UPDATE, Oct. 1 – CDN has been informed that applications for the Comet Competition will be accepted until Oct. 31. The story has updated the Sept. 31 date to reflect the new deadline.
Ingram Micro’s Comet Competition has expanded to Canada, and according to one of last year’s finalists from New Hampshire, contest applicants potentially have a lot to gain outside of the $5 million cash prize.
“Our platform is actually running the current Comet competition. If you’re applying on the website, you’re applying through addapptation,” explained Carla Vanderhoof, chief creative officer for addapptation, a user experience platform that redesigns Salesforce.com into a platform that’s easier to use.
Introduced last year, Comet aims to find new cloud-focused software vendors and introduce them to the channel through Ingram Micro’s Cloud Marketplace. This year’s competition is run in collaboration with Microsoft’s global startup program, Microsoft for Startups.
The first round of winners were announced at this year’s Ingram Micro Cloud Summit in May. One of the finalists, addapptation, spoke with CDN about its journey, beginning with the startups inception in 2017.
After finishing as a finalist in last year’s Mass Challenge, a global, zero-equity startup accelerator, founded in Boston – not far from addapptation’s home of New Hampshire – Vanderhoof said they quickly began looking for other opportunities to put themselves on the map and potentially obtain some cash so they could keep scaling. As a B2B company, the Comet competition, which they found out about through the Mass Challenge, quickly piqued their interest in January 2019.
“So at this point we really knew what products we were building, we knew our market, we knew what was making us successful. It was all about growth at that point. Funding from competitions like the Comet competition goes directly into our ability to support that growth,” she said.
The latest Comet winners will receive $100,000 in go-to-market funding and a chance to win $1,000,000 in cash at Ingram Micro’s Cloud Summit in Miami, Florida, May 12-14, 2020. Each of the runners-up will receive $50,000 in go-to-market funding. Ingram Micro says it does not take any equity in the winners’ companies, nor require repayment by the finalists.
Addapptation is now faced with the challenge of not only scaling, but finding an appropriate space to accommodate the roughly dozen people it hires every year. The company currently houses employees in half a boat house, a condo room, and a one half of a yoga centre, according to Vanderhoof. She added they’re in the midst of obtaining a much larger space so that “we can all be together again,” she laughed.
Different country, same challenges
Not unlike the challenges faced by startups in Canada, Vanderhoof said startups New Hampshire struggle with losing talent to Silicon Valley.
“We’re only 50 minutes away from Boston … but so much of the talent that we meet in places like Harvard or MIT, historically, they’ve all gone out to Silicon Valley,” she said. “We’re trying to prove that you can do this anywhere.”
Ingram Micro has been incredibly supportive of addapptation even after being named a finalist, added Vanderhoof.
“They’ve brought us to other events, helped deliver more contacts and opportunities. They’ve been more than just a source for potentially gaining access to more money. They’ve really embraced our team and our company, and they want to be part of our success story.”
In a blog post on Ingram Micro’s website, Michael Kenney, the distributor’s head of strategy and business development, said the competition is an excellent entry point to the channel.
“Successful B2B startups are increasingly looking to an indirect distribution channel to help diversify and accelerate their revenue,” indicated Kenney. “It’s especially exciting to advise global startups at the beginning of their journeys and watch them achieve significant business milestones faster and more broadly than they ever anticipated.”
Applications for the Comet Competition will be accepted until Oct. 31