Edited excerpts from the Press Release:
Microsoft has announced the winners of the BizSpark Startup Challenge 2011. At an event that witnessed top 15 startups battling it out for the coveted prize, Freshdesk and Reach 360 emerged winners of the challenge. The two winners were rewarded with a grant of USD 40,000 and the runner-up teams; Zevenseas and Live Inbox got a grant of USD 10,000 each.
Microsoft BizSpark India Start up Challenge is a unique contest for start-ups in the field of product software to showcase their innovative business plans, receive feedback, and mentorship from top investors and Microsoft. The challenge was open to startups that currently have product/IP and are leveraging Microsoft technologies. The participants were assessed on three key parameters; innovation, market potential of the business and a compelling story behind the idea. The challenge was launched in April 2011 and within six weeks of the launch, over 400 product start-ups enrolled for the challenge and 15 startups were shortlisted for the finals.
Congratulating the winners, Moorthy Uppaluri, General Manager, Developer and Platform Evangelism, Microsoft India, said, “We believe the entrepreneurial spirit will play a key role in driving the growth of the Indian economy – and it is essential that it be fostered. At Microsoft, it is our attempt to nurture the startup community in the country. He further added, “There is undoubtedly a great opportunity in the mobile space for innovation, and the Cloud is where the future of IT is – both offer ample scope for startups to come up with new solutions or business models and take them to the market.
Freshdesk is an on-demand customer support software that combines a robust back-end help desk with a community management platform and knowledge base. Currently, Freshdesk is the only product in the category that offers multi-product support capability and has a separate dedicated knowledge base and community forums.
Reach 360 has developed a stack of interlocking technologies that delivers the maximum value to digital ad spends. Their innovative approach effectively addresses all forms of digital advertising – branding, performance and social media. Reach 360 is the first company to enable conversion of Static Banner Ads to Rich Media Ads and a homegrown technology of global standard that deliver ads up to 3 times faster.
Thrilled on winning the challenge, Girish Mathrubootham, Freshdesk, said, “This challenge has given us the opportunity to showcase our innovative business models as well as receive constructive feedback from our peersand Microsoft. The initiative has provided us some of the most important resources required by the startups to operate in this evolving business landscape. Our business plan focuses on on-demand customer support software that combines a robust back-end helpdesk with a community management platform and knowledge base. We are confident that the guidance and mentorship that we have received will go a long way in transforming our start-up into a robust business entity.”
Adding to this, Rajesh Agarwal, Reach 360, said, “The Bizspark Startup challenge was extremely competitive and a thrilling experience. Our business is centered around developing a stack of interlocking technologies that deliver the maximum value to digital ad spends and this grant will certainly help us grow our business and take it to the next level. We thank Microsoft for providing this opportunity to build connections and share ideas with the member startups and network partners in the BizSpark community.”
The Bizspark Startup challenge was introduced in line with Microsoft’s commitment to promote innovation and entrepreneurship and foster the growth of the local software ecosystem. Over the years through its ‘Spark Series’, Microsoft has consistently impacted several aspiring entrepreneurs at crucial stages of their lives- right from their education to the moment they begin their own ventures.
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