Microsoft Ventures has announced the introduction of 'Accelerator Plus' and 'Scale Up', two new programs aimed at aiding 'late-stage' start-ups across India.
As the world of technology has become dominated by certain giants, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, so too a certain level of experimental innovation has died out amongst their ranks. Compelled only by profit, and driven by the interests of shareholders, barring a few exceptions, these firms have almost universally lost that certain je ne sais quoi that originally made them exciting.
Enter the common start-up. Almost parasitically, this odd entity has evolved to play into this lack of spark among the major players. Brought together by ambition, passion and (sometimes) a good idea, these plucky few strive to offer something different to the public, while also aiming to be a rather delicious prospect for certain hungry giants that haunt the scene, eager to gain a little soul.
Microsoft Venture's latest effort is one such attempt to sway start-ups in its direction. Through 'Accelerator Plus' and 'Scale Up', start-ups described as 'late-stage' (read: close to acquisition) will be aided in their transition to becoming bigger, more mature businesses. Accelerator Plus will be open only to firms that have acquired seed-level funding, over 50 clients (for business-to business) and/or 20,000 customers (business to customer).
Scale Up deals with start-ups who are further advanced in their growth. To be considered as eligible, the company in question must have received large-level seed funding or have successfully raised funds from a Venture Capital firm. Moreover, those in the business to customer space must have over 1,000,000 customers, whereas those focusing on business-to-business must have achieved over 100 clients.
So far, eleven candidates have been shortlisted from over 1,400 applicants, chosen by an external jury of six to ensure total impartiality. Following the completion of the programs, eligible firms may be able to join BizSpark. They will also have the privilege of increased knowledge, and a strong working partner in Microsoft
Do you work in a start-up? Have you been involved in an 'acceleration' program? Let us know in the comments below.