Featured BizSpark Startup on Azure – Atomblock

Interview with Hendrik Van Iterson, Co-founder and CTO of  Atomblock.

Web site: www.atomblock.com

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

Co-founder and CTO.

What is your company’s mission?

To become the market leader in electronic video distribution.

In 140 characters or less, tell us what your company does:

Electronic video distribution platform that means computer games, software and ebook publishers have a fast route to reaching customers, without big upfront investment to build their own e-retail infrastructures

Tell us about your Azure based solution.

With its e-distribution infrastructure, Atomblock takes all the hard work out of publishing and selling on-line.  Using APIs, companies can become e-retailers in less than a week, complete with links to social media sites like Facebook. Typical customers are retailers and online portals, but also brands that have never sold directly on-line at all.  To use Atomblock, e-retailers pay a small fee and then an additional fee is negotiated based on sales volume or revenue share.  Atomblock is also available as a pure white-label service. By the end of 2011, over 1400 video games were available on the Atomblock platform, with software and ebook distribution planned for the future.  

How is Azure implemented in your solution?

Atomblock is based on Azure, which it migrated to in 2011.

How did you get excited about Azure?

I knew that cloud computing was going to be important for us, to enable scalability, so when Azure became available, we made the decision to migrate.  I have worked closely with Microsoft for years and could see that the Azure platform offered us the stability, security and flexibility that we need. 

What were the Azure features that prompted you to decide to build on Azure?

Azure is a robust platform that prevents us from needing to build our own server infrastructure, and to scale in line with customer demand.

What specific value are you getting from BizSpark beyond the technology?

We were one of the first companies in the Netherlands to join BizSpark. As well the cost savings of having access to free technology licences, the technical support has been great too, particularly during our migration to Azure.  Equally important is the visibility and partnership you get through being part of Microsoft.  Working with Microsoft really gave us a kickstart when we needed it.

What has been your biggest “aha” moment since founding your company?

It is hard to choose just one ‘aha’ moment, but big milestones for us have been having MSN Belgium as our launch partner, signing with Sanoma (the largest magazine publisher in the Netherlands and Nordic regions ), and rolling out a mobile version of Atomblock to over 50 retailers in the Netherlands.  We were also delighted to be selected as one of the top 15 BizSpark startups in Europe to present at the European BizSpark Summit in 2011.

What advice do you have for companies that are thinking about building in the cloud?

Cloud means you can think big.  We’ve gone from being an early stage start-up to a successful company with revenue from global customers in a relatively short period of time. 

What is the one thing that you would like readers to take away about your Azure app?

Atomblock is fast becoming one of the world’s leading digital publishing platforms, with customers in Europe, Turkey, Scandinavia.

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