MAAC - A Window for Success

March 06, 2014

Garage48 HUB was the host for a brilliant app accelerator event powered by Microsoft, Nokia and AppCampus, which is known as MAAC (Mobile App Accelerator Camp). 

The goal of the camp is to choose the best teams to continue to apply to AppCampus grants for 20 000 to 70 000 euros. Additionally they are welcome to submit their application for AppCademy, a program run by AppCampus in Espoo, Finland.

The camp is hugely rewarding, but tough, so only applicants whose project is technically strong enough and whose concept shines like no other, will be selected to start with the trainings. In AppCampus the teams will go through an extensive 4-week training program carried out by world-class coaches, who will mentor and nurture the teams to deliver an app for the Windows Phone Store.

The teams at MAAC however, had the chance to ask questions directly to Martin Verrev (Estonia) and Vladislav Spevak (Czech Republic), who have previously undergone the trainings at AppCamp, so they know exactly how the program benefits with the processing, business, marketing and sales aspect that are all equally crucial for the success of the app. Martin said that for them, building the network was the primary thing as without visibility it’s almost impossible to make it in the mobile world. Vladislav could not emphasize enough the importance of critical thinking – think carefully of your target audience. Who is the customer? Would the customer really start using the app? Could the app start generating revenue? The second advice they both gave is to launch early to start getting feedback and then to make adjustments accordingly.

Both speakers were also acting as mentors, so one can only hope the teams were paying close attention to the given feedback later in the mentoring session.

Aside from Martin and Vladislav, fellow mentors and judges included Elise Sass (the hostess), Agu Suur, Timo Herttua, Andrew Walker, Eric Chambers and AppCamps own Toni Perämäki. All coaches are actively involved in the start-up and mobile development community so they were kind enough to give their best know-how to the 9 teams individually.

So all full-of-potential teams gathered on the first weekend of March for a one-day session to start with the sharp pitching. It was great to see that all teams were prepared well for their idea and prototype, so the pitching session went well for all of them.

To have a glimpse of the projects presented, here is a short intro to the apps:

  • Stuff.tm – a personal entertainment network to share and collect cute kitty gifs and other discoveries to lift up your mood.
  • Outlander Studios – a mobile game development company that creates 3D real-time strategy tower defence game for 2 players that is easy enough for the amateur player.
  • Instant Dating – a collaboration with the dating site Flirtic to develop an app, that acts as a powerful chat tool with various functions for two people in search for the right someone.
  • Applaud – a support app developed by a psychologist and a psychiatrist for people with daily mental difficulties that works as a peer-to-peer helping community for people with similar issues.
  • TaxiPal – an app for the taxi industry side that benefits the taxi driver that helps him/her to receive taxi orders like a dispatcher and collect the necessary data.
  • FortaNota – a free niche app for the choir singers to help them with the rehearsals and music notations creation.
  • Il Calculus – a customizable and user-friendly calculator developed by mathematicians that lets the user define their own functions and thus improve productivity.
  • MiniRentBox – a car-sharing network that provides a car controller solution to open-close doors from mobile app for private car rental.
  • Rahu – a wristband alerting family members in case of an accident, that enables alerting through Rahu app or text message and sends then the data to a smart monitoring centre.

As usual, it was extremely difficult to pick the winners and therefore the judges were discussing long after the final 2nd day pitching. After a thorough evaluation, the winners, who are welcome to apply at AppCamp, were:

1.    TaxiPal

2.    Stuff.tm

3.    Outlander

MiniRentBox – maybe

All teams of final 8 (1 team decided to keep on improving) got a fabulous thank-you gift from Microsoft and Nokia: the new Nokia Lumia 1520! And suddenly everyone was all smiles and unicorns.

Toni from AppCampus was very satisfied with the result and concluded that the teams are generally great with product development, but are lacking in plans on how to get to the market with their application and how to get actually downloaded. Some teams were pushing themselves to the limit, so these are the ones that they will continue to work with.




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