After a rather intense week with late nights, a series of hiccups, and then, eventually, some successes, the Emerging Business Team in the UK are finally able to announce the Winner of EMEA Mobile Incubation Week. I thought it would be good to start with a brief description of how the week was conducted, which culminated in a final pitch session on Friday morning in front of a panel of mobility experts.
The week was supported by two Microsoft Partners, Murano Software, based in California (who also supported the original Incubation Week in California); and Avanade. Murano Software provided two Project Managers, as the full-time support of eight software engineers (via Skype), based in Russia. Avanade provided two Project Managers and supported four out of the eight start-ups.
The start-ups were each allocated a room in the Customer Centre of the Microsoft London Victoria Offices for the week. The four Project Managers distributed their time between the start-ups over the course of the week. The Russian-based Murano Software Engineers were each assigned a start-up, and they communicated with the teams via Skype. In the words of Dimitri Nikouline, MuranoSoft President, miracles happened over the course of the week, as several start-ups were able to develop and deliver a Windows Mobile 6.5 application within four days. These applications will be featured in the upcoming launch of the Windows Marketplace for Mobile.
The start-ups also had two opportunities to pitch in front of different audiences in advance of the final pitch session on Friday. On the Wednesday, several team members from the Windows Mobile Product Team, as well as key players from the Enterprise Sales team who own the Microsoft relationships Europe's largest operators, provided constructive feedback to the start-ups. On the Thursday, all the companies took the opportunity to pitch to Platform Strategy Advisors from the Developer and Platform Evangelism team, who were able to provide feedback on both the technology and the business models.
Feedback from the participants thus far has been very positive – many told me that they were pleasantly surprised by the level of support offered by Microsoft, as well as Murano Software and Avanade. The time spent with the dedicated Russia-based MuranoSoft engineers via Skype was invaluable. One start-up mentioned to me that this saved him weeks of development time, thereby really improving his chances of speed to market. All also appreciated the opportunity to network, with both the Mobile Product Team and the Emerging Business Team, as well as amongst themselves and other industry experts. A successful week overall!
- BlueID (by Baimos)
- Mobots (by Deimos Space)
- Rummble/Total Hotspots
- The Stitch (by Goodway Technologies)
- ubiquii (by SOMA)
The EMEA team awarded prizes over three categories:
- Most Improved Application (over the course of the week)
- Most Innovative Application (as compared to the other entrants, as well as in the general marketplace)
- Overall Winner of the Week
The judging panel consisted of:
Steve Butcher, Senior Consultant, Avanade; Guillermo Escofet, Editor, Mobile Media, Informa Telecoms and Media; Carlos Espinal, Doughty Hanson & Co Technology Ventures; Dimitri Nikouline, President, Murano Software; Mark Taylor, Senior Director, Developer and Platform Evangelism, Microsoft; Barrie Whipp, Executive Chairman, Crimson Tide; Milo Yiannopoulos, Consulting Editor (Technology), Telegraph.co.uk
And the winning teams are:
WINNER: Mobots (by Deimos Space)
- The Mobots application allows mobile users to create small personal applications on their Windows phone by linking together any of a wide range of preset functions. In a noisy night club, you can't hear your phone ring, but with a personal Mobot, when it recognises a friend calling, automatically sends an SMS letting that friend know where you are. The judges saw Mobots as a potential game changer using a disruptive technology which may be able to open up the gateway to having services via the mobile phone. The ideal scenario iss to see this integrated with the phone OS as part of the runtime environment, so that people can discover the application and customise accordingly. Mobile mashups for the masses!
Most Improved Application: Rummble/Total Hotspots
- According to Dimitri Nikouline, the Rummble / Total Hotspots team performed a near "miracle" and pulled together a decent working version of the application within the week though a combination of hard work and great teamwork with MuranoSoft. The judges noted a number of factors in play which made it an interesting application to watch. Their proprietary trust algorithm impressed everyone and the judging panel saw a number of great applications of the technology over social networks and other areas. The technology was interesting and innovative, and they saw a number of opportunities for business models.
Most Innovative Application: Comufy
People have a combination of 7-8 different ways to communicate with each other, resulting a information overload. Comufy addresses this problem by allowing the user to decide who can contact them, when and how - no more annoying calls or messages, while ensuring they receive those most important to them. Solutions like this have a real future, according to the judging panel, and this provides interesting opportunities both as a service and as a product, which could be of interest to both Telcos and Infrastructure Providers.