Microsoft for Startups Ecosystem Update – September 2019
September was a busy month. It was busy for the team but more importantly it was busy for you founders. From companies who are redefining how healthcare is administered, to startups who are helping people more effectively barter, it’s inspiring to see the work that is being done around the world. Let’s dig in.
A picture, it’s said, is worth a thousand words. The present-day popularity of movies at the expense of print seems to bear that out, and people increasingly turn to video for training, education, and entertainment rather than to written classes, instruction books, or novels.
With that in mind, Ahmad Roowala and his team at Squigl considered how useful it would be if they could make it easier to turn words into pictures, transforming dull, inaccessible content into engaging and effective animation. Read more here.
Whiteboard Coordinator collects anonymized data from cameras and wireless devices installed strategically around the facility. It monitors where people are, what they are doing, and how they are getting it done—all transparently, without disruption to existing work. That data is then analyzed by an AI system trained in operations and workflows in key locations such as labs, arrival and waiting areas, and operating and consulting rooms.
The system applies computer vision, deep learning, and predictive analytics, which which of many e-stores can offer us the best mix of price and performance.consumes, aggregates, and transforms a wealth of data. It then returns valuable targeted information to the devices currently operated by the people who can best use it to make a difference. Read more here.
While in many ways the web has made shopping easier it has also unleashed a paralyzing multitude of choices. We feel the need to read endless reviews. Watch videos. See what other people think and then—once we make a choice—we must decide which of many e-stores can offer us the best mix of price and performance. This led Marie-Cécile de Faucigny to a profound idea. Why not harness the real-life experience of an entire community of consumers to provide collaborative, crowd-sourced price comparisons, uninfluenced by vendors, and personalized to your search request?
With that insight she built CrossShopper, a crowd-sourced, shopper-powered price comparison service based on a simple concept: Tell us what you need, and we’ll quickly deliver the latest and best price others have found for that same item. Read more here.
When it comes to innovation, the more minds, the better. Continuous learning, connecting with others, and experimenting and building with new technologies is vital for problem solving and product development, no matter the size or scale. That’s why we’re excited to announce two new Microsoft Reactor spaces, in Shanghai and Bangalore.
These spaces come on the heels of Microsoft’s announcement of its commitment to startups in North Asia, with an emphasis on accelerating startup growth through access to technology and resources. Read more here.
Autonomous vehicles represent a digital transformation that will enable safer roads, efficient cities and a cleaner environment. This technology space is unique, with a complex set of challenges and sophisticated solutions. That is why we have created an exclusive program, specifically designed to empower startups in this space. Read more here.
Earlier this month, we launched Highway to a Hundred Unicorns. As part of this initiative, Microsoft will engage with innovators and entrepreneurs through a series of outreach programs across Tier 2 cities. Microsoft will work closely with state governments to strengthen the startup ecosystems in each state. Organized in collaboration with the Industries Commissionerate and iNDEXTb, Government of Gujarat, more than 250 startups attended the first event at Gandhinagar today. Read more here.
Earlier this month, Ingram Micro launched the Comet Competition—a challenge dedicated to discovering talented B2B startups and funding their trajectory to channel market success. Startups are invited to compete for over $5M in go-to market (GTM) funds and cash. You can learn more here.
Leaders in diversity and technology assembled together at the Lesbians Who Tech Summit in NYC leaning about trends that will shape the future and connecting community. Leaders were on hand to watch startup, Nine to Five, win the pitch competition and the $10,000 award.
M12 and Microsoft for startups met with founders at the Houston Microsoft Technology Center and the Walmart Innovation Hub in Austin to show how Microsoft engages with the startup ecosystem. It was a chance for startups to dive into immersive conversations directly with startup experts on how technology and Microsoft partnerships help overcome barriers to scale.
At a sold-out event, Shaloo Garg – Managing Director of Silicon Valley - moderated a diversity panel that included Nestle, GE Ventures, and a16z at Tech Inclusion to discuss the startup journey. The panel shared their successes and the many doors that closed on them, how they had to adapt to different fundraising strategies as under-represented founders, unexpected allies who helped them grow their company and raise capital and role that large corporates helped their mission. Each of these founders are now building a culture of Inclusion where it’s not just about the product, raising capital or getting that next customer, but about bringing diverse perspectives to the table to build a strong startup foundation.
A powerhouse of women in tech hosted a Geek Girl X dinner in San Francisco showcasing a mix of creativity, technological, and career pursuits. Charlotte Yarkoni – Cloud +AI CVP – and Shaloo Garb – MD of Silicon Valley – answered questions in an AMA style highlighting their career arcs and dispensing advice to other aspiring female technologists. Microsoft’s PM Kitty Yeung displayed her programmable garments and Cloud Advocate Chloe Condon spoke about developing her popular fake boyfriend app.
Slush Shenzhen was held in Shenzhen Pingshan High-tech Zone, where 2500 tech-savvy heads from corporations, investment agencies, startups, and media gathered to discuss issues concerned with medical technology, smart manufacturing, new energy, and environmental protection. Microsoft for Startups’ James Chou was a panelist, discussing How Corporate Work with Startups along with Nina Xiang, China Money Network Founder, Timo Lei, King & Wood Mallesons Partner & Markets Leader, Wilson WY Chow, PWC Partner and Jian Mei, Shenzhen Oriental Fortune Capital Partner.
Held in Tel Aviv, CTO Breakfast Club is a morning meetup for Microsoft for Startups program CTOs and other startup CTOs to network and learn. In the meetup technical leaders share their experience and expertise in different topics ranging from management to recruiting and onboarding.
Earlier this year we completed the Create Startups Tour connecting founders with technical and startup experts all over the world. Now you can watch the best presentations from the tour in one dedicated channel. From picking the right mobile app framework, understanding Machine Learning or creating more resilient apps, click here to watch.
Web Summit (Lisbon, Portugal. November 4-7)
Microsoft will be on hand at the world’s largest tech event in Lisbon Portugal. If you’re planning on attending, please come by the Microsoft booth to meet us in person.
Microsoft Ignite (Orlando, Florida. November 4-8)
Learn innovative ways to build solutions and migrate and manage your infrastructure. Connect with over 25,000 individuals focused on software development, security, architecture, and IT. Explore new hands-on experiences that will help you innovate in areas such as security, cloud, and hybrid infrastructure and development.
Podcasts and Webcasts
For the first episode of this new season on Microsoft, we invited Jason Tsao, AI and Area Transformation Lead of Microsoft Greater China Region. In this episode, Jason discusses what it takes for a company take advantage of AI, the relationship between AI and human as well as the potential ethical challenges behind AI application. Today, with Jason Tsao, we learn about his past careers and the impact AI has brought to various industries and human life.
Transacting Through Microsoft Commercial Marketplace (On-Demand Content)
Back by popular demand - we will be hosting an encore presentation for this virtual workshop. This session will teach ISVs how to benefit from Microsoft’s commercial marketplace as a sales channel, configure offerings according to desired business models, and integrate with commerce platform functionality to leverage transaction capabilities.
Azure Marketplace: The Always On Engine to Promote and Scale Your Solution (When: October 10, 2019 5:00 PM, America/Los Angeles)
Learn why Azure Marketplace matters for your business and how Microsoft is investing to become the world’s most desired marketplace. In this 30 minute session, we will cover why Marketplace matters to your business strategy and the benefits that you can leverage to drive awareness and generate demand to your solutions.
Be sure to register for your spot today. If you cannot make this evening session, we are hosting a morning session that you can sign up for here. See you there!