Can losing the competition be any good? Does the world remember who came second? These are philosophical questions. However, we at United Mobile Apps (UMA as we lovingly call it) made the best out of QPrize 2010 even if we did not win it!The year was 2010, and we had just completed a year and a half at UMA. We used to participate in roadshows / events to showcase our products. We won ‘The Best Startup Award’ in SiliconIndia’s Startup City Bangalore, and that’s where we were introduced to Qualcomm Ventures when we met Ashutosh Sharma. He introduced us to QPrize and needless to say we were quite eager! (100K USD is BIG money!)
QPrize is positioned as a ‘Business Plan’ competition – The objective of QPrize is to identify great ideas and execution (even if the company is not into revenues already) and reward them with recognition and capital.
We had a rusty business plan, which we refreshed, thanks to Vasuki Setlur, our current VP (Product Management) who returned to India after working in startups in US.
Needless to say, we were super excited to hear that we were selected to India Finals Final 8 out of hundreds of applications received. We reached Mumbai, and gave our best (I actually choked and fainted, and Arun Samudrala had to speak :) )
And, when the results were announced, we were disappointed that we did not win the India round (it went to well deserved, Reverie Technologies)
But that was not the end – We had a huge list of takeaways:
- We met a lot of influential thinkers and VCs – Karthee Madasamy of Qualcomm Ventures, Alok Mittal of Canaan Partners, Girish C Joshi of Microsoft and importantly, Anil Joshi of Mumbai Angels who funded us later!
- We got great feedback – What we were trying to achieve was BIG. We had to focus, prove some key areas and then scale. This advice was very useful
- We made good friends with other finalists
- We got great PR! Even though we lost, we got great PR that we got to the finals of the QPrize 2010. This got us a lot of validation in front of our existing customers, and also got us more customers!
- We got a great partnership going with Qualcomm – Qualcomm has been supporting us in all ways possible in terms of access to documentation, key personnel and even customer introductions! What more can one ask for?
To conclude, it was true that UMA did not win the QPrize 2010 – But the value of participating far exceeded just winning the competition. If you’ve got a great idea, a great team to execute it, I strongly recommend that you go ahead and apply for the QPrize – You cannot lose!
Entries for Qualcomm’s QPRIZE 2012 are open now, total USD 1M to be won! If you are a mobile or internet startup - Apply Now!