From the 24th – 27th of March we ran one of our largest BizSpark Startup Camps ever. Not only did we have a combination of top speakers and judges, but each participant committed to learning 2 new technologies in 2 days, then turning them into applications. we handpicked 10 teams from a large number of applicants, which included teams that flew in from across Australia.
As always at these events I was impressed by how much functionality people managed to include in their applications during the development window between 9am, Saturday Morning and 4pm Sunday afternoon. This time I was even more impressed as they also included functionality from both the phone 7 platform and the Azure platform.
So many of the participants attributed this to how much faster the time to market was with the tools available in both the Phone 7 toolkit and the Azure development toolkits. 3 of the top applications targeted children/teenagers and called out the choice of Phone 7 as a development platform over others due to the price point for the phone & expected uptake in their target age group.
Throughout the weekend we had many helpers assisting the teams to fine tune their business idea & address any technical challenges they had. A big thank you to Nick Randolph of Built to Roam, Andrew Coates from Microsoft Australia, Steve Nagy from Readify, Larry Gregory from Microsoft, Rosemary Stark from Microsoft and Sean Marshall from the Student Entrepreneurs Resource Network.. Each of them volunteered their time and without their help we wouldn’t have had the quality of results we did.
We also had a high calibre of speakers across the weekend, providing tips & tricks on how to achieve success as an Entrepreneur. Thanks to:
Dr Avi Ratnanesan who shared his what drove him to stop being a Doctor and follow his dream of revolutionising the Mobile Film industry to the point where he now runs an internationally recognised Mobile Film competition, ScreenFest.
Jack Delosa’s tips on building a successful PR strategy was not only a favourite by the teams, but you could see the resulting tips & tricks appear in many of the teams final presentations.
Alex Pirouz shared the top 1% of entrepreneurs secrets to success as well as some of his personal journey with the teams.
James McCutcheon gave 6 of the best tips for entrepreneurs I have heard, including reminding everyone that as an entrepreneur you need to remember to take time out & relax as your health and wellbeing is key to your success!
Bart Jellema, As a Successful Entrepreneur, Bart challenged the teams not to keep their ideas secret, but instead to learn to share their dream as an entrepreneur because it helps to form and road test it to the point where the result is more likely to succeed.
In the end we had 10 teams put together proof of concepts, and pitch to the panel of judges.
Our Judges included:
· Dr Anna Liu Principal Researcher and Research Group Leader at NICTA,
Roger Kermode Venture Consultant
Angus Kidman Freelance Journalist and Editor for Lifehacker Australia
Gareth Rose Lead Entrepreneur, iPitch.com.au
Steve Nagy Azure MVP and Senior Consultant, Readify
Nick Randolph Mobile MVP and Consultant, Built to Roam
The teams and their applications (and a few pics!) are included below:
Dark Blue Duck
Sharepoint add on for scanning & viewing documents. Included Mobile front end and Azure storage back end.
A mobile application that used cognitive processes and association of ideas to create a To Do list specifically designed for Busy people.
Based on an experience as a teachers aid noticing a marked improvement in a childs grammar & spelling after trialling a Spelling game to help a struggling student, the team at Boundless creations created the game BuzzWords. They released the App on iPhone a few months ago and spent the weekend porting this to Phone 7.
Based on the success of the tamagotchi the Your Hours app takes the idea of maintaining a character to assisting a child to maintain their Diabetes program. It involved integration with Kinect, Phone 7, Azure, Blood Glucose machines & Doctors.
The growing popularity of Coupon sites is creating a growing challenge of increased spamming. The You Me Coupon application aims to socialise Coupons and included a Phone 7 application based on Azure that allowed users to pull aggregated coupon offers based on their own interests and the recommendations of their friends.
A system that empowers local communities to have one place to share information with constituents as well as allow constituents to feed information back to the council for incidents and graffiti.
The team at Ultimate connect showed 2 applications they had worked on, one called iReward.com.au a cash back program that integrates with Facebook as well as iSeekOpinion, a survey polling tool.
The My Driving lessons aimed to address the ever growing challenge of 17-23 year olds being over represented in the road death tally. They used Phone 7 to track the routes and performance of drivers using the GPS and accelerometer. The results were used to provide tips & advice to the driver & their supervisor.
The Cloud Speed team presented their Framework that provides a database driven development platform for increasing development time to deployment on the Azure platform.
Aiming to solve the ever growing challenge of drivers trying to increase the number of passengers they can assist, and Passengers struggling to find taxis, The Taxi Apps team created a Phone 7 and Azure solution that used the phone GPS to “flag” nearby taxi’s and for Taxis to locate nearby potential passengers.
And the winners are…..
As a result, 4 teams were called out for their work…
In 3rd place, was Your Hours, with their application for helping Children manage their Diabetes.
In 2nd Place, Boundless Creations for their application to help address the challenges of illiteracy in primary school children through the use of games.
Highly Commended: My Driving Lessons for their Mobile application to log Learner Drivers driving history and provide realtime feedback and advice to both them & to their supervising driver.
And the Overall Winner was:
Taxi Apps – an application that aims to connect taxi drivers with passengers using the phones GPS and an Azure backend.
Well done to all the teams and a big Congratulations to Taxi Apps!!