The First Microsoft Accelerator Startup Roadshow – A Week in Review

Last month, we hosted our first Global Startup Roadshow with 15 startup CEOs from our global accelerator portfolio for a five days of meetings and networking in Silicon Valley and Seattle. Our goal was to help these startups form connections and business opportunities in the U.S. by providing every resource we have to offer as their strategic partner. We are proud to share some of the outcomes and feedback from the action-packed week.

Over the five days, we had over 200 meetings with Silicon Valley investors and Microsoft customers. The majority of these meetings ended with a request for a follow-up meeting to continue discussing business opportunities.

Over the five days, we had over 200 meetings with Silicon Valley investors and Microsoft customers. The majority of these meetings ended with a request for a follow-up meeting to continue discussing business opportunities. In addition, we hosted more than 35 one-on-one meetings with Microsoft executives like Steven Guggenheimer (CVP Developer Experience), Scott Guthrie (EVP Cloud & Enterprise) and board member John Stanton. To top it all off, the startups met Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella for a Q&A session.

The First Microsoft Accelerator Startup Roadshow – A Week in Review

The feedback we received from the startups was very positive:

"The entire week showed us how a giant like Microsoft re-invents itself with new strategy, partnerships and building itself as an ecosystem leader." -WSC

"It's often normal for CEO's of companies to make friendly statements and walk away. It's a whole lot tougher to walk that talk. Between Satya Nadella or Steven Guggenheimer or Scott Coleman's statements in India when we met, and the words and actions of their teams in Redmond, there is no perceptible delta! This is amazing for a large company like Microsoft to commit to." -iBot

"The roadshow was an amazing opportunity for eShare. What was a real eye-opener was how this monolithic company was actually wanting to and succeeding in change by listening to people like us. The fact Satya actually gave up a chunk of his day to listen to our experiences of Microsoft speaks volumes for Microsoft's renewed determination to evolve." -eShare

The First Microsoft Accelerator Startup Roadshow – A Week in Review

To make sure we covered all the bases during the Roadshow, we also arranged for the startups to go through a sales training workshop led by top sellers and sales trainers at Microsoft. Based on feedback from the startups, this was by far one of the most valuable sessions during the roadshow. Marc Stolte (GM, Enterprise Sales Group Americas) walked the startups through the complex “Enterprise and Partners Group” structure and shared some insights on how to do business with a large corporation like Microsoft. 

The second session was held by James de Reuck, one of Microsoft’s top sales trainers, and was full of practical tools for hiring, training and measuring sales teams as well as how to qualify deals and understand the incentives that lead to closing big sales. For founders that are technical or business-oriented—and generally lacking sales knowledge—it was an educational, eye-opening experience. The reviews for these sessions were so positive that we plan to share the sales training with all of our graduates.

It’s only been a short few weeks, but we are already seeing great outcomes for the startups in the form of partnerships with Microsoft and follow up meetings with potential customers. As an added bonus it seems like we have managed to create a real sense of community among the 15 startups (we essentially created a new cohort), which led to late night conversations about one other’s challenges and discussions about potential collaborations.

Our alumni team is already starting to plan the next Startup Roadshow. And that means we need great startups that are ready to grow and scale, want to make it big, and believe that having a company like Microsoft as a partner will influence their future success. If you think you have what it takes, reach out and apply to one of our programs!

_