BizSpark Startup of the Day – sharpcloud

sharpcloud, one of the participating Showcase Startups at the European BizSpark Summit, provides social business software for roadmapping & strategic planning. Hear from Sharpcloud CEO Sarim Khan in the below video interview.

The BizSpark startup of the day is sharpcloud, based in the UK. Below you will find an interview with Sarim Khan, CEO of sharpcloud. All the best to them and congratulations for being the startup of the day!


 Tell us who you are and your role in the company:

I’m probably best described as an all-round commercial person, building discussions on how global business can work smarter. In particular I’m really interested on how the cloud lends itself to new business applications blending the best of visualization, social networking and business intelligence (BI) … oh yes and CEO at sharpcloud.

What did you do before creating your company?

With Rusty Johnson sold Pertmaster Ltd (risk management software) in Dec 2006 to (Primavera) now Oracle Inc.

How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?

Aah very warm and lovely, lol. Seriously it’s great to have this peer recognition although I’m in a hurry to upgrade the word “promising” to “successful” and we’re extremely focused on our business – our software service, people and customers – Bizspark recognition helps us to create more traction and build increasing credibility at all levels in our business.

What is your company’s mission?

Share your ideas! Build public communities around your evolving roadmaps.

How did you get the idea for your company?

Like all the best ideas sharpcloud is an evolution on current thinking in the deltas between; business intelligence, risk management, social business software and strategic planning. We believe we’ve simplified the best of these approaches to create a revolutionary service for business and communities. sharpcloud is not exclusively “my” idea; we’re a close knit group with 4 co-founders and we’re always listening and learning from our partners and customers.

Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?

Rusty and I have provided seed investment and as is usual all the co-founder have bootstrapped by accepting reduced salaries. What’s exciting is that we’re now generating revenue, which is great news as we only started the business in Feb 2009. I’m always going to be interested in talking to anyone who can provide us with a way to accelerate our business model and yes I’m keen to chat to the right funding partners who understand our model and can help with its execution.

How many employees do you have? How many developers?

8 in total with 4 full time developers… although if you include testing and product management then it’s 6 in the wider product team.

Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring for and where?

We’re looking for more Silverlight, UX, design and Azure development people later in 2010, I expect the next round of recruitment for around Sept 2010.

Which platform are you building on? Why?

We’re all in the cloud on Azure and it’s amazing, really it is! As a .NET shop, Azure is the right choice for us; it fits well with our dev strengths and our customers are all large enterprises already working with Microsoft. Azure gives them greater comfort and sharpcloud better corporate credibility. It’s all good!

Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?

All the major opportunity around business applications are in the cloud, it’s currently a blank sheet of paper and it’s great to see so many new and smart cloud b2b apps really challenging the established on-premise majors, particularly in ERP, CRM and BI.

It’s a new world with Azure, with the scalability and aggregated data at your fingertips this solves so many of the issues in executing and rolling-up intelligence and reporting often seen in traditional on-premise vendors.

Added to this the mash-up factor … I believe there is a vast number of opportunities still to be uncovered fully by blending the traditional apps with social and visual elements.

What do you think about the BizSpark Program?

It’d terrific to have free access to all the power of Microsoft’s MSDN software combined with the Bizspark networking effect, this was very valuable to us in developing our service and sharpening our business model.

Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?

Do your research and make sure you’re service is actually solving a problem.

Don’t do it by yourself, find at least one other co-founder.

Be positive and always make a decision … even if you’re not sure if it’s right.

Who’s your role model?

I don’t tend to have a role model as such, there are many people that I admire for a particular skill or aspect of their personality. This is probably a longer chat over a beer and a few stories.

What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?

I hope it’s been interesting and if you want to talk more contact me on twitter @sarimk.

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