Following yesterday’s news of Nokia and Microsoft teaming together to to fund millions of euros into an AppCampus program at the University of Aalto, we caught up with Will Cardwell, head of the Aalto University Center for Entrepreneurship. Cardwell has ben understandably busy, but was kind enough to give us more details on how the program will operate, and what the program means means for the local community.
Do you have to be a student at Aalto University to participate in AppCampus?
No. Finnish and foreign companies are welcome to apply with novel concepts. We are not going to fund straightup “me-too” apps, but in cases for existing companies that have novel extensions to existing apps on other platforms we will judge on a case by case basis.
What’s the academic certification you get with this program?
There is no direct academic credit. This is part of the “3rd mission” of Aalto, outreach to the community.
Are there any requirements to develop for the WP7 platform?
Each grant for the AppCampus program must support the development of a Windows Phone application that meets a combination of the following criteria: being innovative, first-to-market app concepts, not available on competing operating systems, demonstrating design elegance and technical quality and a potential to drive momentum for the ecosystem. Grant applications for Windows Phone apps development may also include proposals for mobile applications for the Nokia platforms including Symbian and Series 40, Symbian, series 40 or HTML5 application development languages. Most importantly young entrepreneurs don’t have to give away any equity in their company, IP rights, or take on debt
How does AppCampus tie into the other entrepreneurial courses and programs at Aalto?
AppCampus what I would call very product / business case evaluation – focused, with entrepreneurial inspiration and training on top, whereas such programs as Startup Sauna and Summer of Startups are focused around entrepreneurship with the product focus in the background since they accept ideas that are more diverse.
We will encourage qualifying projects from Startup Sauna and Summer of Startups to apply for AppCampus, and possibly vice versa.
There are many software and mobility-related classes and programs at Aalto, and we will certainly cross-reference these activities. There will be a lot of interaction with the European Institute of Innovation and Technology ICT Labs in particular.
Who will be leading the program? Can you name any entrepreneurs who will be mentoring?
We are now starting to hire for the program, we are not ready to release names yet, but they will be forthcoming in the near future. Suffice it to say that there is a very qualified pool of people out there right now, and I think we will be able to impress you in the near future ;).