Windows Startup Challenge – Official Rules


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PLEASE NOTE:  It is your sole responsibility to review and understand your employer’s policies regarding your eligibility to participate in this Contest.  If you are participating in violation of your employer’s policies, you may be disqualified from entering or receiving prizes.  Microsoft disclaims any and all liability or responsibility for disputes arising between an employee and their employer related to this matter, and prizes will only be awarded in compliance with the employer’s policies.

GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES: Microsoft is committed to complying with government gift and ethics rules and therefore government employees are not eligible.


These are the official rules that govern how the Microsoft Windows Startup Challenge Contest promotion will operate (“Contest”). In these rules, “we,” “our,” and “us” refer to Microsoft Corporation and Startup Weekend, the sponsors of this Contest. “You” refers to an eligible Contest entrant.


This challenge will test your startup’s ability to prototype a Windows Store app, quickly iterate to design, and bring your app to life. The Windows Startup Challenge winner will receive a spot to launch their Windows Store app at DEMO Mobile event on April 17, 2013 in front of top press, seed investors and VCs. You can find more info on DEMO Mobile here.

For purposes of this Contest, each app prototype you create and submit will be called an “entry”. All eligible entries will be judged using the criteria below to determine the winners of the prizes described below.


The Competition Sign-Up Period begins on 00:01 Greenwich Mean Time (“GMT”) on January 9th, 2013 and ends on 23:59 GMT February 4th, 2013

The overall Challenge Period consists of two (2) separate rounds as described below. Each round has unique entry requirements. All required entry deliverables must be received within the designated round in order for your entry to be eligible for judging. All competitors must successfully complete Round 1 before continuing to Round 2 in the Challenge.

ROUND START DATE (all times 00:01 GMT) END DATE (all times 23:59 GMT)
Round 1 – Windows app PrototypeVoting and Judging January 9th, 2013
January 30th, 2013
February 4th, 2013
February 5th, 2013
Round 2 – App Design and Development
(minimum of 20 teams will qualify)
February 5th, 2013 March 1st, 2013 (results announced next day)

All required entry deliverables must be received within the designated round in order for your entry to be eligible for judging. All competitors must successfully complete Round 1 before continuing to Round 2 in the Challenge.


You are eligible to enter this Contest if you meet the following requirements at time of entry:

  • You are an individual or team building a Windows Store app that runs on tablets, laptops and PCs. Building a Windows Phone app is NOT a requirement to enter the challenge but acceptable
  • Your app must NOT be submitted or previously published to the Windows Store
  • You can submit an app that is available on the iOS App Store, Google Play or other platforms other than the Windows Store
  • You are18 years of age or older; and
    • If you are 18 years of age or older, but are considered a minor in your place of residence, you should ask your parent’s or legal guardian’s permission prior to submitting an entry into this Contest.
  • You are NOTa resident of any of the following countries: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria.
    • PLEASE NOTE: U.S. export regulations prohibit the export of goods and services to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. Therefore residents of these countries/regions are not eligible to participate.
  • You are NOT an employee of Microsoft Corporation or an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary; and
  • You are NOT involved in any part of the administration or execution of this Contest; and
  • You are NOT an immediate family (parent, sibling, spouse, child) or household member of a Microsoft employee, an employee of a Microsoft subsidiary, or a person involved in any part of the administration and execution of this Contest.

This Contest is void outside the geographic area described above and wherever else prohibited by law.


Before entering, you should determine whether you would like to enter this challenge as an individual or a team. If you would like to participate as a team, your team should consist of no more than 5 people and all team members should belong to the same startup business and team members can only belong to a single team. If forming a team, you must designate a “team captain” who will submit all entry materials on behalf of the team and act as the recipient of any prizes that the team may win. If you receive the first prize which includes a trip to San Francisco to launch at DEMO Mobile, you will receive travel compensation for 2 members of your team that you can decide on.

Round 1: During round 1, you or your team must create a Windows Store App Prototype according to the criteria below. Before the close of round 1, you must register by submitting your prototype through here no later than February 4thth, 2013. Approximately 24-48 hours after submission, you will receive a notice if your entry has been approved.

Also during this round, once approved, your entry will be posted in an online gallery on the application webpage for public viewing and can share your app with others to to promote your entry via social media and other channels in order to collect votes. Visitors to the page will be invited to vote for their favorite entry. Voting will close at on February 5th and there is a limit of one (1) vote per person per their Facebook account.

Any attempt by any entrant to obtain more than the stated number of plays or votes by using multiple/different email addresses, identities, registrations and logins, or any other methods will void that entrant’s plays or votes and that entrant may be disqualified. Use of any automated program to vote will result in disqualification. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to the sponsors and not to Facebook. The information you provide will only be used for administering the Contest and to contact you if you are a winner.

There is a limit of one (1) entry per person/team.

Round 2: If you are selected to participate in Round 2, you or your team will receive access to a Microsoft development mentor to further refine your app. In addition, you or your team must create a complete Windows Store app that builds upon your round 1 submission according to the criteria below. Before the close of round 2, you must submit your compete app no later than March 1st, 2013.

We are not responsible for entries that we do not receive for any reason, or for entries that we receive but are not decipherable for any reason.

We will automatically disqualify any incomplete or illegible entry or any entries that we receive from you that are in excess of the entry limit described above.


During each designated round, you must submit the entry materials described below:

Round 1 – Windows Store app Prototype Submission

During Round 1, each startup must create a Windows Store app Prototype Demo which will provide an opportunity for your team to show your app in action to voters and judges. The Demo, which needs to be submitted here, can be a video or a slideshare or other similar presentation links as long as it hits on the judging criteria.


  1. The app cannot have been published to the Windows Store prior to April 17, 2013.
  2. If you choose to create a video, it must not exceed two (2) minutes in length
  3. The app demo must be submitted and uploaded here
  4. Your app Demo must clearly address each of the judging criteria outlined below as well as answer the following questions:
    1. App Name, target customer, category (The Windows Store category for your app)
    2. User Experience goals (Include a single sentence description of what your app is great at and what the app aims to solve). Examples: “The Northwind travel app is great at helping friends create itineraries collaboratively for group trips.” “The Contoso grocery app is great at helping families coordinate their weekly grocery shopping so they never miss or duplicate a purchase again.”). More info on planning your Windows Store app.
    3. Primary Scenario (List the primary user scenarios that a user will achieve with this app)
    4. Current availability of your app (iPhone, iPad, Android or Web)
    5. Windows Store Business Model (Free, Paid, Trial, In-app purchases, 3rd party transaction, ad supported, subscription)
  5. The emphasis of the video must be on the app itself. Video production quality will not be judged
  6. The video can be submitted in any of the following formats (asf, asx, avi, divx, dv, dvx, m4v, mov, mp4, mpeg, mpg, qt, wmv, 3g2, 3gp, 3ivx, 3vx). We recommend using Microsoft Expression Encoder 4 Free download or Camtasia Studio 30-day trial to create a quick demo. You can always use your video camera as well
  7. The powerpoint presentation can be submitted by adding a link to your presentation or other similar tools. You can only add a link to your presentation but not upload the entire file.
  8. Please note the app Demo must be solely the work of the team
  9. The audio of the actual entry (your Team’s video) can be in any language, but if the audio is not in the English language, then the video must have English subtitles in order to be eligible. If a translator is needed, you are responsible to procure and to make usage of one.
  10. Your Team’s app must run on Windows 8 or Windows RT. You can get access to a 90-day trial of Windows 8 RTM here or purchase a full Windows upgrade license from here. If you have a Mac, you can download Parallels then run Windows 8 (more instructions here).

Round 2 – App Design and Development

To have an eligible Round 2 entry, you or your Team must design, build, and submit a Windows Store app package. The app package must meet the following criteria:

  1. The app package must be submitted as an .appx file
  2. The app must be able to perform the functionality you discussed in your other entry materials
  3. The app must be in English so that the judges can navigate through it
  4. Your Team’s app must run on Windows 8 or Windows RT
  5. You must sign the app package. Instructions for doing so can be found here:

Aside from submitting the above, each team will be given a Windows expert resource to provide technical and design assistance to help bring the app to completion. The Windows expert will support with the following:

1)       Fully review the app and provide detailed technical and design feedback

2)       Spend two days per week fully dedicated to support the team with any technical or design questions, coding etc.

Think of them as an additional free resource on your team who are experts in Windows and can help you make your app great.

In addition to the criteria above, ALL entry materials must meet the following content/technical requirements:

  • Your entry must be you/your team’s own original work; and
  • Your entry cannot have been selected as a winner in any other contest; and
  • You must have obtained any and all consents, approvals or licenses required for you to submit your entry; and
  • Your entry may not include any third party trademarks (logos, names) or copyrighted materials (music, images, video, recognizable people) unless you have obtained permission to use the materials.
  • Entries may NOT contain, as determined by us, in our sole and absolute discretion, any content that:
    • is sexually explicit, unnecessarily violent or derogatory of any ethnic, racial, gender, religious, professional or age group; profane or pornographic;
    • promotes alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco, firearms/weapons (or the use of any of the foregoing) or a particular political agenda;
    • is obscene or offensive;
    • defames, misrepresents, or contains disparaging remarks about other people or companies;
    • communicates messages or images inconsistent with the positive images and/or good will to which we wish to associate; and/or violates any law.

We reserve the right to reject any entry, in our sole and absolute discretion, that we determine does not meet the above criteria.


Other than what is set forth below, we are not claiming any ownership rights to your entry. However, by submitting your entry, you:

  • are granting us an irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide right and license to: (i) use, review, assess, test and otherwise analyze your entry and all its content in connection with this Contest; and (ii) feature your entry and all content in connection with the marketing, sale, or promotion of this Contest (including but not limited to internal and external sales meetings, conference presentations, tradeshows, and screen shots of the Contest entry in press releases) in all media (now known or later developed);
  • agree to sign any necessary documentation that may be required for us and our designees to make use of the rights you granted above;
  • understand and acknowledge that the Sponsor(s) may have developed or commissioned materials similar or identical to your submission and you waive any claims you may have resulting from any similarities to your entry;
  • Understand that we cannot control the incoming information you will disclose to our representatives in the course of entering, or what our representatives will remember about your entry. You also understand that we will not restrict work assignments of representatives who have had access to your entry. By entering this Contest, you agree that use of information in our representatives’ unaided memories in the development or deployment of our products or services does not create liability for us under this agreement or copyright or trade secret law;
  • understand that you will not receive any compensation or credit for use of your entry, other than what is described in these Official Rules

Please note that following the end of this Contest your entry may be posted on a website selected by us for viewing by visitors to that website. We are not responsible for any unauthorized use of your entry by visitors to this website. While we reserve these rights, we are not obligated to use your entry for any purpose, even if it has been selected as a winning entry.

If you do not want to grant us these rights to your entry, please do not enter this Contest.


Round 1 – Windows Store app Prototype

On or around the close of Round 1, a panel of judges will review all eligible entries received and top semi-finalists to advance to the next round based upon the judging criteria described below.

50% – Public Vote based on number of votes received (1 vote = 1 point)

50% – A combination of the following:

Criteria Description Weighting
Startup Viability The first step in building a great app is identifying the need you seek to meet with your app. This could be a problem you wish to solve, a task your app will help your users do, or maybe a better, faster way to accomplish something. A successful app will meet an important need and be part of a sustainable business. 20%
Windows Experience Design and User Experience Windows experience designis an important part of building a great Windows Store app. Apps must place a focus on great user experience and design.Key elements for your Team to address:

  • Tailored User Experience – Does the app have clear user experience goals and well-defined user scenarios?
  • Windows experience styling and layout– Does the app use typography and whitespace to organize the content and provide a consistent structure? Are the UI elements and content placed on a grid to create a structured and consistent layout?
  • Interactions and Navigation – Can content be manipulated directly? Are additional commands placed in the app bar to let users focus on the current view? Is additional chrome minimized and tucked away in transient UI? Did you use Semantic Zoom where appropriate?
  • Fast & Fluid – Is the app designed for touch? Did you use animations to create a sense of fluidity and continuity in the app? Is the UI responsive?


Windows 8 Platform How does your Team’s app leverage Windows 8 platform features to create a unique and powerful solution?The judges will be looking for creative and effective use of the Windows 8 app model and new platform features. Key areas for making use of the Windows 8 platform are listed below:

  • Views – Does the app adjust to different screen resolutions and orientations? Is there a customized snap view?
  • Contracts – Does the app make use of contracts as appropriate to the defined user scenarios?
  • Tiles – Does the app make effective use of a live tile to show dynamic, personalized content?
  • Notifications – Does the app use notifications appropriately and effectively to convey important information to the user?
  • Roaming – Does the app use cloud services to roam data or settings when and if applicable?
Originality & Innovation How unique and original is your Team’s idea? How well does your app compete against any competitors?How does your Team’s app make innovative usage of the Windows 8 platform to meet your users’ needs? 20%

In the event of a tie between any eligible entries, an additional judge will break the tie based on the judging criteria described above. The decisions of the judges are final and binding. If we do not receive a sufficient number of entries meeting the entry requirements, we may, at our discretion, select fewer winners than the number of Contest Prizes described below.

Round 2 – App Design and Development

At the conclusion of round 2, a panel of judges will review all eligible entries received and select five winning teams based upon the same judging criteria described above (excluding public vote). Of the five winning teams, DEMO mobile will further evaluate and select one of the teams to also have the opportunity to present their app at DEMO mobile on April 17, 2013.


Round 1: The top 20 teams will receive an engineer and a design resource to help support the team in Round 2.

Round 2: The top five teams will each receive a marketing package which includes banners, marketing and PR support. In addition, one of the winning teams will also receive the following a trip for two members of your team to attend DEMO Mobile on April 17, 2013 in San Francisco. Approximate Retail Value (ARV) $5,000 Trip includes:

  • Round trip coach airfare from major airport closest to winner’s home.
    • Trip winners will be required to execute a Liability/Publicity Release prior to issuance of travel documents. If a travel companion is a minor, he/she must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at his/her own expense if the parent/guardian is not the winner.
    • Winner and any guests are responsible for providing all required travel documents, including but not limited to required visa, passport, etc.
    • If winner lives within 100 miles of travel destination, Sponsor reserves the right to provide alternate transportation.
  • 3 OF NIGHTS standard hotel accommodations.
  • Admission for two to attend DEMO Mobile on April 17, 2013.
    • If the event is cancelled for any reason, Sponsor shall have no further obligation to the winner other than to provide the travel portion of the prize minus the opportunity to attend the event.
  • Opportunity for the team to present and launch their app to an audience of global press and interested bloggers; investors; corporate acquirers; strategic partners and buyers. Please see DEMO Mobile requirements here.

Actual value depends on date/time/destination, and difference between actual value and stated value will not be awarded.

Travel subject to availability and must be completed on dates specified by the Sponsor or prize will be forfeited and awarded to an alternate winner. Some restrictions may apply. Winner and any guests must travel on same itinerary. No cancellation of reservation or transfer of reservation to another date after reservation has been made.

If you are a potential winner, we will notify you by sending a message to the e-mail address, the phone number, or mailing address (if any) provided at time of entry within seven (7) days following completion of judging. If the notification that we send is returned as undeliverable, or you are otherwise unreachable for any reason, we may award to a runner-up.

If there is a dispute as to who is the potential winner, we will consider the potential winner to be the authorized account holder of the e-mail address used to enter the Contest. If you are a potential winner, we may require you to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability/Publicity Release and a W-9 tax form or W-8 BEN tax form within 10 days of notification. If you complete a tax form, you will be issued an IRS Form 1099 the following January, for the actual value of the prize. You are advised to seek independent counsel regarding the tax implications of accepting a prize. If you are a potential winner and you are 18 or older, but are considered a minor in your place of legal residence, we may require your parent or legal guardian to sign all required forms on your behalf. If you do not complete the required forms as instructed and/or return the required forms within the time period listed on the winner notification message, we may disqualify you and select a runner-up.

If you are confirmed as a winner of this Contest:

  • You may not exchange your prize for cash or any other merchandise or services. However, if for any reason an advertised prize is unavailable, we reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value; and
  • You may not designate someone else as the winner. If you are unable or unwilling to accept your prize, we may award it to a runner up; and
  • If you accept a prize, you will be solely responsible for all applicable federal, state, and local taxes related to accepting the prize; and
  • If you are otherwise eligible for this Contest, but are considered a minor in your place of residence, we may award the prize to your parent/legal guardian on your behalf; and
  • Unless otherwise noted, all prizes are subject to their manufacturer’s warranty and / or terms and conditions.


By entering this Contest you agree:

  • To abide by these Official Rules; and
  • To release and hold harmless Microsoft, Startup Weekend, DEMO Mobile, and each of their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, employees and agents from any and all liability or any injury, loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with this Contest, or any prize won; and
  • That Sponsors decisions will be final and binding on all matters related to this Contest; and
  • That, by accepting a prize, Sponsors may use of your proper name and state of residence online and in print, or in any other media, in connection with this Contest, without payment or compensation to you, except where prohibited by law.


This Contest will be governed by the laws of the State of Washington, and you consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the courts of the State of Washington for any disputes arising out of this Contest.


If someone cheats, or a virus, bug, bot, catastrophic event, or any other unforeseen or unexpected event that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled, (also referred to as force majeure) affects the fairness and / or integrity of this Contest, we reserve the right to cancel, change or suspend this Contest. This right is reserved whether the event is due to human or technical error. If a solution cannot be found to restore the integrity of the Contest, we reserve the right to select winners from among all eligible entries received before we had to cancel, change or suspend the Contest.

If you attempt or we have strong reason to believe that you have compromised the integrity or the legitimate operation of this Contest by cheating, hacking, creating a bot or other automated program, or by committing fraud in ANY way, we may seek damages from you to the fullest extent permitted by law. Further, we may disqualify you, and ban you from participating in any of our future Contests, so please play fairly.


We will post the names of winners online. This list will remain posted one month after winner selection.


Microsoft Corporation

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Startup Weekend

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Seattle, WA 98101