Microsoft announced on Valentine’s Day 2018, Microsoft for Startups, a new program that delivers access to technology, go-to-market and community benefits that helps startups grow their customer and revenue base. The company is committing $500 million over the next two years to offer joint sales engagements with startups, along with access to Microsoft technology, and new community spaces that promote collaboration across local and global ecosystems. The company said on its website that this commitment is made with the realization that startups are an indisputable innovation engine, and partnering with such founders and investors will help propel their growth.
This repositioning of its startup program has the added advantage of doubling down in promoting Microsft’s very own products, like its cloud platform, one with Amazon Web Services breathing down its throat. Microsoft for Startups says it takes a unique approach to connect qualified startups with new customers and channel partners. Microsoft claims it has over 40,000 sales representatives and hundreds of thousands of partners whose goal is to drive adoption of Microsoft cloud solutions into companies of all sizes and industries worldwide. This startup program will provide dedicated resources to prepare startup marketing and sales teams to effectively sell their cloud solutions to enterprise organizations in partnership with Microsoft’s global sales organization and partner ecosystem.
The Microsoft startup program will be providing startups with up to $120,000 in free Azure credits, enterprise grade technical support and development tools – supporting the languages of their choice, such as Node.js, Java and .NET. In addition, qualified startups also get access to productivity and business applications, including Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics 365.
Microsoft for Startups will extend the privilege of other resources like Microsoft Reactors - physical spaces where entrepreneurs, developers, investors and the business community can come together to interact, learn and share. Over the next month, Microsoft says it will open the doors on new Microsoft Reactor spaces in London, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Shanghai and Beijing. These spaces will join existing locations in Redmond, Seattle, San Francisco and New York.
Another resource will be Microsoft ScaleUp (formerly Microsoft Accelerators), an immersive global program that offers late-stage and series A startups who have the greatest propensity to take advantage of Microsoft’s growth programs, such as co-marketing and co-selling opportunities, hone their infrastructure and build their businesses.
Microsoft Ventures too will come under the newly rebranded startup program as Microsoft’s strategic venture capital investment team whose mission is to be an active partner at key stages of a startup’s growth, typically investing between series A and D.