Accelerating the Startup Ecosystem with Think Next
In an effort to accelerate the startup ecosystem, the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Bangalore hosted the second-ever Think Next on November 24th and 25th, a thought leadership initiative where stakeholders in the startup ecosystem can assemble. At the two-day event, over 150 thought leaders came together to discuss the future of technology companies in India and Southeast Asia. Aimed at getting actionable insights from participants, we hosted five highly curated discussions on various issues affecting Indian startups.
The five breakout sessions at Think Next included:
The All-Accelerators & Incubators Meet
Individuals from across the country gathered under one roof to explore synergies and symbiotic growth at the meet-up, hosted in association with 91Springboard and IIIT-H Foundation. Throughout the day, we examined ways to collaborate with one other and shared best practices to increase the impact of our efforts. We also formed a new association for accelerators and incubators, which will help us work more closely in coming years.
Accelerating M&A in India
This panel, hosted along with our knowledge partner iSPIRT, discussed the key challenges Indian entrepreneurs face during the M&A phase. iSPIRT shared insights on trends in the startup ecosystem since our roundtable on this subject at Think Next last May. Their experts have had a ringside view of recent M&A transactions, forming the basis of the conversation. VCs and corporate representatives in the panel as well as in the audience spoke about their requirements for the next 1-2 years and the need to have a strong pipeline of up-and-coming startups that require funding.
Emerging Models of SaaS for Indian Entrepreneurs
The second roundtable in the Think Next series showcased different SaaS scenarios that have worked in the past for startup businesses as well as what hasn’t. Creating SaaS models tailored to the needs of small businesses in India was a chief talking point during the session. This roundtable was also done in partnership with iSPIRT.
Taking Female Entrepreneurship to the Next Level
At a new Think Next roundtable, participants discussed the unique set of benefits their organizations offer to empower women entrepreneurs in technology. They also talked about the need for improved collaboration among female entrepreneurs in order to remove the barriers for women in business. This roundtable was co-hosted by Anita Borg Institute, WeConnect and TiE Bangalore.
Discussions during Corporate Venturing—another new addition to the Think Next lineup—centered on ways in which those from the corporate world can collaborate and share best practices to get maximum value from one another’s experiences. This roundtable was hosted with our knowledge partner, Nasscom.
In addition to the five breakout sessions, we hosted Demo Day during Think Next, where we graduated the fifth batch from our Bangalore Accelerator program. Attendees were captivated by demos from the graduating startups, alumni and participants from the GenNext Innovation Hub launched earlier this year, all of which were crucial to the success of Demo Day.
We also hit a high note in the social sphere with more than 1,000 people talking about us, reaching 100,000+ across the globe!
Zack Weisfeld, head of Microsoft Global Accelerators, was with us throughout Think Next and was excited about we’ve achieved in such a short time. His tweet says it all!
A big thanks to our partners—Nasscom, Orangescape, TiE Bangalore, Anita Borg Institute, WeConnect, IIIT-H, 91Springboard and iSPIRT—and the Microsoft family. We remain committed to partnering with Indian startups to accelerate their success.