Microsoft for Startups Ecosystem Update: April 2019

The following is part of our ongoing series celebrating startups around the world. You will find success stories, technical and business content tailored for founders as well as opportunities for you to engage directly with the team at in-person events and live webinars.

Top News for April

Microsoft for Startups Launches New Partnership with MaRS to Help Canadian Startups Reach New Heights

Last week, Microsoft for Startups and MaRS unveiled plans to support the Canadian startup ecosystem with a dedicated space where startups can experience tailored business and technical programming in the flagship MaRS Discovery District building.

Mars 2

In addition to events, Microsoft will have a primary physical space within the MaRS campus that spans over 1.5 million square feet of space in four connected buildings in the heart of downtown Toronto that will host a Microsoft Reactor. This area will foster opportunities for founders, developers and business leaders to network and learn.

The engagement with MaRS Discovery District follows similar technology hubs where Microsoft has teamed with local governments, investors, and startup-enabling organizations including Hub71 in Abu Dhabi and Station-F in Paris.

At Microsoft Build, Top DevOps Startups Compete for Attendee Choice Award Worth $1M

Microsoft Build 2019 (May 6-8th) is right around the corner. Over the course of three days, developers from around the world will descend upon Seattle to experience the latest technologies and imagine new ways to deliver innovative solutions. For those attending the conference, we invite you to visit startup alley, where we have assembled eight innovative startups across a range of technologies to determine the “Startups at Microsoft Build: Attendee Choice Award.” You can vote on which startup you feel has the most compelling pitch. To turbo-charge their growth, the winning startup will be awarded a complimentary set of comarketing benefits (estimated value $1M.)


Startup Showcase

Hypergrowth Startup UiPath Secures Series D at $7B Valuation


UiPath a robotic process automation startup originally founded in Romania that uses artificial intelligence and sophisticated scripts to build software that automates tedious and repetitive tasks secured $568M in Series D funding.

Aidoc, the AI solution for medical imaging analysis, raises 27M Series B


Aidoc develops advanced healthcare-grade AI based decision support software. Their solution analyzes medical imaging to detect acute abnormalities across the body, helping radiologists prioritize life threatening cases and expedite patient care. The funding round for the Tel Aviv based startup was led by Square Peg Capital.

Taking the stock out of stock photography: Female-founded startup harnesses social media to fill a photo gap


If you’re anything like Oodle’s founder Sarah Stenhouse, the compelling images coming your way arrive via Instagram and Facebook. To reinvent the staid stock photography model, Sternhouse launched her company to help creators find a market for their imagery and in turn help marketers find relevant and compelling pictures for their campaigns.

AI startup is helping customers streamline support with cognitive virtual agents


Actionable Science creates conversational cognitive agents that help enterprises support employee roles in customer service, human resources, and IT services and help desk. The platform, Virtual People, includes agents that come ready to handle everyday tasks, from intake to action, with a focus on auto-resolutions. That means employees in these departments have more time for the skilled work they are best suited for, which brings the company the best employee value.


Startup Strategies

We’ve pulled together some quick and we hope, useful advice for founders to use as they build out their companies.

Four Accessibility Principles Every Startup Can Follow

We all have individuals that inspire us. For Annie Parker, one of those people was Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer, Jenny Lay-Flurrie. Annie was inspired by her to help startup founders make their products more accessible. In this post, Annie shares some of the core principles she has learned and calls for startups to build accessibility into their product plans from day one.

Getting the Most out of Conferences, Events, and Meetups for Your Startup

No one ever built an incredible company all on their own. It takes a network. One essential skill founders is to build a strong professional network. Today, many people think that online channels are enough to develop that network. Tor Tsuk argues that there is no substitute for in-person events for developing strong connections and offers some quick tips on how to make the most of in-person event networking.


CTO Insights

This month, we continued our series focused on practical advice for technical founders.

From "Technical debt" to "Technical decision”

Penina Weiss tackles the topic of technical debt or balancing legacy technology with the need to quickly innovate. Penina argues that we should reframe this way of thinking from “debt” to “decision.”

Get Deployment Right on Day 1

According to Head of Startup Advocacy, James Turnbull, “The system that gets your code from your engineers to the customer is the most crucial piece of engineering tooling you'll build: ever.” That’s why in this post, Turnbull outlines steps for automatic and continuous deployment.

Ecosystem Events:

Hannover Messe 2019: Startup Showcase

Microsoft for Startups Ecosystem Update: April 2019

Hannover Messe, the world’s leading Trade Fair for industrial technology, was held in Hannover, Germany from April 1– 5, 2019.  Microsoft had a significant presence at Hannover Messe (HMI) as did the C+E organization. We highlighted 9 startups to marquee manufacturing (VP-level) customers. Each Startup had a 5-minute pitch describing their disruptive solution, which was followed by a networking event. The Startup Showcase was a huge success, both for startups as well as customers.

Female Entrepreneurs from Mulan Academy Visit Microsoft for Startups China

On April 12th, Microsoft for Startups Beijing hosted 50 female entrepreneurs from the Mulan Academy, an institution dedicated to female entrepreneurship and leadership, to give them insights in Beijing’s startup ecosystem. At the event, Microsoft for Startups Beijing CEO Tan Lin addressed the group detailing the ways Microsoft is engaging with startups in China. The group also had the opportunity to meet with startups that have already engaged with Microsoft and learn from their experiences.

Microsoft for Startups Berlin Hosts Negotiation Seminar for Senior VCs



Microsoft for Startups hosted a Negotiation Workshop custom-made for selected senior VCs in Berlin. Daniel Reisner, a lawyer and negotiation expert on the international political stage provided important insights on how to skyrocket negotiation skills and close better deals, via 1:1 simulations and priceless behind-the-scenes anecdotes from his 10 years of service as the Head of the Israel Defense Force International Law Department.

Discussing Ways to Make Venture Capital Work for Female Entrepreneurs at GEC 2019


Lathika Pai participated in the Global Entrepreneurship Conference (GEC) in Bahrain and moderated a panel titled “How to Make Venture Capital Work for Women Entrepreneurs.” During the panel, the participants discussed specific ways to tap into the potential of female founders as growth-oriented entrepreneurs. GEC is a large-scale industry conference that gathers together thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and other startup contributors from more than 170 countries, to identify new ways of helping founders start and scale new ventures around the world.

Exploring Ways to Grow Startups in Latin America at the Latam Tech Forum

Mariano Amartino and Raj Thiagarajan, took part in the Latam Tech Forum in Miami to share information about the tools and resources Microsoft has to offer startups. The forum is an annual event put together by Riverwood Ventures that brings together the Latam ecosystem of startup founders/CEO's, investors, enterprise executives, and startup advisers to drive and grow the Latam tech ecosystem.


Upcoming Events

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.

Webit Festival Europe (May 13-15)

We will be sponsoring Founders Games at the upcoming Webit Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria. Founders Games brings together promising startups with investors, corporates, and media. Tickets cost €240 and you can register here.

Vivatech (May 16-18)

We will be in Paris showcasing leading AI startups from across Europe. If you’re at the show, we invite you to visit our booth for technical sessions and meet the team in person.

Collision (May 20-23)

We are sponsoring Collision, the fastest growing tech conference in North America. Microsoft Executive Vice President, Peggy Johnson will be speaking on the mainstage and our teams will be on hand to discuss how you can engage directly with the Microsoft for Startups program.

Webcasts and Podcasts

Building the next generation of intelligent business applications

On the latest episode of China Innovation Decoded, the podcast from Microsoft for Startups China, the team hosts Tiger Yang, the President and Co-founder of Apex Technologies. Listen to the podcast and subscribe here.

How to Build and Scale an Effective Company Culture (May 9th, 9:00 AM PDT)

Companies with a strong culture generate up to 5x more revenue, are 3x more likely to retain employees, and are targeted by 94% of job seekers. Join us as Darja Gutnick, co-founder and CEO of, delivers a crash course on company culture and how it can help you build a high-performing organization. In this session, you will get unique data-driven insights into how you can "architect" a culture that's right for your company.

The 5 Common B2B Sales Mistakes of SaaS Startups (May 14th, 9:00 AM PDT)

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.