Microsoft announces key partnerships in pledge to support tech start-ups

Strategic collaborations with accelerators, incubators and enterprises announced as Microsoft Ventures Accelerator opens up applications for second semester

As part of its promise to continue to commit to the UK start-up scene, Microsoft today announced collaborations with industry leaders Level39 in Canary Wharf, ASOS, GrowthAccelerator, and Jenson Solutions and Ventures in Motion Ltd.

The announcement was made at Microsoft’s investor day event “The Pitch,” where Microsoft celebrated the conclusion of its first official accelerator programme.

The partnerships result in numerous incentives for Microsoft’s chosen starts-ups, with some mutual benefits for companies based at Level39.

Taking up residency at Level39, which is an incubator for finance, future cities and retail, Microsoft will offer start-ups located in Level39 access to Microsoft mentors and workshops, and Level39 is to become a part of the BizSpark Plus Network – so it can offer its start-ups £60,000 worth of credits on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

Additionally, ASOS will be on the panel that judges applicants for September’s Microsoft Ventures Accelerator (MVA) programme as well as identifying potential start-ups to participate in the programme – a collaboration that aims to recognise promising retail groups.

GrowthAccelerator will offer each participant in September’s programme a free one-hour session with a growth manager to advance them onto the GrowthAccelerator package, a service that connects new companies with industry specialists to help them establish new routes to finance, ideas, business strategies and connections.

Finally Jensen Solutions and Ventures in Motion Ltd have united to create the JVM Technology Fund, an optional seed fund that will be offered to all of September’s candidates to help them to sustain their business throughout the programme.

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Alongside announcements, the day also involved exciting pitches from Microsoft’s 12 programme graduates and guest start-ups from both Seedcamp and Level39.

The 14 start-ups to pitch to investors were:

  • Barpass: An app that acts as an ordering platform for bars and events
  • Buying Butler: an online comparison and buying service for complex purchases
  • Caribu: An app that allows children to video call and read books together
  • Cognisess: A HR resource that uses objective performance games, big data insight and neuroscience to analyse candidates
  • A cloud monitoring service
  • Gateway Interactive: Games development studio, with a new game that taps into the advantages of cloud technology
  • Proxly: A platform that helps brands deliver promotional media, loyalty and mobile commerce applications based on a user’s location, time,  activity and personal interest
  • Skara: A multi-player and versus game based on combative control, which takes place in a huge multi-player universe
  • Stamplay: A service that enables developers to create apps without coding and saves 90% of the software costs
  • Service that indexes the world’s socio-economic data, aimed at the government, retail and housing sectors
  • UXCam: A platform that allows UX designers to capture, analyse and visualise user data in order to detect user bugs in apps
  • Vastari: An online platform that connects art collectors and museums
  • Vivid: An online centre that allows you to list your problem and queue your call to participating customer service centres, instead of wasting time with a generic interactive voice response system
  • VonBismark: An e-commerce platform with digital changing rooms, aimed at high street stores

The news of further Microsoft support will be encouraging to the UK tech start-up scene; a sector Anand Krishnan, general manager of Microsoft’s Developer and Platform Group, says has the potential to become one of the global leaders:

“The first class of start-ups has exceeded our expectations. Today’s announcement demonstrates our continued dedication to the London start-up community at large, and also reflects the wider trend where we now have a UK start-up ecosystem with the potential to deliver blockbuster tech companies on a global stage.”


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