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Microsoft to help 14 Indian AI and machine learning startups in improving go-to-market strategies

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The partnership between enterprises and startups is growing in India. In 2016, we have seen increase in willingness from the corporates to adopt startup technologies to bring digital transformation to their businesses and their customers. However, as per the ‘Enterprise Readiness Report of Indian Startup Ecosystem, 2016’ there still exists as gap in the availability of enterprise ready startup solutions for two primary reasons – the lack of mature solutions to address key enterprise business issues and the startups ability to scale up to meet the demands of enterprise customers. Recognizing the role startups in play in accelerating India’s digital transformation, Microsoft has selected 14 Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning startups to help increase their Enterprise Readiness and go-to-market strategies. These mature startups, will undergo an intensive program at the Microsoft Accelerator in Bengaluru to increase their Enterprise Readiness Quotient.

The 14 startups are Acebot, Active.ai, FirstHive, Heckyl, Karomi, Lavelle Networks, LetsTransport, QuestionPro, Sigtuple, Syscloud, Tricog, vPhrase, WittyParrot and Zenatix. All these startups are selected on three parameters a) founded by successful serial entrepreneurs and/or professionals with decades of deep technology and domain expertise; b) their deep-tech products and c) high level of traction. They will also work closely with Microsoft’s sales & marketing teams, and its partners which include names like Wipro, TCS and Temasek, to take their products to businesses in India and around the world.

These startups will also be adopting Microsoft’s Azure cloud, to make use of its advanced cloud services in areas such as – Big Data, IoT, Advanced Analytics and Cognitive Services to scale their products. Since shifting the focus of the program to later-stage startups, many of the startups who have been part of Accelerator have seen significant growth in their business, global expansions and increase in enterprise clients with Microsoft’s support, including Locus, Vymo, CloudCherry, Altizon among others.

Seven of the startups are Series-stage mature businesses, currently at an average Annual Revenue Rate (ARR) of $1.5Mn, and average funding of $3.2Mn. These include Sigtuple, Karomi who have raised series stage funding in the last one month. The seed-stage companies, selected for deep-tech driven offerings have an average ARR of $200k and an average funding of $1.5Mn. This cohort of startups has been selected from portfolios of leading VCs, including Inventus Capital Partners, Ideaspring Capital, Accel Partners, IDG Ventures and Pi Ventures, based on their nominations.

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