Just like a London bus, you don’t hear too much about start-ups and entrepreneur initiatives for a few months and then three come along at once. From developer competitions, to entrepreneur events, right through to almost ‘eighties-esque’ dotcom start ups focused on the burgeoning virtual desktop application space. If it weren’t summer, I’d almost swear it was spring.
Microsoft invited me to their student developer competition last week in Cairo and then took another look at their flight budget. Subsequently Microsoft invited me to a string of (I will admit really quite interesting) email video updates for me to enjoy from the comfort of my own desk in Surrey rather than underneath the grand pyramids in Cairo.
You can watch the videos here, or I can simply tell you that of the various categories open to the entrants, the Windows Embedded Development finalists were one of the most interesting. The 1st prize Embedded winners, team Wafree from South Korea, made an automated system that helps famine-ridden communities breed beetles as an alternative to food.
Sounds mad doesn’t it? But the above is perfectly true. I have actually eaten deep fried grasshoppers in Oaxaca City in Mexico and they are OK. But I have to tell you; they really are crunchy on the outside with a chewy centre.
Anyway, back to the technology. Due to their interest in the developer community I have been periodically tracking the progress of a programme called Seedcamp, which targets early-stage web tech startups and connects them with experienced and (I’m told) ‘sought after’ entrepreneurs, investors, marketers, product and developer experts.
The 3rd annual European Seedcamp Week takes place in September and applications have just gone live here if you are interested. Entrants typically apply as teams and the 20 finalists are invited to London to spend a week of panel discussions, master classes and several informal 1:1 sessions with the Dragon’s Den gurus of the tech and developer start up world from companies including Atlas Ventures, GoIndustry plc, Nokia Services, Founders Fund and to name one specifically, Richard Moross, Moo.com Founder and CEO.
The 20 teams compete for seed funding and at the end of the week Seedcamp will invest up to €50K each in 5 teams for a small equity stake (5%-10%).
To round off this blog I thought I’d mention virtual desktops. Firstly I think we need some clarity in this space. If you use virtualised desktop apps in some form are you using a framework, a platform or a cloud service? I mention this because companies in this arena seem to be having difficulty clarifying this point in their own messaging. Take iCloud for example, just one of the companies making this new start-up style application offering a reality. But how many of us are actually using these technologies yet?
Equally, take a look at cnaSoft and its cnap.me cloud based Internet services platform and desktop client that (and I quote), “Delivers ‘instant’ applications (or programs) to the user without the need for an Internet browser. These applications then run just like any normal computer application until they are shutdown. They also provide synchronised online storage and ‘instant’ start up, so cnap.me gives users access to both their files and their favourite applications anywhere.”
The company has just received the backing of real world entrepreneur Dragon Mr Oliver Rothschild who already has a successful track record in the corporate management of information technology firms.
But many competitors from VMware to HP join cnaSoft in this space and there is interest from companies large and small. Parallels
for example has a ‘virtual desktop infrastructure’ which it packages, brands and promotes it as the ‘next big thing’ for users who demand this type of app delivery.
So you can see, it’s been like spring time in my inbox over this last week in terms of the kind of news I am hearing. New roots are sprouting everywhere it seems.