Canadian Startup Veteran Adam Nanjee Joins Microsoft for Startups Team
Post by Adam Nanjee, Managing Director - Canada, Microsoft for Startups
I am honored, humbled, and thrilled to share that I have joined Microsoft for Startups as Managing Director for Canada, where I will be working with Canada’s best and brightest entrepreneurs and founders, innovation hubs, and accelerators to enable and ultimately scale startups in Canada leveraging the best-in-class platforms from Microsoft.
Back in 2014, having launched Canada’s first national startup vertical in financial technology at MaRS Discovery District (one of Canada’s largest innovation hubs), and working closely with startups, venture capital firms and corporates across the country we came to a quick conclusion - for startups in Canada to achieve international growth they would need a global, dedicated, and forward-thinking technology partner. Fast-forward to late 2018 when I heard that Microsoft had invested $500M into a new global organization dedicated to startups dubbed ‘Microsoft for Startups’. The program aims to help startups with sales, marketing and tech support, I immediately knew that there was a significant opportunity in Canada for the startup community to be a part of this vision.
In my experience there are four key things startups needs to be successful:
1) The first are its people which morphs into talent, culture, and enables a startup to only succeed if its people succeed.
2) Second is the financial runway a startup has for growth and scale in the form of venture, debt, or traditional capital. But most importantly perhaps are three and four are what differentiate a startup to have a chance at long term success
3) Third is customers. When a customer pays for your product or service, that is truly when a startup goes from proof-of-concept to commercial viability.
4) The fourth critical ingredient is a reliable and highly scalable technology platform. Gone are the days of on-premise servers - in today’s world of globalization and commerce, from a startups’ perspective – building on a cloud like Azure is the only option to achieve economies of scale without going bankrupt.
When you are in the startup world, there is a fine balance between growth of existing business and hyper-growth of acquiring net-new business combined with being able to always to offer value to your customers without going obsolete. With the platforms that Microsoft has launched from Cognitive Services to Microsoft AI APIs and SDKs, along with tremendous cloud support in Azure it became evident to me that startups need to maximize partnership opportunities with Microsoft. As a startup, having your company as a part of Microsoft’s App Source market is like staring a gift-horse straight in the eyes, and accelerating a startups’ chance to leverage Microsoft’s global customer base. An opportunity that simply is not possible for a growing startup without a partner like Microsoft.
To all Canadian startups: You are here to do great things. We are here to help.