The importance of startup partnerships for more innovations and disruptions explains Sangeeta Bavi
About the session

In this exclusive conversation with YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma Sangeeta Bavi, Director–Startup Ecosystem. Microsoft India says that Microsoft has a wide portfolio of offerings which can serve as the tech backbone for any enterprise or business across the world.

From ERP solutions to developer productivity solutions like GitHub, Microsoft has the entire breadth of portfolio for its customers. “The best part is that all of these are platform offerings, and tech-innovators can extend, enhance or build on top of these tech-platforms,” says Sangeeta.

To make sure that the goodness of all of the tech is available in the form of programs, MS has created different programs for startups depending on the stage of the journey that they are in. The DNA of innovation and disruption continues in Microsoft, which itself was a startup many decades ago. “We have always been a platform provider, and don’t compete with startups.” Sangeeta adds. “In fact, we need startup partnerships to bring about more meaningful innovations and disruptions for the breadth of audience we operate with.”

Sangeeta also talks about the threefold benefits that Microsoft India has had while collaborating with startups. One, its tech actually gets better as it gets to learn a lot more, working with startups. “We know how to future proof our technology stack because we get to know what tech-innovators are doing, and how they are using technology,” says Sangeeta.

Second, because Microsoft provides end-to-end tech solutions, it helps to offer to its customers solutions which are built, tested and made secure on the Microsoft platform. Third, there is a lot of focus on driving initiatives for ‘tech for good’. “In the pandemic, we have seen the power of tech for societal good,” Sangeeta adds.

Among the success stories that Microsoft India has come across within its ecosystem, Sangeeta touched upon Icertis–an enterprisetech unicorn and a leading player in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) domain–which started its journey in partnership with Microsoft India around 9 years ago. “We have seen them go global and pretty much sell in all the countries where Microsoft sells in today,” says Sangeeta. “This is a great example of how a business partnership can scale over the years.”

Sangeeta also talks about Pune-based iMocha which is disrupting the existing category of talent hiring and skill assessment using cutting-edge technologies.

Her third, and most recent, example is spacetech startup Pixel, which is disrupting or breaking the myth of product partnerships. “Typically, we think that product partnerships happen only when a startup reaches a certain stage of maturity from a business and tech perspective,” says Sangeeta.

However, at a very early-stage Microsoft India started engaging with Pixel, and the clarity that the founders had as to how they want to do the tech integration “was literally mind-blowing”.

On things that startups adapted, changed, and came out stronger, Sangeeta touched upon tech frugality. Explaining that, she said that earlier in the startup journey the focus in terms of creating a robust, scalable, and literally the ideal blueprint of tech architecture is not always there across all the startups. “The focus is to just get your product out in the market and as you scale your business you also start tweaking and rearchitecting and scaling your tech,” Sangeeta says.

The one pattern that Microsoft India has seen during the pandemic is the focus in terms of getting the tech right. “It is important that you are not spending a lot of time revisiting, rebuilding, and changing your tech architecture,” Sangeeta adds. “Because, there is an opportunity cost of doing that.” And that is one common pattern that Sangeet and her team is seeing across all the startups they are engaging with.

The kind of innovation and the pace at which the startup ecosystem is growing especially in India, Sangeeta believes that there is a lot more to be done, both in terms of tech and business partnerships.

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