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UK Team Wins Imagine Cup 2013 Innovation Prize

Colinked from the UK managed to win the prestigious award and a $50,000 grant with their music sharing app

On by Max Smolaks 0

Team Colinked from the UK won the first prize in the Innovation category at the international Microsoft Imagine Cup 2013 finals on Thursday.

The team of four students from the University of Exeter created SoundSYNK – an app that allows users to connect an unlimited amount of devices together and stream perfectly synchronised music across a Bluetooth mesh network, creating a stereo system potentially unlimited in size.

The students received a $50,000 (£31,000) grant from Microsoft at the awards ceremony hosted by Doctor Who star Matt Smith at the historic Alexandrinsky theatre in St Petersburg.

image_teamcolinked1_webWith the UK winning in one of the most important categories of the Imagine Cup, it’s hard to believe the local competition almost got cancelled for the lack of funding and interest.

Against all odds

The eleventh annual event organised by Microsoft brought together 87 teams representing local finalists from 71 countries, with over $1,000,000 of prize money at stake. Some of the participants were fully-fledged start-ups already backed by venture capital, while some were just college students that managed to come up with a good idea.

Due to lack of interest, the regional UK Imagine Cup competition had to operate on a shoestring budget, and was only possible thanks to the efforts of one very dedicated Public Relations intern. According to the team, Natasha Joseph was “instrumental” in bringing Colinked all the way to St Petersburg.

Another person responsible for the success of the UK team was Calum Cawley – a recent engineering graduate and veteran of the Imagine Cup 2011, who mentored the team.

After winning at the UK event, Colinked have been working with Microsoft and Setsquared, a partnership of the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey, to help them get the business off the ground.

The students have already registered Colinked as a UK company, and are currently in the process of applying for a patent. SoundSYNK is due to be released on Windows Phone in the middle of August, with Android and iOS versions expected later in the year.

“The students participating in this competition demonstrate the very best in innovation from their home countries and together are creating new apps, innovations and services that will change the way the world works, interacts and learns,” said Steve “Guggs” Guggenheimer, corporate vice president and chief evangelist at Microsoft.

“We are incredibly proud of the finalists who competed in Imagine Cup this year and stand in awe of the projects and technology they brought forth during this exciting week.”

Next year, the worldwide finals of the Imagine Cup will take place in Seattle, 16 miles away from Redmond – the home of Microsoft.

You can check the complete list of 28 Imagine Cup 2013 winners in various categories on the Microsoft website.

Look out for our interview with Matt “the Doctor” Smith on Monday!

 

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