Guest post by Sarah Vaughan, Director of Developer & Platform Evangelism, Microsoft Australia.

Once there was a kid. He had a dream. He wanted to make computing personal and he wanted to put a PC on every desktop. His name was Bill Gates and he created a startup called Microsoft. If you’ve ever read a biography of Bill Gates, you’d know that it wasn’t all smooth sailing in those early years. There were lots of twists and turns, a bit of failure, some fast learning, and a heck of a lot of pizza and soft drink consumed along the way.

While it’s been thirty-seven years since we were in start-up mode, Microsoft retains a deep seated commitment to helping start-ups thrive. Today, for example, at TechEd Australia, we took some time out to showcase some of the very cool Aussie start-ups that we’re working with right now.

One company that’s set to make waves is Nubis. They’ve produced an innovative new app called Alphega and have secured a grant from AppCampus, a global mobile acceleration program funded by Microsoft and Nokia.

The team at Nubis is pushing augmented reality to the mainstream by turning smartphones into ‘Socioscopes.’ The app uses cloud technology to visually project the social networking activities taking place around the user. Even more exciting, they’ve just secured a partnership with a leading wearable device manufacturer. GlassUp, in order to provide a complete experience of the next level of social engagement.
 
Another AppCampus recipient is Project Tripod. In essence, Project Tripod aims to simplify the creation of time lapse photography and to make it available to everyone via an app. At the moment, creating a time lapse photo can be fiddly, very manual and requires quite a bit of technical expertise. With Project Tripod, you’ll be able to use your device to take a snapshot of the same person, place or object over an undetermined length of time to produce creations such as a time-lapse or blend. I’d love to use this capture my kids as they’re growing up!

Finally, local start-up Co-opRating has created a crowd-sourcing collaboration platform for artists and freelancers built on Windows Azure technology. It’s designed so that people can share ideas and work together on different projects using their specialised skill base.

You can find out lots more about each of these fantastic startups in the guest Q&As that we’re posting to this blog throughout the week.

Moreover, if you’re an Aussie tech startup and you’re looking for help, there a lots of ways that we can assist.

We know that dreams start early, which is why we created the Imagine Cup – a global competition to encourage and empower students to solve the world’s toughest problems using technology. In 2012, a group of Aussie students, known as Team Stethocloud, entered the Imagine Cup and eventually ended up winning a US$70,000 Microsoft grant to help take their unique solution to the next stage of development and commercialisation.

Microsoft’s BizSpark program, which supports more than 2,500 startups in Australia, provides connections to top talent, funding, seasoned mentors and the wisdom of entrepreneurial peers. We also offer startups access to Microsoft tools and software at no cost, as well as the opportunity to increase market visibility and access technical and business expertise. A student version of this program, called DreamSpark [inset link], offers similar benefits.

Brisbane is home to Australia’s first Microsoft Innovation Centre. Microsoft Innovation Centres are state of the art technology facilities for collaboration on innovative research, technology or software solutions, involving a combination of government, academic and industry participants. There are now more than 100 centres worldwide and since the launch of the Brisbane Centre in May last year, we’ve helped incubate 35 start-ups, 95 apps and supported the creation of 35 jobs.

At Microsoft, we have a simple mission – help people and organisations everywhere fulfil their full potential. If you have a dream to change the world using the power of technology, and you need a helping hand to get there or just get started, you’ve got a partner in Microsoft.