With over 16,000 start-ups part of BizSpark in Europe, you’d expect the calibre of the top 15 chosen to pitch in the annual BizSpark European Summit to be pretty high. But this year’s panel of illustrious judges worked hard on June 7th, particularly to agree on the runner-up.
The five who jostled for second place were The Netherlands’ Autitouch, Ireland’s Jampot (also winner of the People’s Choice Award with over 12,000 votes), Israel’s Foresight, Belgium’s miMedication and Italy’s Paperlit. Two healthcare-focused companies, two mobile app innovators and one ingenious cyber-security solution. A great line-up.
But, the judges’ overall prize goes to Paris-based Commerce Guys, who have developed a suite of cloud-based solutions that harnesses the power of Drupal open source content management for powerful eCommerce applications. CEO Frederic Plais says, “Merchants want to match sophisticated content that connects with social media and mobile. What we do is focus our knowledge and expertise on providing online merchants with the powerful, responsive, flexible and innovative eCommerce solutions they need to thrive.” Since its launch 10 months ago, over 15,000 users – ranging from small companies to large - have signed up for Drupal Commerce, which includes software, consultancy and training.
You may be wondering how an open source company gets to be part of BizSpark. In fact, the company has collaborated with Microsoft from its early days and is on Windows Azure. Says Frederic, “We know that when we are targeting the enterprise market, a lot of them are going to be on the Microsoft stack, so this opens up a big potential market for us.”
Of course, there’s a lot more to the Summit than winning the top prize so if you missed the event and want to catch the recorded livestream, you can watch Commerce Guys (session one), the other finalists and of course, our keynote speaker and panel participants in action. Finally, a big thanks to event venue Ravensbourne, the creative & tech college in Greenwich which did a great job of ensuring that London’s first time to host the Summit (now eight years old) did the UK’s capital city proud.
This blog post was written for BizSpark by Bindi Karia, who runs the BizSpark program in the UK for the Microsoft Emerging Business Team.