The BizSpark startup of the day is Winito, based in the US. Below you will find an interview with Pritesh Damani, CEO and Founder of Winito. All the best to them and congratulations for being the startup of the day!
Tell us who you are and your role in the company:
My name is Pritesh Damani and I am the CEO and Founder of Winito.
What did you do before creating your company?
I started my career as a software developer at eMeta, which got acquired multiple times over my 7 years there. When I left the company, I was the Director of R&D where I managed all engineering aspects of eRights, a digital rights management and ecommerce software.
How do you feel being the most promising ‘Startup of the Day’ per Microsoft BizSpark?
Honored and excited! I have followed other startups over my career and have aspired to be one of them. I feel a sense of accomplishment today but there is still a long way to go and I am looking forward to it.
What is your company’s mission?
Winito’s mission is to be the easiest place to organize and track your athletic life no matter what sport, game or fitness activity you pursue! Whether you are training for a marathon, participating in a Friday night poker club, or competing in a premier football program, Winito has the tools to manage your activities and track your progress while having fun.
How did you get the idea for your company?
My co-workers and I were having fun at the lunchroom foosball table, but it was virtually impossible to know who was best. There was a lot of trash talk back and forth, but nobody was tracking any of the game results. I did some research on ranking and rating players and discovered the ELO ranking theory used to rank chess players and developed a simple application using the theory. I never anticipated the fun and enthusiasm this application would create, from being able to know who was best to trying to take the title away from the leader.
Now, when I look at our spotlight page for the top foosball players, it brings back really great memories of where this all started. Right now the foosball player with the longest winning streak has won 57 games in a row and the player with the most wins has 3,556 and counting. I love to compete, but I have to say, these are some pretty impressive stats.
The application in turn became a lot bigger than just foosball but it all started from there.
Tell us about your funding history. Are you currently looking for funding? If so, how much?
We won seed money in the Merrill Lynch business plan competition in 2007. I got seriously involved in Winito towards the middle of 2010. We have been bootstrapping Winito on our own but we are looking for angel investment to the tune of 500K.
How many employees do you have? How many developers?
We have 5 fulltime employees and 2 part-time. Total 4 developers.
Are you hiring? If yes, what are you hiring for and where?
Yes. We are looking for a business development person with a sports background in NYC.
Which platform are you building on? Why?
We are using ASP.NET, c#, SQL Server 2008, nhibernate, spring .net, solr. The .NET framework is designed and integrated for fast development and is complemented well by the other products.
Where do you see opportunities today in the Software/Internet area?
I think this is just the beginning of the evolution of cell phone applications and SAAS solutions. More and more services are going to be cloud-based.
What do you think about the BizSpark Program?
I think BizSpark program is great. Microsoft is doing all the right things to compete in a market full of open source products.
Do you have any advice for young Software entrepreneurs?
Get started as soon as possible; don’t be discouraged by minor setbacks and fail fast.
Who’s your role model?
I look up to those who are out there doing, while others are just talking or planning, or worse, talking about planning.
What’s the ONE THING you would like readers to take away from this interview?
If you work in sports, games or fitness, we have hundreds of different ideas on ways to partner up and would love to hear what you have in mind too. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be sure to reply.
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