Corporates and Startups Collide in Berlin
Startups from three different Microsoft Accelerators gathered in Berlin last month to meet top enterprises from the German market and greater Europe.
Microsoft for Startups’ CAP events provide corporate partners with a format to meet innovative startups who are bringing bleeding edge solutions to market. The meetings are curated based on fit and solution area. The Berlin event was attended by 21 corporates and 21 startups from the Berlin, London, and Tel Aviv accelerator programs.
For the invited corporate partners, the event provides them with unique access to emerging enterprise focused solutions that can provide their business with new tools and opportunities to grow or optimize their business.
“CAP is designed to bring together two profoundly important communities of Microsoft partners – startups and corporates,” said Yonit Soloducho, CAP Program Manager. “For us, this focus on bringing these communities together, helping startups scale and providing corporates with access to innovation they aren’t normally exposed to.”
An important element of the CAP program is the way it structures events to maximize meeting opportunities as well as serving as a directed vehicle for batch startups to receive critical feedback from the corporate partners they meet at the event. Over the course of the event, there were 194 meetings that generated a 80% follow up rate. This feedback is vital for startups as they work to build their sales and GTM strategies.
Beyond that, the CAP program is one branch of Microsoft for Startups multi-tiered offering for young enterprises as they work to scale their businesses and access customers. The event in Berlin is just a first step as Microsoft works with both its startup and corporate partners to forge links between the two communities.
The event also served as a co-graduation event for both the Berlin and Tel Aviv accelerator programs. For the Berlin accelerator, this was its 6th batch of startups and the first under its new format focusing on later stage startups.
“Berlin is one of Europe’s leading startup ecosystems and is a perfect location not only for our accelerator program but to also serve as a host for this event,” said Iskender Dirik, Managing Director of the Berlin accelerator. “Here, we are able to connect batch startups from three different Microsoft accelerators and bring them together with some of the most important corporate partners, not only in Europe, but in the whole world. I’m really excited about the opportunity this event holds not only for our batch startups but for all of Microsoft’s efforts to support our partners.”
Startups from the 11th batch of the Tel Aviv accelerator also participated in the event, providing them with access to some of Germany and the world’s leading enterprises. Tel Aviv Accelerator Managing Director Navot Volk commented on the way Israeli startups are known for their innovative solutions and how that served them during the event. “Israeli startups in general, and our current round of startups taking part in this event, can provide large enterprises with unique access to innovation that is one of the hallmarks of the Israeli tech ecosystem. Coming here to Berlin is also an exciting opportunity for our startups to gain access to some of the world’s most important enterprises that are based here or are running their European operations here,” he said.
For many of the startups, the event represented a first opportunity to participate in one of Microsoft for Startups engagement platforms that help them reach the wider enterprise community. Startup execs noted how the meetings with potential customers and the support Microsoft provides were an invaluable asset in their emerging sales strategies.
“Every startup that wants to sell to the enterprise faces the same set of challenges, and chief among those is convincing potential enterprise customers that your solution has the potential to improve their business,” said Christian Lutz, CEO of Crate.io. “By taking part in this event, and through our broader cooperation with Microsoft, we have gained an invaluable partner who stands with us in our corner and signals to potential customers that they can trust and rely on our solution.”
Microsoft for Startups works closely with startups across multiple programs, including the accelerator and CAP initiatives. The Berlin event is just one example of Microsoft’s continuing efforts to serve as a bridge between these two vital sectors of the wider business world.