4 Reasons Why we Love BizSpark

Blendo Team

Building a startup is never easy! One of the key factors of success is cost reduction – run the business with minimal or even no budget at all, at least in the beginning. How? By taking advantage of opportunities wherever you find them.
Apirise begun just like any other startup business – an idea.

This particular idea came to us as we were trying to solve problems with integrating different systems to each other. We are software engineers and as such we started thinking about a product aiming to change the way we (the developers) interact with APIs: Stop being mere passive consumers and affect the way that an API operates based on our needs, with minimal impact on our code base.

A lot of work and several iterations later, we managed to get a working prototype, gave it live for the world to try and waited for feedback.

Are we building the right thing? Will anybody use it? These are the things we want to find out. What would you do with no budget?

Our initial solution was the use of limited offers from different cloud providers in order to host our application. While this seemed to work well for a while, it eventually brought a number of issues to the surface, such as reduced provided resources, limited time etc.

That’s when we came across Microsoft’s BizSpark. We knew some things about the program but we did not know whether we could be accepted. Microsoft’s BizSpark and Azure Evangelists presented its benefits during a startup program we participated and we did our application.

The process is very simple. Answer some questions, explain your idea and wait for a few days. If accepted you are in to start building!

Luckily we got a positive response. Up to now BizSpark has proven to be our helping hand. It has completely removed the hassle of finding and maintaining the infrastructure we needed to develop and host our product.

We are happy to currently be at the stage of running our private Beta.

BizSpark Perks

The BizSpark program has some nice perks which in sort are (at least until today):
– It lasts for 3 years but gives you eligibility for their 60k program
– Windows Azure monthly Credit allowance (150$) per account for these 3 years
– Training and software resources
– Be part of a big community

You can always check their website where they explain everything much better than me – and it is updated 🙂

Why chose to go with BizSpark

There are many things we utilize from the above list, some more and some less. But in my opinion here is Bizpark’s top 4:

1. No Technology binding
We didn’t have to bind with Microsoft Technologies in order to be eligible for the program. In our case we use open source JVM technologies, (play! framework), MySQL and ElasticSearch among others.

2. Credits (aka show me the money)
The monthly Credit allowance for Azure is 150$ per account! That amount can get you around 4 cores per account. And you get up to 6 BizSpark accounts, for 3 years! That is a LOT! Currently we run the entire infrastructure of Apirise on Windows Azure. Azure is the most important tool you get. That helped us not to care that much for the early costs, but get some slack to work with our product. Azure has features that still coming in and we would definitely want to use them. I believe they are getting there.

3. Community
BizSpark made us part of a thriving start-up community where a lot of interaction takes place. We are trying to be parts of it as much as we can!

4. Access to software and training
Access to free software is really helpful for an early stage startup. With BizSpark you get a lot of Microsoft resources and access to conferences and events.

In a nutshell

BizSpark has so far proven to be extremely useful from a technological point of view (Azure). We look forward to mingle with the community and get more from the program. We have just started…

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  • howard chen

    >> gives you eligibility for their 60k program

    What do you mean by 60K program?

  • Zoltán Orbán

    The 60k program is described here: https://www.microsoft.com/BizSpark/plus/default.aspx

  • apirise

    Thank you @zoltnorbn:disqus you got us first 🙂

  • Midori Lawler

    So thrilled you love BizSpark! (FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m the Marketing Manager for BizSpark) Thanks for the post. I’d love it if you kept me posted on your progress — especially interested in hearing more about your experience with Azure. Thanks again!

    • apirise

      Thank you very much for your reply too! The program has helped a lot and we do not use it 100%…. yet 🙂
      We will be glad to keep you posted 🙂

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  • How does Azure compare to something liker rolling your own cluster with hyper-v or going with openstack?

    I’ve been working on both fronts myself. Been leaning toward openstack because of devOps concerns.

    • apirise

      Hey there Nicholas and sorry for being late to reply. I’m not sure that you can actually compare Azure vs hyper-v or openstack as they are a quite different approach in maintaining your infrastructure. It’s similar to asking if it’s better to run your own equipment or use cloud infrastructure in general (not restricted to Azure). I belive it is quite a big discussion. My opinion is that everything depends on the context you operate in (product, company, etc) and that in every step you have to judge what better suits your current situation. You might find for example that for some reasons it’s better to acquire or lease equipment and operate the infrastructure on your own. Nevertheless when we talk about MVPs, along with cost you are quite low in terms of time, as a result a cloud service like Azure is better compared to setting up an environment with hyper-v or openstack. Especially PaaS solutions (e.g. Azure, Heroku, app engine, etc.) can help you accelerate your MVP validation process quite a lot.
      best regards,
      Costas

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