Dream it. Build it. Live it.
The next big thing could come from you. Facebook started as a student project. Your ideas could be next. The Imagine Cup is here to help you take the first steps. It's a global contest for the most original student applications, and the winning team will take home up to $100,000 (US).
Register now to get involved in this year’s Imagine Cup.
What is Imagine Cup?
For the past 16 years, the Imagine Cup has been the world's premier student technology competition. Since 2003, Microsoft has provided a global platform for students to turn their dreams into reality. Students from across the globe build amazing teams to bring their biggest, boldest ideas to life. Working with mentors and industry leaders, they get feedback to further hone and develop their projects.
Hear about how this incredible opportunity can change your life in the interview below with Michael Moses, one of the UK Winners and Worldwide finalists of the Imagine Cup last year and founder and CEO of Donaco.
Can you walk through the step by step process of what you did to apply?
We first got involved in the Imagine Cup after taking part in a 3Hack, a hackathon event designed specifically for creating ideas for the Imagine Cup, at Imperial College London with Microsoft where we proposed the initial idea of Donaco. After this we applied for the Imagine Cup 2017 with Microsoft and were mentored to create a business plan, short pitch video, slides and prototype.
First we attended the Imagine Cup Event in the UK. During this experience we interacted with other start-ups and Microsoft seniors gave a different eye on the business plan with advice, interviews, essential networking media coverage, which actually gained us our first 2 clients. Purely applying and taking part consolidated our idea for Donaco and we were lucky enough to have the best outcome in the scenario as we won the Imagine Cup in the UK and were invited to the finals. The whole experience itself also gave a different eye to Microsoft, as we were pleasantly surprised how deep the technology Microsoft were building which we were able to embed with our own business.
Following on from the win in the UK it gave us credibility for the future with a big name like Microsoft supporting our vision then and still today. We went to the Seattle world finals and unfortunately didn't win but again this experience gave us more as we were able to see all the truly innovative ideas and network in three days of fun! For us the real win of the Imagine Cup was starting our business and having the support and increased network and possibility to constantly meet new people.
What impact has it had being a part of the experience?
Being part of the Imagine cup kick-started the whole business and gave us both the confidence and credibility to begin the journey. Many competitions are just about the pitch at the end. The Imagine cup is really about the experience leading up to that day. Throughout the journey, you have the opportunity to have the support of a world-class technology company, tech aid through Azure/bizspark and access to advisors/mentors that help you along the way. The organising team was also very responsive and put us in touch with relevant people when we needed legal, funding or strategy advice. Winning is a plus but the whole experience itself is the most rewarding part.
What are you doing today as a result of being a part of The Imagine Cup?
Donaco wouldn't be where they are today without the Imagine Cup. I’m now working full time on the product with the business now and we launched the first product in December and are looking to expand further. Being a part of the Imagine Cup gave us the credibility, confidence and networking experiences that were critical to deciding to continue the business. Winning the Imagine Cup in the UK also attracted talent that enabled us to strengthen team for the business.
Why should people get involved and consider applying?
Applying for the Imagine Cup is a ‘No brainer’ when you have an initial then at the very least you will consolidate and get feedback from experts on your ides or best case scenario is that you receive support from organisation and live experiences that are life changing and gives you the confidence to pursue your business, only good things can happen! The first stage of initial ideas then competitions is the best start for a business and the Imagine Cup is perfect for this- taking part will give you the confidence and credibility you need to begin to make your business a success and a reality.
Microsoft would like to offer thanks to Michael Moses for taking the time to interview on his experience throughout the Imagine Cup.
Donaco provides an innovative and contextual method to facilitate online donations. Using artificial intelligence, they dynamically embed a button in articles that recommends relevant charities and empowers readers to take action and donate on content that inspires them. This is done seamlessly within the article itself in just a few clicks and each charity is contextually matched with the content. As stories drives interest, we drive people into action.
They are supported by Imperial Innovations, have successfully launched an initial pilot in December which showed very promising results and are now planning a soft release in the UK. If you are looking for an innovative and novel way to reach out to online donors or engage your audience, Donaco is looking for new charity and media partners. Please visit https://www.donaco.co or contact firstname.lastname@example.org