Eduify, BizSpark, Azure – my Jerry Maguire day

A couple of months ago, I met Dan Merritts from RSWP, Inc. at a coffee shop in South Park, San Francisco. It was a short meeting, but as soon as Dan described the idea that RSWP had been working on, I got really excited. Eduify is a web application that lets students edit and store documents, capture and discover research, find writing tutorials and safeguard against plagiarism. I remember spending countless hours in school looking for quotes and finding the right way to cite them. eduifylogo

Anthony Ha, from VentureBeat, has a good way of describing a student’s typical paper-writing process:

To illustrate the Eduify concept, the company offers this outline of how a normal high schooler might write a paper: They’d start thinking about the paper at home, then start writing on a word processor at school, then search for sources while at a friends’ house and copy the quotes down by hand, then write the bibliography at home, then proofread the paper while on the bus, and finally turn it in. In other words, the work is scattered across a number of locations, which makes an often-challenging process even harder. With Eduify, a student can start writing in their web browser, find guidance from some of the paper templates available (so there’s less head-scratching about “how do I write a compare and contrast paper?”), do their research within the editor, have those sources automatically formatted, run their paper through a proofreader and plagiarism checker, and ask for help from family or friends when necessary.

I was even more excited when Dan told me that Eduify was using the .NET stack. I pitched Microsoft Azure, our new cloud computing platform, to Dan and almost instantly we saw synergies. Eduify needs to be able to scale on demand and given that they are a small startup, they’d rather not deal with managing infrastructure in a typical hosting environment. I introduced Dan to Aashish Dhamdhere and some key members of the Windows Azure team. In just a couple of months, RSWP was rolling with Eduify on Windows Azure, our compute platform. And to think all this started when Eduify joined the BizSpark program to be able to leverage the software resources the program has to offer. To quote Dan’l Lewin, our Corporate Vice President:

“Eduify’s web service demonstrates how a startup can take advantage of Microsoft technologies to create an innovative solution and in this case work to improve education. Through the BizSpark program, Microsoft is helping startups like Eduify by providing them with a wide range of end-to-end software and Microsoft’s Azure Services Platform, a set of cloud platform technologies, to help them build a scalable and sustainable business.”

What struck me as particularly exciting was RSWP’s commitment to the education space. To quote Dan Merritts, VP of Marketing at Eduify:

“Eduify’s mission is to give every student the tools and services they so critically need to become better writers. We are enthusiastic about President Obama’s impetus to re-invigorate education in America. We’re excited to join the cause by helping students everywhere significantly improve the often under-taught, yet critically important skill of writing.”

jerryMaguireI’ve been watching from the sidelines as this young company that I met just a few months ago has gone from scratching the surface to a full blown launch announcement with all this amazing press coverage from MIX09 in Vegas. I’m having myself a Jerry Maguire day.

Here are some other articles covering Eduify’s beta announcement:



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