The BizSpark European Summit brought together 250+ thought leaders in the entrepreneurial community across Europe - investors, government representatives, start-ups, and journalists. The summit provided a unique platform to debate the issues facing tech entrepreneurs in Europe and see some of the best start-ups in Europe.
So what is BizSpark?
Microsoft BizSpark is a program designed to provide software startups all the resources they need to build successful companies and connect them with a community of experts. So if you have entrepreneurial societies, clubs or associations at your institution or are adding entrepreneurial content to your curricula please make them aware of BizSpark (3 years FREE software licensing for any Microsoft product, 3 years mentoring and 3 Years VC pitching opportunity)
Over 50k startups have joined BizSpark since Nov’ 08.
BizSpark is available in 112 countries, 9 languages
In the UK, there are now over 2900 companies in the programme
The European Summit
The day-long event took place at Ravensbourne University in the heart of Tech City (East London) and was moderated by David Rowan, Editor of WIRED UK. The Summit agenda was co-created with the European BizSpark team, coupled with comments from an advisory panel of investors and BizSpark start-ups. So as well as ensuring plenty of opportunity to network, the agenda included:
- A European first, the ‘Midwife of Customer Development’, Bob Dorf, Co-Author of The Startup Owners Manual discussing Successful Startup. Based on the twitter feed alone, Bob proved to be a massive hit with the audience. See his talk here: (http://new.livestream.com/microsoft/BizSparkSummit/videos/1365793)
· Panel sessions discussing The Future of Apps, The Business of Cloud and debating The Evolution of Tech Talent
· A European-wide Start-up Showcase with 15 of the most promising BizSpark start-ups from across Europe.
· The judging panel consisted of:
1) Rogan Angelini-Hurll, PROfounders Capital, (UK)
2) Guillaume Bonneton, GP Bullhound, (UK)
3) Victor Basta, Magister Artis Ltd. (UK)
4) Nic Brisbourne, DFJ Esprit, (UK)
5) Phil Cox, Silicon Valley Bank, (UK)
6) Benoist Grossman, Idinvest Partners, (France)
7) Robin Klein, Index, (UK)
8) Krzysztof Kowalczyk, HardGamma Ventures (Poland)
9) Curtis MacDonald, High Tech Gruenderfonds (UK)
10) Max Niederhofer, Accel Partners, (UK)
11) Marc Sieberger, e42 Ventures, (Germany)
12) Reshma Sohoni, Seedcamp, (UK)
The event culminated in the presentation of two awards by Dan’l Lewin, CVP Emerging Business Team from Silicon Valley – one for the People’s Choice which was awarded to JamPot for The App Builder (chosen as a result of crowd voting through the BizSpark site. They harnessed their social media skills and won with over a whopping 12,000 votes!) and the main award to the Winner of the Start-up showcase, which was won by Frederic Plais of Commerce Guys. Frederic’s prize is a trip to the US to attend a major Tech event in the Autumn sponsored by BizSpark France, as well as tickets to leWeb London.
Key agenda components of the Microsoft BizSpark European Summit included:
· Opening conversation with Dan’l Lewin Corporate Vice President Emerging Business Development and moderator David Rowan (http://new.livestream.com/microsoft/BizSparkSummit/videos/1368747 )
· An interview with last year’s winners - Alessandro Rizzoli of Mopapp. (http://new.livestream.com/microsoft/BizSparkSummit/videos/1370536 and http://new.livestream.com/microsoft/BizSparkSummit/videos/1370542)
· An Apps Vision Keynote from Rob Craft, Senior Director, Cloud Strategy, Microsoft.
· Apps Vision ( http://new.livestream.com/microsoft/BizSparkSummit/videos/1364723)
o Panellists >> Max Niederhofer, VP, Accel Partners Renate Nyborg, Digital Director & Head of Mobile, Edelman, Keith Varty, Head of Content and Developer Marketing, Western Europe, Nokia
· The Business of Cloud (http://new.livestream.com/microsoft/BizSparkSummit/videos/1365136)
o Panellists >> Bernard Dallé, Partner, Index Ventures, Stephen Forte, Chief Strategy Officer, Telerik , Rob Fraser, CTO for Cloud Services, Microsoft UK, Andrew Yates, CEO, Artesian Solutions
· The Evolution of Tech Talent (http://new.livestream.com/microsoft/BizSparkSummit/videos/1366974)
o Panellists >> Mark Gillet, Corporate Vice President, Skype Product Engineering & Operations, Microsoft, Neal Gandhi, Serial Entrepreneur, Jerry Engel, Adjunct Professor, Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley
· Extensive networking opportunities through the day, culminating in a cocktail reception
· There was a 4 stage process involved in selecting startups.
1) Country selection. BizSpark leads in all European countries were invited to nominate up to a maximum of 5 companies they considered the best from their countries. The focus for the summit was on Apps so a Windows 8/Windows Phone 7/Azure focused startup with a great business idea was the ideal candidate,
2) An initial screening of 70 startup nominated from 21 countries took place at Microsoft London Victoria Offices, with a team from the UK including Bindi Karia, Rob Fraser and Phil Cross. The team narrowed this down to 36 startups from 17 countries
3) Finalist selection took place with a group of European BizSpark leads meeting in Paris, Ruud de Jonge, Yuriy Zytsev, Blaise Vignon and Bindi Karia.
4) The 15 Finallist Startups came from 12 different countries: France, Germany, Israel, Finland, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Greece, Poland, Russia and the UK
· The BizSpark Team hired Pitching Coach, Mike Sigal from the Silicon Valley to coach the startups prior to the European Summit. This equated to approximately four hours of coaching time per startup. Every startup found this to be an invaluable “give” from the team, and will use this advice as each and every one of them seek funding.
· The twelve judges took part in the Q&A’s post pitch and were involved in the judging process which used a Eurovision style points system to filter to a shortlist for final judging discussions. The Start-up judges were asked to consider: presentation quality, overall concept, market/exist opportunity, differentiation, traction and team – to determine the winner.
· Startup Showcase 1 – Autitouch (Netherlands); PlaceChallenge (Poland); Commerce Guys (France); Red Badger (UK) ; Parking Defenders (Greece) (http://new.livestream.com/microsoft/BizSparkSummit/videos/1365085)
· Startup Showcase 2 - 6Wunderkinder (Germany); Paperlit (Italy); Fitting Reality (Russia); xBrainSoft (France); MiMedication (Belgium) (http://new.livestream.com/microsoft/BizSparkSummit/videos/1367023)
· Startup Showcase 3: Jampot (Ireland) ; Foresight (Israel) ; Mobilebits (Germany) ; The Oblong (UK); Entretrainer (Finland) (http://new.livestream.com/microsoft/BizSparkSummit/videos/1366954)
And the WINNER >> Commerce Guys from France!
A link to the winner interviews: