If the discussions over the coffee breaks were any indication, delegates at the annual IAMCP Summit in Brussels all seemed to agree it was a great success, but for me the highlight was the first-ever EU AppCup competition.

This post was written by Soha Hohnecker, Software Startup Lead at Microsoft.

Taking place on the second day, this gave some of the leading lights from the European BizSpark and IAMCP communities, plus some very impressive young entrepreneurs a chance to showcase their talents (and win some great prizes!) For anyone who hasn’t come across the IAMCP before, it is the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners. As well as providing a supportive network to help members grow their businesses, the IAMCP also likes to give something back (after all, many of its members can remember what it was like to be a fledgling business owner), so the EU AppCup was a great opportunity to do just that.


Co-sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark, a program that provides free software licenses to startups, the EU AppCup gave 10 contestants (6 start-ups and IAMCP developers and 4 in the young entrepreneur category) a chance to present their Windows 8 and Windows Phone apps to the panel of judges (including myself).

The winners were:

Business category

1st place: BulldozAir from France

2nd place: Practice Your Music from Spain

Young entrepreneur category

1st place: Spelink from the UK

2nd place: Hearing Test from Spain

As is so often the case, it was hard to pick a winner and I’d like to briefly mention the other entrants, who came from all over Europe: ExpensesFL from France; My Sorting Game from Denmark; Human Encyclopedia from Portugal; Taxibokning from Sweden; Metroduino from Spain; and Trashout from Slovakia. You can read more about them all in a blog by my colleague Bertrand Salord.

Differentiation is key

I get to attend a lot of startup showcases and competitions as part of my job, but one of the things that really set this one apart is how the 10 entrants really made use of the features within Windows 8 and Windows Phone features to differentiate their apps, which is essential in this highly competitive marketplace. For example, My Sorting Game makes use of the tilt feature to make an educational game even more fun, while Practice Your Music makes use of collaborative tools to enable musicians spread across the world to work together.

You’ll be hearing more from me about some of the winners and runners-up in the coming months, but in the meantime, congratulations to everyone who took part in the first ever EU AppCup Competition. I look forward to hearing more about your future progress!