Featured BizSpark Startup on Azure – Connect2Fans Enterprises

Interview with Jason Lavigne, Co-founder of Connect2Fans Enterprises.

Web site: http://www.Connect2Fans.com.

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

I am the Lead Software Architect for C2F and a co-founder of the company.  I have been developing software on various technologies, including Microsoft, for over 25 years and most recently in the event ticketing segment of the entertainment industry.

What is your company’s mission?

My partner, Jarek Niskiewicz, and I set as our mission to create a platform which artists, athletes, entertainers, organizations and teams of all sizes can use to sell a variety of products directly to their fans.  Using a PayPal account, any individual or small entertainment enterprise can enjoy the power of the Web to sell event tickets, CDs, MP3s, and other memorabilia directly to their fans.   This direct-to-fan sales approach dramatically reduces the present day costs for both buyers and sellers.  C2F only charges the seller a very modest fee for this transaction service.  What the buyer sees is what the buyer pays; no more annoying add-ons. 

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

Connect2Fans is software for the entertainment & ticketing industries, helping both fans & entertainers to save money on all transactions

Tell us about your Azure based solution.

Our system contains an Application Program Interface (API) and User Interface (UI) layers which utilize Azure to ensure that our system is available and scalable for any load our customers may generate.

How is Azure implemented in your solution?

Our solution consists of a REST based API that is running on Internet Information Services (IIS) using Windows Communications Foundation (WCF), which allows us to use Azure Web Roles to host our solution.  Our system also uses Worker Roles for our proprietary data systems.  We use Azure Storage to allow for a secure, globally dispersed Content Delivery Network (CDN) for our digital download needs by using Shared Access Signatures.

How did you get excited about Azure?

When Azure was announced at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) 08 and was released in Consumer Technology Preview (CTP), we quickly applied for and received access to the CTP.

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

Azure Compute was the catalyst in our decision to build on Azure to enable us to scale up, and more importantly scale down, in order to ensure that our system is highly responsive and able to handle large loads.  Azure Storage is also a very important feature for our needs, allowing us to build a global CDN that has a rich set of API tools.

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

Partnering with Microsoft from day one is very strongly recommended.  Microsoft has been a great partner for us by ensuring that we have access to all of the tools and information we need in order to build the best system possible.

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

Our Azure application allows our customers to sell their products and services directly to their fans without requiring expensive intermediate service providers who charge large service fees to both the fans and entertainers.  Due to our use of the Cloud, we are able to dramatically lower our overhead and pass the savings on to our customers.

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