Microsoft opens window to stories behind startups

PETALING JAYA: In big bold letters was the name that many likely never expected to see on a cinema screen. “Microsoft” in white on a black background.

Yes, in that instant, you knew that Microsoft made a movie. No, not the one that almost every gamer on earth is waiting for. Sorry, no Master Chief in this one.

Instead, it’s about something more down to earth. It’s about entrepreneurs. Or, more accurately, technopreneurs, if you’re on our side of the technology fence.

And another thing. It’s not really a movie. Ctrl+Alt+Compete is a documentary and the fact that it is only an hour long should clue most people in to that.

Okay, you’re not going to see this on any blockbuster list or feted at the next Academy Awards ceremony. But if you’re a technopreneur, want to be a technopreneur or are in the information technology industry, you’ll want to catch this.

It gives a good, unvarnished peek into what technopreneurs have to go through to give birth to their ideas and build their startup companies. If you thought the hardest part of the whole process was getting a good idea to market, you are in for some surprises.

Ctrl+Alt+Compete focuses on the trials and tribulations of five technology startups in the United States. Not many from that group are going to be recognisable to local audiences, but that’s not the point.

The experiences are common to all technopreneurs and startups in any part of the world. With that, there is something that everyone can learn from this bunch. Yes, there are insightful bits here that local startups can learn from.

One tip from the documentary is that while a venture capitalist is vital to the success of a startup, a startup needs to vet the venture capitalist diligently, too. There are times when a technopreneur needs to walk away from the money. Really.

Find out why in Ctrl+Alt+Compete.

Before the premier screening, Peter Tam, director of local software innovations (Malaysian Software Economy) at Microsoft Malaysia, told the audience about the software giant’s goal in bringing the documentary to local audiences.

“Through this, we hope to inspire 20,000 individuals in Malaysia to raise their interest in technology entrepreneurship. This is because we believe technology entrepreneurship is fundamentally changing the world,” he said.

He said that Microsoft Malaysia offers the BizSpark Programme that local startups can leverage to help develop their own applications and solutions.

To date, there are about 400 BizSpark members and that number is growing, he said.

Many of these startups, according to him, have enjoyed success due in part to the programme and some are already realising their dream of making a difference in the world.

For this year, Microsoft Malaysia has earmarked an additional RM1mil in incremental investments for the BizSpark Programme. This investment will include support for technical enablement programmes, as well as sponsorships for promising startups to take part in overseas pitching and development opportunities.

“And a provision of up to RM180,000 worth of Windows Azure usage for each promising startup that is identified under a special BizSpark Plus Programme,” said Tam.

Through a strategic collaboration with Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC), the documentary will be screened for the public on the next three consecutive Saturdays; beginning June 23. All screenings will be at 10am at Hall 4 of the GSC Mid Valley.

This is on a first-come, first-served basis. Seating per session is limited, so book early.

Go here to book.

Also, companies and organisations can arrange their own private screenings. For more information, point your web browser to


COURTESY of Microsoft Malaysia, TechCentral has 40 tickets to a special screening of Ctrl+Alt+Compete to give to our readers.

That means 20 of you (and your dates) will get a chance to get a sneak peek into life at a startup.

The screening takes place at 10.30am on June 30 (Saturday) at GSC Mid Valley Megamall.

To stand a chance to win, follow the instructions below:

Step 1 Complete the following slogan in no more than 25 words: “To compete as a startup one must …”

Step 2 Send it to us via e-mail to with the subject line “Ctrl+Alt+Compete,” with the following contact details: · Your full name (as per MyKad) · MyKad number · Contact phone number

The giveaway submission period ends on June 28 and winners will receive an e-mail with further instructions on how they can collect their tickets.

Terms & Conditions · You must provide valid and complete personal information, i.e. full name, MyKad number, e-mail address and handphone number; · The staff of Star Publications (M) Bhd and their immediate families are not allowed to participate; · The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entertained; · The winner will be notified by e-mail or phone after the judging; · Privacy: The information submitted by you during the registration process or otherwise when participating in the Contest may include your e-mail address, ID number and other personal information (“Personal Information”). Except as provided elsewhere in these Terms & Conditions, your personal information will only be used by the Organiser in accordance with applicable data protection laws and regulations; · By providing your details for participation in the contest, you have expressly consented to the collection, collation, use and/or disclosure of all the provided data by Star Publications (M) Bhd for the purpose of this contest only; and, · For more information, send an e-mail to

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