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I had the opportunity to talk to Jaan Apajalahti, the CTO and co-founder of Sopima, a company changing the way people work on contracts. Instead of passing around documents in e-mails and having a ton of different versions saved locally, Sopima allows companies and different parties to work on contracts in a much faster way by keeping them in a central location. More interestingly for the other founders and entrepreneurs out there, Sopima is built on Microsoft technology – Silverlight as well as Windows Azure.

Jaan Apajalahti also shares his advice on working with Microsoft regarding the Bizspark program. The program is aimed for young companies, with less than $1M in annual revenue as well as privately held. The full list of requirements can be seen here.

The program has been a good one for Sopima, based on the talks with Apajalahti (see video below). The Bizspark program took Sopima all the way to Paris in 2010 to the Bizspark Summit, which is the European wide competition for potential startups in the Microsoft ecosystem.

I had to ask the tough question from Jaan Apajalahti regarding their partnership with Microsoft; are there any downsides others should know? The only real downside is that the program ends in three years for your startup and then you’re “out in the wild”. At least for Sopima, they’ve received so many introductions on Microsoft Finland’s behalf that they only have good experiences with both Microsoft technology and the Bizspark program.

Below is the video interview with Jaan Apajalahti, where we dig in a little deeper into their experiences.

Hear it from the startups
This series of posts is sponsored by Microsoft and produced in co-operation with ArcticStartup to share experiences from startups in using Microsoft technology as well as in participating in the many different programs Microsoft has to offer.

How to get started on Azure
Head over here to get the tools and try them for free. You can also apply to Bizspark as the members get access to Windows Azure.

How to get started on WP7
Download the free tools. You can also use an emulator to develop on the WP7. Jukka Wallasvaara (Microsoft employee) also blogs about WP7 news in his blog.

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