In alignment with the recent Microsoft Ventures announcement, the company will now offer startups a single point of entry to engage with Microsoft through a broad-based and holistic approach--featuring a seed fund, an accelerator program and the community evangelism program called BizSpark.
Microsoft Ventures in India will be spearheaded by Mukund Mohan. Ravi Narayan, previously the Managing Director of MentorPartners, has joined the team and will be responsible for Microsoft Ventures Accelerator and its connections with other community initiatives. Kattayil Rajinish Menon will drive broad community engagements as part of the BizSpark program for startups with other accelerators, incubators, industry forums as well as Microsoft customers and partners in India.
Announcing this change, Mohan said, “Through this coordinated effort, we will now engage with entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey from ideation to maturity and support them with compelling offerings. Our community evangelism program will provide entrepreneurs easy access to technology and resources, so that they can focus on exploring ideas. The accelerator will provide access to mentors and technical experts so that they can convert their ideas into products. The fund will offer seed investments to startups that demonstrate early business success. In all, through one focused effort we will provide the tools, resources and expertise that startups need as they innovate, build and grow.”
“Taking up this consolidated approach was crucial in a country like India where the startup ecosystem is evolving very fast. Since 2006, there has been a 302 per cent growth in number of new companies, varied not just in terms of technology and ideas but also the support they need to be successful. Through this holistic approach, we will now be able to touch more startups and support them in their journey to success,” Mohan added.
Ravi Narayan, who has been a serial entrepreneur and investor, feels that the Indian startup ecosystem will immensely benefit from this consolidated effort. “Startups already have enough to worry about. Their access to Microsoft and its vast and varied resources will now become easy and smooth. With its breadth of offerings and its extremely strong customer and partner base, Microsoft is uniquely positioned to help startups in ways that very few can match. I am very excited to be part of the team that will lead this change,” Narayan said.
Explaining the community evangelism program, Menon said, “Anyone with a great idea can benefit from it, especially those who are proposing solutions to real world problems or creating meaningful innovations. By providing them access to Microsoft software, world-class technology support and our huge partner base when they most need it and can least afford it, we will enable them to have a better chance of business success. BizSpark will continue be our premium SAAS offering with a growing focus on the Cloud.”