Sometimes All You Need is a Spark!

fluvium When Philip Hooker, owner of a consulting company in Farmington CT called Acellan, purchased a new Windows 8 computer he did not know what it would spark.

Philip was a programmer by that was fluent in Java but has a background in design when he attended Kenyon College in Ohio. Philip was interested in the new UI/UX design that the Windows platform championed and decided he would start looking into building apps for Windows.

Watch the video below to learn what was the spark for Acellan.

[youtube_sc url=”TZKgW-SzF9k” title=”Developer%20Story%20-%20Fluvium” fs=”1″]

As with any startup or entrepreneur, out of pocket expense can be the final straw in trying to start a business. What Philip found was resources from Microsoft that made the barriers of entry extremely affordable. With no cost tools, such as Visual Studio Express, trial versions of Microsoft Azure and low pricing for a developer account, Philip found it easy to start developing for Windows and “lowered the barriers of entry”.

He mentioned that the online resources from Microsoft Virtual Academy to the MSDN samples to UI/UX Guidelines and design assets made it possible for him to start building a Windows app. But where to begin? After some research to see what is and what is not in the Windows Store, he had an idea. To monitor river flow using the US Geographical Survey data and allowing the ability to chart and view via Bing maps.

After a several nights and weekends, Philip actually scrapped the whole project and started over again. He mentioned that most people might not want to do that. After all of the investment and time he put in, why would he scrap it. He stated it was the learnings he found through the first few iterations that made his final product a more polished application.

Fluvium River Flow App
View river flow data from the US Geographical Survey

In Philips words, the application is a mild success. He was able to complete it. Publish it. And have hundreds of downloads. But it is what came after the app which was the spark. Philip was approved for Microsoft Bizspark program, a program that provides technology, support, visibility, and community to promising startups and entrepreneurs at no charge. Upon receiving the approval, his consulting company took off. Allowing him to use Azure services such as Virtual Machine and data storage. Allowing distributed teams to work on a single code base and all for free is allowing his company to experience the growth he always wanted.

Bizspark is “an amazing catalyst in my new company” said Philip Hooker. “From a cost perspective, if I had to set up all of these servers on my own and buy equipment and maintain it, store it in my basement, it would be very cost prohibited”. Philip now uses Azure for his company and is now cost effective.

The building of the application allows Acellan to use it as a showcase and example app. Bizspark runs his business and Acellan is poised to grow.

Fluvium has a few updates coming to it but Philip took the MVP approach (minimum viable product) to test the market, gather feedback and learn. The next release will allow for forecasting and more!

Stay tuned or download it now.