Apply Now: Seattle Opens Applications for Machine Learning Accelerator

The Microsoft Seattle Accelerator kicked off its first-ever class in the summer of 2014 with a cohort focused on home automation hardware and software. Batch 2 followed earlier this year with 14 startups bringing productivity tools to what was dubbed the Digital Work Accelerator. Now, Seattle is opening applications for its third batch that will be focused on machine learning and data science.

Today, data science and its sub-disciplines permeate numerous industries. Over the years, data science technologies have become more and more accessible to the masses and are making our lives more frictionless every day. Increasingly, it’s become table stake for modern businesses to compete and grow.

Startups alone hire more than 100,000 data science experts every year and large corporations are adding over a million resources annually. Following are a few more facts about the growing demand in this space:

  • Startup investments in data science have been doubling every 2 years since 2006; in the last 7 years alone, over $4.9B has been invested in 523 companies
  • In last 10 quarters, analytics companies take the lion’s share of overall VC deals in the data space
  • Worldwide data is predicted to grow 50x from 2010 to 2020
  • 90% of data generated in unstructured
  • We are currently experiencing an information explosion—there are 10,000 credit card transactions every second, 50 Million Tweets per day, 700 Billion total minutes spent on Facebook each month, 1.3 exabytes of video data received by mobile internet users monthly, and 72.9 products ordered over Amazon every second
  • 90% of Fortune 500 companies are predicted to have at least some big data initiative underway

With such a robust outlook, startups have a huge opportunity to deliver incredible value to customers through data-rich, powerful, and connected solutions. Our accelerator will support mature startups that have any manner of underlying data play across all verticals, including healthcare, genomics, agriculture, and finance, to name a few.

In the next 20 years, machine learning will have more impact than mobile has. -Vinod Khosla, Khosla Ventures

In just a couple weeks, we will be kicking off a series of meetups in several cities across the U.S. to talk to startups working in this space and to answer questions about the Microsoft Ventures program. Startups have until November 20th to submit applications.

10-15 startups will then be selected in December to participate in Seattle’s Machine Learning Accelerator. The program starts February 2016 and lasts 4 months, culminating in a demo day.

A few of the accelerator benefits include:

  • Access to facility in Seattle, the cloud capital of the world
  • Warm introductions to top Microsoft customers
  • Connection to a network of investors, influencers and industry-leading mentors
  • Access to Azure Engineering Team, including ML experts
  • ‘Equity free’ program, $25K no-strings attached grant
  • $500K Azure credits!

Microsoft is dedicated to building technologies and developing skills in the data science and machine learning domains. One example is Cortana Analytics Suite, the end product of years of research and innovation. Microsoft’s goal is to make analytics agile, simple, and accessible to everyone—even those without data science expertise. The How-Old.net website created on Azure in just two weeks is a testament to the success of this objective.

As part of our commitment, we are looking to accelerate promising startups with a proven technology in the machine learning and data science space. Sound like you? Apply now!

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