An experience of Microsoft BizSpark Startup Challenge 2013

Yesterday morning we received an email from the Microsoft Bizspark team that our application Bizmica has been shortlisted as a finalist. Now I was at a mission of digital forensics but I got so excited that I dropped the plan and rushed to office where Avinash and Kunj were a bit puzzled. “It’s the first time I have been to such an event”, Kunj said. Little did he know that it was the first time for me, too.

In 2010 when I registered for the BizSpark program I wasn’t really sure of what I was building – I was operating from my own bedroom and dreaming of creating a multi-factor biometric authentication system named “Pratyaksh”. The product failed badly after I got bankrupt since the client didn’t pay even for the hardware and I revoked the system from them after three months of non-payment. I was so scared and confused that I just got lost. There’s a long story about how I rediscovered my original self which I will cover in some other post.

Anyway, we looked at the prize amounts and it was like $1000, $2000 and $4000 respectively. They were also giving phones but I didn’t want them – I wanted the cash. A couple of thousand dollars could actually help us complete the development of the system and also clear some of the pending bills/payments. Avinash was like, “Let’s finish our ******* feature and show it live”. But I had some other plans.

We took some screenshots of our systems and prepared a presentation. I was really nervous, either I had drunk too much water last night or what, but today at the time of the event I had to use the urinal every 30 minutes.

The competition was stiff – we were competing with people who were actually better than us in many ways. But then just like a 6 pointer student we were defending ourselves. We were the last to demo and I was the presenter. The presentation was okay, and the panelists were really satisfied by my answers to their critical questions.

However we didn’t win. Nor we qualify as the runners up. So no cash prize.

There was some networking lunch and the food looked tasty but all three of us had a fast. Ekadashi, you see. So we gorged upon the dry fruit halwa and ice cream in order to relieve the tension for a while. It was then that I caught up with a panelist and asked his perspective on our business plan. After his discussion and some speculations, I realized some points that are necessary. We will correct them.

 

So, we lost.

 

What happens now? Nothing!

We believe in Bizmica. We believe in the idea that we need a system that can help startups and individual small business owners manage their business from anywhere.

I am going for a trip with family for the remaining part of the week i.e. from tomorrow. This will be a time spent away from the internet, mostly because I won’t be having a laptop and that will give me some crazy thoughts which might endup as a new feature in Bizmica.

 

End Note: The best thing that happened was when the question to the audience was asked, “What is Windows Azure?”. After being disappointed by a few incomplete answers the speaker gave me a chance and I was able to explain the entire cloud computing in 2-3 minutes in a language even my mom would understand.

 

 

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