Hitting the Accelerator at the Right Time: The Summer 2016 Cohort in Bangalore
Imagine a 4-year-old startup with $1.5Mn funding, 32 employees led by three 39-year-old cofounders, and has a sizable business. Not someone you would see in an accelerator, right? THAT is the average startup in the latest cohort at Microsoft's Bangalore accelerator! What's more? Collectively, these startups have raised close to $18Mn in funding, and by the likes of Qualcomm, Sequoia, Mumbai Angels and growX Ventures.
For a little over a year now, we've begun reimagining our accelerator program to make it ‘late stage startup ready’. Not limiting to just raising funds, our mission has been to help them scale, develop Go-To-Market strategies and do everything needed to help them gain traction.
While the 16-week ScaleUp and HiPo programs give us an opportunity to work with the startups to build better businesses, we have also doubled our focus on bringing in new business opportunities for our startups. Our Market Access Programs have opened many doors and initiated conversations within the corporate world. Microsoft events like Future Unleashed and Build gave them global visibility, and some even found lucrative partnership with Microsoft itself through the ISV Program. The impact of this move was clearly seen in the last two cohorts, from which 17 success stories like iBOT, Cloudcherry, CustomerXPs, and Shotang have emerged. In short, 2015 was a year of unlimited possibilities for Microsoft Accelerator alumni.
Continuing our mission to help later stage startups, we took another leap this time to put together a stellar lineup of companies for the eighth cohort of Microsoft Accelerator in India. Identifying the finalists--from almost 2100 applications this time, 67% of which have come with strong recommendations from startup organizations and think tanks, VCs, corporates, and various entrepreneurs and thought leaders--was not easy. And we were lucky to have an equally amazing panel of jurors. The panel this time included not only the leading VC firms in the country, but also the likes Raghunandan (Cofounder, Taxiforsure), Munish Mittal (CIO, HDFC), Meetul Patel (General Manager, SMSP, Microsoft India) and Peter Garternberg (General Manager, EPG, Microsoft India).
Now, after a four-month-long screening process, we have kicked off the program with a dozen awesome startups--and all of us here in Bangalore and at our accelerators around the globe couldn’t be more excited! We asked our CTO-in-Residence, Prasanna Krishnamoorthy, what makes these startups awesome, and this is what he had to say:
- Admission Table: With today’s teens sending thousands of messages on WhatsApp every hour, it’s natural for them to expect to find out about their future, and about higher education, via chat. Admission Table helps students who want to further their studies find the right information at their finger-tips.
- Altizon: Manufacturers are usually slow to adopt technology. IoT is the exception, and Altizon is blazing a path where manufacturing plants of all kinds are smarter, more efficient, and make more money!
- Aureus Analytics: Actuaries are usually drowning in data from all the insurance policies they make. How do you make sense of all of it? Enter Aureus – they specialize in making gold from insurance data. Insurance companies of all stripes are using Aureus to get better.
- BabyChakra: Are you a new mom? Need a friend who can lend a shoulder to lean on, a navigator to guide you to the right things to do with your baby, and most importantly tell you which diapers to buy? The 3.5 Lakh (350K) mothers in BabyChakra community will help you!
- Bizom: Ever been to a kirana shop and wondered how the kiranawala buys the stuff he sells you? Enter Bizom: Kiranawala’s place their orders for bread, cake, biscuit & tea on the Bizom app, and they get delivered to the Kirana store--seamlessly!
- Calm.io: A DevOps team must be able to traverse a Category-5 cyclone, and yet maintain a Zen-demeanor. But what if your servers are strewn across a multitude of clouds? Just let Calm.io enter your mind, and help you orchestrate peace across your entire infrastructure especially during upgrades, and regular maintenance, not just at launch time.
- Locus: Got your piping hot food from your local delivery startup on time? Locus might take the credit for that. With pluggable algos for everything to do with logistics, Locus helps delivery startups find out where they are and where they should be at every moment.
- Report Bee: Kids not doing well at school? If they were good corporate citizens instead of kids, you’d be doing a 360 degree appraisal on them, with analytics from every weekly test, providing great insight into what they’re missing. ReportBee helps schools & parents do just that! Use the power of analytics to understand students better and improve their performance.
- Reverie: India has 1652 languages, the world has 6500. With the next 6 billion people adopting mobile & internet, every business needs to communicate in more than just English, Chinese, or a handful of European leanguages. Reverie’s deep language technologies, developer-friendly SDKs and APIs, will help get your business speaking multiple tongues in no time!
- Strides: You never know you need them...till you can’t live without them. Strides’ SafeTrans makes sure that blood and blood components go through a stringent workflow that makes it safe for use when you need it. With tens of lakhs of blood components going through their system each year, Strides is taking great leaps in making blood transfusion safer in India.
- Tarnea: Your typical small pharma shop owner has to have a mega-brain. Not just does she have to decipher the doctor’s handwriting, she also has to remember generics, dosages, inventory, stock, and what to order when, so they have that life-saving drug on hand when you need it the most. With Tarnea, pharmacists can stick to the basics and leave the billing, inventory and ordering to Tarnea’s mobile app!
- Yellow Messenger: In a shop you can talk to the assistant to find out more about what you’re going to buy. The AI-powered Yellow Messenger talks you through your shopping list, helping you buy a recharge or buy some running shoes. If you love to talk while you shop, this is the app for you!
Make sure to follow us on Twitter @MSA_IND to keep up with Bangalore's 8th batch of innovative, late-stage startups, and please help us welcome the new cohort to the Microsoft Accelerator family!