Microsoft Ventures launches two new start-up programmes

Microsoft Ventures has announced the launch of its two new accelerator programmes — Accelerator Plus and Scale Up — that will focus on helping later stage start-ups in India.

“The Indian start-up ecosystem has evolved and has new challenges now. One of the key issues we identified at the last All India Accelerators & Incubators Meet was that there was little or no help available for later stage startups in India. This prompted us to bring in new programmes to help the later stage start-ups,” said Ravi Narayan, managing director, Microsoft Ventures, in India.

The Scale Up programme will focus on the start-ups with large seed or series funding while Accelerator Plus will cater to companies with seed of less than $1 million. However, the most important criteria for selection is the traction, not the funding stage, Ravi said. The current batch has five start-ups under Accelerator Plus and six under Scale Up programmes. It also included few international start-ups.

Microsoft ventures has selected 11 start-ups from 1,400 applicants for the Summer 2015 Batch. The start-ups were selected for the programmes based on their current customer traction, market potential and funding stage.

“Two-third of the applicants have been referred by VCs, Angels and organisations like Nasscom and TiE. This shows that they too feel that we are on the right track, and have the resources and expertise to help these startups.” Ravi said.

Microsoft Ventures in India has graduated five batches comprising 63 startups since the Accelerator programme commenced in August 2012. Sixty seven per cent have received funding within a year of being in the programme, and three of the graduates, Bookpad, Adepto and Plustxt have been acquired.

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