Microsoft today announced BizSpark, a global program designed to help accelerate the success of early stage software Startups. Microsoft has worked with startups for many years by providing software, support, and introductions. But the programs were little known and narrow in scope. BizSpark is world wide, and now includes over 300 Network Partners who can offer the program directly to startups.
BizSpark provides Visual Studio, Windows Server, SQL Server, SharePoint, MSDN, Microsoft Office, and lots more.
VentureBeat describes BizSpark;
It’s an enticing free upfront three-year package, bundling together software, support and promotion for no upfront cost — requiring merely a $100 payment when you leave the program. It’s an aggressive move by Microsoft to ensure that technology startups at least consider using Microsoft’s tools when they are putting together their initial infrastructure — and comes a time when competitors are bidding for the business of those same startups by offering them low cost, often open source initiatives.
ZocDoc chief executive Cyrus Massoumi says Microsoft approached him to join the program at this year’s TechCrunch50 conference, where ZocDoc had a booth. The startup has now been part of BizSpark for about six weeks, and although the service was already built on Microsoft’s platform, Massoumi and chief technology officer Nick Ganju say the program has already paid off by connecting them with expert help when needed, and helping them increase the site’s security and scalability.
The free software is nice, Massoumi says, but he’s 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.”
CNET says "In its boldest bid yet to win the affections of emerging businesses, Microsoft on Wednesday announced a program that will allow some start-ups to use its server software free of charge. "
eWeek included this quote "“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,” said Suren Dutia, CEO of TiE Global, in a statement. “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."
TechMeme has lots of other stories covering BizSpark.
By joining BizSpark, Startups get:
o Software: fast and easy access to Microsoft’s current full-featured development tools, platform technologies, and unlimited production licenses of server products for immediate use in developing and bringing to market innovative and interoperable solutions with no upfront costs and minimal requirements. Startups will also get access to the community technology preview (CTP) of the Microsoft Azure Services Platform.
o Support: professional technical support from Microsoft (MSDN) and community support from BizSpark Network Partners around the world who provide a wide range of support resources for software startups. Network Partners are incubators, investors, advisors, government agencies and hosters who are vested in software-fueled innovation and entrepreneurship.
o Visibility: a dedicated online startup directory, BizSparkDB, on the Microsoft Startup Zone website (www.microsoftstartupzone.com)where we will highlight promising companies from around the world, including the “BizSpark Startup of the Day”. Through their relationship with Microsoft and BizSpark Network Partners, startups will achieve global visibility to an audience of potential investors, clients and partners.
Startups get access to BizSpark through Network Partners like TiE, NVCA, select Venture Capitalists, and over 300+ entrepreneurial-focused organizations with a strong track record of helping young and promising technology companies. Startups can find both at Microsoft.com/bizspark.
In the US, partners like Kliener Perkins, NVCA, Sigma Partners,Hummer Winblad, Polaris Venture Partners, Common Angels, eCoast Angels, TechStars, Angel Capital Association, and over 200 others are ready to help startups get into the BizSpark program.
· Eligibility:BizSpark is available to startups that fit the following criteria, nominated by Network Partners:
o A private company building a software-based product or service
o In business for less than 3 years
o Less than USD $1M in revenue
o Participation lasts up to three years