Microsoft for Startups Set to Enable $1 Billion in Partner Sales

The two-year old program has seen huge success so far, and two new features will allow for enterprise startups to scale even quicker.

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Need to Know

  • Two years after launching Microsoft for Startups, a program to support small companies, startups in the program are on track to close over $1 billion in sales in 2020.
  • New updates to the program include access to GitHub Enterprise and Microsoft Power platform.
  • According to PitchBook, venture capitalists invested over $30 billion on enterprise startups in 2019 alone, surpassing consumer tech funding for the first time in a decade.
  • Microsoft for Startups works with companies to provide cloud services and community mentorship needed to catalyze early success.
  • Companies and organizations in the Microsoft for Startups program include Element AI, Eagle Genomics, Techstars, and more.

Analysis

As one of the most valuable companies in the world and coming off a massive growth surge, Microsoft realizes a huge factor of growth is staying connected to smaller partners and forging ecosystem partnerships whenever possible.

When it comes to smaller companies (at least compared to Microsoft), the recently-launched Microsoft for Startups program helps to connect the software giant with young scale-up brands and provide cloud computing support, community mentorship, and more. The goal is to connect Microsoft with young companies and provide cloud computing solutions through Azure before these companies scale to become world-leading enterprises.

Microsoft for Startups provides companies with $120,000 in Azure credits, and more importantly, offers access to Microsoft’s massive client base. within the program, there are more than 3,000 startups in over 140 countries.

After launching the initiative two years ago, startups in the program are on pace to close more than $1 billion in sales in 2020 alone. Microsoft for Startups works predominantly with enterprise startups, which for the first time in a decade have garnered more venture capital funding than consumer tech companies, according to PitchBook.

“Two years ago, we announced an ambitious goal to become the leading enterprise cloud for B2B startups in the world. Called Microsoft for Startups, we launched a founder-first program that delivers the technology, go-to-market and community benefits needed to catalyze startup success,” writes Charlotte Yarkoni, Corporate VP of cloud and AI at Microsoft.

As part of a new year of programming, Microsoft is expanding features for companies in the program. Companies can now access GitHub Enterprise, which “extends the flexibility and functionality of GitHub with features that simplify account administration and provide additional security, compliance and deployment controls as teams scale.”

Microsoft for Startups companies will also be able to access Microsoft Power Platform in a few months. The platform helps to analyze data, build solutions, automate processes, and create virtual agents.

Companies such as Element AI are part of the program and have seen huge success over the last two years. Earlier this year, the Montreal AI company partnered with LG to develop smart home upgrades.

“Element AI has progressed from a startup to an AI solutions provider that is helping organizations operationalize AI to drive business impact, led by fundamental research teams that are connected to the best academic ecosystems,” says Omar Dhalla, an SVP at Element AI. “We joined the Microsoft for Startups program to accelerate the commercialization of our AI products and solutions with customers around the world.”

In order to keep growing the program, Microsoft intends to build out different research tracks such as autonomous driving and quantum computing and share findings with startups; ensure diversity by reaching out to unique communities and empowering under-estimated voices; and provide open access to distribution channels, cloud solution providers, and its own internal enterprise sales force.

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