“My name is Vangos Pterneas and I am 27 years old. I took my first steps on the beautiful island of Milos and grew up in Athens, Greece. I studied at the Athens University of Economics and Business. My academic background includes Applied Computer Science and Advertising. For the past three years, I’ve been running my own agency, LightBuzz Software, which helps innovative businesses create profitable digital products. We offer our expertise in app development, design, branding and advertising in order to grow our clients’ businesses and lead them to success. LightBuzz participated in Microsoft’s YouthSpark program for one year. Prior to that we participated in the 2011 Imagine Cup, Microsoft’s annual worldwide student competition, where our innovative project won first place in the Interoperability Challenge category. This title and experience gave us the motivation and belief that we needed to start our entrepreneurial journey.
Before starting our business, we knew that creating and maintaining a sustainable business was key. Entering YouthSpark has helped us reach that goal much faster than we had originally planned. Through YouthSpark, we met some amazing people, including market leaders and fellow entrepreneurs, and we made valuable connections that helped us stay in the game and expand day by day and year by year.
Joining YouthSpark was a natural consequence of our participation in Imagine Cup. Starting a new business is never easy. It requires a lot of physical and mental effort, as well as guidance from the right people. People are the most valuable asset of a startup company. We therefore needed to combine our enthusiasm and technical know-how with the experience and guidance of our advisors and mentors. Through YouthSpark we also had access to tools and resources we needed to start developing amazing applications right from the start.
When we joined YouthSpark, our primary project was Acropolis Rock, a smart tour guide for the most popular landmark in Athens. The way it works is that it takes into consideration the age and interests of visitors and then forms a unique tailor-made touring experience. We presented a prototype of our app at the Imagine Cup competition. After joining YouthSpark, we decided to introduce our tour guide to the market. A few months later, Acropolis Rock was available for smartphones and tablets. Our official launch generated a lot of buzz and Acropolis Rock rose above the competition in only three weeks! Two months after our launch, our app was in the top-20 AppStore paid apps, acquiring customers from all over the world. Today, Acropolis Rock is still the top-rated guide for the Acropolis.
The reason why we decided to participate in the Imagine Cup is because we wanted to tell the world about our apps and compete with the best teams from all over the world. It felt like we were participating in the World Cup, and we definitely did not expect to reach first place! The competition gave us the opportunity to get exposed to numerous media from all around the world, which helped us gain recognition in our field and establish high-quality partnerships. It was overall an amazing and unforgettable experience.”