Just Wednesday, Microsoft announced a site set up exclusively for tech startups. No, working with startups isn’t a new concept for Microsoft. But often, the programs weren’t very well known, and the scope was rather narrow. This latest launch, BizSpark, is a different story.
First off, when joining, you get the what you might expect — Microsoft products. Of course, there are the obvious Office, Visual Studio, Sharepoint, as well as both Windows and SQL Server. But that isn’t all. BizSpark works with over 300 Network Partners who can offer the program right to startups. The really big bonus? There is absolutely no upfront cost to join. You do however, have to pay $100 when you leave the program.
So, you get the software. Nice for many reasons, obviously. But you also get the support offered. You get technical support from Microsoft as well as community support from all of the worldwide Network Partners. Who are some of these partners? They’ve got advisors, investors, government agencies, incubators and more. All interested in entrepreneurship and forward movement related to the software industry. You also get to be seen. There is global visibility, as well as a “BizSpark Startup of the Day.”
To be eligible to join, startups must be in business for less than three years. They must be a private company building a software-based service or product. They must make less than $1 million (USD) in revenue. And finally, their participation can last up to three years (no more).
ZocDoc chief executive Cyrus Massoumi says about the program “The free software is nice, but I’m even more excited about being able to get access to people at Microsoft who are building these products. This is stuff that we couldn’t buy.”
eWeek had a quote from Suren Dutia, CEO of TiE Global from her statement. “We think Microsoft BizSpark addresses a fundamental challenge startups face: access to current, full-featured tools and technologies that help turn ideas into a thriving business. We will work closely with Microsoft to help startups bring their innovative solutions to market more quickly and effectively by providing educational programs, business mentoring and peer networking.”
Startups can find more information at the BizSpark site.