Startups and Microsoft: venture, hubs and that’s it

    February 14, 2018, while lovers and programmers enjoyed the holiday, BizSpark (Microsoft's international startup program) ceased to exist. She was gorgeous. We were sad ... But not for long. On the same day, we announced the new Microsoft For Startups program. I asked Nastya, who is involved in this area, to tell us a little about Microsoft’s work with startups in the past and in the future.

    I pass the floor to Anastasia Makeenok, head of innovation entrepreneurship at Microsoft Russia and CIS.

    BizSpark: a bit of history

    Our old startup program, BizSpark , was wonderful: we supported young companies by giving resources to develop their solutions, first for three years, and after restarting the program, for one year.

    In addition, there was an expanded program to support more mature startups, the next level, the so-called BizSpark Plus . Within the framework of it it was possible to receive: a large cloud grant of up to $ 120K in the Microsoft Azure cloud, technical support and technical expertise, as well as a business development manager worked with the guys.

    When the startup approached the top bar for using free resources inside the grant, the next step of the program came into play - Microsoft Go To Market Accelerator. As part of it, we provided the project with marketing and sales support, helping to enter new markets and earn money.

    Such well-known startups as Dodo Pizza , FaceApp , Robot Vera , HoloGroup , Heedbook , Netology , , LinguaLeo , , The Question and many others participated in this program .

    Microsoft For Startups: A New Era

    So, we are glad to present you our new program - Microsoft For Startups . She is no less attractive than the old one, and in some ways she even wins greatly against her background. The key difference is that now we are trying not only to supply the young company with resources, but to really grow it, helping with sales, “accelerating” technically not only when moving to the cloud, but also at every stage of the project development.

    Let's see a little more clearly. In the table below, I’ll list the main modified items within Microsoft startup programs.

    What changed?It was (BizSpark)Now (Microsoft For Startups)
    An approachWork with a wide channel, technical upskilling service stationWork 1-1, help not only on technical issues, but also on business issues, Microsoft focus on partnership with startup
    Target focusEarly stageB2B, later stage (seed +), potential for inclusion in other Microsoft programs
    suggestionsAzure credits, Office 365 Business Premium, Visual Studio Enterprise, technical supportAzure credits, Office 365 Business Premium, Enterprise technical support, Visual Studio Enterprise Cloud, Dynamics 365, as well as the possibility of joint sales and technical acceleration
    The brandBizSpark, BizSpark +Microsoft for startups
    Broad Channel OfferBizsparkAzure free offer for startups, Microsoft Partner Network, Go-To-Market support in the early stages and the possibility of obtaining co-marketing

    What does all this mean?

    • We did not stop helping startups. We began to do this more intelligently and focally, within the framework of the Microsoft Scale Up program , individualizing our offer for each B2B startup, selecting the necessary technologies for its growth, helping to reach the right customers and customers, establishing partnerships with it, if necessary, not only in our market, but also in other countries. The size of the cloud grant has changed, it has become more flexible: with those startups that fall into the program, we start with a grant of $ 25K inside the Microsoft Azure cloud, issued for a year. This distribution helps you use the free resources allocated for your project more intelligently. Also, new resources appear in the proposal (for example, access to Dynamics 365).
    • In some cities around the world, we have opened Microsoft Reactors - these are special startup hubs created on the basis of Microsoft Accelerators, where you can communicate with various technology experts, attend thematic meetings, and hold your own. Microsoft Reactors is now open in Seattle, Beijing, Shanghai, Bangalore, Tel Aviv, Berlin and London. In the near future we plan to open another such startup hub.
    • And finally, Microsoft Ventures , our corporate venture capital fund, continues to invest in exciting solutions around the world. Ventures colleagues are considering even more mature businesses, from stage A to stage C. An important criterion for the investment of our corporate venture fund is the presence of interesting technology inside the startup. A list of such technology areas can be found on the Microsoft Ventures website.

    If you still have questions, feel free to ask them in the comments!

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