Three years ago, Microsoft kicked off the BizSpark program to support early-stage tech startups worldwide. Over the years, we have worked with amazing companies, incredible entrepreneurs and a global network of partners and advisors.
Today, Microsoft provides valuable assistance to more than 45,000 startups worldwide. BizSpark partners range from traditional VC-funded startups, to garage-style startups with limited resources, to the entrepreneurial small business person growing their business through technology.
The program has three goals:
- Develop and support a global ecosystem of startups.
- Learn how best to provide value to these partners in the rapidly changing technology industry.
- Foster innovation, opportunity and economic growth around the world.
Over the next year, we will see more than 10,000 startups worldwide graduate from BizSpark. We are very excited for all of them, and look forward to continuing our strong relationships. Graduates will keep, at no charge, all the software and licenses they are currently using as well as access to the startup ecosystem through BizSpark Connect.
Startups are developing on a range of Microsoft technologies, from platforms with a large user base such as Windows and SQL Server, to exciting new platforms like Windows Phone, Windows Azure, Bing and Kinect. As we move to a cloud-to-device world, Microsoft is out in front, helping startups embrace new technologies and build new businesses. We are gaining invaluable experience, understanding how these companies are developing new businesses and creating the services of the future. The startups of today are our partners of tomorrow.
From the outset, BizSpark has offered startups access to Microsoft tools, software and Azure at no cost, as well as the opportunity to increase their market visibility and access technical and business expertise. As the program grows, the BizSpark ecosystem is providing connections for crucial assets such as top talent, funding, seasoned mentors and the wisdom of entrepreneurial peers. This is the added value of BizSpark that for early stage startups can make the difference between rapid growth and fast failure.
For many young companies, BizSpark is the connecting piece to a network of resources that is unparalleled. It is supported by more than 2,300 independent global partners that include incubators, investors, universities and government agencies. There are more than 100 internal BizSpark Champs to support startups around the world, and the program is tightly integrated with Microsoft business and products groups. We are breaking down the barriers for startups and creating a community support system to help them succeed.
As the first group of companies graduates from the program, it is easy to look into the future and see great things to come. We are constantly working to improve and expand BizSpark, and bring our services to more young companies around the world. Microsoft is at the forefront of where technology is going, and we are thrilled to be working with such exciting new companies that are creating what’s next.
For more on the three-year anniversary of BizSpark, read today’s feature story on BizSpark One startup Xtranormal on the Microsoft News Center. Below is an infographic showing BizSpark startups around the world that have used Microsoft’s cloud computing platform to drive their businesses to new heights.
Posted by Dan’l Lewin
Corporate Vice President, Strategic & Emerging Business Development, Microsoft