The Microsoft Accelerator program in India, which is gearing up to graduate its third batch of 13 technology startups, is now open to receiving applications for its fourth batch, due to start in January.The India Accelerator is part of a global program called Microsoft Ventures—a three-pronged initiative by Microsoft to engage with and help the startup community, at every stage of their entrepreneurial journey. Microsoft Ventures consists of a community evangelism program, an accelerator program and a seed fund. Spread across 8 countries and growing very fast, the Microsoft Accelerator program already has had 120 companies graduate from it, 85% of whom have been funded by tier I investors, 20% are at Series A and growing while 4 have been acquired.
Located in our office in the heart of the city in Lavelle Road, the Bangalore Accelerator, which was launched less than two years ago, has already graduated 22 companies, 80% of whom have been funded and two, namely Plustxt and Adepto, have been acquired! It is currently hosting its third batch of 13 startups who are gearing up for Demo Day later this month, where they will have to showcase their product to an elite community of angel investors, VCs, and industry leaders!
At a time when Accelerators and Incubators are coming up by the dozens all around us, it is important to understand what sets the Microsoft Accelerator apart. Some of these are:
It is part of a global program, spread across 8 countries, located in Seattle, Tel-Aviv, Beijing, Bangalore, Paris, Berlin, Moscow and London and 2 more international locations in Rio de Janeiro and Shanghai coming up. This gives startups access to Microsoft’s global network of partners, mentors, and investors. Also the opportunity to learn from each other, working with some of the brightest minds across the world - not just at the local Accelerator, but across Microsoft Ventures’ global 120+ alumni network.
It is an extremely rigorous four month program. Accelerated growth brings along its own growing pains and a startup needs to be extremely disciplined, put it a lot of hard work and have the ability to focus on all aspects of business. Microsoft Ventures Accelerator provides startups with the tools and training required to focus on a disciplined and consolidated growth path, incorporating robust processes, which build the foundation for a long-term profitable business.
It provides best-in-class mentors. The Microsoft Accelerator has a 150-plus mentor base, from all over the world, and across varied industries, mentors who are fully committed to ensure the success of the startups. Many of our mentors have built successful startups.
Access to best infrastructure, world class technology through BizSpark, and technology mentors from Microsoft: Microsoft Ventures supports a global entrepreneurial network through 100 Microsoft Innovation Centers, 200 partner organizations, and 50,000 startups that participate in BizSpark for access to technology, mentors and support. Microsoft Ventures Accelerator also provides startups the opportunity to be mentored by world-class technology mentors that work at Microsoft.
Microsoft Ventures Accelerator is the right place to go if you want to supercharge your startup and take it from point A to point D at breakneck pace. Explara, an online ticketing and event discovery platform, and TommyJams, a web platform that connects artists, venues and fans, are great examples.
In the four short months that Santosh Panda’s Explara was at the Accelerator– it completely rebranded itself, starting off initially as Ayojak, it changed to Explara and shifted focus from only B2B events, to all sorts of events – increasing the potential number of events-a-month 10 times.
Explara also turned around their UX, revenue model, got customer connections that would have taken them months outside the Accelerator and transformed their product to a global standard after fine-tuning it with regular input from mentors and weekly feedback sessions.
“My team's productivity increased as they could witness quality people in other startups and the kind of work they do, that created a motivation to do finest way,” Santosh Panda, Chief Executive Officer, Explara said.
TommyJams, currently at Microsoft Ventures Accelerator, has also grown exponentially over the course of the last four months. Their growth has a lot to do with the visibility they have built – helping them get more clients and a much wider reach.
“We have seen our artist-sign-ups doubling and a 100 percent growth in our reach-out to fans since we joined the program,” Parth Saxena, co-founder, TommyJams said.
Besides this, TommyJams has also realized their potential for global expansion and have had the opportunity to pitch to more than 8 investors – something that would have taken them months to achieve outside.
Their currently monthly revenue is around Rs. 1.5 lakh and they expect to earn revenue of about Rs. 40 lakh for the financial year ended March 2014.
These are just two instances. Microsoft Ventures has many more success stories – and a lot more to come!
If you think you and your startup are ready for this incredible journey involving a lot of networking, grueling hard work and a whole lot of fun – apply now! Applications for the fourth batch at Microsoft Ventures Accelerator are now open.