Six Imagine Cup Finalists Take the Next Step to Becoming Entrepreneurs

DELHI, India — Aug. 11, 2006 — Six 2006 Imagine Cup World Festival finalists will soon be one step closer to turning their software solutions into business realities. Six teams have been awarded in-depth business and technology training as part of the Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator program, to be co-sponsored by Microsoft Corp. and BT.

The six teams chosen to participate in the Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator program are the following:

  • Italy. Even .ctor: Giorgio Sardo, Massimo Paternoster, Silvia Perrone and Andrea Sossich

  • Brazil. Team Trivial: Carlos Eduardo Monteiro Rodrigues, Ivan Cordeiro Cardim and Madson Menezes Costa

  • Norway. Team NTNU: Jan-Kristian Markiewicz, Gøran Hansen, Hans Olav Norheim and Jonas Follesø

  • China. Frontfree Studio-MISG: Zhang Zheng, Wu Ge, Chen Chen and Cui Can

  • Germany. Trailblazers — A Pathfinding Community: Mark Thomé, Martin Stein, Sven Stegelmeier and Piotr Wendt

  • Croatia. EKG.Net: Miroslav Novak, Marko Oreškovic, Zlatko Stapic and Marko Velic

“The Imagine Cup is inspiring a new generation of technology leaders to apply their imagination and skills to make a difference in the world,” said Sanjay Parthasarathy, corporate vice president of the Developer & Platform Evangelism Group at Microsoft. “The Innovation Accelerator works to make this happen in a very tangible way by providing students with the business training they need to take the first step into entrepreneurship.”

“These students have demonstrated an amazing combination of creativity and passion for using technology to solve real-world problems,” said Dr. Sinclair Stockman, president, Systems and Security, BT Global Services. “Worldwide competitions like the Imagine Cup allow students to break through technology boundaries, and the Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator gives these students the opportunity to go even further with their software solutions.”

The student teams received this honor earlier today as part of the 2006 Imagine Cup World Festival closing ceremonies. After a week of competition against a total of 42 finalist teams chosen from a pool of more than 65,000 students from over 100 countries, the six teams going on to the Innovation Accelerator will spend two weeks in January further developing their solutions while working closely with some of the best minds from Microsoft and BT. The software design finalist teams created software applications using Microsoft® technology and .NET Web services that captured the Imagine Cup competition theme: “Imagine a world where technology enables us to live healthier lives.”

The Imagine Cup, now in its fourth year, is a competition designed to provide an outlet for students to explore technological and artistic interests outside the classroom. It challenges them to imagine a better world enabled by their own genius, creativity and energy, and provides opportunities to help define the future of technology, software and computing. Teams develop innovative projects that offer practical applicability and present real-world solutions to real-world problems.

The Imagine Cup Innovation Accelerator, now in its second year, is designed to provide business and technical training for students to help them turn winning business concepts into a business reality. Over an intensive two-week period, students will further develop their Imagine Cup-winning designs into potential must-have technology solutions of the future. Using agile methodology within a “hothouse” development environment, the teams will refine their software designs using the platform and network assets of BT and Microsoft. In addition, business experts will be on hand to help the students build a solid business proposition and plan to bring their ideas to market.

One of the teams in the 2005 Innovation Accelerator program whose members have gone on to become entrepreneurs is Russia’s Team Inspiration, the winners of the 2005 Imagine Cup who have incorporated Musigy Inc. “During the Innovation Accelerator, we worked with a team of business experts who helped us work out the business model of our future company,” said Stan Vonog, one of Musigy’s founders. “Our participation in this program has brought new opportunities for our business that we would not have had otherwise.”

Musigy ( enables musicians to plug their instrument into a computer and be connected to other musicians all over the world, perform live in a distributed environment, and share the real-time performance broadly via Internet Protocol multicasting. The team has formed an international advisory board made up of music industry and business and technology leaders to chart the company’s course for future success. Musigy has filed two patents in both the United States and Russia and is in talks with several venture capital firms to secure additional investment to ensure Musigy’s continued growth.

About BT

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications solutions and services, operating in 170 countries. Its principal activities include networked IT services, local, national and international telecommunications services, and higher-value broadband and internet products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, Openreach, BT Retail and BT Wholesale. In the year ended 31 March 2006, BT Group’s revenue was £19,514 million with profit before taxation of £2,040 million. British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly owned subsidiary of BT Group and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

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About Microsoft

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