Reinforcing its commitment to foster the Indian startup ecosystem, Microsoft for Startups announced the launch of Highway to a Hundred Unicorns. As part of this initiative, Microsoft will engage with innovators and entrepreneurs through a series of outreach programs across Tier 2 cities. Microsoft will work closely with state governments to strengthen the startup ecosystems in each state. Organized in collaboration with the Industries Commissionerate and iNDEXTb, Government of Gujarat, more than 250 startups attended the first event at Gandhinagar.
The impetus on innovation and entrepreneurship in India is helping startups to stem from not just metropolitan hubs like Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore, but also other Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities. However, some of the key challenges in scaling their businesses include lack of cutting-edge technology support and dearth of mentorship from ecosystem players. In a bid to address these challenges, Microsoft for Startups has launched Highway to a Hundred Unicorns, a series of events dedicated to enabling startups across Tier 2 cities.
Lathika Pai, Country Head, Microsoft for Startups – MENA and SAARC, said, “There is a strong pool of ideas and talent beyond the well-known startup hubs of India. Through Highway to a Hundred Unicorns, we will reach out to startups in Tier 2 cities and support them to achieve scale at their place of origin. Our tech expertise and experience of engaging with some of the most successful Indian startups will help innovators across the breadth of the country become enterprise ready and scale their operations in India and globally.”
Startups attending the events will receive guidance and mentorship through technology workshops on subjects like Azure, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Identified top startups in the “Emerge 10-Gujarat” will receive Azure credits and select startups will also be invited to pitch for access to the Microsoft ScaleUp program.
The Microsoft ScaleUp program supports Seed or Series A funded B2B and select B2C tech-enabled startups to co-sell with Microsoft sales teams, get access to top tech VCs globally and receive mentorship from the startup ecosystem. Gaining access to large enterprises to co-create solutions or integrate product offerings and designing robust go-to-market strategies for their industry or customer segments are critical in the startup growth journey. Microsoft for Startups enables startups to reach customers across the globe by leveraging the cloud marketplace, enterprise sales team and partner ecosystem. With its strong focus on Microsoft for Startups, an advanced technology platform, a rapidly growing partner ecosystem, and the venture fund M12, Microsoft is uniquely positioned to help startups embrace the next phase of growth and evolve from being market ready to enterprise ready.