From Austin to Abu Dhabi – Microsoft for Startups Ecosystem Update: March 2019

Here in the US, March Madness is in full swing which means upsets and busted brackets. For those of you that don’t follow basketball, March Madness describes the national college basketball tournament that starts with 64 of the highest-ranking teams and culminates a few weeks later with a college basketball champion being crowned.  With smaller colleges often triumphing over established teams – it’s predictably unpredictable-which makes it exciting. Much like the tournament, we know scaling a startup can be filled with its fair share of upsets and victories. Whether its technical support or business guidance, our team is committed to helping startups navigate their path to the championship.

The following is the second post in an ongoing series celebrating startups around the world and the ways we are working to support them.  You will find startup success stories, updates on our partnerships with organizations who support startups along their growth cycle, as well as new content including on-demand webinars and upcoming events.

Startup Showcase

Hyperconverged data analytics startup lands deal with world’s largest coffee retailer


Read about how Seattle-based startup Incorta landed a major deal with the world’s largest coffee retailer.

France-based startup Shift Technology lands series C


Microsoft for Startups alumni Shift Technology, a provider of I-native solutions for the global insurance industry, closed a $60M series C funding round.


Partnership Updates

Hub71 launches to spark startup innovation in the Middle East


Earlier this week, the government of Abu Dhabi announced the launch of Hub71, a new technology hub designed to spur innovation and development in the Middle East. Based in Abu Dhabi, Hub71’s mission is to help start-ups and entrepreneurs develop, scale, and build transformational businesses. With Mubadala Investment Company leading Hub71, Microsoft will play a central role as a global technology partner, while SoftBank Vision Fund will leverage its investment networks to create a focal point for tech innovation in the region.

Backstage Capital announces first cohorts of its accelerator program


Backstage Capital who are committed to supporting under represented founders shared the list of startups selected for their four accelerator locations. Over the next 18 months, we have committed over $6M in sponsorship dollars, cloud technology, and support to empower entrepreneurs active with Backstage. Read more here.

Microsoft for Startups sponsors Female Founders Alliance Access event in Seattle


Earlier this month, Female Founders Alliance (FFA) held their Access event in Seattle.  FFA has the mission of helping women CEOs raise their first round of venture financing.  You can learn more about their mission in the following video. 

Female Founders

Microsoft for Startups kicks off partnership with Le Camp


Earlier this month, we launched a partnership with Quebec City's largest startup accelerator - Le Camp – which is focused on AI, VR, and Machine Learning. Le Camp will be Microsoft's activation and accelerator partner in the startup ecosystem running events for founders, developers and cloud professionals. The event was attended by Regis Labeaume, Mayor of Quebec City and Kevin Peesker, President of Microsoft Canada.


Serving tostadas, insights and culture at SXSW

Microsoft helped organize a SXSW Tech Crawl in partnership with 4.Co and Startup Junkie. The crawl featured a vibrant happy hour with 10 stops to help kick off SXSW and the launch of the 4.Co space – a collaborative “cloud factory” between Microsoft and Walmart. We knew participants would be hungry, so we came prepared with a taco truck. The Microsoft for Startups team also organized Inflection that brought together thought leaders to discuss the intersection of technology and culture.  Participants included CEO and Cofounder of Scout Lab, Kaitlyn Barclay, producer and musician DJ Hapa and entrepreneur Bea Arthur among others. You can watch the video here.


AI for Good Cohort Meets Microsoft Leaders

The AI for Good program provides technology, resources, and expertise to help startups that are working to solve some of the world’s most vexing problems. The program aims to use AI to support efforts focused on Earth, Accessibility, and Human Action.  The team recently had the chance to present to Microsoft leadership including Cindy Rose OBE, Microsoft UK CEO, as well as Jean-Philippe Courtois, Executive Vice President and President, Microsoft Global Sales.


Innovation Day in Shanghai

Microsoft for Startups China brought together founders, government leaders, and top executives for its Innovation Day event in Shanghai. The Innovation Day showcased over 30 startups who were able to present to a panel of enterprise executives. Additionally, Microsoft ScaleUp Shanghai unveiled its latest batch of startups. The event was attended by Alain Crozier - Microsoft CVP, Chairman & CEO Microsoft Greater China; Fang Shizhong - Mayor of Shanghai Xuhui District; and leading members of the global tech ecosystem such as Walmart SVP Ben Hassing who gave a talk titled: How Walmart Innovates. 


CTO Insights: New CTO Advocacy Blog Series Kicks Off

This month we kicked off a new blog series which is geared to technical founders.  In these posts, you can find hard won advice from one CTO to another. 

Building Product Roadmaps

James Turnbull, the head of Startup Advocacy for Microsoft Azure, recently posted an article sharing insights into how startups can build a product roadmap. In the post, James walks startups through how to create and prioritize what he calls the “’north star’ for your product.”

Growing Your People

One of the challenges for any manager or executive, whether they’re a CEO, CTO, or any other level, is growing and developing the skills of your team. Penina Weiss, Microsoft for Startups CTO in Israel, shared a blog post that shows how CTOs can use on-the-job experience and other strategies to help engineers learn new skills.

In Person Events:

PurpleCON, April 4-5, Washington DC

Microsoft is sponsoring this two-day brand amplification event focused on expanding the ecosystem of support for women and new majority founders leading social enterprises. Microsoft Startup Advocate, Frank Denbow, and Developer Advocate, Ruth Yakubu, are speaking at the event. You can find out more and purchase tickets here.

Announcing the Create Startups Tour (Free) Coming to a City Near You (Spring and Summer 2019)

On behalf of Microsoft for Startups, we are excited to introduce the inaugural Create Startups Tour: a series of free, one-day events aimed at supporting growing startups.

The challenge of scaling teams and technology, working with limited resources, and improving your product and your customer base triggers excitement and apprehension in every startup. You've probably asked yourself these questions before: how do you build a strategy that scales around shifting technical needs? How should you think about data, servers, and security? What about buzzwords like serverless, containers, IoT, machine learning, and artificial intelligence?

At Create, we'll help you answer these questions, and we'll also identify tactics for keeping growing teams aligned with your vision, goals, and OKRs to help you ensure your customers (and your investors) are happy.

The Create Tour will visit twelve cities globally over the next three months.

New York - April 9th, 2019

Toronto - April 11th, 2019

Cape Town - April 23rd, 2019

Paris - May 14th, 2019

Berlin - May 16th, 2019

Mumbai - May 21st, 2019

Hong Kong - May 23rd, 2019

Sydney - May 28th, 2019

Pittsburgh - June 6th, 2019

San Francisco - June 11th, 2019

London - June 13th, 2019

Tel Aviv - June 18th, 2019

Sign up today. It’s free.

Microsoft Build 2019 (May 6-8)

Registration is open for Microsoft Build, our premier developer conference. We invite founders to experience the latest technologies and imagine new ways to create solutions. Connect with your community to share new trends and innovative ways to code. Sign up soon as tickets are limited.

Webcasts and Podcasts

New Microsoft for Startups China Podcast

The Microsoft for Startups China team has just launched a new podcast that aims to tap into the Chinese startup ecosystem and reveal some behind the scenes operations that are driving innovation there. The podcast will feature some of the successful startup founders, corporate innovators and other key stakeholders in the ecosystem. You can subscribe to the podcast here.

Leadership and Talent Development in the Digital Age (April 2nd, 9 AM PST)

Talent development is one of the most important success factors in the digital age, especially for fast-growing companies. Join this exciting webinar to learn more about "Designing Talent," a state-of-the art leadership and talent development framework based on Design Thinking, and discover how to optimally leverage your and your people´s talent and potential. In this session, you will have the opportunity to gain cutting-edge insights to accelerate growth and establish leadership structures, foster an entrepreneurial mindset to get things done with limited resources, and learn to apply a simple, yet highly efficient process to solve all kinds of challenges on an individual, team, and company level.

Microsoft ScaleUp Masterclass (April 9th, 9 AM PST)

Microsoft for Startups invite you to join a masterclass, a hands-on guide to scaling your business. In this session, Iskender Dirik will deliver a transformational lecture packed with his most important learnings from over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur and VC.  He will also share best practices from Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, First Round Capital, Y Combinator and more as part of a 360 degree view on all things crucial to scaling your company: Leadership, hiring, sales, marketing, productivity, pitching, and more.

SaaS Pricing Masterclass (April 23rd, 9 AM PST)

Join us for this exciting session as Ulrik Lehrskov-Schmit, a behavioral finance expert, provides a hands-on guide to help you optimize your pricing model, improve your commercial excellence, and increase your revenues.

​Learn how to segment your customers, monetize your solution, fit your product to your market, set prices that propel your strategy, and build low-cost acquisition funnels by using a systematic, data driven process.

Commandments of Outstanding Presentation Slides (April 24, 9 AM PST)

Learn the "Commandments of Outstanding Presentations" (COUP) framework, delivered through a unique workshop format. In this webinar, Iskender will provide an entertaining and impactful lecture about the third chapter of his framework: Designing impactful slides for oral presentations.

The 5 Common B2B Sales Mistakes of SaaS Startups (May 14, 9 AM PST)

In this powerful workshop, Jens Hutzschenreuter will walk you through the five most common mistakes in B2B sales that (almost) every SaaS startup makes. Be sure to tune in to learn more about how to avoid common B2B sales pitfalls and increase your sales performance. 

Microsoft for Startups Overview Webinar (Recording)

Ian Bergman, Managing Director for Microsoft for Startup delivers a session describing the program covering both the technology and business enablement offerings. 

Azure Marketplace and AppSource Publisher Onboarding and Support (Recording)

Ready to publish your solution on Azure Marketplace or Appsource? Mark Molumby, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft walks you through the onboarding process arming you with best practices and support resources.