Microsoft expands BizSpark programmes for startups in Singapore
By Digital News Asia July 20, 2015
- Qualifying startups receive US$120K of Azure credits each year
- Complimentary co-working space at Microsoft Innovation Centre
MICROSOFT Corp has announced an expansion of the Microsoft BizSpark programme in Singapore, introducing two new features.
The first is the launch of the BizSpark Residency Programme that houses startups with promising market potential at the revamped Microsoft Innovation Centre, the company said in a statement.
The second is an enhanced BizSpark Plus Programme that provides US$120,000 (S$162,000) worth of Azure cloud services credits per year (up from US$60,000 or S$81,000 per year previously) to qualifying local startups.
“Microsoft is committed to growing the local startup ecosystem by providing the latest technological tools, support and market visibility to help them succeed,” said Nobuhiro Ito, director for Developer Experience & Evangelism at Microsoft Singapore.
“Since the launch of Microsoft BizSpark in 2008, we have worked with close to 1,300 startups in Singapore and some of them have gone on to impact the world with their innovations,” he claimed.
“With the expanded BizSpark programme, we now have a much-improved platform and support system to help more local startups scale their businesses quickly,” he added.
Microsoft BizSpark is a global programme that helps startups grow their businesses by providing them with access to technology products, business and technical support and market visibility, according to the company.
BizSpark also offers member startups access to a network of over 40 partners, enabling them to connect easily with a wide pool of incubators, investors, advisors and government agencies, it added.
Under the newly-expanded programme, the new BizSpark Residency Programme offers 1,200 sq ft of complimentary co-working space at the revamped Microsoft Innovation Centre located at One Marina Boulevard to promising local startups.
With the aim to further grow the area into a startup hub within the city centre, the programme enables startups to be placed in an environment that fosters innovation, with easy access to Microsoft’s technical evangelists for guidance in scaling their businesses, the company said.
In addition, startups can also benefit from the centrally-located and accessible office in the heart of the central business district, as well as the cost savings from the complimentary office space and accompanying business facilities, it added.
With the introduction of the BizSpark Residency Programme, three promising local startups will be the first to operate out of the revamped Microsoft Innovation Centre.
One of the startups, Kumo Pte Ltd, offers an enterprise integration platform built on Azure to help companies operate their businesses more efficiently through the automation of time-consuming processes and the capture of invaluable data that would typically be lost through human inefficiencies.
Since joining Microsoft BizSpark three months ago, Kumo said it has doubled its revenue and is on course to multiply this growth further with its entry into the BizSpark Residency Programme.
“We are extremely grateful for Microsoft’s strong support for a local startup like us,” said Kumo chief executive officer Charlotte Tang.
“With Microsoft’s support and the technical training provided to us, we have since gained invaluable advice and insights on how to build and maintain a scalable business.
“We hope that our Kumo Enterprise Integration Platform can complement what Microsoft is accomplishing with Azure, and take it a step further to enable small and medium businesses in Singapore and the region to operate much more efficiently with our solution,” she added.
The second startup is Grezzy, which offers the white-label FireRunner Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform.
Grezzy is currently focused on developing health-focused solutions for connected devices, primarily white-label wearables, targeted at original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), fitness centres and health organisations.
Since joining Microsoft BizSpark, Grezzy has inked a deal with Norway’s Wooflander AS to develop its dog-tracking solution, and will now go on to pitch its solutions to more companies across the globe, Microsoft said.
The third startup is Apvera, which is in the final stages of developing its threat intelligence platform named Insight.
Insight helps businesses identify potential threats for enterprise security through extensive user profiling and adaptive behavioural learning, Microsoft said.
To sign up for the Microsoft BizSpark Programme, startups need to complete the steps at the BizSpark website to get up to three years of free software, support and visibility. Microsoft BizSpark members can also receive up to US$750 (S$1,013) a month in Azure credits for use on cloud services.
To join the BizSpark Plus Programme, startups will need to be nominated by Microsoft’s partner in Singapore, NUS Enterprise, in order to qualify.
NUS Enterprise provides a complete suite of support programmes for local startups to test, share and grow their ideas for a wide array of business areas ranging from information communications and technology fields to biomedical and social enterprises.
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