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London is abuzz this summer, with the Olympics next month and Wimbledon taking place this week. Today in Green Park nearby the Microsoft offices, the WWII Memorial was unveiled and our startups were treated to an airshow by the Royal Air Force above the office this morning. The excitement at MAW London just keeps coming! After the unexpected events yesterday, the startups returned this morning ready to tackle more development.

After a busy week of content, most of the day was spent focusing on technical support and 1:1 business consulting sessions. With Demo Day coming up tomorrow, Brian Hoskins, Director of Business Development on Microsoft’s Emerging Business Team, discussed what to present and logistics for the day.  The startups will be presenting:

  • Their company (founding team, background)
  • Their app (business need/pain point solved, what it does)
  • What they accomplished at MAW

Each company will have 15 minutes to present, along with a live demo of their app. Many of the startups are gearing up for another funding round too, so Brian shared some best practices on how to do a venture capital pitch.

Brian’s Presentation

William Coleman, Product Marketing Manager, presented on UI design and resources available for developers in the UK.  He shared several links including Ubelly Blog, Windows Phone User Group, and Design and developer camps.

Today, Brian had the opportunity to meet with Blue Butterfly and Milestone. Blue Butterfly is a recently launched startup taking on the NFC space. They have developed an app that allows you to connect to a WiFi in any location by simply tapping on an NFC sticker. The company recently won an investment from Telefonica and will be unveiling their WP app this fall with the WP8 launch. Milestone is focusing on the video surveillance space. They are developing an app for Windows Phone that allows you to monitor your security cameras remotely, from anywhere in the world. The team recently raised a $27M funding round and is aggressively expanding in the enterprise, SMB, and personal security segments.

1:1 Session with Frottfal

This has been an intense and productive week, but we’ve had a lot of fun learning about WP and building our apps. Demo Day promises to be no less exciting as we see the great work our startups have been doing!  Follow the event progress on Brian’s Twitter or using the hash tag #MAW.

Fire alarms, pints of beer, and app development. Today turned out to be quite the exciting day at Mobile Acceleration Week in London! The participants arrived early this morning after a long day two of app development, looking forward to another great day of sessions and 1:1 consulting. No one was expecting what the day would actually bring.

The day started with java and morning app development. It’s only Day 3, and several of the startups already have working prototypes, all the while participating in our educational sessions throughout the day. With the Windows Phone 8 and Surface announcements last week, we’ve been getting a ton of questions on the new platforms. In particular, we’re seeing a lot of interest in support for native code and the new mobile wallet solution, which will allow for credit card payments, in-app purchases, and physical transactions. Joe Belfiore, CVP of the Windows Phone division, joined us virtually with a demo of the new platform. The NFC integration will be a boon to many of the developers here, including Blue Butterfly, which is developing an easier way for people to connect to WiFi in coffee shops, restaurants, and other locations.

Marketplace and Monetization Session

The next session of the day was Marketplace and Monetization with Brian Hoskins, Director of Business Development on Microsoft’s Emerging Business Team. Today’s presentation covered how to launch and get promoted, what makes a great app, and what the merchandising team looks for when featuring apps on Marketplace and Marketplace Extras. The three criteria for Marketplace are functionality, utility, and delight. Apps that have seen the most success are those that are taking advantage of unique features of the platform, including Live Tiles, Hub integration, and App Connect. Brian discussed the importance of building a mobile first application and cited examples of MAW companies that have been successful in this area, including Entetrainter (MAW Helsinki) and Soundtracker (MAW San Francisco).

Lunch Break

The big excitement of the day was a fire alarm in the building, which forced all of us to evacuate along with the other 800 employees in the office, in the middle of Brian’s presentation. We all knew our apps were hot, but no one expected them to set fire! Not to be deterred, the group headed straight to a local pub for pints. The Brits sure know how to run a fire drill. Fortunately, it proved to be a false alarm, and everyone returned safely to the building.

Fire Alarm Photo Op

Today, Brian had the opportunity to meet 1:1 with Frootfal. Frootfal is developing an intelligent shopping engine for consumers to discover the best deals, including cash back offers from merchants. They have built their service on Windows desktop and are moving to the Windows Phone platform this summer. The new application will be running on Windows Azure, ensuring a safe and secure way for consumers to shop. They just signed a major distribution deal with Daily Deal Superstore in the U.S. and U.K., promoting them in over 6,000 cities worldwide. Watch for great things to come from this startup in the coming months.

After a busy week of content and presentations, most of tomorrow will be spent with development time, technical support, and 1:1 business consulting sessions. Our group of startups has been particularly active on Twitter. Follow along for our updates throughout the day, using the hash tag #MAW. Check back tomorrow for a day three update or Twitter for the most updated info.

After a successful first day and a late night of app development, our intrepid startups arrived this morning after a much needed rest, ready to take on Day 2 of MAW. Wimbledon is underway at the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, but all eyes will be on the All-Windows Phone Cardinal Place this Friday for MAW Demo Day. Judging by the progress so far, it’s going to be an exciting one! Our group of startups here has raised the most venture capital money of any outside the U.S with a total of $55 million. And, we even have a celebrity in our midst. Nick Holzherr, Founder of Whisk, was a finalist on The Apprentice UK and is a local teenage hearthrob.

Our Whisk Celebrities

Our first session of the day was a technical deep dive of Windows Phone with Microsoft technical evangelist, Mike Ormond, Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft. After refueling for lunch, we dived into cloud computing, with a session on Azure development. As part of MAW, participants will be eligible for the BizSpark Plus program of free Azure services for a period of time.

Some App Development Time

Today, we welcomed a special guest, Daniele Calabrese, Founder and CEO of Soundtracker, the location based mobile radio app and two-time MAW alumnus. Daniele discussed how MAW helped Soundtracker, ways to benefit from the program, and his experience partnering with Microsoft and Nokia. Daniele showcased Soundtracker’s brand-new Windows 8 app which will be available at launch. The startups asked him about his decisions to develop on the platform and how he leveraged MAW to secure partnerships. Soundtracker has been particularly successful in this area, having signed a distribution deal with Nokia to localize the app in 24 languages. Soundtracker will be launching as part of the Facebook timeline soon, part of a select group of companies to have this. You can watch Soundtracker’s Microsoft BizSpark video or their feature on the Nokia Developer site for more information on the company.

Soundtracker Presentation

Today, I spoke with Archify, an early stage startup based out of Vienna, Austria. Archify has developed a platform for people to save, analyze, and search their web-based activity. The service will save each website you’ve visited, adding metadata such as geolocation, time of day, and categories. Users can access their history and search from a personalized site. They see mobile and tablet as a significant growth area and are developing a Windows Phone app for users to find information on the go. They are also considering Azure to run their backend. I’m excited to see how the app turns out, as this could be an extremely useful app in the age of interconnected devices and social networks. The company recently raised a round of funding and is relocating to Berlin.

For dinner, the startups enjoyed a delicious French meal from HouseBites.com, a fellow BizSpark company. It was great to see a BizSpark company feeding other BizSpark startups! After dinner, startups continued development as we ran late into the night. The participants are looking forward to another big day tomorrow.

Our group of startups has been particularly active on Twitter.  Follow along for our updates throughout the day, using the hash tag #MAW. Check back tomorrow for a day three update or Twitter for the most updated info.

The Olympics aren’t the only exciting event London is hosting this year! MAW London kicked off today with sunny skies and a great lineup of startups. The participants arrived early this morning ready to tackle an exciting week at MAW.

Brian Hoskins kicked off with the morning session, welcoming the startups and setting agenda and goals for the week. Hoskins discussed the MAW program gives, which include featured placement in Marketplace, special support from Microsoft Advertising, free phones, and tools from Microsoft BizSpark. The companies were then introduced to iLink Systems and Motivity Labs who will be assisting in the coding throughout the week. The participants also had a chance to introduce themselves, their companies, and their app idea to the crowd.

Attentive Participants

Dave Crawford, guru of all things Metro UI, then delivered a session on Windows Phone UI/UX, providing an overview of the platform, specifics of what makes a great app, and tips for startups starting out on the platform. Following the session, the startups took a lunch break and had some informal networking time.

Dave Crawford’s Session

In the afternoon, the startups had time to set up consulting sessions with Motivity and iLink to discuss their development needs and project plan for the week.  As part of MAW, Microsoft is providing an additional week of development support after the event is over. Along with Brian Hoskins, other members of Team Microsoft included Bindi Karia, VC/Emerging Business lead for the UK. Microsoft representatives were on-hand to support with business and technical questions throughout the day.

The startups at this event are getting up to speed quickly on the platform. All seven of the startups are BizSpark members and have used the tools before. Some are new to Windows Phone but had excellent questions about the current release, as well as the upcoming Windows 8 tablet release and Windows Phone 8. WP8 will include key developer features, such as support for native code, improved multi-tasking and location notifications, as well as support for NFC and mobile wallet.

Participants Hard at Work

1:1 business consulting sessions started earlier than usual this week. Today, Brian met with Base CRM, a Chicago and Poland-based startup building a mobile-first CRM system. Base plans to integrate internal and external customer information in an easier way for today’s mobile work force, a major pain point for small and medium businesses. One of the coolest features they is their “Sync Service” which allows people to work with their CRM locally on the phone, without the need for a data connection. According to Base, this has been a common struggle for their customers. Base recently raised a $6.8M Series B round led by Index Ventures, along with Social + Capital Partnership, OCA Ventures, and the I2A Fund. Since the beginning of the year, the company grew its users by more than 500 percent and is being used by tens of thousands of businesses worldwide. Base’s progress to date was especially impressive. They have already built a working prototype and plan to release their app to Marketplace in the next two weeks. Mobile business apps have been an underinvested area in mobile, so keep an eye on this company as they have an opportunity to disrupt the current way people think about mobile CRM today.

1:1 with Base CRM

Everyone is looking forward to day two of MAW London which will bring more development sessions and 1:1 consulting. Check back tomorrow for a day two update or Twitter for the most updated info.

MAW kicks off in London on Monday with another awesome group of startups joining the event. Once again, the diversity of the participants is outstanding. The companies range from an archiving service to a home cooking app to a video surveillance company. This is a small but mighty group of participants who are looking forward to a week packed full of development, consulting, and presentations. Make sure to check out this week’s participants:

archify

archify is a ground-breaking new service created to tackle the information overload crisis. archify archives everything you see on the web or in your social stream (Facebook, Twitter etc) – then lets you search it quickly. The tool is seamlessly integrated into most browsers and runs automatically, so there’s no need to bookmark or manually save information.

 Whisk 

Whisk revolutionizes home cooking. Whisk makes it simple for a user to take any recipe they find on the Internet, tailor it to their tastes and needs and then purchase the ingredients they need, either in store or via online supermarkets. The mobile application will allow a user to manage their home cooking experience from their mobile devices. This includes finding and bookmarking recipes, creating shopping lists, viewing previously created shopping lists as well as checking out their shopping list via online supermarkets.

Milestone Systems Bulgaria Ltd.

Milestone Systems is an international company that sells video surveillance management software in many countries around the world. The Milestone Systems platform is used to ensure greater safety and security for people, products and assets, to help manage environmental issues, and to optimize business processes.

Frootfal Media

Frootfal provides consumers with a simply more rewarding online shopping experience. Available to members who buy online using PCs, Laptops, Tablets or Smartphones, the service provides a seamless, secure and non‐intrusive way for smart people to shop and earn great rewards using any device, anywhere, anytime. The Frootfal App provides the user with a secure, easy to use online shopping experience.  The App is design led, providing intuitive ease of use, cross platform familiarity and simplicity whilst having that ‘cool’ feel.

Base

Base was founded in 2009 by Uzi Shmilovici, Pawel Niznik, Bart Kiszala, Ela Madej and Agata Mazur. Everyone has found it unbelievably hard to find great software products that will help people manage small businesses. Base aims to build the next generation of CRM to make millions of people more productive.

Blue Butterfly

Blue Butterfly was founded with a simple goal: to make wireless connectivity easier than ever. Founded in Norwich in 2012, the company has gone from two guys with an audacious idea to a growing team working on a revolutionary product that will change the wireless industry.

                  Hailo Cab

Use Hailo to get a black cab wherever you are, whenever you want. All it takes is two taps on your iPhone or AndroidPhone. Pay cash or card, with no charges above the meter. Hailo Cab has raised $20M from an all star cast of investors including Accel Partners, Wellington Partners, and Atomico Ventures.

Needless to say, we have a great lineup for the week! As always, the event will be streamed live via Twitter. If Mobile Acceleration Week sounds interesting to you or someone you know, don’t forget to apply. Find out more about the application process here or on the MAW homepage.

Guest post by Vizibility. Vizibility is currently working on a mobile app, is a member of the BizSpark program, and was featured as a BizSpark Startup of the Day

Companies are tired of being held hostage by search engine results. During the next decade, one of the fastest-growing challenges facing organizations will be managing and tracking the online identities of their professionals. Organizations face serious economic consequences when their people cannot be found online… or when what’s found isn’t accurate. Organizations are starting to reject the notion that ‘you are who search engines say you are’ by instead pro-actively curating, packaging and distributing rich online content about their people.

Vizibility helps organizations control, share and track the professional online presence for their people to make an accurate, powerful and lasting impression. The hub of Vizibility’s solution is the Mobile Business Card, a unique mobile micro-site for each person in an organization.

Built on .NET, Vizibility delivers the world’s first enterprise-ready online identity management platform, offering a complete line of identity management tools designed to help individuals and enterprises optimize their online presence for mobile viewing, control search results, and enable mobile networking and information exchange.

Vizibility leverages personal QR codes, NFC mobile wallet cards, Microsoft Tags, and SearchMeTM buttons and links that instantly lead people looking for information about someone to that person’s hand-picked Google search results, online bios, videos, portfolios or other user-defined content. Hand-picked Bing results are coming soon.

Vizibility gives individual users and enterprise admins the tools and business intelligence analytics they need to track and manage online identity-related activities, including alerts and geo tracking capabilities to let users know when they have been scanned or searched, and the interested party’s organization name, organization type and location. The company provides personal search results monitoring tools to track changes in page rankings, and personal Google AdWords campaigns to optimize results.

With hundreds of millions of smartphones in use worldwide and about half of all searches now originating on a mobile device, Vizibility is committed to delivering the tools users need to make a killer first impression in the mobile space, including mobile-optimized microsites and wireless mobile information exchange capabilities. The Vizibility team is proud to be a part of the BizSpark Program and welcomes feedback and suggestions.

Web: http://vizibility.com/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/getvizibility

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/vizibility

Blog: http://blog.vizibility.com

MAW is a trend setter! The MAW Bangalore event was such a success, that two similar events were hosted in India to meet the high demand from developers. Two “Windows Phone Application Acceleration Week” events were held over the past couple weeks in both Pune and Delhi with 39 companies participating. The events attracted attendees from very high potential Windows Phone developers and made quite a media splash. Along with Microsoft employees, Nokia and iLink representatives were on hand just like a typical MAW event.

The two events featured similar activities from MAW Bangalore: one-on-one consulting sessions, workshops, troubleshooting help, and development time. The participants were assisted in their Windows Phone app development as well as encouraged about creating Windows 8 applications. The week’s schedule also included the following diverse sessions:

  • Windows Phone platform and application development overview
  • UI UX Metro design guidelines
  • Windows Phone application lifecycle and state management
  • App makeover – Applying Metro style and best practices
  • Windows Phone app performance analysis
  • Optimizing Windows Phone app
  • Windows Phone Marketplace and app monetization
  • Windows Phone app publishing tips and appvertize
  • Introduction to Windows 8 platform
  • Migrate/port a Windows Phone app to Metro style Windows 8 app

The week finished with a “Demo Day,” similar to the final day of MAW Bangalore. At “Demo Day,” the attendees had a chance to pitch their company and idea as well as demo their app they developed throughout the week. In all, these two additional development weeks were a huge success. But, don’t just take that from us, read some of the great reviews from participants:

  • “Being fairly new to the Windows Phone platform, the exposure to design/development environment really gives a good starting point going ahead in the field. The understanding in Metro UI is a very important part in the Windows development platform and is quite helpful going ahead.”
  • “I am really glad that we got the opportunity to be part of such a great initiative by Microsoft and personally will make sure that the quality expected from WP in terms of design is maintained from my end.”
  • “The experience was good. There was a lot to learn. All the people from Microsoft, as well as iLink were quite helpful. It was great to know how we can work on UI and UX and how to incorporate Metro design-pivot, and panorama even in gaming apps.”
  • “It was good to get feedback on both positive and negative aspects of our apps. We will work on our apps and use everything we have learned here.”

Windows Phone Application Acceleration Week

The MAW team packs their bags and heads to London June 25-29. As always, the event will be streamed live via Twitter. If Mobile Acceleration Week sounds interesting to you or someone you know, don’t forget to apply. Find out more about the application process here or on the MAW homepage.

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