Microsoft announced the opening of applications for the sixth batch for the Accelerator Program of Microsoft Ventures in India. Starting October 10, 2014 till November 30, 2014, Microsoft will receive online applications from technology startups. The names of shortlisted companies will be announced in a few weeks after applications close and they will be invited for a face-to-face session with a jury panel. The final list of startups will constitute the summer batch of calendar year 2015 and will begin the four-month acceleration program at Microsoft’s office in downtown Bangalore in end January, 2015. Their graduation day will coincide with Think Next event in June 2015, where the startups will get an opportunity to showcase their ideas to key industry influential, eminent investors, mentors from India and abroad as well as the leadership team of Microsoft Ventures.
Inviting applications for the new batch, Ravi Narayan, Director, Microsoft Ventures in India, said: “The continued success of our Accelerator Program reiterates India’s strength as a potential hub for startups and as an ecosystem of global importance. Along with the access to Microsoft technology, mentors and investors, we also provide opportunities to our startups to connect with customers, partners and world class entrepreneurs. Conducting sessions with top entrepreneurs and alumni batches to help them build top line products in an accelerated fashion is also on the agenda. The progress these startups achieve during their stint at the Accelerator is phenomenal, which proves why the number of applications have been increasing exponentially batch on batch. Around 82% of the companies from our first four batches received funding within a year; and three got acquired, including the recent acquisition of Bookpad.”
Commenting on the initiative, Santosh Panda, an alumni from the Accelerator batch two and Founder and CEO, Explara, said: “Microsoft Ventures is a great entrepreneurial hub that brings together industry and functional experts to create an excellent support system for startups. Apart from the acceleration, the program provides them with insights that help ensure a more effective method of tackling the ecosystem. The biggest advantage of the Accelerator program is that it is not time-bound, because one can always keep coming back after the batch concludes and will continue to be provided with a lot of support in terms of technology, architecture and investor relations.”
Venkatesan Seshadri, Founder and CEO, FlatPebble, a startup from the current batch, said: “Microsoft Ventures has really pushed us hard and that has put us on a solid growth trajectory. In the past two months, the team has helped us hone our customer base. We have grown four times of what we were when we came in. We are now looking at expanding our supplier base to similar levels and are confident that we will get all the required support and guidance.”
For the sixth batch, Microsoft Ventures is again looking for a mix of Indian and international companies—Indian startups which are ready for the next stage of accelerated growth and want to have access to global markets as well as international companies that are interested in Asian markets. Young companies, which are at the ideation stage and have extremely high potential, will also gain from the program.
The application process is quite simple:
All that startups need to do is apply online. And in case they have queries, just read up the FAQs.
Attend a Microsoft workshop in their city (Microsoft expert will conduct a series of workshops and coffee meet-ups in various Indian cities to meet startups and startup aspirants and answer their questions)
For more information on dates and meets, please visit Microsoft Ventures in India Facebook page.
As part of the program, Microsoft and industry mentors provide startups with hands-on expertise in key areas they need help on most—namely technology architecture, user experience/ design, product roadmap, business model development and connections with early adopters. Each startup pursues three tracks simultaneously – customer development, product development and deepening market traction. The Accelerator program team tracks their progress every week and shares the report with mentors who provide them valuable feedback. The first four batches saw 51 companies graduating from the program after achieving an average of three times customer traction.
The winter batch of 2014, which is the current batch of startups at the Accelerator, has global startups from Singapore, Australia and the US. This batch will graduate on November 25, 2014.