Eight months ago, Microsoft announced the availability of Microsoft BizSpark, a program that helps early-stage startups succeed by providing Microsoft software, support and visibility at no upfront cost.
Today, I am pleased to announce that more than 15,000 Startups have joined BizSpark to date.
Participating companies receive full-featured Microsoft platforms and development tools, such as Windows Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio and Expression Studio. Available in 99 countries, BizSpark does not require exclusivity, and many open source ISVs are leveraging BizSpark to test the interoperability of their applications or increase the number of client platforms they can reach.
The 15,000 participating companies innovate in areas such as social networking, software services, healthcare, education, mobility, entertainment, and finance. These startups are successfully building on the Windows platform and include names such as: ZocDoc, Tweba, SquareClock, Eduify, StackOverflow, Sobees, MixedInKey, Develomatic.
Here are a few innovative companies that recently joined BizSpark.
After seeing Microsoft Surface in December 2008, Nicolas Chaillan was inspired to create after-mouse to build custom tactile user experiences for Windows 7 and Surface. after-mouse uses WPF and Silverlight to build rich experiences with multi-touch interfaces for travel agencies, retailers, real estate agencies, and hospitality in Europe and beyond. BizSpark’s production licensing allows after-mouse to create hosted solutions using Microsoft technology.
Below, after-mouse’s bar and restaurant application allows guests place their dinner orders directly from their table.
Based in Silicon Valley, Curse is a portal for the massively multiplayer online game, or MMO, community. The site provides forums, wikis, reviews, downloads, blogs, videos, and other resources for MMO gamers. Curse focuses on gamer-generated content and allows gamers to create their own pages. Curse includes gaming portals for World of WarCraft, StarCraft and Age of Conan.
Curse now has over 1.4 million total users and is growing quickly. Their website is powered by three IIS7 web servers and a single database server running SQL Server 2008. The Curse desktop client receives data from a .NET web service written in C# that runs on just two IIS7 web servers. In Curse’s CEO’s words, “I attribute much of our success to the performance and stability of Microsoft’s technology, and the productivity offered by using Microsoft development tools. We’ll be continuing to use Microsoft technology exclusively. We have a next-generation version of the Curse client in development, being built in Windows Presentation Foundation, and a guild-hosting service being built in ASP.NET MVC.”
Lokad, a 5-person French startup created in 2007, provides online business forecasts and statistics to clients from the retail, manufacturing, and call center industries. Send Lokad your historical data such as sales, cash flows, call volumes, and customer demand, and they will send you back forecasts. The team of mathematicians at Lokad allows retail companies to take advantage of state-of-the-art operational business forecasts with minimal investment. Lokad’s web application is written for .NET 3.5 and makes use of LINQ to interact with data from SQL Server. In addition, Lokad was one of the first ISVs to use Windows Azure services in their production environment.
It is exciting to see the kind of innovative work that these startups are doing using the Microsoft platform and tools.
To learn more about or join BizSpark, visit BizSpark on Startup Zone.