Microsoft Offers $60K in Azure Cloud Services to Startups, Launches BizSpark Plus

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2012-01-30 Print this article Print

Microsoft announces BizSpark Plus, an extension of its BizSpark program, and teams with startup accelerator TechStars to offer $60,000 in cloud computing services to startups.

Microsoft announced its new BizSpark Plus, an extension to its BizSpark program to help startups get off the ground faster, as well as a new partnership with startup accelerator TechStars to make free cloud computing services available to select, high potential startups.

Microsoft and TechStars are working together to help startups fast-track their businesses. On Jan. 30, TechStars today announced an enhanced relationship with Microsoft through the new BizSpark Plus program for accelerators and incubators. The enhanced program allows TechStars accelerators in Boulder, Colo.; Boston; New York; Seattle and Texas to offer each of their startups up to $60,000 of Windows Azure compute and storage over a 24-month period, at no cost.

BizSpark Plus is an extension of the Microsoft BizSpark program, designed to accelerate the success of startups around the world. BizSpark Plus works through select incubators and accelerators such as TechStars to provide value-added products and services to high-potential startups. In addition to offering this to TechStars, Microsoft is making this offer available to all founders whose accelerator is part of the Global Accelerator Network, a network of nearly 40 high quality accelerators from around the world that follow a model similar to TechStars.

"Our passion is helping startups succeed around the world by providing funding and mentorship from the best and brightest Internet entrepreneurs and investors on the planet," David Cohen, founder and CEO of TechStars, said in a statement. "The enhanced relationship with Microsoft will allow us to provide our founders with even more valuable support and services. Access to technologies such as Windows Azure and other software and services from Microsoft through the BizSpark Plus program gives our companies a leg up in the all-encompassing race to scale and succeed."

"Tech startups around the world are building products and services in the cloud, Himanshu Singh, a senior product manager on the Windows Azure marketing team, said in a Jan. 30 post on Microsoft's Windows Azure blog. "Cloud applications and smart devices are driving the new startup ecosystem, affording startups the ability to drive user adoption, scale their company and generate financial returns with far less capital at a faster pace than ever before. Windows Azure offers a simple, comprehensive and powerful platform for the creation of Web applications and services. Supporting entrepreneurship is the crux of Microsoft BizSpark's mission, and the Windows Azure team is excited to be a part of this effort."

In a Jan. 30 post on the BizSpark Group Blog, Microsoft said: "Our goal is to help startups grow their business and by offsetting startups' cloud computing costs, this enables startups to spend time and money elsewhere-focusing on solving their business challenges, learning from their users, hiring more developers, investing in marketing and promoting their business or getting new customers."

The BizSpark Group Blog also said: "BizSpark Plus partners are chosen from local markets based on their track record of attracting and working with world-class startups."

Organizations that have already joined as BizSpark Plus Partners include TechStars (Global), Startup Weekend (Global), SeedCamp (Global), Founder Institute (Global), Fumec (Global), Springboard (U.K.), TechCity (U.K.), Eura Technologies (France), DojoBoost (France) and Cietec (Brazil).

Microsoft officials said TechStars has lots of experience working with tech startups around the world that are building products and services in the cloud. Cloud applications and smart devices are driving the new startup ecosystem, affording startups the ability to drive user adoption, scale their companies and generate financial returns with far less capital and much more quickly than ever before. Windows Azure offers a simple, comprehensive and powerful platform for the creation of Web applications and services, Microsoft said.

"TechStars is a great partner with a proven track record of attracting world-class startups. We are excited at the opportunity to work together to help startups when they need it most, with the products, resources and connections they need the most," Dan'l Lewin, corporate vice president of strategic and emerging business development at Microsoft, said in a statement. "Working with entrepreneurs on the forefront of the cloud revolution is especially rewarding. Windows Azure is a powerful, integrated platform, making it easy for startups to get their services up and running quickly with minimal overhead. This is the first offer from our new BizSpark Plus program, and we look forward to supporting TechStars members across a number of markets and technology offerings."

Founded in 2006, the TechStars philosophy focuses on deep mentorship, and surrounding a small number of companies with highly engaged members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem to coach and support them to success. The TechStars community currently includes more than 300 mentors, more than 1,500 investors and over 120 alumni TechStars companies. TechStars operates five programs each year in Boulder, Boston, Seattle, Texas and New York. TechStars is funded by more than 50 venture capital firms and 25 angel investors.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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