Thursday, 18 June 2015

Microsoft strengthens startup programme

Microsoft Ventures, which runs one of the leading startup accelerator programmes in India, has launched a new corporate engagement initiative.

Called Innovation for Corporates (ICI), the programme aims to help corporates build deeper engagements with upcoming startups in India.

"We have been working with various corporates for years to help them address their business problems with innovations from startups. We are now institutionalizing these efforts under ICI and we expect this will help us scale up and help even more businesses," Ravi Narayan, director of Microsoft Ventures in India, said at a press conference on the occasion of the company's annual conclave of startups, Think Next.

Microsoft also announced a partnership with Brand Capital, the strategic investment arm of Bennett, Coleman & Co (Times of India Group), under which the latter will provide necessary resources for entrepreneurs to build their brand, including an investment of Rs 1 crore in marketing funds for the Microsoft-accelerated startups.

Under ICI, there will be three programmes - the Market Access Programme, which seeks to bring startups and enterprise businesses together, the Partner in Acceleration Programme, which allows corporates to leverage Microsoft Ventures' resources and network, and the High Performance Programme, which will work with startups nominated by corporates and build them into stronger businesses.

Microsoft Ventures has previously partnered with Reliance Industries and Nasscom for startup acceleration programmes. "Our partnership with Microsoft has been very successful. We have been able to mentor the startups and help them gain traction very fast," said Vivek Rai Gupta, part of the Reliance-Microsoft accelerator programme GenNext Innovation Hub.

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