July 3, 2013
Microsoft plans to aid entrepreneurship with a new global effort that combines several of its programs to mentor and help fund technology startups. Microsoft Ventures aims to help startups build, innovate and grow. It combines and strengthens existing programs, such as BizSpark and Bing Fund, with plans for new programs involving the Microsoft Ventures Community. The initiative is also looking to provide guidance and market relationships for young B2B startups.
“Microsoft Ventures is a strategic partner for promising startups around the world focused on business growth and customer development, industrial strength technology and beautiful usable products,” notes the Microsoft Ventures homepage. “We’re especially keen to partner with proven young B2B startups looking to leverage our global routes to market.”
Rahul Sood, general manager of Microsoft Startups, announced the initiative last week on the Microsoft Blog: “Today, Microsoft is announcing the creation of Microsoft Ventures, a coordinated global effort that offers the tools, resources, expertise and routes to market by providing mentorship, technology guidance, seed funding, joint selling opportunities and other benefits.”
“Microsoft isn’t new to working with startups,” notes Sood. “Since 2008, more than 75,000 startups from over 100 countries have received access to tools and resources through the BizSpark program. Since launching our accelerator programs two years ago, 114 startups have graduated, and nearly all that sought a subsequent round of funding received it. We launched the Bing Fund in 2012 to make seed investments in startups, and help them build their business and improve their technology.”
According to Small Business Trends, BizSpark “provides software including Windows and Office, Visual Studio, Windows Azure and additional support to promising and visionary startups at no cost. Microsoft says the program currently serves 50,000+ members in 100 countries on 6 continents.”
Microsoft Ventures plans to expanding its Bing Fund to provide additional seed money directly for startups already experiencing success. The company’s accelerator programs offer mentoring, technical guidance and connections for early stage startups. Microsoft currently operates accelerators in Bangalore, Beijing, Paris, Seattle and Tel-Aviv.
“Microsoft also says it has built partnerships with 200 startup focused organizations globally including Startup BootCamp, Enterprise Ireland and Telefonica’s Wayra,” notes Small Business Trends. “The company says it will continue to expand this community to make further investments in entrepreneurship globally.”