Microsoft for Startups Ecosystem Update – January 2020

Date Updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Already a month in to the roaring 2020s and it’s been a busy one across the entire Microsoft for Startups ecosystem. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the past month and see also what February has to offer.

Startups Light Up Microsoft Ignite

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Microsoft Ignite the Tour Continued to make its way around the world. January 2020 saw the tour make stops in Toronto, Shenzen, London, Seoul, Osaka, Milan and Johannesburg.

February is gearing up to be another busy month for the tour but there is just about enough time for you to register for one of the upcoming stops:

· Washington, DC – Feb. 6-7

· Dubai – Feb. 10-11

· Sydney – Feb. 13-14

· Taipei – Feb. 17-18

· Singapore – Feb. 20-21

· Prague – Feb. 24-25

· Copenhagen – Feb. 27-28

NRF 2020 Retail’s Big Show

Microsoft continued to make a splash at the National Retail Federation’s flagship event in New York.

NRF 2020: Retail’s Big Show – Microsoft Startup Showcase

While the NRF show was taking place at the Javits Center, Microsoft ran three Startup Showcases at the Microsoft Flagship Store in New York highlighting a dozen disruptors from the retail vertical. The primary focus of the Startup Showcase was to provide customers and partners with a venue for inspiring fresh, strategic conversations around reimagining retail. Read more here.

Countdown to NRF 2020 – An inside view from Uncrowd

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Looking at NRF 2020 from another angle, Microsoft for Startups hosted a guest blog from Richard Hammond, CEO and founder of Uncrowd. Richard wrote entertainingly about his experiences at NRF 2019 and his preparations ahead of this year’s show, “We will hit NRF hard on Saturday and we will do so, one year on, with a product retailers want and need and with that most valuable of startup commodities; momentum. We’ll catch up again in a few weeks on this blog and let you know how that NFR momentum pans out for Uncrowd!” Read more here.

Events January 2020

Afterwork – Microsoft for Startups kicks off the year in Toronto

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Microsoft for Startups hosted an evening at OneEleven Toronto to celebrate the new year with Toronto’s startup community with refreshments, a live DJ and great company. Founders from three Toronto-based startups, Fable Tech Labs, Vantage and Savvyy, were kind enough to share their stories and offer words of advice to the crowd Read more here.

Hub71 launches region’s first Microsoft Reactor program and welcomes 17 new startups selected from 47 countries

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Microsoft for Startups announced the opening of its new Reactor in Abu Dhabi. As part of its strategic partnership with Microsoft, Hub71’s Microsoft Reactor program will be a center for technical learning and knowledge sharing where developers and startup founders can connect with the local community. The Microsoft Reactor program will provide a curriculum to help these professionals increase their expertise around emerging topics such as cloud services and AI. This comprehensive program is available to Hub71 residents and the broader community free of charge. Read more here.

Microsoft for Startups News Roundup

Microsoft and Danone commit to Artificial Intelligence for a responsible food industry

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Microsoft for Startups announced the latest cohort in its AI Factory for Agrifood program. AI Factory for Agrifood is the third class of the Microsoft AI Factory, after AI Factory for Green Energy and AI Factory for Health! The start-ups will be jointly supported by Microsoft and Danone, one of the world leaders in the agrifood sector, and will benefit from a three-month acceleration period. Read more here.

Ecosystem Events

Microsoft for Startups Alumnus listed on NASDAQ

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On December 12, 2019, Microsoft for Startups 6th Batch Alumnus, EHang Holdings Ltd. was listed on the NASDAQ. EHang, a world’s leading autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) technology platform company, has raised over US$75 million in several rounds and becomes the first Microsoft for Startups company to be listed on the NASDAQ.

Ecolab Hackathon

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On January 13, Microsoft and Ecolab, the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services, invited six startups from the Microsoft for Startups program to participate in the Ecolab Hackathon in Shanghai.

Ecolab global executives visited to explore innovative technologies to solve practical problems faced by Ecolab's customers in four areas:

· Food sourcing & digital management

· Digital management of hotel sanitation

· AI recognition of onsite risk

· AI distribution system for work order

Microsoft EC department and Microsoft for Startups provide technical support, recruitment and guidance for entrepreneurial enterprises, and help innovative enterprises and Ecolab to achieve business breakthroughs through cloud computing and AI technology. The final winners were Cardinal Operations and iLabService. The two winning startups have been working on PoC with Ecolab.

Meet with Covestro

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On January 17 Microsoft for Startups held a closed-door event in Shanghai. Senior managers from four startups—iLabService, Pinlan Data, Hongjing Drive and RoboticPlus.AI—joined us at Covestro’s Asia Polymer Research & Development Center. The whole included a tour around Covestro R&D Center.

The Covestro team were impressed with every presentation and we look forward to more updates from our alumni startups and Covestro later on!

Meet with Roche

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We held another of our Customer Access Program activities on Jan 21, 2020 – Meet with Roche in Shanghai. There were two parts to the event: an introduction session and a roundtable discussion. Faced with three internal innovation requests from Roche, Senior managers from three Microsoft for Startups alumni—LinkingMed, Airdoc and NextVPU—met with senior staff from Roche and had a heated discussion for further solutions.

During the roundtable session, staff from Roche showed extreme interests in both Airdoc’s eye diagnosis technology and NextVPU’s wearable devices invention. We look forward to more updates in the future.

Hear it from the Founder

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In the inaugural Hear it from the Founder series, Silicon Valley based Onēva Inc, a care delivery startup whose mission is to extend women's careers, close pay equity gap, and lift women & their families from poverty, joined us at the Microsoft Reactor in San Francisco. Anita Gardyne, founder & CEO of Onēva and the 11th Black female in US history to raise $1M in investment, shared some of her experiences and the challenge of leveling the playing field. The key takeaways from this fascinating talk:

· Grow your business with value-aligned partners and customers who share your vision

· Be prepared to pivot to success

· Be resilient, knowing building a company is challenging for every founder, no matter who or where you are.

Spotlight on Startups

Deepfence brings a unified platform to protect cloud native continuum

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Deepfence designed its cloud-native protection platform to provide business continuity and CISO peace of mind in the face of widespread and persistent security threats. Deepfence is purpose-built to help stop current and future cyberattacks and intrusions in real time. Read more here.

Onēva delivers personalized care from trusted caregivers

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Onēva provides quality caregivers with a way to reach the clients who need their services, along with a living wage and the credentials provided by an accredited FBI background check. Clients use a mobile app to select the support they need and contact those caregivers. Organizations can incorporate Onēva services into their portfolio of employee benefits, helping to increase employee retention, broaden the pool of available potential employees, and provide staff with the support they need to do great work. Read more here.

Evolute enables companies to streamline digital transformation with simplified containerization solutions

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Containers provide applications and services with everything they need to run on-premises, in a datacenter, or in the cloud. The team at Evolute realized that with their deep container experience, they could speed organizations’ digital transformation, helping accelerate change, enhance cloud adoption, and achieve fundamental business goals much more quickly. Evolute built a cloud platform that helps transform any software into a container. Read more here.

Interview a Founder – Nina Alag Suri of X0PA

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X0PA is an AI platform that enables companies and job seekers to find the right match with each other, in terms of job fitting, skills, but also culture so there’s a high level of retention and engagement and it drives good performance on both sides. Most importantly making hiring objective and a science. We sat down with X0PA founder Nina Alag Suri to hear her story. Read more here.

Upcoming Webinars

Best practices for managing production incidents – February 6

Incidents in your production environment can have major impact on your business and operations. Having effective incident management practices can significantly help decrease resolution time and restore services.

Accelerate innovation using HPC on Microsoft Azure with HPCBOX – February 11

Building safe transportation, discovering new medicines, and designing complex products efficiently leverage technologies like AI, Deep Learning, Simulation Engineering, etc. These technologies require High Performance Computing (HPC) to deliver results in a reasonable time. However, accessing and effectively making use of HPC for product development is complex, expensive and requires significant effort to get right.

Investment and diversity in the age of AI – February 13

As businesses use data to build algorithms driving artificial intelligence, they create new risks of increased bias, sexism, and lack of diversity. Companies and product developers must adopt a more diverse way of thinking and leverage a wider range of data sets to avoid bias in AI.

Simplify application security and accelerate Azure adoption with Barracuda’s WAF-as-a-Service – February 19

Learn how the Barracuda WAF-as-a-Service can protect your reputation and your web applications from the risk of a data breach. Web applications are a prime target for hackers and cyber criminals—and when you move them to the cloud, you need application security purposely built for the cloud.

Microsoft's Commercial Marketplace Roadmap: February Updates – February 24

Microsoft’s commercial marketplace is continually investing in new features and functionality designed to serve customers of all sizes with the broadest catalog of enterprise software solutions from both Microsoft and our extensive partner ecosystem. Join Commercial Marketplace Product Manager, Brian Levenson, for an exciting presentation on Microsoft's recent releases and upcoming roadmap for the commercial marketplace and get your questions answered!

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