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Microsoft launches new initiative for start-ups

The Hindu BusinessLine:  May, 2014

Bengaluru: In a bid to give an additional boost to the start-up ecosystem, Microsoft has announced partnerships with iSPIRT, Nasscom and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE).

These initiatives come under the umbrella of Microsoft Ventures, which is solely focussed on creating a technology ecosystem for start-ups and will not involve any investments in these start-ups. Under this umbrella, Microsoft has launched a new initiative called ThinkNext for which it has partnered with iSPIRT, a breakaway group that is trying to further the cause of software product companies in India.

This partnership is the next step in the Microsoft Accelerator programmes, which is aimed at start-ups and was set up to handhold companies from incorporating their businesses to finding investors. “ThinkNext is going beyond that and is a bid to increase our connect with start-ups,” said Ravi Narayan, Director, Microsoft Ventures in India. The announcement of this venture was made on the sidelines of 17 start-up companies finishing their four-month accelerator programme.

The ThinkNext initiative aims to increase Microsoft’s footprint in the start-up segment. “In an accelerator programme, it is one start-up at a time but with this, Microsoft can go beyond the accelerator stage and help in building companies,” said Sharad Sharma, co-founder and governing council member of iSPIRT. Further, iSPIRT will help Microsoft in completely understanding the software product ecosystem, the kinds of deals happening in that segment and what is driving those decisions.

The world’s largest software maker dominates the domestic market with a 31 per cent share , according to data from research firm IDC.