Microsoft for Startups Ecosystem Update – November 2019
November was a busy month with a wealth of great stuff happening around the world.
Let’s take a look at some of the things we covered last month as well as ways you can engage with the team in the coming months.
Microsoft for Startups kicked off its presence on this year’s Ignite tour by bringing eight of the most innovative startups in our portfolio to the premier event in Orlando during the first week of November.
Ignite was a huge popular success and Microsoft for Startups will continue to showcase its portfolio companies at future events, so look out for the Microsoft Ignite tour coming to a city near you.
Microsoft announced the launch of FarmBeats to the Azure Marketplace helping farmers with low-cost agtech solutions. Azure FarmBeats is an industry-specific cloud offering built on top of Azure. It opens the door for the next generation of agtech startups working in yield optimization, microclimate prediction, water management and a whole range of value-added services.
Spotlight on startups
Microsoft for Startups hosted a guest post from Xavier Geerdink, CEO, and Derk van Lochem, CTO, Co-founders at Synigo where they laid out their vision of a single customizable portal for employees to review tasks, notifications and messages, work and social user groups, along with all the latest associated data provided by key applications and services.
A guest post from the founders of Rimilia explored their defining of the concept of financial relationship management, or FRM, an AI-driven, cashflow management infrastructure to manage and maintain financial relationships with customers in real time.
Rimilia’s platform brings the power of machine intelligence to bear on the process, working with virtually any bank, any currency, any ERP system, in any country and in all languages.
Microsoft for Startups News Roundup
Microsoft and Epicenter, a community of digital scale-ups, corporates, intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs, announced plans to start running Microsoft Reactor events in the flagship Epicenter Digital House of Innovation Sweden, in Stockholm.
Always free, Reactors provide community, ongoing education, and networking opportunities for developers of all stripes, as well as for founders and professionals in the start-up world.
This month at Slush in Helsinki, Finland, Microsoft for Startups announced that it was teaming with NVIDIA to give cutting-edge startups developing AI technologies fewer things to worry about by providing them preferred access to the Microsoft for Startups and NVIDIA Inception programs.
This cross-program cooperation offers benefits from the Microsoft for Startups program, including up to $120k of free Azure cloud, to NVIDIA Inception AI startups, as well as NVIDIA benefits, including discounts on a range of NVIDIA offerings to companies in the Microsoft for Startups program.
Corporate Visit - Merck Group Innovation Hub
To help our startups communicate with their potential enterprise clients, we organized a visit to the Merck Group Innovation Hub at the start of November. Sophie Sun, Managing Director of Innovation Hub China and Vice President of Strategy & Transformation China at Merck Group hosted our startups at the hub in Shanghai.
The day started with a short introduction of how Merck innovates and the way Merck partners with startups, followed by a two-hour round-table discussion focusing on four innovation requests consolidated by Merck:
· R&D direction
· New materials and techniques
· Sales efficiency
After the discussion, our startups made brief proposals for each request provided by Merck, and we will be keeping an eye on how those conversations progress.
Alumni Visit – Kyligence
In early November 2019, we took 12 startups from the Microsoft ScaleUp program to visit one of our best startups in China – Kyligence, who provides an AI-augmented data platform, powered by Apache Kylin OLAP technology, for analysts and data engineers to build and manage their data services from on-premises to multi-cloud.
Kyligence joined the Microsoft ScaleUp program in Shanghai as a pre-A stage startup two years ago, and raised their series C funding earlier this year. Luke Han, founder and CEO of Kyligence hosted us and shared his experience of business development, product development, team management, financial issues and many other aspects during our round table discussions. Billy Liu, Sales VP of Kyligence also shared how Kyligence has succeeded in winning customers by partnering with Microsoft and benefited from various Microsoft resources, including the cosell program.
Deep Tech Tour comes to Microsoft Reactor in London
This is the second time that Microsoft for Startups has hosted the Deep Tech Tour at Microsoft Reactor in London. Tech Tour has built an active innovation community and has been animating successful events for nearly 20 years for startups, investors and corporates in Europe.
Twenty-four scaleups and 10 “wow-factor” startups pitched in front of 100+ European VCs specializing in Deep Tech, selected from among 220+ applications around Europe.
Speakers included Amali de Alwis from Microsoft for Startups, Paola Cuneo of the London Stock Exchange and Masha Feigelman from McKinsey & Co.
Diversity and Inclusion
Microsoft partnered with PitchBook and All Raise to produce a new report that looks at the latest data and trends for gender diversity in the VC ecosystem - All In – Women in the VC Ecosystem.
The report includes an in-depth interview between Noga Tal, Global Head of Partnerships at Microsoft for Startups and Dr. Dana Kanze, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior at the London Business School. Together they talk about the challenges female founders face when fundraising and how they can be addressed.
Microsoft for Startups hosted a guest post from, Leslie Feinzaig, CEO of Female Founders Alliance. In it, Leslie lays out some of the difficulties female founders have when raising financing from traditional venture capitalist funds.
She offers candid advice to both women in tech looking to take their companies to the next level, and VCs who need to expand their horizons and diversify the world’s business leaders to generate jobs, new wealth and economic opportunity for all.
State of Industry for Female Founders
(December 17, 9:00 AM PST)
Women raise $77 for every $100 raised by a male-founded team for early stage ventures, and only 7% of investing partners are women. So where are the female investors? What are the core challenges female founders face when building their business? Join us at this exciting session to learn more about the in-depth studies Microsoft for Startups did, including a brand new research together with Pitchbook and AllRaise, that identify common challenges, trends and opportunities.
(December 18, 8:00AM PST)
Having an optimized pricing model for your SaaS solution is critical to increasing revenue and profits, obtaining longer contract terms, and shortening the sales cycle. Join us for this exciting session on SaaS pricing as Raz Bachar, a Managing Director for Microsoft for Startups, provides valuable guidelines to help startups build and optimize their SaaS pricing models and better monetize their solutions.
In this session, we will dive into the various types of SaaS pricing models, effective SaaS pricing strategies, and other actionable best practices.
(December 19, 10:00 AM PST)
Microsoft’s commercial marketplace investments are designed to serve customers of all sizes with the broadest catalog of enterprise software solutions from both Microsoft and our extensive partner ecosystem. Offerings are published into the Azure Marketplace, Microsoft AppSource, and Cloud Solution Provider catalogues with a variety of business models and deployment methodologies, and we are continuing to introduce new capabilities and expanded geographic availability throughout this year.
Join Commercial Marketplace Director, Ryan Storgaard, for an exciting presentation on Microsoft's recent releases and upcoming roadmap for the marketplace and get your questions answered!