Microsoft Ventures in India today announced the graduation of 17 technology startups, 16 of which constituted the fourth batch of its Accelerator program and another from an earlier batch. At an event held here today, an audience of 800 plus mentors, industry influencers, venture capitalists, angel investors and journalists witnessed the accelerated progress made by Appointy, App Virality, Bookpad, Boutline, Imly, InstaSafe, IntouchApp, Metaome, Sliderule, Voonik, MyBusTickets.in, Praxify, Thinxtream, Touchfone, ZingHR and Zoom during the last four months at the Accelerator. Profoundis, a startup from its second batch, also graduated today.
Congratulating the graduating batch, Shripati Acharya, Managing Partner, Angel Prime, said: “I have been closely watching this batch since they started at the Accelerator. Each company was unique—not only were they at different stages of maturity and addressing very different business segments, their problems were also unique. Together with each startup, the Microsoft Ventures team worked hard to identify the right strategy and make the connections that would help each of them. I am really happy that the joint efforts have finally paid off! I congratulate Microsoft Ventures and the graduating startups on the success, and wish them all the best in their entrepreneurial journey ahead.”
Sharing his experience, Abhijit Gupta, Co-Founder, CEO and MD, Praxify said: “Microsoft Ventures has played a pivotal role in reshaping our business strategy for emerging markets. Access to partners and potential collaborators has been a boost for a fast-growth product company like ours. The weekly meetings with the leadership team have helped us maintain focus on achieving our short term goals and ensured that these are aligned with the company’s long term vision. Our mentors have helped us to accelerate from a startup of 20 people to 45 people in less than 3 months."
Demo Day was a part of day-long activities that included Think Next, Microsoft Venture’s new initiative to boost the startup ecosystem of India. A semi-annual conclave, Think Next aims at providing a forum for all stakeholders to network, deliberate and take measurable steps that will help spur the growth of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Two roundtables—Understanding Trends in Corporate Development and How to Create SAAS models from India, were organized as part of Think Next.
Explaining the rationale behind this new initiative, Ravi Narayan, Director, Microsoft Ventures in India, said: “Over the course of the last two years, Microsoft Ventures has emerged as a key player in the Indian startup ecosystem, working closely by pooling its resources with other accelerators, incubators and industry bodies, with the single objective of helping startups. While each of us are putting in a lot of efforts, many of these are fragmented and don’t have the potential of making a significant impact. We felt the need for a forum which brings together all the stakeholders and provides them with a platform to discuss current initiatives, decide on actionable follow-up steps and measure the progress over a period of time. Think Next is that forum, and we are confident it will provide a strong boost to the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
Going forward, Microsoft Ventures will be partnering with several industry bodies, eg Nasscom, TiE Chapters around the country and iSPIRT for Think Next. The roundtables at Think Next 2014 were organized in association with iSPIRT.
Commenting on the initiative, Sharad Sharma, co-founder and governing council member, iSPIRT Foundation, said: “As a think tank, we want to drive thoughtful discussions in the software product ecosystem. Microsoft Venture’s Think Next is focused on deep dive specialized discussion. Since both iSPIRT and Microsoft Think Next are focused on exactly the same thing, it’s a great partnership and we are happy to be part of it. This partnership brings the whole technology startup ecosystem together.”
The 17 startups which graduated today will join the 34 alumni startups from the last three batches of the Accelerator program. While their four month stay at the Accelerator ended today, it also marked the beginning of another life-long association. As alumni, they will continue to be supported by the Microsoft Ventures team, both in India and abroad, as they work on customer connect and technology advancement.