goes with it is funded by aficionados who part with $100/month in exchange for a key. This revenue model has kept the organization well in the black for over two years.Traditionally, Hacker Dojo has worked with partners to facilitate any renovation projects. One example of partnership is the Microsoft support for a new heating and air conditioning system at the Dojo. We turned this into an educational opportunity for developers interested in Windows Phone, hosting a four week series at the Dojo. Feedback from this partnership is outstanding:“Great atmosphere and energy!” “It was great fun working with wonderful people for the last four weeks. Thanks Microsoft for sponsoring this event. It felt like going back to school again!”
“This series is much better than the 3-day iPhone $1k-$2k classes offered in San Francisco. Very good technical content.” “Very powerful UI concept for the next wave of apps…. much better than a static icon. The industry hasn't figured this out yet. Best mobile lecture/class/format I have ever seen.”Along with Microsoft – whose support of Startups is well illustrated through the BizSpark Program, other companies also stepped up: Palantir based in Palo Alto, get the chance to come hang out and court the Dojo’s members as potential hires, while Andreessen Horowitz – another generous benefactor and supporter – knows there’s good karma (and good press) associated with supporting our humble institution.
More Heroes RequiredThe Hacker Dojo and its members and staff wish to thank both the continued and new support it has received from its sponsors. We are so pleased that these three heroes of the Silicon Valley community joined our challenge to raise $250,000 to fund the improvements we are committed to making for the City of Mountain View requirements; meaning we can get bathrooms that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and much more.
The Dojo now seeks to find other companies excited about working with them to help make these necessary improvements and continue our goal to serve humble early-stage startups in Silicon Valley. Do you want to be part of this? Good karma awaits.
For information about the fundraising, please see http://www.hackerdojo.com/Assemble.For information about becoming a sponsor, please see http://www.hackerdojo.com/Sponsorship.
For more information on Microsoft BizSpark please visit www.microsoft.com/bizspark.
Blog by Thiago Almeida:
24-26 February 2012
Westpac Business &Community Hub, Christchurch
“If there is one city that is in the perfect space for entrepreneurship, it’s Christchurch, and I was blown away by the quality and passion of the large number of people who turned out.” – Marc Nager, Startup Weekend CEO
At the end of February I attended to the Christchurch Startup Weekend, the first one to happen there. A great treat was the presence of Marc Nager, CEO of Startup Weekend – he chose Christchurch from 10 other Startup Weekend events happening at the same time worldwide. Marc was fully hands-on throughout the weekend and kept all the teams on their toes and everyone motivated all weekend.
As you might already know, startup weekend comprises of a whole weekend where team develop their ideas, create prototypes, business models, and do market research to validate their concepts based on pitches chosen on Friday. There was a great turnout (over 70 entrepreneurs) with 10 teams formed.
Microsoft is a global sponsor of Startup Weekend, but we also provided local funding and were there the whole weekend to help. I presented to everyone talking about BizSpark, BizSpark Plus, and Microsoft’s commitment to fostering innovation and ensuring a bright future forstartups. Our relationship with Startup Weekend is a great way to ensure that happens! The two top teams are now on BizSpark and will receive all the support they need.
The 10 ideas that were chosen for development over the weekend were, by Sunday night pitching order:
1st - Tsk For busy people who want to delegate tasks, Tsk is a marketplace of people with time and skills who can perform tasks for each other for money.www.tsk.co.nz
2nd - Keeping TabsA non-intrusive risk-monitoring app allowing parents to keep tabs on their children’s location and safety, taking their social context into account.www.keepingtabs.co
The winning team, Tsk, will receive:
The second place team, Keeping Tabs, will receive:
This was a top Startup Weekend event. Innovation events like this are exactly what Christchurch needs to help the city regrow, and Microsoft are dedicated to supporting them. I look forward to the next events!
By Sharon Koshy
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.
Weeks covering February 12-March 10:
By Brett Laffel
The LAUNCH you’ve been waiting for!
Are you interested in learning more about Windows 8? Do you want to see some awesome demos of the tech industry’s newest and most exciting platform?
If so, you are invited to a full-day, knockout, blow-your-socks off event taking place on Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Campus. Design experts will take the stage to discuss the overwhelming aesthetics and breathtaking Windows 8 UI. Well-known and respected startups will demo their brand new apps, while the Microsoft team provides you with the tools you need to get started in building your own app. Microsoft executives, including Microsoft’s President of North America, Robert Youngjohns and special guest Dan'l Lewin, Corporate Vice President, Strategic and Emerging Business Development, Microsoft will discuss the marketplace opportunity for developers.
Join us and make sure to register here: http://introducingwindows8.eventbrite.com/ Tickets for this will go quickly, make sure to get your free ticket soon!
Wednesday, April 4, 2012 from 12:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus
1065 La Avenida, Building 1
Mountain View, CA, 94043
Registration begins at 12:00 PM, keynote is at 1:00 PM.
Questions? Contact Brett Laffel at @BrettLaffel on Twitter or Brett.Laffel@microsoft.com on email.
Blog by Claire Lee :
As part of their annual USA trip, Seedcamp visited the Microsoft SV offices on Monday last to hear more about BizSpark Plus, Windows Phone, Windows 8 and our business apps portfolio (Dynamics ERP and CRM). Dynamic Duo on Windows Phone Ben Riga and Kevin Ashley did a ‘deep dive’ – resulting in multiple requests from Seedcamp staff and companies to provide them a new Nokia phone.
John Alioto had a queue of folks wanting to touch his tablet and play with what several companies remarked on as “impressive” Windows 8
And finally, Rodney Bowen-Wright exposed more opportunities for high-potential startups looking to integrate with Dynamics ERP and CRM and aspire to BizSpark One status.
On the East Coast, during the first week of their visit, Microsoft were around in both NYC and Boston – thanks to Sumit, Abby and Walter. From the West Coast, they went to Seattle and a visit to Redmond to hear from more folks in Microsoft Corp Dev, Windows Azure, and Bing Maps – topped off with lunch at the Microsoft Museum and store vouchers to aid any purchasing. The Seedcamp gang are now enjoying a very wet Austin and SxSW.
Learn more about our partnership here
By Midori Lawler
Several members of the BizSpark team have descended upon Austin because its, yes, SXSW time! Microsoft BizSpark is sponsoring several events and several of the BizSpark Team will be participating in other startup-related activities.
Here’s a summary of a few of the places we’ll be. Please stop by! We look forward to chatting with you! Follow us @bizspark.
Startup America Live! @SXSWSaturday – TuesdayStartup Village Hilton Austin Downtown - Salon E
BizSpark Network Partner, Startup America Partnership, will host an exclusive area for all Startup America Members at SXSW, including general access for all startups with a SXSW badge. BizSpark Champs will be participating in Startup America Live Office hours at various times between Saturday and Tuesday, offering their expertise during one-on-one time. Check out the schedule and sign up here.
Microsoft BizSpark sponsors the Stanford Startup BusSunday – Grand Finale Hilton Austin Downtown (500 East 4th Street) – Salon A
Microsoft is a proud sponsor of the Stanford StartupBus. Imagine getting on a bus with a group of strangers in California and three days later, end up in Texas launching a startup. Stop by Sunday to see who will be the 2012 winner…but only after being grilled by a high profile panel of investors and entrepreneurs.
Sunday – 9:30-1:30pm Startup Village Hilton Austin Downtown - Salon B
BizSpark Network Partner, The Houston Technology Center, is hosting HATCH, a pitch competition for earlier, “incubator stage” companies. 15 Finalists will be pitching to an audience and judging panel of corporate, angel, and venture investor judges. Several BizSpark Team members will be in attendance and BizSpark Champ, Chris Bernard, will be a judge at the inaugural competition
SXSW Accelerator Monday & Tuesday – all dayTuesday, 3:30-6:30 – Microsoft BizSpark Sponsors Happy Hour at the Accelerator
Hilton Austin Downtown (500 East 4th Street) – 4th Floor
Microsoft BizSpark is proud to be the title sponsor the SXSW Startup Accelerator for the 4th Year. Discover the most innovative ideas in social media, news related technologies, mobile applications, web entertainment, and health technologies. On Monday, forty-eight companies will each have 2 minutes to pitch their ideas. On Tuesday, the top eighteen companies will be invited back, and at the end of the day, winners of SXSW Accelerator will be announced.
BizSpark Microsoft will have a table at the Accelerator event and BizSpark Champ, Mark Hindsbo, will be participating as an expert judge. Don’t miss Happy Hour on Tuesday afternoon!
Guest blog by Ruud de Jonge
Most successful entrepreneurs are naturally enthusiastic and optimistic people. They have to be, because they have to believe in their potential to turn dreams into reality. And this positive attitude is pervasive, even in these tough economic times. Why? Because an increasing number of start-ups and other small businesses know that turbulent times create opportunities.
New business models can disrupt the status quo, enabling start-ups to create new ways of doing old tasks, taking market share away from bigger, more established companies that can’t be as flexible. I’ve talked before about the way that entrepreneurs don’t just look at whether the glass is half full or half empty: they look at how they can use the glass in another way, or create a new glass. Every day, I’m hearing from entrepreneurs within the European BizSpark community doing just that.
So I was not surprised to see the results of a recent survey commissioned by Microsoft and carried out by market research firm Vanson Bourne. The survey suggests that despite challenging economic conditions, European SMEs remain positive. Across the 21 countries surveyed, a quarter said they expected to hire new staff in 2012, and among the most bullish countries such as Austria, Sweden and Poland, that proportion rose to a third.
Overall, 18 percent of SMEs expect to invest in new technology and infrastructure next year. Contrary to some economists’ GDP predictions, a large proportion of small businesses intend to grow in 2012. Naturally, there was variance in the data from country to country. Russia and Ukraine showed the most optimism with 40 percent of respondents reporting they expected to be more successful in the next 18 months, compared to just eight percent of respondents in Greece.
Of course, this optimism is pointless unless start-ups and small businesses in general have access to the resources to make it happen and there is no doubt that technology plays an important role. The survey found that more than half of SME owners said technology will be the deciding factor in whether their business thrives or just survives.
Half of respondents said they expected cloud computing in particular to play a more important role in driving growth in their business. Again, this echoes what I am hearing from the start-up and developer community: around a quarter of organisations adopting the Microsoft Azure cloud platform fit are small businesses. They see the value of cloud in enabling them to get their businesses up and running involving minimal time and upfront investment. Plus, cloud means they can scale their organisations, even globally, in a way that simply wouldn’t have been possible before. Cloud is key to Europe’s future export success.
Today’s start-ups are tomorrow’s business leaders and so of course Microsoft wants to be part of that. In addition to our the BizSpark programme itself – which gives start-ups less than three years old and less than $1 million USD free software, support and visibility – we’ve recently introduced a special offer available through selected partners to start-ups they choose to support. This special offer gives qualifying start-ups up to $60,000 of Windows Azure time over two years, something which we hope can make a lot of difference to a small company with limited funds.
But, what we’re doing is just a small part of a much bigger picture. We all know how vital these small companies are to the region’s economic recovery, so we’re collaborating with government, academia and other market leaders across the region to give them the possible chance to succeed. Long live the optimism of Europe’s entrepreneurs.
Guest blog by Jason Demant
Reprinted with permission from FounderDating.com.
Scott Dodson and John Bito were a part of the very first FounderDating Seattle round. They now make up 2 of the 3 co-founders of Bobber Interactive. Scott is the COO and John is the CTO. Bobber is an award-winning financial technology company that engages Gen Y in the language they speak. Bobber helps financial partners drive critical business metrics with customer engagement solutions grounded in motivational psychology.
We caught up with them recently to find out how the company was doing and to get their advice for future FounderDaters and those interested in starting a company.
John: I’ve been a startup guy for 30 years. My first startup went public in 1987 and Bobber is my 6th startup all told. The one prior to this we had to scale back when the last downturn struck, so I went out and started doing some consulting. But I knew that I wanted to get into another startup and start building ownership.
Brian Schultz, ManagingDirector for FounderDating Seattle, posted on the Seattle Tech Startup list and this looked like exactly what I wanted to do.
Scott: I’m another chronic entrepreneur. I started my first company back in 1994 and never looked back. I had done three startups — two sold and one was a victim of the 2008 crash. I thought I was done with startups for a while, until I met the CEO of this company, Bobber.
I was speaking at a game conference about how to raise money for gaming companies. Eric, the CEO, introduced himself and we hit it off. I was really impressed with him and I started advising, then consulting, and then finally as a tentative founder. But we really needed a strong technical cofounder. Dan Shapiro is a long-time friend of mine and he had heard from Brian about FounderDating and put the recommendation in for me.
John: We found each other when FounderDating was just an event – there was not even a site to connect the network like there is now. Even still, I thought it was really a unique opportunity. It was great being in an environment where everyone was looking to talk about what idea they could pursue or how they could contribute to an idea.
There are quite a few startup events around Seattle, but for the most part, the folks that attend are already underway. They have their startups at least mostly populated and bootstrapped if not somewhat funded. FounderDating has all of the advantages of startup networking, plus you’re in an environment where you don’t have to waste your time trying to figure out what stage the other folks are at, your desire to join as a founder is welcome and expected.
Scott: What I loved about it was that it was a pretty selective group, a nice high-caliber group of participants who were largely seasoned and very motivated folks. It was a great mix of technical and non-technical founders. The quality of the people, enagaged there, essentially looking for the same thing is very, very efficient and productive. I mean we literally came out and had 3 technical cofounder candidates, of which John ultimately won the gig. That’s extremely hard to do — to find 3 people who could have potentially worked!!
Scott: We didn’t know exactly what product we wanted to build but we knew the domain in which we wanted to build it. We needed someone who believed in the opportunity in the space. It’s the intersection between social networking, financial services and, what we now call engagement. At the time we used a different word, that began with “g”. The was the most important things to us were: does this person have an affinity for this type of project? And are they someone who can roll-up their sleeves, deliver code and scale? Can they build out a team? And it was pretty easy for us, John fit the bill on all accounts.
John: I was mostly trying to understand how the executive team was going to work together. From my experience with startups, the people are the most important ingredient — the ideas change pretty quickly. It’s not easy to change the people, particularly the founders. We spent about 6 months working increasingly together before we made the commitment.
Scott: Essentially there was a company that existed, but we literally reformed it and recreated the cap table when John joined as cofounder.
John: We spent 6-months working together before taking the plunge full-time. During this time we were primarily trying to form the idea. We built a mockup, user experience. We connected with incumbent players in the space and talked about the opportunities to work together with them. We mostly explored the idea and how it was to make decisions together. There wasn’t much in the way of building things at that point, but we did engage with potential partners. I spent less time drumming up consulting gigs, so that kind of faded and I began to spend more time on the business.
Scott: This is a funny story. One of the things John insisted upon, that I think is great, is that we have a meeting of the wives. When you do a startup, there’s a big impact on the people around you and so we wanted to test compatibility one layer deep. It went really well.
We also had the great fortune of being able to test out the concept at Finovate which is the financial innovation conference in San Francisco. And we won best of show. It was very validating and showed us that the concept had legs. This was a critical group of the financial industry – banks, big financial institutions and service providers voting for us for best of show. That was what convinced us all that this thing had merit. So you take that with the compatibility of the founders and you go this is something worth to pursue for all of us.
John: It never occurred to me to try to find someone else who was technically focused to join up with. Business requires a lot of expertise that is very different from building software or constructing products or delivering services. You need someone with a marketing background, that can understand what it takes to sell or position a product.
Raising capital is also a very important job. The quality of capital really matters too. You may be able to find people to put money in, but if you get money from people who don’t really respect you and don’t want to work together with you, they can cause you problems later on.
Scott: Going really, really well. We’ve raised over $1M, but are taking it slow. We have a small team of 6. And we’re actively raising a small round now and targeting a Series B before year-end. We’re right on the cusp of things that we can’t specifically talk about. But we just got a ‘yes’ from a Fortune 100 financial institution for a project that has a long term life component as well as something with an initial fee structure. And it’s a really good fit on both sides and could be a huge piece of business for us. The consumer app that we’ve built is starting to get some early traction as well, which is great.
Scott: I’d say take advantage of the fact that that you can be transparent and open in both sharing and listening. If you’re too protective or too attached then you’re not going to get as much value. You only get people enrolled in ideas that they are a part of. If you’re too attached to a very specific thing, that’s a sub-optimal recipe.
John: Openness and try not to be too attached to what you think is the right way to do things at the start. Find people that have different perspectives, different backgrounds, and different strengths than what you possess. Make sure there’s good communication, mutual respect and that there’s a decision-making pattern that builds on the strengths of all involved. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Scott: I’ll echo what John said. It’s all about the people. You’re not going to succeed on your own. The set of what you don’t know, that you don’t know, is a ***-ton bigger than you think it is. There’s so much to be done and you’re crazy to do it alone. A division of labor just makes more sense.
This is my 4th startup and it’s the strongest cofounder team that I’ve had. It’s so nice to not have to be the guy that’s the “queen on the chessboard” – the strongest piece on the board. It’s great to be able to play with “3 queens.” Basically, it’s great to have 3 really strong cofounders in different domains. And it’s proven itself time and time again. We’re pretty anomalous because we’re all 40+ founders. But even among three guys who are pretty accomplished we often find areas that we don’t know as much as we thought we knew. And inevitably someone on the team is smart enough to realize that or pull in a resource that has that capability.
Thanks again to John and Scott. Make sure to check out Bobber Interactive for a fun way to achieve your money goals.
Blog by Daryll McDade:
So...we, Microsoft, made a movie and on January 18 2012, we shared it with Malaysian startups and it was a hit!
This was not just a shaky-cam movie with a handheld camera edited in Movie Maker…but a REAL movie…a feature-length, theater-ready documentary film with an award-winning production crew. The film is called Ctrl+Alt+Compete. It takes a revealing look at the startup and emerging business scene through the eyes of five founders and their teams telling a story of the passion, fortitude and insanity that is bringing a startup to life.
Together with the Cradle Investment Program as the key sponsor and with all the other movers and shakers in the Startup scene in Malaysia coming on board to support our event, we had about 200 people turn out for a great night of networking and viewing of the movie.
This was an opportunity to treat our startups to a great time, promote BizSpark, as well as our key products relevant to startups such as Azure, WP7, Win8 and SQL 2012.
Proudly brought to you by:
Guest Blog by Claire Lee :
So the first ever DEMO Asia in Singapore was wrapped up just before the weekend and from what we saw and heard, it went off with a bang.
You can see some of the buzz in the DEMO Asia photo gallery and read the Forbes interview with DEMO executive producer Matt Marshall. Of course Microsoft was there in force – from Zane Adam on the Cloud sages panel and Ed Quek on the Mobile sages panel – to GM Microsoft Singapore, Jessica Tan, introducing the ten Alpha Pitch startups that received BizSpark scholarships. Jessica also announced the new BizSpark Plus program in Singapore – here Jeffrey Paine, CEO of BizSpark Network Partner Battle Ventures explains why it matters.
Read more on our Day One summary.
Reza Ismail, Founder of DappleWorks from Malaysia also provides his feedback on the new offer through BizSpark.
Check out the latest posting in the Startup101 series in Visual Studio Magazine by Patrick Foley:
Find Your Business NicheInstead of building a generic, do-everything product, find a niche that fits your personal and business goals.
In its 7th year, Launch: Silicon Valley is now firmly established as the premier product launch platform for cash conscious startups. The event, co-presented by SVForum, Garage Technology Ventures and Microsoft, provides the next generation of emerging technology companies with the opportunity to pitch their products to, and network with, an audience of Silicon Valley’s top VCs, Angels, corporate business development executives, prospective customers and partners, bloggers and media.
Companies that are interested in presenting their products at Launch: Silicon Valley 2012 should send an Executive Summary of no more than 2 pages to Launchsv@svforum.org by Friday April 27, 2012. Further information at www.launchsiliconvalley.org
Microsoft was out in force at day one of the first ever DEMO Asia taking place in Singapore. Along with Microsoft experts, some friends of BizSpark such as Chris Shipley, Chipper Boulas, Jeff Clavier and Adeo Ressi flew in from the US and Europe for this two-day event acting as ‘sages’ and mentors.
In partnership with Startup Weekend and Founder Institute, Microsoft BizSpark provided scholarships for ten lucky startups in the APAC region to present an Alpha Pitch on stage. Startups were selected, and mentored, in conjunction with the Microsoft regional office and BizSpark Champs across the region. Three of the pitching teams were created at Startup Weekend events and two are graduates of Founder Institute in Hanoi and Singapore. Great participation and representation.
These startups had their 90 seconds of fame on 1st March at DEMO Asia:
GM Microsoft Singapore, Jessica Tan, kicked off the first day on stage with Neal Silverman from DEMO, introducing the startups and reinforcing why Microsoft is supporting the next generation of companies in the region. Jessica also announced the BizSpark Plus offer in Singapore.
A good day for BizSpark Startups in the region….